The season when financial results are announced will not be bright for groups such as McDonald's and KFC – who are (ultimately) facing growing consumer mistrust. For the past several years I have been pointing out the escalation of Health as a mega consumer trend during my lectures. My post last week showed its impact on Coca-Cola sales (and on sodas in general). This (global) disaffection among consumers for fast food chains is essentially caused by a breakdown of trust amplified by fear (we only need to look at the food scandals that rocked these food chains in China for example).
A host of new players are rushing into the breach - all of whom will draw their legitimacy from the quality of their food. We can cite two:
Fast food chains such as Chipotle (see my post of 2010 here) with the slogan "Food with Integrity" - or Shake Shack (whose blog has the title "Stand for Something Good") that has now banned GMOs from its offer: the positioning it defends is to gradually rebuild consumer confidence in this category.
Another new approach is, I believe, much more interesting: Chefs (starred, for the most part) are entering this category - reinventing it under a new name, "fast-casual". They offer pizzas, burgers, salads, sushi, dishes - all sporting the health seal (origin of products, ingredients) AND guaranteed by the aura of their famous chefs. The prices are all "entry-level".
This new trend is at work both in France and the US. For example:
In France, BOCO – "Un repas de chefs étoilés en bocaux" ("A meal in a jar by starred chefs") - (www.boco.fr) offers dishes and desserts in old-style jars (ah, nostalgia and reassurance!!) and sold in their restaurants, as well as on the TGV. Their model: the neighbourhood Parisian bistro. Prices for each dish between € 7.40 and € 9.80.
In the USA, INDAY (Indian food), BEEFSTEAK (a vegetarian restaurant - www.beefsteakveggies.com), PORANO PASTA + GELATO, LOCAL PIZZA, PASTA FLYER FAT NOODLE (Asian recipes) ... (see the very interesting article about them by WSJ). As John Kunkel who has just launched LEWELLYN'S CHICKEN & BISCUITS, says, "The lesson for all of us in fast-casual is keep it simple. If you're going to do something, specialize, and do it better than everyone else".