When you think of fast food you likely think of the McDonaldisation of the world. Present in what seems to be just about every country – each with a standard menu, offering some regional spins on their normal cuisine – McDonalds has made it big by serving up affordable, consistent and quick fast food. However, in an industry that is becoming ever more popular it becomes more necessary to differentiate oneself. This is especially true when it comes to fast food.
We all know that there is a high demand for fast food, and we also know that the market is nearly flooded with subpar chains offering standard menu selections that hardly deviate off the path of “ordinary.” But with an industry that is not likely to go anywhere anytime soon and modern day food trends, there lies much opportunity in what fast food restaurant owners can do to set themselves apart from the rest. We said it before and it is worth saying again – differentiation is the key to success in a booming and mature industry sector.
A smart approach when it comes to differentiating oneself from the rest of the pack is to wander off of the beaten path. Historically, fast food restaurants serve up artery clogging cheeseburgers and no-name grease logged fries. But what if they didn’t? What if there was a fast food chain that instead decided to focus on local farm fresh produce and delicious, health-conscious versions of old classics? Seems reasonable enough, right?
In today’s world, health is becoming a growing concern amongst citizens. No longer is it just about a quick and cheap meal, but rather what that single meal can offer the consumer in terms of benefits. Is it tasty? Is it healthy? Does my body actually have something to gain from spending that extra bit of money? In most cases, today, you will find that if the consumer can answer ‘yes’ to these simple questions, then not only are they likely to choose the differentiated restaurant over the one next door, but they too are more likely to come back, as well as spread the word about such an establishment. And let’s face it, we all know the value of ‘word-of-mouth marketing’, or at least we ought to; as such a strategy is virtually irreplaceable.
Think About It…
Think about it, think about yourself and what you would choose. If you were standing in front of two fast food restaurants: both semi-standard, but one is cheap and basic and the other is a bit more pricey, but serves local fare and health conscious additions to an otherwise basic menu – which are you likely to choose? The more healthy and delicious option, that leaves you feeling satisfied and energised; or the cheap, unhealthy option that leaves you dissatisfied, tired and semi-nauseated? It’s an easy decision.
In order to revolutionise the way that a fast food restaurant operates it is not necessary to revamp the entire concept. It does not have to be budget-breakingly expensive and it also does not have to change the overall feel of the restaurant – unless of course that is the goal. Simple changes such as purchasing products that are locally grown and harvested as opposed to imported, as well as adding healthy and innovative twists to standard selection is generally enough to please existing clientele and also bring in new business.
Staying true to regional favourites, but also adding a modern twist, health conscious selections and of course sourcing locally will give consumers that inherent benefit that they are looking for in their purchases.