Within the couple of years leading up to 2015, McDonald’s painted the image of a kingdom in decline. Once the pinnacle of fast food, Mickey D’s along with its burger peers had lost their luster as clever competitors (Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Chick-fil-A) and up-and-coming fast casuals (Panera, Chipotle, Shake Shack) stole market share.
But a sequence of events within the last year is finally hinting at signs of a McDonald’s turnaround, with system-wide sales having a roughly $350 million improvement in 2015 and three straight quarters of comp sales increases at press time. Under the direction of CEO Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s sought to build up two major consumer trends: easy customization and all of-day breakfast. The Create Your Taste kiosk program was expanded to more markets, nevertheless the latter initiative of (a curated) daylong morning menu really shook things up. Although it wasn’t presented until October, all-day breakfast helped fast food near me open now close 2015 on the high note.
While a lawsuit filed from the National Labor Relations Board over joint employer liability has elicited mixed reactions within the industry and beyond, the Golden Arches are making a concerted effort to emphasize its responsibility as a corporate giant in different ways. Earlier this coming year, it brought health-halo Cutie clementines back to the menu, continued its Happy Meal Books program with a projection of reaching 50 million books by year-end, and raised pay for employees at corporate locations. All the do-good hubbub culminates this month featuring its Olympic Kids Program, by which 100 kids is going to be front and center in the opening ceremony in Rio.
There’s a lot of fight left within the fast-food giant, and no doubt it will yet again opt for the gold.
Starbucks will be the industry’s chief overachiever. Never someone to rest on its laurels and Frappuccinos, the coffee powerhouse continued to produce fresh LTOs-Halloween-themed “Frappula,” along with Cherry Blossom and Caramel Waffle Cone drinks-while also beefing up its less saccharine offerings. After witnessing a twenty percent uptick in their overall iced beverage sales, Starbucks introduced a whole new cold-bar beverage lineup just in time for summer.
Novelty beverages notwithstanding, the worldwide brand has poured considerable energy into enhancing its adaptability to fit as much meal occasions as is possible. Last fall, Starbucks kicked up its convenience factor using the nationwide rollout of Mobile Order & Pay, allowing customers to skip the fishing line and place orders in advance. Playing both size extremes, it announced wants to open the second Roastery location in a 20,000-square-foot facility in New York City City’s Meatpacking District as well as debuting its fifth express format store at only 635 sq ft.
While a few of the 17 million approximately customers who actively use Starbucks’ loyalty app were miffed in April when the company revised the app to award stars (credit) based on purchase amount instead of frequency, it seems like ‘Bucks is betting on other perks-points for making mobile orders or using partner services like Lyft and Spotify-to keep consumers cool.
The last year was tough for Subway. Not just was former spokesman Jared Fogle imprisoned on charges of child po.rnography and solicitation, but in addition founder and fast-food pioneer Fred DeLuca died just a month following the brand celebrated its 50th anniversary. The business went in to a veritable lockdown, and U.S. sales slid some $400 million.
But Subway, using its gargantuan international presence and streamlined system of sandwich artistry, is hardly down for that count. In early 2016, it launched new premium ingredients like thick-carved turkey and applewood-smoked bacon. Skilled professionals think this menu upgrade stands to perform best against McDonald’s all-day breakfast as other brands scurry to locate their own game changer. Subway also continues to emphasize its healthfulness by trying to remove undesirable ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colours.
Whilst the second-biggest burger brand didn’t make headlines like McDonald’s-despite its efforts to do so by way of a proposed “McWhopper” collaboration-Burger King did manage an amazing surge in 2015. System-wide sales moved up $900 million, and AUVs also enjoyed a boost since the company continued to cull a small amount of underperforming stores. Like many brands, Burger King is touting the cleanliness of key menu items, yet it is also (rather wisely) trying changes within its wheelhouse. Buffalo Chicken Fries, Grilled Dogs, and a Flame Grilled Chicken Burger may be menu innovations, but they’re not so not even close to the fare you’d expect in a burger joint.
At this point it’s obvious that Taco Bell’s years-long success is anything but a flash in the pan. The top Mexican quick serve jumped a spot on the QSR 50 and continues to find favor among younger consumers featuring its tongue-in-cheek humor and zany menu options just like the Quesalupa and Beefy Crunch Burrito. What’s new is its approach to ingredients. Over the past year, the business makes commitments to merely source cage-free eggs as well as remove artificial colors and flavors, as well as antibiotics.
The program bulked on top of an additional 200 stores, but Taco Bell isn’t putting all of its (cage-free) eggs in a single basket. A year ago, the urban-hip Taco Bell Cantina debuted in Chicago and San Francisco, as well as in May the company unveiled four new upscale store designs having a special focus on reflecting the neighborhood community.
Usually neck and neck with Burger King, Wendy’s failed to take care of the pace and fell a spot inside the rankings-however, not from insufficient effort. Previously year, Wendy’s has worked to update virtually every component of its business, from founding its tech-focused 90° Lab and creating a vegetarian black bean burger to promoting CFO Todd Penegor to chief executive and teaming up with pop band American Authors to get a special promo.
Couple those moves with the fact that Wendy’s AUV still outperforms the best five brands (save for McDonald’s), and also the Freckled Lady might just create a rebound.
Dunkin’ is holding steady using its aggressive growth plan, totaling 1,125 new stores in just three years while pushing system-wide sales nearly $500 million in 2015. The coming year it will enter Hawaii for the first time ourles also driving big deals in international markets like South Africa and Switzerland. And after promoting five internal managers to vice presidents, the organization may be supposed to stay true to its course.
Dunkin’ also has made impressive strides with its outreach; in December it had become the first corporate sponsor from the newly launched National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), and soon after took over as the league’s “official cafe.” Dunkin’ also tapped social media marketing celebrity Logan Paul to produce content for video-sharing app Vine that highlights the DD Perks rewards program.
Whoever says you can’t boost your annual sales greater than $1 billion in a single year while maintaining fast food nearby obviously has not yet visited Chick-fil-A.
The once-regional quick serve is spreading its wings and gliding into new territory. Its spring debut in The Big Apple was highly anticipated and well received and also the company has a dozen more locations in the pipeline for that Big Apple.
On the menu side, Chick-fil-A highlighted its healthy side by adding a whole new salad to the lineup and introducing a Superfood Side-kale and broccolini with dried cherries and roasted nuts-developed in collaboration with Atlanta chef Ford Fry.