With a steadily improving economy, an ever-increasing use of technology and a rising focus on health, the landscape of fast food franchises is changing rapidly. While the ideas about what constitutes health may vary from customer to customer, an overall demand for fresher ingredients, bolder and more varied options, and greater transparency seem to be consistent. Some companies are leading the way on rising to the demands of these emerging fast food franchises trends and showing increased sales as a result.
Within the last year, Taco Bell has made some major changes, including beginning to offer a large breakfast menu and starting a “Dollar Cravings” value menu while many chains raised prices. Paired with the chain’s longer-than-usual hours of operation, Taco Bell has secured its name as the go-to place for late night fast food. While the chain doesn’t necessarily offer “healthy” options, many think of Taco Bell as being healthier than other fast-food options and the chain offers full disclosure of all ingredients and nutritional information online. Taco Bell also rang in on the technology front, encouraging customers to order via their mobile app by offering a free Doritos Locos Taco with any mobile purchase.
While Burger King has been losing ground in the U.S. over the last few years, the chain still remains high on the list of fast food favorites. To meet the current demands of the industry, Burger King offers an app that can be used to scope out ingredients and get special offers, though not to order. The chain stays true to its “Eat fresh” logo, claiming that all meals are made fresh to order. Online, you can find nutritional information and a listing of foods for customers who are gluten sensitive.
Panera Bread is perceived as much healthier than most other fast-food options. The chain offers an app for mobile ordering, the option to order from the table in the restaurant, and self-service kiosks to order in the restaurant. There is a to-go pickup area so customers can get their food even faster after ordering in advance. The chain also offers much more customization than most fast food chains and a greater variety of healthier options. Panera not only offers calorie counts and nutritional information online, the chain also offers insight into how some of the products are made along with recipes and meal ideas for making tasty and healthy foods at home.