Towards the close of 2013, we examined how pizza chains have cut the bottom line when it comes to eating out. No restaurant can simply compete with the quantity of food pizza chains can churn out at their prices. So where does this leave fast food? High and dry? A decaying dinosaur? Far from it. Adapt and survive is the evolutionary rule of capitalism.
In order to do so effectively, fast food must evaluate the ground it has ceded to pizza, but more importantly, the high ground that they still hold, and should therefore further protect and advance. Pizza has cornered the cost effective group meal. There's no taking that field back. In fact, for some pricier chains, such as Five Guys, or CfA, that battle was surrendered long ago. So the Big 3 and bottom liners should set their sights on following the lead of these 'upscale' fast food chains if they wish to survive the transition into the future.
Fast food still appeals to the individual. It appeals because of value menus. There's still that comfortable $1-8 range wherein it makes the best sense to grab a bite from Taco Bell rather than place a pizza order. Burger chains appeal to the lazy, the drive-thru crowd, to those in need of instant gratification. You can't always wait 15-20 minutes. They appeal for customization. Pizza and soda is well and good, but sometimes you want nuggets and a milkshake and sweet potato fries and a burger and extra tomatoes and no sauce.