Consumers are driving competition between quickservice and fast casual concepts, leading to blurred boundaries between the two types of restaurants. Taco Bell announced it will venture into fast casual when it debuts US Taco Co. and Urban Taproom, a version of the restaurant that will focus on 10 premium tacos. Meanwhile, some Denny's and IHOP restaurants are embracing the quickservice model by creating express units.
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.
Burger King Restaurants of Canada announced it will limit the amount of sodium in meals advertised to children, following a similar move by Burger King in the U.S. The Canadian company has also set other nutritional rules for its children's menu, including limits on calories and sugar and a ban on trans fats.