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Food Franchising News: QSR vs. Fast-Casual & Health Inspections Online

The amazing power of customer demand and the widespread use of internet review systems continue to alter how food franchises deliver meals, including the ingredients used, health practices, and marketing aims.  Consider some of the latest ways that certain food franchise segments are facing shifts in consumer demand, and how the internet is allowing consumers to increase their level of conscious consumption with greater access to information about local eateries.

Quick vs. Fast: What’s So Different?

Customer demand alters business models and marketing aims, as well as menus.  As customers expect more from local eateries, even if it means paying more, a greater emphasis on healthy and tasty meals made fresh is simultaneously influencing food franchises.

Quick service restaurants are now in greater competition with fast casual dining than ever before, and the latest menus and marketing trends of some QSRs reflects a shift in the way the food franchise industry approaches feeding the general U.S. population.  More and more quality, gourmet, fresh, organic, and even exotic food items are entering the menus of fast casual, which has QSRs aiming to do the same.

With fast casual restaurants offering foods made to order, right in front of customers as they wait, and a greater degree of customization options, many QSRs are altering menus and the layout of locations to expand each customer’s experience, which has largely been the case for major brands such as Taco Bell.

The extent to which marketing modifications to create a sleeker and more appealing image will help to balance the struggle for customer loyalty, making QSRs even more relevant in an ever shifting market, will become clear over time as customer decisions indicate industry changes.

Food Industry Reviews & Transparency

Even more customers tap into the constant stream of information available online each day to review and research restaurants in their area or during travel.  Another avenue for researching eateries has developed and may continue to expand throughout the U.S. in coming years with the current support of Yelp Inc. and San Francisco’s mayor, Ed Lee.  Customers can now access the health inspection score and links to full reports listing any potential violations that restaurants received in the San Francisco Bay Area, which this trend also expected to hit New York and Philadelphia in the near future.

For those interested in finding out more about the business practices of their favorite or potential restaurants, shifts in data availability such as this could do two great things for the food franchise industry: (1) increase the incentive that eateries have to manage their online reputations through providing quality food and service in a clean and healthy environment, and (2) increase customer interaction and engagement in conscious consumerism, which ultimately drives responsible franchising.

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