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Entries in Fast Food (14)

Monday
Oct082012

Which Fast Food Joint Is Fastest?

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Which fast-food joint is the fastest of them all?

Wendy's takes the crown with an average 129.75 seconds, according to Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Magazine's annual Drive-Thru Performance Study of six national fast-food chains and one rotating brand. This year, that brand was Del Taco. Burger King came in seventh, barely hanging onto its crown with 201.33 seconds.

A call to Burger King for comment wasn't immediately returned.

By averaging the times during 318 visits to Wendy's, QSR Magazine found that Wendy's was 20 seconds faster than second-place Taco Bell.

However, speed may not be everything. One commenter on the QSR Magazine website stated, "I will take freshness and quality over speed every time!"

The magazine and Insula Research conducted the survey by visiting each restaurant between 203 to 362 times.

The fast-food industry doesn't exactly have an equivalent to the computer chip industry's Moore's law, which predicted in the 1970s that processing power would double every two years. Complex menus have contributed to a plateau in drive-thru speed for the last seven or eight years, the magazine states.

A statement from Burger King noted that it "prides itself on providing excellent products and great service to all of our guests."

"As part of our HAVE IT YOUR WAY promise, we offer great-tasting products that are fresh and made-to-order for each guest; from flame-grilled hamburgers to smoothies and frappés," Burger King said. "The level of customization may delay the drive-thru experience."

QSR's other ratings included order accuracy, favorable exterior, condition of landscaping, speaker clarity and customer service. Here is its ranking of restaurants by average service times:

1) Wendy's
2) Taco Bell
3) Bojangles'
4) Krystal
5) McDonald's
6) Chick-fil-A
7) Burger King

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun072012

Taco Bell Goes Upscale With New Menu

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Who says fast food can’t have a touch of fine dining?  Taco Bell announced plans this week for a new upscale menu, in an attempt to compete with popular restaurant chain Chipotle.

Miami chef Lorena Garcia, an upcoming Top Chef Masters competitor, began collaborating on the menu with Taco Bell in October in 2010.

“They have a passionate fan base that loves the great taste of the classic menu items – and they don’t want to change that. They were looking to keep these menu items and expand their food to offer new flavors with great taste,” said Garcia in a statement.

Whole black beans, cilantro rice, citrus marinated chicken, Haas avocado guacamole and corn salsa are some of the new items that will be added to the menu.

The restaurant is known for less health-conscious late-night dining items like cheese roll-ups, volcano tacos and large nachos.  Their newest item, Doritos Los Tacos, sold over 100 million in past 10 weeks.

Taco Bell, which is comprised of over 5,600 restaurants, will roll out the new menu July 5 at a suggested $5 or less per item.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May182012

Teen Finds Fingertip In Arby’s Sandwich

ABC News(JACKSON, Mich.) -- A Michigan teen found a finger tip in an Arby’s roast beef sandwich after he spit out a bite that he said was rubbery and hard to chew.

Ryan Hart, 14, said he ordered the sandwich last Friday at the drive-thru window of at a Jackson, Mich., Arby’s franchise.

“I was like, ‘That [has] to be a finger.’ I was about to puke. … It was just nasty,” Ryan told the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

An employee lost approximately one inch of her finger while operating a meat slicer.

Employees continued to fill orders until they were made aware of the fleshy find.

“Upon learning of the incident, the franchisee’s restaurant team shut down food production and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized the restaurant. The franchisee fully cooperated with the local Health Department, and the restaurant was given the approval to remain open,” said John Gray, vice president of communications at Arby’s, in a statement.

Gray said Arby’s is investigating the event and has been in touch with its 66,000 employees to reinforce safety protocols.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan172012

Burger King Tests Out Delivery

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Fast food restaurants like Burger King and McDonald’s have always been known for their convenience, but now Burger King is taking the term “fast food” to another level. Starting this week, the chain is offering delivery from 10 locations in the Washington, D.C., area.

For an additional $2, you can get your burger, fries or anything else you want without leaving your desk. Delivery is available between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m., which means the breakfast menu isn’t an option. They also aim to get you your food within 30 minutes, but you also have to be within a 10-minute drive of the restaurant.

And don’t worry that your food won’t be of the same caliber if you opt for delivery over drive-thru. The burgers are delivered in strategic packaging, with the top part of the bun covered to prevent it from becoming soggy during travel. John Fitzpatrick, chief brand and operations officer for Burger King, told USA Today they used “proprietary thermal packaging technology” to guarantee “that the Whopper is delivered hot and fresh, and the French fries are delivered hot and crispy.”

Six more locations in Virginia plan to start delivery the week of Jan. 23, and if all goes well, Burger King hopes to expand the service to other areas over time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan072012

Fast Food Chains Offer Bargains for Weary Spenders

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The holiday season is over and with it goes unfettered spending by consumers.

Fast Food chains tend to be affected more than other businesses in the month of January says a report by USA Today. People who have spent their money on gifts and holiday travel, now look to curtail that spending in January by avoiding eating at fast-food restaurants and opting instead to eat at home.

As a result of a drop in customer visits, several restaurants are offering deals on their meals. Taco Bell and Wendy's are offering under a dollar deals including the 99-cent Beefy Crunch Burrito and a 99-cent Value Menu respectively. Pizza Hut, Burger King and KFC are also offering bargains.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Wendy’s to Overtake Burger King in Market Share

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) –- Fast-food chain Wendy’s is on pace to surpass rival Burger King, becoming the second largest fast-food burger chain in the U.S., according to a recent report from Janney Capital Markets.

“We expect Wendy’s to overtake privately held Burger King for the No. 2 market-share position within the limited-service hamburger sector, perhaps as soon as this year,” Mark Kalinowski, an analyst at Janney Capital Markets wrote in his report, according to the Orange County Register.

This increased market share can most likely be attributed to Wendy’s focus on premium foods and the remodeling of its restaurants, Kalinowski told the Register. This focus on premium foods, such as the Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers, which were introduced this year,  has allowed Wendy’s to rebrand itself as “a cut above” rivals, rather than “a McDonald’s clone,” Kalinowski told the Register.

The rivals have been close before in the burger wars. According to Technomic, a market research firm in Chicago, in 2010 Burger King held a 13.3 percent market share while Wendy’s was third with 12.8 percent share. If Wendy’s does surpass Burger King, it would be a first for the chain.

Both chains still have a long way to go to catch up to industry leader McDonald’s, which currently holds 49.5 percent of the market.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep272011

Fast Casual Restaurants Thrive as Fast Food Chains Struggle

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fast food is undergoing a facelift and the doctors behind it are some of America's most popular chefs.

Celebrity chefs from television shows like Iron Chef, Top Chef and The Chew are whetting America's appetite for more sophisticated foods.

"We're seeing people interested in all sorts of tastes ... Mexican, Asian, Indian is really big right now," said Blair Chancey, editor of QSR Magazine.

While fast food chains and family restaurant chains are seeing their lowest sales all year, something right in the middle is sizzling: fast casual. It's a little more expensive than fast food, a little less than those family restaurants and the food is definitely different.

In the last year alone sales in the fast casual sector reached $18 billion. According to a new study, millions of Americans are no longer just looking for speed, they want quality. They are in search of fresh, natural and nutritious meals -- exactly what Chipotle's founder says his restaurant strives to offer.

"Just because it's fast doesn't mean it has to be a typical fast-food experience," Chipotle founder Steve Ells said.

Part of Chipotle's mission is to serve chickens that are fed a vegetarian diet as well as naturally raised pork and beef, he said.

Chipotle set the standard for fast casual success and now many other chefs are trying to cash in on the growing market.

In California, Jonathan Kaplan, creator of the Flip video camera, is turning from tech to taste. He is starting a chain of grilled cheese restaurants called The Melt.

"Americans want high quality, but they want it to be an affordable value and inexpensive, and that's what I think the fast casual industry is trying to do," Kaplan said. "There's really a niche there where restaurants are able to offer high-end quality ingredients, artisanal breads, really high-quality cheeses, but they can do it at a fast casual price point."

Even the founder of Dominos, Tom Monaghan, at the age of 74 is leaving pizza behind for the gourmet burger. His soon-to-be opened establishment in Florida will deliver burgers in 10 to 15 minutes. He said he will be able to do so by limiting choice. The restaurant will offer only two burgers -- no sides, no drinks.

"My philosophy is not to try to be all things to all people -- to do one thing and do it extremely well, better than anyone else can possibly do it and I'm hoping that will spell success," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep122011

Obese Customer Sues White Castle over Small Seats

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A nearly 300-pound New York man has filed a lawsuit against White Castle, claiming the fast food restaurant went back on a two-year-old promise to enlarge its seats to help customers of his size.

Martin Kessman tells The New York Post the restaurant's executives promised renovations that never came to be.

"They sent me specs...about how the booths were going to enlarged," Kessman tells the paper, noting he's able to fit in the seats of other fast food joints, and on airplanes.  "They're stationary booths.  I'm not humongous, [but] I'm a big guy.  I could not wedge myself in."

It was an uncomfortable visit to a White Castle in Nanuet, New Jersey in 2009 that prompted Kessman to send an angry letter to the company, which netted him some coupons for free hamburgers -- which he redeemed.

"But the cheese was extra," he noted.

Kessman is seeking the renovations and unspecified damages.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep072011

Fast Food Chains Getting into the Food Stamp Act

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In an ever-growing number of states, if you crave a taco or fried chicken from a fast food restaurant, you can pay for it with food stamps.

Food stamps -- known more formally as the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program --  have been in use for grocery staples, such as bread and milk, since 1934, but now, for the first time, they can be used for fast food in four states across the country.

The number of businesses -- including convenience and discount stores, gas stations and pharmacies -- that have been approved to accept food stamps has increased by a third over the course of three years from 2005 to 2010, USA Today reports, and fast food chains are working hard to get a cut of the federal dollars in Florida, California, Arizona and Michigan.

The funds allocated to the food stamp program have increased exponentially, from $28.5 billion to $64.7 billion in that same time frame, according to USA Today, and at a time when people have less money to spend, the bump in federal dollars can mean a lot to the fast food industry.

Yum! Brands, based in Louisville, Ky., which operates a string of restaurants that includes Taco Bell, KFC, Long John Silver’s and Pizza Hut, are among those applying for inclusion in the food stamp program, saying that elderly, disabled and homeless people have difficulty preparing meals, ABC affiliate WHAS reported.

Here’s a quick list of fast food restaurants in states that already accept food stamps for restaurant meals:

Michigan:

Church’s Chicken
Kentucky Fried Chicken
McDonald’s
Subway
Grandma’s Famous Chicken
Eight Mile Pancake House
Mr. T’s BBQ
Vito’s Pizza

California:

Jack in the Box
Subway
El Pollo Loco
Papa Murphy’s Pizza

Florida:

KFC
Taco Bell
Pizza Hut
Papa Murphy’s Pizza

Arizona:

Domino’s Pizza
Golden Corral
Southern Cuisine
Rally’s Hamburger

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep072011

Zagat Survey Ranks Top Fast Food Chains

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Subway is considered the most popular “Mega” fast food chain, while Starbucks finds itself rated the number one “Quick Refreshment” stop, according to Zagat’s latest annual National Fast Food Restaurant Survey.

The survey divided restaurant chains into four categories: Mega Chains with over 5,000 outlets; Large Chains with up to 5,000 outlets; Quick Refreshment outlets that focus on specific food items such as beverages and ice cream; and Full Service outlets.  The survey involved 6,064 diners.

Here are the results, listed in order:

Popular Favorites
-- Mega Chains: Subway, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell
-- Large Chains: Five Guys, Panera Bread, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger
-- Quick Refreshment: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Culver’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Cold Stone Creamery

Top Overall Rated Chains
-- Mega Chains: Wendy’s, Subway, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC
-- Large Chains: Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger, Papa Murphy’s, Panera Bread, Chipotle
-- Quick Refreshment: Pinkberry, Red Mango, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Culver’s, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Zagat also asked respondents to name the best fast food chain for a variety of categories.  Their answers are listed below:

-- Burger: Five Guys
-- Fried Chicken: KFC
-- Grilled Chicken: Chick-fil-A
-- Fish: Long John Silver's
-- French Fries: McDonald's
-- Coffee: Starbucks
-- Milkshakes: Dairy Queen
-- Ice Cream/Custard: Ben & Jerry's
-- Smoothies/Frozen Yogurt: Red Mango
-- Breakfast Sandwiches: McDonald's
-- Salads: Panera Bread
-- Value Menu: McDonald's
-- Overall Value: McDonald's
-- Child-Friendly: McDonald's
-- Drive-Thru: McDonald's
-- Wings: Buffalo Wild Wings

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio