Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fast Food Study: Most Trusted Nutritional Claims

Dallas, Texas based research firm, Decision Analyst, Inc., has conducted a study of which fast food restaurants' nutritional claims are most trusted by consumers.

Their conclusion: More consumers trust Subway’s nutritional claims, compared to all other popular quick service restaurants. According to Decision Analyst, Subway is the leader in consumer trust with almost one-quarter (24.2%) of consumers saying they “completely trust” its nutritional claims.

The percentage of consumers that "completely trust" the nutritional claims of other fast food restaurants are as follows: Chick-fil-a: 12.1%, Quizno's: 11.1%, Wendy's: 10.5%, KFC: 8.4%, and Taco Bell: 7.5%.

The study also found that 42% of Subway customers choose Subway because it "has a good selection of healthy items," versus only 3% of Taco Bell customers choosing Taco Bell for that reason.

Diane Brewton, Senior Vice President of the Market Intelligence Division at Decision Analyst, states the studies conclusion:
“Subway owns the nutritional claim relative to its competition, as there is a significant gap between Subway and these other popular fast food/quick-service restaurants. In fact, Subway is the only one of these restaurants with more people who ‘completely trust’ their nutritional claims than ’do not trust’ them. This finding illustrates the challenges and opportunities facing restaurants in their quest to gain greater acceptance of their health and nutrition efforts."

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Skeptic's Take on Super Size Me

As Brian Dunning writes over at Skeptoid: "McDonald's is probably the world's easiest target. It's always popular to be anticorporate; it's always popular to bash fast foods, and audiences are generally well predisposed to welcome any information that supports these concepts."

Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me" took advantage of that, drew a huge audience, and convinced many people that eating McDonald's would not only make you fat, but make you sick, too. And he did this without presenting any real scientific evidence.

Other documentaries have been made showing that a person (like Spurlock did) can eat only McDonald's for a month and actually lose weight. Two examples are Bowling for Morgan and Portion Size Me.

As Dunning points out, the largest calorie items at McDonald's and other fast food restaurants are the beverages. Spurlock had many McDonald's shakes while making his film and a 32-ounce McDonald's Chocolate Triple Thick Shake has 1,160 calories! These can easily be avoided when dining on fast food.

The soft drinks pack a lot of sugar and calories, too. But not the diet ones! And not the water!

There are some important things to think about in this Skeptoid editorital, especially if you've seen and completely accepted Super Size Me.

read or listen to Super Sized Fast Food Phobia at Skeptoid.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

CBS News Video: Fast Food Sales Up

According to this CBS News video, we're turning to fast food because of the recession. It saves us money, but is it making us obese?

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bad Economy Helps Fast Food Accuracy

It might not be the first (or last) effect you'd think of the poor US economy having on our lives, but evidently one result is an increase in fast food order accuracy.

An interesting article in USA Today points out that with more people desperate for jobs, any jobs, fast food chains are finding it easier to hire employees that speak fluent English. And fluent English speakers are key to getting your order right at a fast food restaurant.

The article quotes the CEO of CKE Restaurants (the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr.):
"It's a no-brainer. Hiring people who are fluent in English has always been something we've wanted to do. Now we can."
Fast food researcher Bob Sandleman says:
"When times are tough, people are willing to take jobs for which they're over-qualified."
Order accuracy is incredibly important to the fast food industry, it keeps people coming back. It is an important component of QSR's annual Best Drive-Thru list.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Chick-fil-a Tops 'Best Drive-Thru' List Again

QSR Magazine's annual "Quick-Service Drive-Thru Performance Study" has ranked Chick-fil-a in the top spot for the 5th consecutive year. McDonald's came in at number 2, followed by Burger King and Wendy's.

The fast food drive-thru rankings are based on speed of service, order accuracy, menuboard appearance and speaker clarity. (the links take you to these individual rankings)

In individual categories Wendy's ranked best for speed, Krystal's had the best menuboard appearance, and Chick-fil-a was the most accurate and had the best speaker clarity.

Here are the overall rankings:
  1. Chick-fil-A
  2. McDonald's
  3. Burger King
  4. Wendy's
  5. Del Taco
  6. Krystal
  7. Taco Bell
  8. Carl's Jr
  9. Jack in the Box
  10. Checkers
  11. Bojangles'
  12. Arby's
  13. KFC
  14. El Pollo Loco
  15. Culvers
  16. Long John Silver's
  17. Hardee's
  18. Rally's
  19. White Castle
  20. Church's
  21. A&W
  22. Whataburger
  23. Captain D's
  24. Dairy Queen
  25. Popeyes

In related news, The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) has released their 2008 Wait Time Survey. One of their 25 categories was 'limited service restaurants.' Here are their rankings for best (shortest) wait times in this category.
  1. Dunkin Donuts
  2. Panera Bread
  3. Chick-fil-a
  4. Arby's
  5. Carl's Jr.
  6. Starbucks
  7. Sonic Drive-In
  8. Chipotle
  9. Dairy Queen
  10. Burger King

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The Top 20 Pizza Chains

PMQ Pizza Magazine has published their list of the Top 200 Pizza Chains.

We'll just give you the Top 20 from that list (and the number of units/locations):
  1. Pizza Hut: 14,759
  2. Domino's Pizza: 8,641
  3. Papa John's Pizza: 3,238
  4. Little Caesars: 2,000
  5. Noble Roman's Pizza: 1,400
  6. Casey's Carry-Out Pizza: 1355
  7. Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza: 1,073
  8. Sbarro's Italian Eatery: 1,040
  9. Godfather's Pizza: 656
  10. Cici's Pizza: 631
  11. Hungry Howie's Pizza: 575
  12. Pizza Pro: 552
  13. Chuck E. Cheese's: 537
  14. Round Table Pizza: 505
  15. Papa Gino's: 365
  16. Pizza Inn: 335
  17. Fox's Pizza Den: 315
  18. California Pizza Kitchen: 239
  19. Simple Simon's Pizza: 227
  20. Uno Chicago Grill: 225
By the way, my favorite pizza place from my childhood comes in at #58 with 60 locations: Shakey's Pizza. I haven't been to one in many years, but I remember some good times and cool hats!

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Chipotle to Raise Prices

In reporting their 3rd quarter financial trends last week, Chipotle mentioned that they are "working on national pricing plans for the fourth quarter of 2008 to offset rapidly rising food costs."

Details of their new prices will be announced in October.

Chipotle Founder, Chairman and CEO Steve Ells: "Our preliminary view of the third quarter reflects a further deceleration in comparable restaurant sales combined with continued increases in food costs. We attribute current trends to the same macro-economic pressures that have affected other restaurant companies. Despite these short term challenges, we remain focused on delivering an extraordinary dining experience to each and every customer, by serving great tasting food made with the best ingredients we can find."

In other words, the economy is in bad shape, food prices are really high and people are spending less.

We can expect the same from other fast food restaurants soon if the economy doesn't improve.

Chipotle is hit harder by rising prices because they have a limited number of suppliers for the organic and local ingredients they use.

Even McDonald's is affected, though. Some of their stores have cut their Dollar Menu "Double Cheeseburger" back to one slice of cheese and renamed it the "Double Hamburger with Cheese.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wired: Should Fast Food Be Banned

Wired magazine's Wired Science Blog asks the question: Should Fast Food Be Banned?

In light of recent passed and proposed city ordinances prohibiting the construction of new fast food restaurants, the question is a timely one.

Sure, ""fast food is generally high-calorie, high-fat and low-nutrition."

But it is worth considering that "a lot of people eat fast food because it's cheap, especially in our recession-ravaged moment."

There are also lots of good comments from Wired readers:

Asad Quraishi writes:
"Groan! Now the poor can't decide for themselves what they eat. I guess being poor lowers your intelligence so much you need someone to tell you what you can and can't eat."
Gig writes:
Here's an idea. If the US government wants to prove they give a sh*t about their citizens' health, how about socialized medicine like in France, Canada, England, etc. America looks more and more like a third world country. I am tired of being around unhealthy people. There are McDonalds in France and people are healthy and thin there.
Matt writes:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure a McDonald's burger isn't any more unhealthy than a burger I cook myself on the grill or one I pay $10 for at some "classier" restaurant.
What do you think?

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Quick cattle and pig facts...

I was just reading an e-mail from Cattle Network News called "Quick Facts To Impress Your Friends At The Coffee Shop."

In it was this fact: 'Inventory' of Cattle and Calves in the US = 104,300,000"

The current US population (of humans) is about 301 million.

That's 1 cow for every 3 of us.

Does your family of 3 have a cow in the backyard?


Most of those cattle are on feed lots waiting to be eaten.

By the way, the us Hog and Pig population in the US is 67,661,000. That's 4.5 people for each pig/hog.

Here's a photo of a Hog Factory Farm in North Carolina after a flood. Tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of pigs/hogs died in the flood. River-soaked bacon just doesn't cut it:

images courtesy of FactoryFarm.org

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Fast food speed & accuracy survey

QSR Magazine has published 2007 edition of their annual "Best in Drive-Thru" report. (I wrote about the 2006 report last year.)

There's a lot to read in the various sections of the report, so here's the meat. Three ranking lists (starting with the best performing fast food restaurant and going down) that I'll call "Accuracy," "Speed," and "Friendliness."

Speed (found here) is based on the how long it takes to get your fast food drive-thru order. The same 4 chains are in the top 4, but in a different order. Wendy's moved to #1.
Accuracy (found here) is based on how often the chain gets your order right. Chick-fil-a holds onto the #1 spot again this year and Burger King enters the top 5.
The friendliest drive-thrus, based on the use of "please" and "thank you" and smiles, eye contact and an overall pleasant demeanor, can be found here.

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