Promoting menu items made with local ingredients and brand partnerships that resulted in new menu items like Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos turned into some of the hottest stories in the quickservice industry this year, according to several industry executives. Pretzel buns, spicy condiments and barbecue-inspired flavors also made the list.
Subway tops the roster of best global franchises, followed by 7-Eleven, McDonald's, KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut, according to Franchise Direct's fifth annual list. Franchise companies are evaluated on several criteria including number of units, company sales and support for prospective and current franchisees.
The year's hot food trend lists all counted healthier dining trends at or near the top, and restaurants including quickservice chains seem to be feeding the growing demand. Smoothies, launched by McDonald's back in 2010, are catching on with more chains, Burger King recently added a turkey burger to the menu, and sibling chains Carl's Jr. and Hardee's debuted a charbroiled fish sandwich.
Music service Roqbot includes a mobile application that lets restaurant guests vote on their favorite songs from a list approved by the eatery, and selects the most popular songs to play. The system is up and running at several chains across the country including Burger King, Wendy's and Wahoo's Fish Taco.