Fast Food – Menuism Dining Blog https://www.menuism.com/blog Dining education for foodies Wed, 01 Aug 2018 22:22:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 14768711 Restaurants Offer Delivery-Only Items to Incentivize Growing Delivery Sales https://www.menuism.com/blog/restaurants-delivery-exclusive-menu-items/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/restaurants-delivery-exclusive-menu-items/#respond Mon, 06 Aug 2018 12:00:28 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11926 Online restaurant delivery is rapidly growing. That much is for sure. Every week, it seems, a major player like McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, or Taco Bell announces that it’s either going to start offering delivery service or expand … ..Continue Reading

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Photo by Panera

Online restaurant delivery is rapidly growing. That much is for sure. Every week, it seems, a major player like McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, or Taco Bell announces that it’s either going to start offering delivery service or expand the service it already has. Now, restaurants are experimenting with menu items that are available only through delivery.

In June, Panera Bread offered a new menu item, Bacon Mac & Cheese, for a limited time and exclusively through its delivery service.

The St. Louis-based bakery-cafe chain’s original Mac & Cheese is one of its most popular items, and the addition of bacon is an easy adaptation of an already hot seller. By offering Bacon Mac & Cheese only for a short time, the potential negative impact on the company’s bottom line is minimized, even if the test proves to be a failure.

Panera has purposely poised itself for such a bold delivery experiment. In early May, the chain increased its delivery force to about 13,000 drivers and employees, up from 10,000 delivery-related jobs since the end of 2017. Panera offers delivery via its app or website in 43 states. Digital sales currently account for 30% of total sales, the company said.

Is Panera’s Bacon Mac & Cheese starting a trend of delivery-only menu items? It’s hard to say at this point. But should a bigger player like McDonald’s try such a move, others will almost certainly follow. Imagine a new variation of the Big Mac that was available only through Uber Eats. Given the rapid pace of McDonald’s delivery expansion, it’s not hard to envision. After all, McDonald’s has already offered delivery exclusives, even if not in the form of food. To celebrate what it called Global McDelivery Day in July, the fast-food giant gave away ’90s-inspired freebies like Golden Arches shirts, World Famous Fries and Big Mac socks, bandanas, and pins that were only available with Uber Eats orders over $5.

"Restaurants Offer Delivery-Only Items to Incentivize Growing Delivery Sales" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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How Food Delivery Is Changing Restaurants from the Inside https://www.menuism.com/blog/how-food-delivery-is-changing-restaurants-from-the-inside/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/how-food-delivery-is-changing-restaurants-from-the-inside/#respond Tue, 29 May 2018 12:00:39 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11879 I recently visited my local McDonald’s, but as I parked my car, a McDonald’s worker rushed over. “Sir, sir, I’m sorry,” he said, “but you can’t park here.”

“Why can’t I park here?” I asked.

“Because this is for … ..Continue Reading

"How Food Delivery Is Changing Restaurants from the Inside" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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Photo by Kevin Clark / The Herald

I recently visited my local McDonald’s, but as I parked my car, a McDonald’s worker rushed over. “Sir, sir, I’m sorry,” he said, “but you can’t park here.”

“Why can’t I park here?” I asked.

“Because this is for Uber delivery pickup only.”

That’s when I saw it: a row of spaces specifically for Uber Eats drivers.

In the last five years, according to the NPD Group, revenue from restaurant deliveries has increased 20%, and the overall number of deliveries has risen 10%. Due to the rise, restaurants have had to change operations, including redesigning interiors and modifying menus.

At many Subway restaurants, for example, a dedicated register behind the counter continuously updates with delivery orders from Postmates and status updates on Postmates drivers en route to stores. At Sharkey’s or Panera Bread, you’re likely to see separate pickup lines specifically for third-party delivery orders.

“Delivery has become a need-to-have and no longer a nice-to-have in the restaurant industry,” said Warren Solochek, NPD’s senior vice president of industry relations, in a statement. “Restaurants need delivery in today’s environment in order to gain and maintain share. It has become a consumer expectation.”

Since partnering with DoorDash in 2016, Ellen Chen, co-founder of artisanal sandwich restaurant Mendocino Farms, told the Los Angeles Times that she’s allocated more counter space at existing restaurants for DoorDash pickups, negotiated with landlords for more 10-minute parking spots to accommodate delivery drivers, and has knocked through a wall at one location to create a pickup window just for DoorDash orders. “We’ve had to go back to every store and reorganize them,” her husband and co-founder Mario Del Pero said. “You can’t make them any bigger, but you can allocate more space to it.”

Beyond adding separate pickup lines, dedicated parking spaces for delivery drivers, and order monitors, some restaurants offer a smaller, modified menu for delivery customers. For example, Los Toros Mexican Restaurant in the Los Angeles suburb of Chatsworth doesn’t offer nachos to its Postmates customers because it fears the dish won’t keep well by the time it arrives at its destination.

Delivery is also transforming restaurant expansion plans. Chains are opening so-called “ghost” kitchens without any eat-in dining areas. “We can rent a 10-by-10 kitchen on a monthly basis and jump right in without having to spend a year setting up a restaurant,” Allen Wong, president of Chinese restaurant Fat Dragon and a partner at the Sticky Rice Group, told the LA Times. He went on to say that he believes it will soon be as easy to order food as it is to hail an Uber, and that’s when delivery will truly become a core part of all restaurants. “We want to be well positioned for that,” he said.

"How Food Delivery Is Changing Restaurants from the Inside" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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When it comes to restaurants, have deal, will travel https://www.menuism.com/blog/when-it-comes-to-restaurants-have-deal-will-travel/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/when-it-comes-to-restaurants-have-deal-will-travel/#respond Mon, 07 May 2018 12:00:07 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11848

I never met a special restaurant food offer I didn’t like. Whether it’s two Whopper sandwiches for $6 at Burger King, 2-for-1 night at Sizzler, or a free medium drink with purchase of an Epic Burrito at Del ..Continue Reading

"When it comes to restaurants, have deal, will travel" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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I never met a special restaurant food offer I didn’t like. Whether it’s two Whopper sandwiches for $6 at Burger King, 2-for-1 night at Sizzler, or a free medium drink with purchase of an Epic Burrito at Del Taco, if a restaurant offers me a chance to get more for less — even if it’s a place I’ve never been to before — save me a seat because I’ll be there.

According to a new report from Valassis Research entitled “Tempting the Dynamic Restaurant Customer,” I’m not alone. Deals are driving a growing trend both in fast food and the restaurant industry in general.

The report finds that 30% of consumers are switching their fast food and casual dining choices due to savings. About 10% say they switch based on the lowest prices.

Additionally, 34% of consumers are influenced to visit a restaurant if they receive an offer on their smartphone/mobile device when near that location, with this percentage rising among parents (57%) and millennials (54%).

“When it comes to restaurants, consumers often revisit their tried-and-true spots, but our research also finds that these individuals can be readily persuaded to visit new locations through relevant and timely offers,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer for Valassis. “Restaurants can leverage flash sales, quick-turn digital media, and location-based promotions to engage and activate these audiences. Consumers are increasingly dynamic, and understanding which tactics activate specific audiences helps marketers develop more personalized offers, resulting in a greater return on ad spend.”

So what does this mean for consumers? Hopefully more deals, both from name brands that have a large base of repeat customers and smaller chains that are hoping to get noticed. Large or small, companies are targeting the same customer base, meaning we as diners are seduced by both sides with discount offers.

Additional takeaways from the study include

  • 50% of consumers prefer to dine at local restaurants versus national chains, with this number rising among parents to 59%.
  • For repeat restaurant visits, value/dollar menus and everyday low prices activate the most switchers (58%), with BOGO (buy one, get one) offers being almost equally influential (57%).
  • When spurring new restaurant visits, BOGO and new/limited-time offers reign supreme (54% each).
  • 55% of consumers prefer to receive these types of messages from direct mail sources, and 25% favor TV.
  • 43% of all consumers utilize mail and TV sources to learn about new restaurants.
  • 50% of millennials check the TV, and 36% use mobile and online sources.

  • Have you been tempted by a restaurant deal? Tell us about it in the comments!

    "When it comes to restaurants, have deal, will travel" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    Why You’ll Keep Seeing Fast Food Happy Hour Pricing https://www.menuism.com/blog/fast-food-happy-hour/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/fast-food-happy-hour/#respond Mon, 26 Mar 2018 12:00:31 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11817

    Last weekend, I got a bit hungry in the middle of the day while running errands and decided to go to my local Carl’s Jr. drive-thru for a quick snack. While scanning the menu, I noticed a special offer: Double … ..Continue Reading

    "Why You’ll Keep Seeing Fast Food Happy Hour Pricing" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    Last weekend, I got a bit hungry in the middle of the day while running errands and decided to go to my local Carl’s Jr. drive-thru for a quick snack. While scanning the menu, I noticed a special offer: Double Charbroiled Sliders for $1 from 2-5 p.m., down from the regular price of $1.50.

    Happy hour pricing is a trend that’s popping up more often at major fast-food chains. Taco Bell, for example, offers medium soft drinks and other specialty beverages for $1 from 2-5 p.m., while Sonic offers 50% off its drinks and slushes from 2-4 p.m.

    Fast food chains have started doing this for the same reasons that casual restaurants and bars offer happy hour specials:

    Increasing traffic during slow periods

    Fast-food restaurants are busiest at mealtimes, but generally slow during the early and mid-afternoon, between 2 and 5 p.m. It makes sense to offer special deals during this time to drive foot traffic.

    Loss leaders generate sales of other products

    When I go through the drive-thru at Taco Bell around 3 p.m. for a $1 happy hour soda, I’ll usually add a bean burrito or soft taco to my order. I’m not exceptional: happy hour prices get people in the building, but when the item is priced low enough, it entices you to order regular-priced items as well.

    Testing new products

    That Carl’s Jr. and its sister restaurant Hardee’s is offering a special price for Double Charbroiled Sliders is no accident. This is the first time the chain has offered sliders, as well as the first time it has tried happy hour pricing. The discounted price, offered until April 24, could entice more people to sample its newest product while simultaneously testing how well happy hour drives revenue.

    Have you noticed happy hour deals at fast-food restaurants near you? Did you try them? Sound off in the comments!

    "Why You’ll Keep Seeing Fast Food Happy Hour Pricing" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    The Future of Fast Food: Fewer people and no cash https://www.menuism.com/blog/future-fast-food-fewer-people-no-cash/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/future-fast-food-fewer-people-no-cash/#respond Mon, 05 Mar 2018 13:00:56 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11804

    In Back To The Future Part II, Marty McFly travels to the year 2015 and enters a restaurant called Cafe 80s. He’s greeted by two television versions of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev upselling menu items. Another TV shows … ..Continue Reading

    "The Future of Fast Food: Fewer people and no cash" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    In Back To The Future Part II, Marty McFly travels to the year 2015 and enters a restaurant called Cafe 80s. He’s greeted by two television versions of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev upselling menu items. Another TV shows Michael Jackson going through the menu with a customer. A bottle of “Pepsi Perfect” rises up from a clear plastic tube within the counter.

    While the restaurants of 2018 haven’t quite manifested this 1989 prediction, we may not be that far off.

    Starbucks recently announced that it was experimenting with a cashless location inside the Russell Investments Center in downtown Seattle. “Thirty percent of our payments in the United States [are] done with a mobile phone,” CEO Kevin Johnson reported to CNBC. I recently popped into a Starbucks and there were about seven or eight people in front of me. All of them — every single one — made their purchase with their smartphone. By March, the coffee chain is making mobile ordering and payment available to all customers, including those that are not Starbucks Rewards members.

    So far, the Russell Investments Center location is the only store to go completely cashless, and the company isn’t saying how long the experiment will last. But as a company spokesperson wrote to the Seattle Times, “The test will help us understand how cashless forms of payment may impact our customer experience.”

    Meanwhile, McDonald’s announced a plan to expand its self-service ordering systems. The company plans to invest $2.4 billion in upgrades in 2018.

    In October, Shake Shack opened a cashless, kiosk-only location in New York City. The kiosks are manned by “hospitality champs.” Instead of the buzzer that tells you your order is ready, diners at this location will receive a text message. CEO Randy Garutti said that this way, customers are no longer tethered to the restaurant while food is being prepared.

    We may not yet have the holographic hosts of Cafe 80s, but we’re on the road to a futuristic fast-food landscape.

    "The Future of Fast Food: Fewer people and no cash" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    Value Menus Offer Consumer Choice Over Set Meals https://www.menuism.com/blog/value-menus-offer-consumer-choice-set-meals/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/value-menus-offer-consumer-choice-set-meals/#comments Mon, 22 Jan 2018 13:00:43 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11790

    I know this is going to sound egotistical, but I just can’t help myself: I love being right!

    At the end of every year in just about every major consumer goods industry, experts offer predictions of the trends you can … ..Continue Reading

    "Value Menus Offer Consumer Choice Over Set Meals" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    I know this is going to sound egotistical, but I just can’t help myself: I love being right!

    At the end of every year in just about every major consumer goods industry, experts offer predictions of the trends you can expect to see in the following year. So in my last blog of 2017, I wrote about five trends, one of which was value menus:

    Fast food is once again putting the spotlight on value menus, as evidenced by recent announcements that Taco Bell will add 20 items to its dollar menu, McDonald’s new value menu will be comprised of items ranging from $1-$3, and Del Taco is revamping and expanding its Buck and Under menu. With these three major players focusing on value menus again, it only makes sense that their competitors will soon do the same.

    Thanks to Wendy’s and Jack in the Box, I’m already looking like a genius!

    Recently, Wendy’s announced an expansion of its “4 for $4” menu to include eight different entrees: the Double Stack, Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Grilled Go-Wrap, Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, Crispy Chicken BLT, Jr. Cheeseburger, Spicy Go-Wrap, or Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe.

    “We invented the 4 for $4 to give our customers the best meal in America for $4, and the response has been amazing,” Kurt Kane, Wendy’s chief concept and marketing officer, said in the press release. “Now we’re taking things to an even higher level by expanding on variety with eight different choices. With all of those options, plus nuggets, fries and a drink, guests get a full meal made from ingredients that match our commitment to quality. There’s no reason to go anyplace else.”

    Meanwhile, Jack in the Box revamped its value menu to offer items ranging from $1 to $5. Called “Value Done Jack’s Way,” menu choices include four chicken nuggets for $1, a breakfast pocket for $2, three of the brand’s tacos and a small drink for $3, and the Bonus Jack combo for $5 or less.

    “Value Done Jack’s Way is our competitive stake in the ground in a very value-driven market,” said Jennifer Kennedy, vice president of product marketing at Jack in the Box, in a recent article by Meat + Poultry. “We’re offering products that leverage our menu variety and craveable flavors, all at a competitive price tag.”

    Jack in the Box’s new variation of its value menu is particularly interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it’s closely following what McDonald’s recently did with its value menu: highlight certain products at tiered price points (McDonald’s is touting a $1-$3 range). Second, it is emphasizing customers’ ongoing desire to customize their meals. By touting a wide range of prices in a value menu, you’re presenting to customers the option of choosing every single facet of their value menu meal, along with the price point they’re comfortable with.

    How prominent will this varied value menu concept become? Prominent enough that Del Taco is already attacking the concept in a new TV ad featuring its own value menu, saying that “value menus” offering items for $2, $3 and $5 aren’t really value menus. Carl’s Jr. is also lambasting the idea, with a TV ad calling such choices “Dollar Menu Bingo.”

    One thing we know for sure: Thus far in 2018, my crystal ball is accurate.

    "Value Menus Offer Consumer Choice Over Set Meals" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    5 Fast Food Trends to Watch in 2018 https://www.menuism.com/blog/fast-food-trends-2018/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/fast-food-trends-2018/#comments Tue, 26 Dec 2017 13:00:05 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11781 It’s the end of 2017, when all the “experts” in the fast food industry get to talk about the trends they expect for the following year. Basically, it’s the time of year we all get to pretend that we’re smarter … ..Continue Reading

    "5 Fast Food Trends to Watch in 2018" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    Photo: Burger King

    It’s the end of 2017, when all the “experts” in the fast food industry get to talk about the trends they expect for the following year. Basically, it’s the time of year we all get to pretend that we’re smarter than we really are.

    Having said that, I do have some thoughts on what the future will hold. So here’s my list of the top fast food trends for 2018:

    The Rise (Again) of Value Menus

    Fast food is once again putting the spotlight on value menus, as evidenced by recent announcements that Taco Bell will add 20 items to its dollar menu, McDonald’s new value menu will be comprised of items ranging from $1-$3, and Del Taco is revamping and expanding its Buck and Under menu. With these three major players focusing on value menus again, it only makes sense that their competitors will soon do the same.

    $5 Bills Y’all

    In recent months, fast food chains have been putting more effort into offering $5 meal deals for their customers. Taco Bell continues to offer variations of its $5 Box deals (often changing them when a new menu item comes out), KFC customers can choose one of a variety of $5 “Fill-Up Meals,” and recently Carl’s Jr. launched its own line of $5 “All-Star Value Meals” featuring items like spicy chicken sandwiches, double cheeseburgers, hot dogs and chocolate chip cookies. The industry clearly sees $5 as a good price point for both customers and bottom lines, so expect this trend to continue and grow.

    Big Macs and Whoppers Delivered to Your Front Door

    When I first started at Industry Intelligence 10 years ago, I remember reading about McDonald’s trying out delivery service in New York City. My mind was blown. But today, fast food delivery is becoming old hat, especially with services like Postmates and driving services like Uber partnering with chains like McDonald’s to offer fast food right to your door. Fast food is on the delivery train in a major way, and it’s only a matter of time before all the major chains come aboard.

    Cheetos, Cheetos Everywhere

    Last year, my co-workers and I made a special trip to Burger King solely to try the new Mac N’ Cheetos, and we were thrilled to hear the news that BK was now offering the menu item in a Flamin’ Hot variety. But we shouldn’t have been surprised. Over the past couple of years, Cheetos has slowly been making its way into fast food creations. Taco Bell once came out with a Cheetos Burrito, and Cheetos Chicken Fries was another limited-time invention from Burger King. Will the time soon come where we’ll see a fast food burger dusted with Cheetos topping or a Cheetos-flavored bun? My hunch is yes!

    Coupons Go Mobile

    I still get excited when I receive fast food coupons in the mail, but I need to accept the inevitable: more and more fast food coupons are being offered exclusively via chains’ mobile apps. It makes sense: Fast food gets more people on their apps and customers have access to coupons whenever they want it. Print coupons are dying in the fast food industry, and that will continue in 2018.

    "5 Fast Food Trends to Watch in 2018" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    How to Eat Fast Food Without Cheating on Your Diet https://www.menuism.com/blog/eat-fast-food-without-cheating-diet/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/eat-fast-food-without-cheating-diet/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 13:00:10 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11758 I don’t know about you, but to me, the words fast food and diet don’t exactly go together. I think of fast food as burgers, French fries, and fried chicken. Meanwhile, the word diet invokes thoughts of organic vegetables, … ..Continue Reading

    "How to Eat Fast Food Without Cheating on Your Diet" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    Source: NetQuote

    I don’t know about you, but to me, the words fast food and diet don’t exactly go together. I think of fast food as burgers, French fries, and fried chicken. Meanwhile, the word diet invokes thoughts of organic vegetables, rice cakes, and quinoa.

    But a recent study by NetQuote changed my thinking, and it may change yours too.

    According to the study, people can enjoy popular fast food items from major fast-food chains while staying on a variety of diets. You might think that having a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco Supreme from Taco Bell automatically means you’re cheating on your diet. But if your diet focuses on eating fewer carbs, think again.

    The NetQuote study analyzed five popular fast-food chains — Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A — and compared their menus against five popular diets: low-carb, Mediterranean, pescatarian, vegan, and vegetarian. Among the study’s findings:

    Across the five fast food chains studied, 39 regular menu items qualified as low-carb, including Taco Bell’s Cheesy Roll-Up, four-piece Chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s, Sous Vide Egg Bites at Starbucks, and the Sausage Egg Burrito from Wendy’s.

    Twenty menu items at these chains are okay to eat if you’re on a Mediterranean diet. It’s not considered cheating if you eat chips and nacho cheese sauce at Taco Bell, hash browns at Chick-fil-A, a side salad at McDonald’s, or a Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella Panini at Starbucks.

    Those on pescatarian or vegetarian diets have many options to choose from at these fast food chains, with 68 and 64 options, respectively. Pescatarian dieters can dine on bean burritos and quesadillas at Taco Bell, Filet-O-Fish sandwiches at McDonald’s and egg salad sandwiches at Starbucks. Vegetarians, meanwhile, can feast on steel-cut oatmeal with cranberries at Wendy’s and buttered biscuits at Chick-fil-A.

    If you’re vegan, you have 22 meal options that will fit into your diet, including black beans at Taco Bell, fruit and maple oatmeal with brown sugar at McDonald’s, and Hearty Veggie and Brown Rice Salad Bowls at Starbucks.

    On a personal note, I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for a couple of months now in my effort to lose 15 pounds. The result: I lost the weight by reconciling McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr., and Burger King items with my Weight Watchers points.

    In conclusion: fast food is no longer just for cheat days.

    Related:
    • Fast Food’s Gluten-Free Offerings
    • Panera Bread’s New Curated Menus Reflect Consumers’ Changing Dietary Needs

    "How to Eat Fast Food Without Cheating on Your Diet" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    How Overseas Fast Food Restaurants Cater to Local Tastes https://www.menuism.com/blog/overseas-fast-food-restaurants/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/overseas-fast-food-restaurants/#respond Mon, 23 Oct 2017 12:00:53 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11727

    I recently traveled to Israel for the first time. During my trip, I acquainted myself well with the local cuisine: Lamb, shawarma, falafel, fish. I even tried hummus, though I never liked it back in the States (I didn’t like … ..Continue Reading

    "How Overseas Fast Food Restaurants Cater to Local Tastes" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    I recently traveled to Israel for the first time. During my trip, I acquainted myself well with the local cuisine: Lamb, shawarma, falafel, fish. I even tried hummus, though I never liked it back in the States (I didn’t like it in Israel, either). Eventually, as is my wont, I was craving fast food, specifically pizza. At the airport in Tel Aviv waiting to board my flight, I saw a welcome sight: Pizza Hut.

    I ran — literally ran — over there, with thoughts of a gooey cheese pan pizza with olives and mushrooms dancing around in my head. But when I looked at the menu, I was surprised that in addition to pizza, Israeli Pizza Huts serve quiche.

    Curious, I asked the woman behind the counter about the quiche. I explained that I was from Los Angeles and I wanted to know how popular quiche was here, particularly in comparison with pizza. “Oh, it’s no contest,” she replied. “Quiche is our most popular item.”

    Quiche is just one of several examples of major fast food chains offering menu items specific to the country they’re in (All Pizza Hut items in Israel are also kosher). The reasoning is simple: Different countries have different local tastes, so it’s important for these multi-national companies to cater to the regions they’re in. That’s why at KFC in Australia, you’ll see chicken pot pie, or if you go to a Burger King in Canada, you can order beef poutine, made with fries, cheese curds, and gravy.

    More examples of localized fare at major fast food chains:

    Paneer at KFC

    The Paneer Zinger, a crunchy, double-layered paneer cheese patty filled with a spicy, creamy sauce and topped with lettuce on a sesame bun, available at KFCs in largely vegetarian India.

    Tofu and fish at McDonald’s

    Tofu-Fish McNuggets, available at McDonald’s in Japan, where the per capita consumption of fish is traditionally high (though this is changing rapidly).

    Squid ink at Burger King

    Also in Japan, the Kuro (or black) Burger — featuring black cheese made from bamboo charcoal and black squid ink sauce on a charred black bun — is available at Burger King.

    Pork and seaweed at Dunkin’ Donuts

    Dunkin’ Donuts in China offers a dried pork and seaweed donut, a common flavoring for Chinese breads.

    Refried beans at McDonald’s

    In Mexico, McDonald’s offers a localized version of its Egg McMuffin called McMolletes. It’s served open-faced and topped with refried beans, cheese, and pico de gallo.

    What localized fast food have you spotted around the world? Tell us in the comments!

    "How Overseas Fast Food Restaurants Cater to Local Tastes" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    Panera Bread’s New Curated Menus Reflect Consumers’ Changing Dietary Needs https://www.menuism.com/blog/panera-breads-curated-menus/ https://www.menuism.com/blog/panera-breads-curated-menus/#respond Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:00:46 +0000 https://www.menuism.com/blog/?p=11703 When I was growing up, my process for finding fast food to meet my dietary needs went like this: I’d pore over the major chains’ nutritional information, which wasn’t easy to find back then, to identify menu items that were … ..Continue Reading

    "Panera Bread’s New Curated Menus Reflect Consumers’ Changing Dietary Needs" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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    Photo by Panera Bread / Facebook

    When I was growing up, my process for finding fast food to meet my dietary needs went like this: I’d pore over the major chains’ nutritional information, which wasn’t easy to find back then, to identify menu items that were lower in fat and calories. I loved (and still love) fast food, so I had many a meal that featured Taco Bell’s Border Lights Burrito Supreme (eight grams of fat) or a grilled chicken sandwich from McDonald’s (250 calories). That was how I lost 60 lbs. as a teenager.

    But today’s dieters have different and more varied needs. Some are gluten conscious. Some focus specifically on cutting down on added sugar. Others are looking to eat more protein-rich foods. And then there are those who want more plant-based diets.

    While the fast-food industry has taken steps over the years to be more transparent with its nutritional information, it’s been slow to adapt to changing dietary needs. The exception, however, is Panera Bread, which recently launched three curated menus — Plant Based, Protein Rich, and Nutrient-Packed — to its existing curated Gluten Conscious and Sodium Conscious menus aimed specifically at making it easier for customers with specific tastes or dietary preferences.

    So for instance, the Plant-Based menu offers customers a list of menu items featuring almonds and quinoa as its main protein, and fresh produce like romaine, arugula, avocado, citrus, and blueberries. For those who want more protein, all of the items on the Protein Rich menu like the Avocado Cobb Salad contain at least 20% of the recommended daily value of protein. And for those focused on the right balance of calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber and protein, there’s the Nutrient-Packed menu with items such as the Blueberry and White Balsamic Salad.

    I recently visited my neighborhood Panera Bread in Northridge, California and was pleasantly surprised to see how easy it was to adhere to any of these dietary palates. Each menu lists all the items that fit under those dietary guidelines, so all customers have to do is choose from the items on that specific menu. In recent weeks, I have tried to eat more plant-based foods, and it was nice not to have to wonder whether the grilled cheese sandwich and creamy tomato soup that I ordered were okay to eat.

    “We think people should be able to eat the way they want, whether it’s by customizing a menu item to their own tastes or knowing they have many food options to choose from,” said Katie Bengston, Panera Bread’s nutrition manager. “The new curated menus are another way we’re making it easier for our guests to order great food that works for their lifestyle.”

    Expect more of the major fast food chains to follow Panera’s lead in offering more specific dietary menus. Consumers’ tastes are changing, and changing often. We’re way beyond simply counting fat and calories. Panera soon won’t be the only one keeping pace.

    "Panera Bread’s New Curated Menus Reflect Consumers’ Changing Dietary Needs" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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