I've made more than my usual number of visits to "fast-casual" restaurants this fall.
If one listens to the business media you'd think that Americans were flocking to
Five Guys, Chipotle, and other non-QSR restaurants by the millions leaving
McDonald's and Burger King locations vacant.
Maybe there's some of that happening if only because, as compared to a decade ago,
there are a lot more fast-casuals out there. But it appears that fast casuals have put
a huge limitation on themselves - the service and wait times are atrocious.
I submit there are only a limited number of customers who will stand around waiting
forever for their food. This leaves a huge competitive advantage for traditional QSRs
because there are millions more customers who will forgo slow food for a quick grab
and go in the drive-thru or at the counter.
Any QSR brand that thinks they can drag those drive-thru customers inside to stand
around waiting for ten minutes after ordering does not understand their customers.
The felony dumb statement of 2015 was uttered from Oak Brook IL when a McDonald's spokesperson said, about Create Your Taste, "If they know we're making it especially
for them people don't mind waiting".
There are a few such customers out there but not enough to justify destroying a
restaurant system by being a copycat.