Another year holds fresh promise only if coupled with sober self-reflection. It's beneficial to note some significant landmarks and currents of the time that define the state of fast food as it stands today, before we look ahead to the upcoming year.
What's the shape of fast food today?
The largest consumption of fast food by age comes from 20-39 year olds.
Meanwhile, the highest amount of calories consumed based on socio-economic status appears to come from the middle class.
What does this mean? Not too much because these categories are slim majorities. It's more significant to look at who is not eating fast food: the elderly.
The industry as a whole is doing well. Fast food survived the great recession with much less damage than other fields. The major current crisis is diminishing profit margins. Commodity costs have risen, there are wage controversies, and market saturation, all of which squeeze fast food from both directions. One of the major recent developments has come in the guise of pizza, undercutting the value of what appeared before to be an unbeatable bottom line.
What will happen this year
A later article, top 7 future trends of fast food, will address this in greater detail, somewhat due to the fact that it's hard to pin down exactly what issues will bubble to the surface within a given year. One of the most readily 'solvable' and appealing issues to this current administration will take the form of the wage debate. Fast food employees represent a large part of the workforce who are also, overall, among the lowest paid workers. Look for minimum wage to be hiked up.