VMSD - April 2012 - (Page 4)

FE FROM THE EDITOR Recipe for Reinvention Taking cues from its competitors, fast food tries to convince us it has changed. At a time in our food history when consumers can enjoy a made-to-order burrito and follow it up with a no-fat, no-whip, triple-shot vanilla latte, a burger and fries from the local fast-food chain seems so, well, ordinary. But menu blandness aside, fast food has a bigger problem: brand perception. “We’re clearly not the cool place to go today,” Steve Farrar, Wendy’s chief operating officer, said in January during a fourth-quarter earnings call, reports QSR magazine. He pointed out facilities that looked dated and old, and rundown “in comparison to emerging new brands.” Those emerging brands comprise the highly successful and growing sub-category of fast casual. It includes such popular burger-based chains as Five Guys and Smashburger, as well as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread Co. Major fast-casual chain units have increased by a double-digit rate over the last three years, according to market research firm NPD’s Recount, a biannual census of restaurant unit counts. NPD goes on to say that consumer demand for these types of restaurants outpaced the rate of unit expansion. “Fast-casual concepts are in an excellent position for growth relative to the overall industry,” says Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant industry analyst at NPD. “However, the same growth opportunities are available to any restaurant operator able to innovate, provide value for money and not just keep up but surpass competitors.” Arguably, the fast-food industry has made strides to stay competitive by responding to consumers’ growing demand for healthier food options. They’ve lightened their menus, adding more salad options, apple slices and yogurt parfaits, while (thankfully) retiring the idea of “supersized.” And now they’re turning to design to reinvent their brands further. Wendy’s transformation includes a new prototype being tested in Columbus, Ohio, with plans to build 20 and remodel 50 company-operated stores in 2012. Food giant McDonald’s, the founder of the fast-food concept, is also investing heavily in a rebranding program that starts with its restaurant environments. (See page 22 for the full story.) Inside a host of new concept designs, customers will find primary colors replaced with graphic wallcoverings and stylish chairs and bar seats instead of a sea of fiberglass booths. The new McDonald’s interiors are refreshing, exciting and, dare I say, so not fast food. For companies like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, it’s the first step on a long journey toward convincing customers that they’re more than fast food. That they, too, care about quality and service – and giving us something we want to come back to time and time again. EDITORIAL 11262 Cornell Park Drive Cincinnati, OH 45242 P: 513.421.2050 | F: 513.421.5144 vmsd@stmediagroup.com | VMSD.com Editor Anne DiNardo anne.dinardo@stmediagroup.com Senior Art Director Kimberly Pegram kim.pegram@stmediagroup.com Associate Editor Robin Donovan robin.donovan@stmediagroup.com Editor at Large Steve Kaufman steve.kaufman@stmediagroup.com New York Editor Eric Feigenbaum European Editor John Ryan, London SALES Publisher U.S. / Canada Murray Kasmenn murray.kasmenn@stmediagroup.com P: 770.578.2577 Business Development Manager International Patricia Iannelli patricia.iannelli@stmediagroup.com Via G. Rossini 16, 21100 Varese, Italy P: +39.0332.240285 C O R P O R AT E President Tedd Swormstedt Design Group Editorial Director Kristin D. Zeit Audience Development Director Christine Baloga Production Coordinator Keri Harper Book Division Director Mark Kissling Reprint Information 800-925-1110, ext. 399 4 APRIL 2012 | vmsd.com WHITN EY HA RROD, CIN CINN ATI SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES P.O. Box 1060 / Skokie, IL 60076 P: (847) 763-4938 / F: (847) 763-9030 VMSD@halldata.com http://www.VMSD.com http://www.vmsd.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - April 2012

VMSD - April 2012
Contents
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
Design Detail
Next Store
Slow Down, Fast Food
Hitting the Hut
Fresh Thinking
Lace Up Your Boots
The Power of the Figure
Showroom
Showroom
Ad Index
Checking Out

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