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.
Taco Bell has introduced MTN Dew A.M., a mix of orange juice and Mountain Dew that is sold at Taco Bell locations until 11 a.m. The chain started serving breakfast in January after testing morning menu items for five years.