Quick Serve Restaurants (QSRs), also known as fast food restaurants, are characterized by minimal table service and fast food cuisine. The QSR industry has continuously grown by leaps and bounds each year with new entrants into the fast food restaurant competition.
These are the “old standbys” who have managed to remain on the Top Ten year in and year out:
1. McDonald’s: despite the failure of products such as the Fish McBites and the premium Angus burger and their subsequent pullout from the menu, McDonald’s leads the pack of QSRs. Although the newest McDonald’s offering, Chicken McWrap, has not quite taken off, the company’s commitment to nutrition and upgrades of the menu continue with refocusing it on more value for money burger products.
2. Subway: investing in athletes as spokespersons and rolling out packaging materials which have more sustainability, Subway has the distinction of being the first QSR to participate in the Heart Check Program of the American Heart Association (AHA). While adding restaurants – like a thousand more in 2013 — to their chains like The Bieber adds followers to his Twitter account, Subway is perceived by customers as the best QSR choice in health, value, and quality.
3. Starbucks: now that it has tea (Teavana), baked goods (La Boulange), and juice (Evolution Fresh) to diversify its menu, Starbucks is expected to remain on spot number 3 this year. There’s also the addition of new flavors of Frapuccino, their Refreshers line of fruit beverages that are caffeinated, new coffee bean selections such as the oatmeal blend and the Blonde roast, and the Verismo, a do-it-yourself and make-it-at-your-home coffee machine. Oh, and Starbucks is the first QSR to go on board tech-wise with tools such as Apple’s Passbook and Square.
4. Wendy’s: after unveiling a new logo – which some suggested to have been subliminally created with “mom” spelled in the character’s collar – Wendy’s is out to win a younger demographic by the new Waffle Cone Frosty and Flatbread Chicken Sandwich on their menu. Catering to Generation Z, Wendy’s has launched the Moonlight Meal Deal, available starting at 10:00 PM for only $5.00: an order of chili cheese fries and a large soda to go with the Double Stack burgers. Their “Right Price, Right Size” menu of 18 items with prices that range between 99₵ to $1.00 include new sides such as baked sweet potato, chili cheese fries, and Mac and Cheese.
5. Burger King: tinkering with the menu to dislodge McDonald’s will not busy for any hamburger QSR as Burger King can tell you. There were the chicken-themed menu, Bacon Sundae, the barbecue menu, and chicken nuggets; now Burger King has turkey burgers, bacon cheddar stuffed burgers, tater tots loaded with sweet onions and bacon stuffing, “Donut Holes,” a iced tea “trio,” and pins colada smoothies.
6. Taco Bell: the über success of their Doritos Locos Taco may have lessened the threat posed by Chipotle as Taco Bell continues to ride high on its “Cantina Bell” menu. Their “Waffle Taco,” a sausage-and-egg stuffed fried waffle with syrup as a side, however, hasn’t fared as expected; customers find themselves going for the AM Crunchwrap (a tortilla wrap of eggs, bacon or sausage, and cheese on hash browns) or the AM Grillers (quesadillas infused with cheese, sausage, bacon, and eggs). That doesn’t mean that “getting-to-become-gourmet”Taco Bell hasn’t risen to become the heir presumptive to Chipotle in the very near future.
7. Dunkin’ Donuts: while busy defending their coffee arsenal in the coffee wars that necessitated the move to Southern California, Dunkin’ Donuts and their “Smarts” menu of turkey sausage breakfast sandwich and Quaker oatmeal has steadily gained the loyalty of day customers from their high sales of their tuna salad wraps, bakery sandwiches, and chicken salad wraps. Coffee might not be their main menu item, but everybody knows that coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts is taken seriously.
8. Pizza Hut: with the release of “international” products available in Singapore and Dubai, Double Sensation (chicken sausage, several kinds of cheese, and turkey and ham slices) in the former and Cheeseburger Crown Crust (mini burger patties are nestled into a crown-like crust topped with tomatoes, special sauce, cheese, onions, beef nubs, and lettuce) in the latter, Pizza Hut remains the Number One pizza in the U.S. with their 3.5” Pizza Sliders, becoming the first restaurant to have an ordering app for Xbox, and a Super Bowl advertisement that was crowdsourced.
9. Chik-Fil-A: toppling KFC is not the easiest thing to do but for Chik-Fil-A, with a kids’ meal that has now been made healthier with applesauce and grilled, instead of fried, chicken nuggets, wraps, and salads, the jump was encouraging with their participation in the Kids Live Well Program of the National Restaurant Association. This commitment to health and nutrition is what made Generation Z customers of survey after survey to choose Chik-Fil-A over KFC in the chicken QSR war.
10. KFC: okay, so Colonel Sanders must be upset that Chik-Fil-A is a notch higher on the QSR ratings list, but instead of sulking, the Colonel’s troops are have rallied to include Chunky Chicken Pot Pie, Original Recipe Boneless, and Original Recipe Bites in their new menus across KFC restaurants in the U.S. Overseas, however, over 4,400 KFC stores in China are currently recovering from a tailspin as a result of food safety issues regarding the alleged supply of rotting meat and falsified expiration dates as well as the avian flu scare in that country.