There were roughly 15,728 fast-casual-chain restaurants in the U.S. as of the end of May 2013, according to The NPD Group. That equates to five Panera Bread, Five Guys Burger and Fries, Wahoo’s Fish Taco or other fast-casual unit per every 100,000 Americans on average. In the Fort Collins/Loveland, Colo., metro area, however, the density is 13.14 fast-casual restaurant per 100,000 residents, making it the most fast-casual-heavy community in America.
Holding the No. 2 and No. 3 positions on NPD’s density list are two other Colorado metro areas: Denver/Aurora/Broomfield (12.76 density) and Boulder (12.53). The top 10 list also includes three metro areas in Florida as well as the Washington, D.C., metro area.
Said Greg Starzynski, director-product management for NPD Foodservice: “Many of the fast-casual chains have been adding units in an otherwise soft restaurant environment. Traditional quick-service restaurants have taken notice and are working to compete with the fast casual chains’ offerings, especially in terms of the freshness and quality of food. All of these efforts will benefit both the consumer and industry.”
Source: The NPD Group/Spring 2013 ReCount®
If you thought the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger was the ultimate upgrade in burger buns, think again. Today the Dallas-based Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar chain introduces the Pizzaburger.
Pizzaburgers are available in Five-Cheese and Pepperoni & Bacon versions. The latter includes a half-pound Angus beef patty, signature pizza sauce, grated cheese, pepperoni and bacon, all wrapped in hand-made pizza dough and baked. The Pizzaburgers are priced at $9.99 to $12.99 depending on market and other variables, the casual-dining chain says.
“Some things just belong together, and the Pizzaburger, first introduced by our sister company Boston Pizza in Canada, is our take on the perfect food combination,” Mike Best, chief operating officer of Boston’s said in a statement. “Our customers crave diverse, robust flavors and the Pizzaburger offers just that. It is sure to be a crowd pleaser.”
Boston’s plans to support the Pizzaburger introduction with a social-media campaign that includes a contest playing off the online dating trend. Digital videos and in-store signage also support the launch.
[Update: Following publication of this post, McDonald’s confirmed that it will roll out Mighty Wings nationally as an LTO on Sept. 9, 2013. Available through November, the bone-in chicken wings will be sold in 3, 5, and 10 pieces starting at $2.99. The company did not address other items mentioned in the operator's Facebook post.
Mighty Wings come with an assortment of nine sauces including Chipotle Barbeque Sauce, Creamy Ranch Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce, Hot Mustard Sauce, Spicy Buffalo Sauce, Sweet Chili Sauce, Sweet 'N Sour Sauce, Honey and Tangy Barbeque Sauce.]
Burger King may be stepping back from introducing multi-item seasonal menus but McDonald’s apparently still finds the strategy appealing. Before it disappeared, a post on one McDonald’s operator’s Facebook page excitedly outlined some of the fall menu items in the “robust new-product pipeline” the chain likes to tout.
“Some exciting things headed our way this fall! Pralines and Crème McFlurry, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Pies return, a Southwest Premium McWrap and MIGHTY WINGS!!!” gushed the Facebook page for a McDonald’s under construction on N. Kansas Expressway in Springfield, Mo.
McDonald’s Corp. officials could not be reached for comment so it isn’t certain that bone-in chicken wings will be introduced nationally this fall; it could be a regional test. But there are other indications that a national move is planned. One is that McDonald’s Corp. filed a U.S. federal trademark registration on Aug. 15, 2013, for “Mighty Wing.”
McDonald’s first, but briefly, tested chicken wings in the 1990s before reviving them in July 2012 in Atlanta. The test moved to Chicago in January 2013. In Atlanta the wings were priced at $3.29 for a 3-piece pack. In Chicago, McDonald’s priced the 3-wings pack a bit lower, at $2.99.
The pricing model to be used this fall can’t be determined.
Earlier this year, J.M. Owen, president of the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators Association, called the Mighty wings test “extremely successful,” especially with African-American consumers.
The planned extension of the Premium McWrap line to include a Southwest variety suggests that the product has been a success since its heavily advertised national introduction in March.
Chanticleer Holdings, parent of the Hooters chicken chain, announced an agreement to acquire all outstanding share of five-unit burger chain American Roadside Burgers (ARB). Terms of the acquisition were not released.
The signature four-patty Roadstar burger.
ARB like Chanticleer is based in Charlotte, N.C. The concept opened 10 years ago in Smithtown, N.Y. It also operates two locations in Charlotte as well as units in Columbia and Greenville, S.C.
Chanticleer Chairman-CEO Mike Pruitt said in a release that the deal for ARB “is our first departure from our ongoing development of Hooter’s restaurants in foreign countries. This acquisition will in no way change our focus on the development of Hooters restaurants internationally, but American Roadside presents a unique strategic opportunity in a high-growth space.”
ARB’s signature menu item is the four-patty Roadstar burger ($8.95). Other specialties include the Roadside Rally double cheeseburger ($6.95) and Route 66, a double-patty burger with pepper-Jack cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce ($6.95). The menu also includes pulled pork and Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches, salads, chicken wings and hand-scooped milkshakes.
Terms of the preliminary agreement call for Chanticleer to issue 740,000 stock (HOTR) units to the owners of Roadside Burgers, with each unit consisting of one share of common stock, and one five-year warrant, priced at $5. The value of the share exchange will be dependent upon Chanticleer Holding’s stock price at date of closing, which is expected to be Sept. 30, 2013.