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August 22, 2022

Don’t look now, but the big ones are getting bigger. Of the top 10 chains in the QSR 50 report, only two — McDonald’s and Subway — saw their unit count decline from 2020 to 2021, while the other eight added 1,116 units, or about the size of the entire 47-state Firehouse Subs business .

Given what the nation has endured in recent years, such results seem counterintuitive, even strange. After all, a global health pandemic has closed dining rooms, labor shortages have sent restaurants scrambling for help and changing hours of operation, rising food and equipment costs have drained profitability, and consumer habits have changed rapidly and dramatically. It would be reasonable to expect some contraction, or at least a cautious approach to development and the future.

Well, it didn’t seem to matter much to the quick service power brokers as COVID-19 accelerated existing trends and industry giants further entrenched themselves in American lives. Among the entire QSR 50, Jersey Mike’s, Domino’s, and Taco Bell have all added at least 200 restaurants. Nine more set on at least 100 locations.


In the five years before the pandemic, David Portalatin, the NPD Group’s foodservice industry consultant, says off-premises events ended, on-site dining dropped, and quick-serve and fast-casual steadily gobbled up a portion of their full-service peers. . The pandemic accelerated that pace as consumers flocked to express services — with their ride-hailing, mobile apps and package deals — for safe, convenient, value-driven offerings.

“Quick services were at the intersection of what the consumer needed in a disruptive time, offering the right mix of quality and value, so it should not be surprising that we have seen a significant increase in the flow of money into the segment,” Portalatin says. .

Already present, powerful forces on the American landscape, quick service restaurants have become even more present and more powerful, ushering in an invigorating new era in an industry that has many predicting, anticipating and planning for an appetizing future.

Today’s good lineup harkens back to what many consider the golden age of fast food: the 1980s, when Baby Boomers, fueled by a massive expansion of single-income and two-income households, began outsourcing food preparation en masse to to accommodate their busier lives. . As a result, restaurant traffic increased year over year and quick-service chains expanded their footprint across the American landscape with new restaurants. McDonald’s, in fact, added 5,415 new restaurants over the decade—or one new restaurant every 16 hours.

So, could we be in another golden age? It certainly seems like the sector is headed there.

After opening 55 new US locations in 2021, KFC sat on the positive side of unit growth for the first time since MySpace was the world’s largest social networking site. KFC chief development officer Brian Cahoe told QSR earlier this year that the chain, which is also riding eight consecutive years of positive same-store sales, will repeat the positive store count in 2022 as well.

Three years ago, KFC rival Popeyes grabbed national headlines and emerged as a social media favorite when it debuted its chicken sandwich to loud fanfare and long lines. And the momentum hasn’t slowed. AUVs at Popeyes grew from $1.4 million in 2019 to $1.8 million at the end of 2021, while the chain opened 208 locations in the United States and Canada in 2021.

“And we’re on track to open another 200 more this year,” says Popeyes President Sami Siddiqui.

Chipotle, a longtime fast-casual darling, saw its total revenue jump 26 percent in 2021 to $7.5 billion while comparable restaurant sales increased 19 percent and the chain opened about 200 new restaurants to hit the 3,000 domestic location threshold.

Last year, Wingstop recorded its 18th consecutive calendar year of same-store sales growth and a record $2.3 billion in system-wide sales. The retail chicken wing brand also saw its unit count increase by 12.5 percent to 1,731 worldwide.

Just two years ago, Potbelly was on the brink of bankruptcy and talk of closing more than 100 restaurants swirled around the Chicago-based company.

Those days are over and the sandwich-slinging, milk-making brand is on the rebound, showing just how vibrant the quick-service category is these days for players with a focused plan.

In the opening quarter of 2022, Potbelly recorded its fourth consecutive period of same-store sales gains and reported positive traffic through all three months of the quarter. The chain’s so-called CBD (central business district) stores led the way with sales up 64 percent during the first quarter of 2021. Meanwhile, Potbelly’s AUVs, long hovering around $1 million, are now pacing at $1.1 million and guidance considers $1.3 million. a reasonable AUV target in the coming years.

“Whether it’s the suburbs, our drive or other places, we don’t see a lack of momentum,” says Bob Wright, CEO of Potbelly.

Post Table of Contents hide

How did fast food conquer America?

It started when the hamburger chains really started cooking The car culture of the 1950s led to a powerful culinary movement in America: Fast food restaurants. Hamburger joints began to spring up like so much crabgrass on new suburban lawns and Americans flocked to them in their cars.

How has fast food helped the economy? Globally, fast food generates an income of more than $570 billion, which is greater than the economic value of most countries. US income was a whopping $200 billion in 2015 versus $6 billion in 1970. By 2020, US income is projected to exceed $223 billion.

Why did fast food become so popular in America?

One of the main reasons for the popularity of fast food is the convenience factor. Instead of having to spend time in your kitchen and at the grocery store preparing a meal you can spend mere minutes at a fast food restaurant and get a full meal.

When did fast food become popular in America?

Fast food restaurants became very popular during the 1950s because families were busy and they needed a place where they could quickly grab food; people also wanted to be able to get fast food that they could eat in front of their new televisions.

Why are fast foods so popular?

Fast food is popular because the food is cheap, convenient and tasty. Fast food may include refined grains instead of whole grains, contain saturated fat, cholesterol, and added sugar, and may be high in sodium (aka salt), which is used as a preservative and makes food tastier and more satisfying.

How did fast food changed America?

In the 1950s less than 10% of Americans were overweight or obese. As fast food and processed foods dominated our diets, the numbers jumped. By 1975, (around the time McDonald’s introduced the drive-thru window), the obesity rate in America had climbed to 15%.

How did fast food impact society?

When people frequently consume junk food, it predisposes a person to an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and many other chronic health conditions. Fast food has many harmful effects having long and fast terms. The content of the fat has excess cholesterol.

How has the fast food industry changed?

Based on information collected from 10 popular fast food restaurants in the United States during 1986, 1991 and 2016, the results showed that the number of choices for all food categories (entrées, sides and desserts) increased by 226%. In addition, calorie content and sodium amount increased significantly.

Why has American fast food chains been successful internationally?

Since the early 1970s, American fast food franchises have ventured into international markets largely as a result of businessmen in other countries wanting to bring the American concept to their homeland.

Why is American fast food so good?

Ingredients Added to Fast Food Fast food contains additives that are high in sugar and fat. These additives are one of the main reasons that junk food tastes so good. The high sugar, high sodium, and high fat content in these fast foods also means they are high tasting, so to speak.

What factors do you think contributed to the growth of fast food companies worldwide?

Increasing hospitality of the staff and more delivery options for the consumers brought them to the fast food industry in droves. The most popular fast food restaurants in the world have focused their energies on improving their service and their healthy offerings as well as their overall reputations.

What is the difference between fast food and casual dining?

Typical Characteristics of a Fast Casual Restaurant Limited service or self service: While fast food restaurants only offer self service, some fast casual restaurants also offer limited service, which involves bringing food directly to the customer’s table.

What makes fast casual restaurants different from fast food restaurants? Unlike most fast food chains, fast casual restaurants typically do not offer a drive-thru option. The idea is that customers just want to be able to walk in, order and receive their food in a fairly short amount of time – in and out – whether the order is for takeout or dine-in.

What is fast casual dining concept?

Fast casual restaurant concepts offer the convenience of fast food without the full service of fine dining. Fast casual dining consists of a more inviting seating atmosphere, and often, the ability to build your own meal. The menu consists of better quality ingredients that can be found at most fast food restaurants.

What is meant by casual dining?

What Is Casual Dining? Casual dining restaurants have a very relaxed atmosphere but are a step up from fast food and fast casual restaurants. A casual restaurant generally has table service, meaning a server takes your order while you sit at a table. A food runner or server brings your meal to the table.

What is the difference between fast casual and casual dining?

casual dining is that in casual dining your order is usually taken at the table by a server. Fast casual offers the convenience of fast food, while offering some of the elements of casual dining such as an inviting atmosphere, alcohol menus, and in some cases, food runners.

What is the meaning of casual dining?

What Is Casual Dining? Casual dining restaurants have a very relaxed atmosphere but are a step up from fast food and fast casual restaurants. A casual restaurant generally has table service, meaning a server takes your order while you sit at a table. A food runner or server brings your meal to the table.

What is casual dining restaurant example?

Some well-known examples of casual eateries include: Applebee’s. Buffalo Wild Wings. Denny.

What is family or casual dining restaurant?

Family-style restaurants are a type of casual dining restaurant where food is often served on platters and the diners serve themselves. It can also be used to describe family diners or casual restaurants.

What counts as fast casual?

While customers rely on fast food titans like McDonald’s and KFC for quick meals at incredibly low prices, customers choose fast casual dining when they want the speed of a quick service restaurant (QSR), but the quality of a full service restaurant (FSR) meal.

What’s the difference between fast food and fast casual?

While fast casual restaurants are more focused on atmosphere, menu variety and some aspects of casual service, fast food is more convenient for on-the-go customers who have time. Think fast-moving counters and self-service kiosks, often with limited seating, as many guests take their food to go.

What is an example of a fast casual restaurant?

Fast casual borrows a little from fast food and a little from casual dining. Fast casual industry leaders include Panera Bread, Five Guys Burger and Fries, Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwich Shop, and Chipotle, Mexican Grill.

When did fast food become so unhealthy?

Study: Fast Food Has Got Unhealthier Since 1980s [Infographic]

Is fast food getting worse? A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that offerings from 10 popular fast food restaurants grew larger and more filling in calories from 1986 to 2006. There’s also more sodium now. And the number of menu items at the restaurants grew by 226%, according to the study.

Why did fast food become unhealthy?

These fast foods usually contain several chemicals and synthetic ingredients. They are calorically dense, highly aromatic, and nutritionally sterile. Fast foods typically contain added corn syrup, sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt, coloring agents, and other potentially unhealthy chemicals.

What is the main problem with fast food?

Long-term effects of eating junk food Eating a poor-quality diet high in junk food is linked to a higher risk of obesity, depression, digestive problems, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer and early death. And as you might expect, frequency matters when it comes to the impact of junk food on your health.

What are 3 negative effects of eating fast food?

Why is fast food bad for you?

  • Raise your blood pressure. Many fast foods are packed with sodium, which acts as a preservative and flavor enhancer. …
  • Leave yourself inflated. …
  • Increase your cholesterol. …
  • Contribute to digestive problems. …
  • Lead to weight gain. …
  • Drain your energy. …
  • Influence your mood.

Is food becoming more unhealthy?

The study, led by Boston University, shows that overall calories, servings and sodium content have worsened (increased) over time and remain high.

Is food getting more unhealthy?

The calorie count also increased by 90. The weight of sides increased by four grams during the same period while average calories grew from 175 to 217. Desserts are also becoming healthier and the average portion size across the 10 chains grew by 71 grams, adding another . 186 calories over the last three decades.

Is food healthier now than before?

We eat a lot more food today than we did 100 years ago. You would think that the rapid growth of the fast food industry would have taken its toll on health, but in fact the food we buy today has actually become healthier.

Has fast food got worse or better over the past 30 years?

Fast food has become increasingly unhealthy over the past 30 years, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University and Tufts University, which tracked menu items at 10 major fast-food restaurants.

How has fast food changed for the better?

Fast food just got even faster (and less expensive). In June 2020, McDonald’s cut salads, bagels and yogurt parfaits. This was part of a wider trend designed to improve your experience. â[Fast food restaurants] have reduced some products,â R. J said.

Is fast food healthier now?

Fast food hasn’t gotten much healthier in the past two decades, study says. When it comes to the calories, sodium and saturated fat per serving in fast food, not much has changed since 1996, according to a recent study.

What is the cleanest fast food?

Chick-fil-A has won a blue ribbon for being the cleanest fast food restaurant in America. While the chain came neck-and-neck with the second-place restaurant for interior cleanliness (at 68.6%), it jumped ahead thanks to higher marks for food preparation and kitchen brilliance (66.5%).

What is the healthiest fast food? Coming in at the top for the healthiest fast food restaurant was Little Caesars.

  • Dairy Queen.
  • McDonald’s.
  • Metro.
  • Taco Bell.
  • Arby’s.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts.
  • Chick-Fil-A.
  • Carl’s Junior/Hardee’s.

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