Taco Bell has come from behind to become Yum! Brands' fastest-growing concept in the U.S., largely driven by the popularity of its higher-priced Cantina Bell menu, which will soon add $5.49 fajitas as the chain's most expensive single item. "We haven't seen this kind of a surge of same-store sales at Taco Bell in some time. What's working is more upscale pricing," said analyst Bryan Elliott.
Many quickservice and fast-casual chains have long stayed away from talking about healthy eating, but some including Jamba Juice, Roti Mediterranean Grill and Hannah's Bretzel have embraced healthy living as a key part of their marketing messages. Health and wellness messages can resonate with consumers and win brand loyalty if they're authentic and true to the brand, says marketer Warren Ellish.
Quickservice burger chains will soon trade their Lenten fish specials for more innovative new menu items, including Grilled Chicken Flatbread sandwiches at Wendy's and a Jim Beam Bourbon Burger at Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. Not to be outdone, some "better burger" brands including Umami and Original Tommy's are debuting some beefy new creations.
Putting symbols on the menu to denote healthier, lower-calorie choices may be more effective than posting calorie counts in convincing consumers to trim their intake, according to research from the University of Illinois. "Calorie counts did provide the most health-conscious with additional information, but it was the symbol that really enhanced the information provided to these consumers," said co-author Brenna Ellison.
MonkeyMedia Software has launched the MMS Catering Institute, a suite of products for restaurants looking to create or improve their catering divisions. The offerings include certification workshops, consulting services and webinars.