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Top 10 Quick Serve Restaurant Franchising Trends In 2010

The quick-service industry faced numerous highs and low in 2009, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. The highs included restaurants posting modest improvements, innovative product trends such as food trucks, and the return of the affluent to the restaurant scene which helped boost the bottom line for the QSR segment. On the flip side, quick-service leaders were barraged with a salmonella outbreak, a children’s meal ban and a large-scale recall.

But to begin the new year on a positive note, selected the 10 most promising ideas of 2010 and compiled them into the following list, in no particular order…

1.    Sweet Treats – Maggie Moo’s froze out the competition with it’s Maggie Mia Ice Cream Pizza which took first place in the Creative and Innovative Products category at the 2010 World Dairy Expo

2.    The Return to Real Food – Wendy’s continued its brand revival with its new natural-cut, sea salt smothered French fries

3.    Burgers Share The Stage – While burgers will always be the cornerstone of the QSR segment, this year saw unconventional options such as crepes and ethnic foods grow in popularity

4.    Keep On Truckin’ – Big brands started using food trucks as vehicles to expand their reach while keeping costs low

5.    The Quench for Freestyle - Coca-Cola rolled-out more of its Freestyle machines, which offer 106 drink varieties with the ability to customize beverages

6.    The Customer Is King – More and more chains are catering to their customers, thanks to explosion of social media where customers can rant or rave freely

7.    Smooth Talker – McDonald’s introduced its real-fruit smoothies as a way to compete with specialized chains such as Jamba Juice

8.    Tea For All – Tea was tops this year, ranking first as the National Restaurant Association’s nonalcoholic beverage trend.

9.    Finger Lickin’ Good Message – KFC finally hit on a simple, tasteful and intriguing message with its tagline, “So Good”

10. Breakfast Bonanza – Subway soared with its line of healthy breakfast sandwiches, filling a much-needed niche

So what can we expect from 2011? Watch for QSR’s to continue expanding internally, as well as featuring healthier menu items, modernizing their layouts, investing in digital menu boards indoors and out, and accepting mobile payment at more locations in an effort to make QSR’s more convenient, comfortable and customer-focused in the coming year.

Michael Del Gigante is president and executive creative director of MDG Advertising in Boca Raton, Florida. MDG Advertising is a full-service South Florida advertising agency, with offices in Florida and New York, that specializes in developing targeted franchise marketing solutions, exceptional online executions, and solid branding and media buying strategies that give franchises a real competitive advantage. For more information, call 561-338-7797 or log on to

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