Top 6 Quick Service Restaurant Trends for 2013

 In Be Locally Relevant, Build Awareness, Drive Traffic

Here at, we’re always on the lookout for industry news, trends and issues to keep our members in the know. Check out a few of the QSR trends we’ve noticed so far in 2013:

  1. Go Local – Buying and selling local is good for the community and the environment. It can also be good for your bottom line. Consumers love buying local, especially when it is easy for them to do so. Consider adding a few local ingredients to your kitchen, and advertise them to your customers. However, if buying local isn’t an option for you (due to location or budgetary constraints) consider adding organic items to your menu, or baking / making certain items from scratch daily. People believe these items are higher quality, and are glad to pay a little extra for them. Tip: Don’t worry about listing the origin of each local item on your menu, just share your favorite purveyors on your website or on Facebook.
  2. Healthy Kids’ Meals – Childhood obesity in the United States has more than doubled in the past 30 years, and concerned parents are aware of what their children are eating, even on the go. Simple substitutions, like baking or grilling a child’s meal, instead of frying it, can make a big difference. Another option is to offer innovative sides with a traditional sandwich – yogurt, hummus and veggies, sliced apples or even baked sweet potato fries.
  3. Snacks as Meals – Customization and flexible pricing / portions are the name of the game these days. “Make Your Own” sandwich, salad or noodle bars are trending, as are lower-cost food trucks offering smaller portions.  Since a lot of people are not eating their meals at traditional meal times, they are looking for something smaller and less expensive to eat in lieu of a traditional meal. By offering smaller portioned “snacks,” like sliders, chicken bites or other bite-sized items, you can help them fill that void.
  4. Go Green – Vegetables reduce disease, and eating more and a variety of them can help reduce the likelihood of becoming obese. So forget plain old iceberg: offer handmade salads featuring different varieties of lettuce: kale, swiss chard, baby spinach or romaine. Create veggie-heavy sandwiches featuring roasted veggies, and you’ll appeal to a wider range of health-conscious and vegetarian customers.
  5. Gluten Free Is The Way To Be – Nearly 30% of all adults claim they are cutting down on or avoiding gluten (a substance present in wheat) completely. Offer substitutions like gluten free pizza crust, corn tortillas or rice-based noodles for your customers. Those that are allergic to gluten with be thankful that they can still enjoy their favorite food or restaurant, and will likely spread the word to other gluten-free friends!
  6. Drink it Up – Homemade or local sodas and fresh-squeezed and blended juices are just a few of the ways restaurants are showcasing seasonal produce. Offer your customers something local (craft beer or local wine), something nostalgic (retro or house-made sodas) or something unexpected (natural energy drinks).
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