Fast Food Restaurant

May 6, 2009

Consumer spending

Filed under: Uncategorized — dogchitchat @ 7:19 am

4In the United States alone, consumers spent about $110 billion on fast food in 2000 (which increased from $6 billion in 1970). The National Restaurant Association forecasts that fast food restaurants in the U.S. will reach $142 billion in sales in 2006, a 5% increase over 2005. In comparison, the full-service restaurant segment of the food industry is expected to generate $173 billion in sales. Fast food has been losing market share to so-called fast casual restaurants, which offer more robust and expensive cuisines. McDonald’s, a noted fast food supplier, opened its first franchised restaurant in the US in 1955 (1974 in the UK). It has become a phenomenally successful enterprise in terms of financial growth, brand-name recognition, and worldwide expansion. Ray Kroc, who bought the franchising license from the McDonald brothers, pioneered many concepts which emphasized standardization. He introduced uniform products, identical in all respects at each outlet, to increase sales. At the same time, Kroc also insisted on cutting food costs as much as possible, eventually using the McDonald’s Corporation’s size to force suppliers to conform to this ethos.

Other prominent international fast food companies include Burger King, the number two hamburger chain in the world, known for promoting its customized menu offerings (Have it Your Way); Wendy’s, the number three burger chain and creator of the drive-through concept; Dunkin’ Donuts, a New England based chain that emphasized and refined the commissary model of food preparation, yet is not officially considered fast food, due to its concentration on breakfast and coffee; Starbucks, Seattle-born coffee-based fast food beverage corporation; KFC, a part of the largest restaurant chain in the world, Yum! Brands; and Domino’s Pizza, a pizza chain known for popularizing home delivery of fast food.

Subway restaurants are known for their sub sandwiches and Subway is the largest restaurant chain to serve such food items. The Subway restaurant chain is the fastest growing restaurant chain in the world surpassing even McDonald’s. Subway has the second most stores of any chain restaurant system in the world after McDonald’s, and the most locations in North America of any chain. Quizno’s, a Denver based sub shop is another fast growing sub chain, yet with over 6,000 locations it is still far behind Subway’s 30,000 locations. Other smaller sub shops include Blimpie, Mr. Goodcents, and Firehouse.

Regional chains

Many fast food operations have more local and regional roots, such as White Castle in the Midwest United States, along with Hardee’s (owned by CKE Restaurants, which also owns Carl’s Jr., whose locations are primarily on the United States West Coast); Krystal, Bojangles’, and Zaxby’s restaurants in the American Southeast; Raising Cane’s in Louisiana; Hot ‘n Now in Michigan and Wisconsin; the famous In-N-Out Burger (in California, Arizona, Nevada, and southern Utah) and Tommy’s chains in Southern California; Dick’s Drive-In in Seattle, Washington and Arctic Circle in Utah and other western states; Halo Burger around Flint, Michigan and Burgerville in the Portland, Oregon area. Also, Whataburger is a popular burger chain in the South and Mexico, and Jack in the Box is located in the West and South. Canada pizza chains Topper’s Pizza and Pizza Pizza are primarily located in Ontario. Coffee chain Country Style operates only in Ontario, and competes with the famous coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons. Maid-Rite restaurant is one of the oldest chain fast food restaurants in the United States. Founded in 1926, their specialty is a loose meat hamburger. Maid-Rites can be found in the midwest – mainly Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.

Value meals

Filed under: Uncategorized — dogchitchat @ 7:03 am

0c2p9848Old commercial fast food is highly processed and prepared on a large scale from bulk ingredients using standardized cooking and production methods and equipment. It is usually rapidly served in cartons or bags or in a plastic wrapping, in a fashion which reduces operating costs by allowing rapid product identification and counting, promoting longer holding time, avoiding transfer of bacteria, and facilitating order fulfillment. In most fast food operations, menu items are generally made from processed ingredients prepared at a central supply facilities and then shipped to individual outlets where they are cooked (usually by grill, microwave, or deep-frying) or assembled in a short amount of time either in anticipation of upcoming orders (i.e., “to stock”) or in response to actual orders (i.e., “to order”). Following standard operating procedures, pre-cooked products are monitored for freshness and disposed of if holding times become excessive. This process ensures a consistent level of product quality, and is key to delivering the order quickly to the customer and avoiding labor and equipment costs in the individual stores.

Because of commercial emphasis on taste, speed, product safety, uniformity, and low cost, fast food products are made with ingredients formulated to achieve an identifiable flavor, aroma, texture, and “mouth feel” and to preserve freshness and control handling costs during preparation and order fulfillment. This requires a high degree of food engineering. The use of additives, including salt, sugar, flavorings and preservatives, and processing techniques may limit the nutritional value of the final product.

A value meal is a group of menu items offered together at a lower price than they would cost individually. They are common at fast food restaurants. Value meals are a common merchandising tactic to facilitate bundling, up-selling, and price discrimination. Most of the time they can be upgraded to a larger size of fries and drink for a small fee. The perceived creation of a “discount” on individual menu items in exchange for the purchase of a “meal” is also consistent with the loyalty marketing school of thought.

Technology

In order to make speedy service possible and to ensure accuracy and security, many fast food restaurants have incorporated hospitality point of sale systems. This makes it possible for kitchen crew people to view orders placed at the front counter or drive through in real time. Wireless systems allow orders placed at drive through speakers to be taken by cashiers and cooks. Drive through and walk through configurations will allow orders to be taken at one register and paid at another. Modern point of sale systems can operate on computer networks using a variety of software programs. Sales records can be generated and remote access to computer reports can be given to corporate offices, managers, troubleshooters, and other authorized personnel. Food service chains partner with food equipment manufacturers to design highly specialized restaurant equipment, often incorporating heat sensors, timers, and other electronic controls into the design. Collaborative design techniques, such as rapid visualization and parametric modeling of restaurant kitchens are now being used to establish equipment specifications that are consistent with restaurant operating and merchandising requirements.

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