Wendy's new design, visual merchandising

Wendy’s Looks to Upgrade 200 Stores to their new Modern Design

By the end of February Wendy’s will roll-out their new logo and design aesthetic to 200 locations. The new design will be applied in advertising, on product packaging, crew uniforms, new restaurant signage, menuboards and digital assets, according to Chain Store Age.

Wendy's new design, visual merchandising

From the article:

“The updated logo is in sync with the company’s new “Image Activation” restaurant environment, whose bold, sleek, ultra-modern look is designed to enhance the customer experience. Features include lounge seating with fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi and digital menuboards.

The goal is to remodel 50% of company restaurants in North America by the end of 2015. Average sales volumes for Image Activation restaurants have increased more than 25% over the prior year, according to the company.”

Chipotle fast-casual restaurant, shopper marketing

Are quick-service and upscale-casual brands losing their market share?

It appears as if casual-dining and fast-casual concepts are eating into the market share of quick-service and upscale-casual brands.

Chipotle fast-casual restaurant, shopper marketing

NRN reports that a recent study by Technomic Inc. finds consumers’ expectations changing in light of an increase in dining options.

According to NRN:

“In its “Future of Casual Dining Consumer Trend Report,” the market research firm found that 85 percent of consumers surveyed said they eat at fast-casual restaurants at least once a month, and 82 percent reported visiting a traditional casual-dining brand once a month. The strength of traffic at traditional casual-dining restaurants resulted in part from customers trading down from upscale casual, the report found, as only 40 percent of respondents who recently patronized a casual-dining restaurant also visited an upscale eatery in the same time frame.”

“The research firm reported that, compared with a similar study from two years ago, consumers were more likely to visit casual-dining restaurants for several different reasons and occasions, including routine lunches and everyday meals, special occasions, and meals with colleagues and family.”


Consumers name Five Guys favorite burger chain

For the second straight year, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and In-N-Out Burger were named the No. 1 and No. 2 favorite quick-service burger chains in Market Force Information’s survey of American consumers.


Market Force polled 7,600 people in August, asking them to identify their favorite restaurant chains in six categories from among dozens of choices. In the company’s first released report, focusing on the hamburger category, Five Guys and In-N-Out were the top two finishers by percentage of respondents saying the chains were their favorite, indexed by system size — the same finish as last year’s survey for all quick-service chains.

Five Guys took the top spot based on the strength of its performance across several restaurant experience attributes. The chain of slightly more than 1,000 restaurants had the highest percentage of respondents rating it as “excellent” in the categories of taste, service, cleanliness and atmosphere. In-N-Out had the highest rating for the overall-value attribute, in which Five Guys finished third.

“It points to the fact that we have so much choice as consumers,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Boulder, Colo.-based Market Force. “If you give me a great experience, I’m going to do three things that drive business: I’m going to come back, I’ll spend more when I’m there, and I’ll refer that place to my friends. That’s driving businesses like Five Guys and In-N-Out, and they’re showing that a great product and great experience can trump the lowest price points.”

[via NRN]

McDonald's Quick-Service Restaurant, Retail Localization

4 Top Trends for Quick-Service Restaurants in 2012

McDonald's Quick-Service Restaurant, Retail Localization

The restaurant industry has entered another year filled with both opportunities and challenges, from a growing consumer demand for dining out to increased commodity costs threatening bottom lines.

The quick-service sector specifically is expected to benefit from its consumer-friendly price points, but also be challenged by an ever-shifting menu landscape and systems filled with mature restaurants needing updates.


Top trends for quick-service restaurants in 2012:

Commodity inflation, menu price increases

This year is expected to hold little promise of relief in commodity inflation, with investment bank Barclay’s Capital projecting year-over-year food cost inflation of between 3 percent and 5 percent for restaurants in 2012. Chains such as Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have said that continued inflation will result in potential menu price increases in 2012.

Jack in the Box has increased menu prices about 2.7 percent since May 2011, and company officials said that further price increases may be on the way in 2012. The chain did note it planned to keep menu price increases behind both competitors and grocery store inflation, as any price movements affect the consumer and potential traffic.

CKE Restaurant Inc., parent to the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands, said more aggressive pricing strategies are likely for both of its chains in 2012.

“At the moment, I don’t see any relief coming down the pike on food costs,” Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE, said. “We’ll continue to adjust our prices and our product mix.”

Chains will focus on quality ingredients

In 2011, marketing in the quick-service segment shifted from focusing on value to highlighting fresh, quality ingredients. Industry experts say the trend will continue in 2012.

Nancy Kruse, a contributor to Nation’s Restaurant News and president of The Kruse Company, said that more chains will emphasize real, fresh and local ingredients as much as possible in 2012, citing McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Domino’s as primary examples.

Bonnie Riggs, restaurant analyst for The NPD Group, also said that better-for-you foods will be prevalent this year. Subway’s Fresh Fit offerings and Carl’s Jr.’s new line of turkey burgers are just two of the many examples of quick-service chains looking to attract consumers looking for more healthful menu options.

New prototype designs

Chain’s such as Wendy’s and Fazoli’s are experimenting with new restaurant prototypes to refresh their image and bring new life to their brands.

Wendy’s is currently testing four different prototypes in 2012, which take an “ultra modern” approach, including digital signs and menu boards, a Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage fountain, varied seating, and a “Wi-Fi bar.”

Fazoli’s new design, which includes updated décor and fast-casual touches like food runners and real plates, is in place at all 125 company-owned restaurants and has been credited with driving the brand’s last 18 months of positive same-store sales growth. The chain also has plans for a systemwide roll out of a new customer service initiative in 2012, which will enhance the customer experience, officials say.

QSR brands as good stock picks

Larry Miller, analyst at RBC Capital Markets and author of the monthly NRN-MillerPulse survey and report, said that Yum! Brands will be a good stock pick in 2012 because emerging markets such as China, India and Africa show promise.

Miller also noted that Starbucks Corp. could benefit from favorable coffee costs later in the year, as well as the full contribution of K-cup sales. Jack in the Box Inc. also stands to benefit from its refranchising efforts, Miller said, and Qdoba is ready for growth.

[via NRN.com]