Look for these to be some of the biggest ongoing stories in fast food throughout the year:
1. Advertising push back - This relates to item #4. Advertising has always been a touchy area, particularly when public opinion turns against the welfare of your product. We all know people are mindless creatures, subject to the whims of whatever images appear before them on a screen, and therefore must be protected by government censorship.
2. Minimum wage controversy - It's not going anywhere. This could be the single biggest news item related to fast food as the wage inadequacy of a large portion of the workforce is highlighted.
3. Diversification/ customization - In the midst of ever fiercer competition, fast food chains are scrambling to appeal to consumer control. For us, this is a nice problem to watch unfold.
4. Health concerns/ calorie-cutting - Calorie posting is becoming standard, which goes together with increased efforts to offer lower calorie options.
5. Coffee wars - The war is just beginning and in the early stages, Starbucks looks to be the party with the most to lose.
6. Ambiance - After struggles over customizable options, this is the biggest fringe benefit from the market competition. The dingy KFC which requires keys to the bathroom won't hang around too long.
7. Online presence - Look for franchise VIP memberships, cards, deals, emailed coupons, Facebook deals, etc. Fast food, because of their extensive physical presence has been able to eschew these methods of reaching out, but is coming to embrace them as a healthy business supplement.
Last year's fast food top 20