Friday, July 30, 2010

Fast food vs "food fast": What is the difference?

Upon hearing the terms "fast food" and "food fast", most people think they are the same thing. According to an article posted on, the two can be different. describes fast food as quick-service, drive thru restaurants and convenience stores while "food fast" is food served quickly with a greater focus on ambiance. In the article, "food fast" is described as an emerging trend. Consumers are looking for the convenience of a fast food restaurant with the menu options of a casual restaurant.

Technomic, a food industry research firm, explored this emerging trend in their "Status and Future of Fast Foods: Consumer Trend Report". Some of the things consumers are looking for include:
-the "upscaling" of limited-service restaurant formats
-the introduction of price-driven value elements into fast-casual restaurant menus
-the broadening of full-service restaurants' service formats to include convenience-oriented platforms like call-ahead and text/online ordering, home delivery, and curbside pickup.

An example of the of the "food fast" trend is the recent addition of "curbside pickup" at many big name casual restaurants. TGI Friday's, Applebee's, and Chili's all offer a program where diners can call ahead with their order and when they get to the restaurant, a server will bring the food to the diner's car. This service gives the quickness and ease of a traditional drive-thru restaurant, while still offering the menu selection of a sit-down restaurant.

As an ag entrepreneur, have you thought about adding any of the "food fast" elements to your establishment? Have your customers been asking for "food fast" options? If you already offer "food fast" options, how successful have these options been? Can you post some local examples of "food fast"?

1 comment:

The Real 54 said...

I think that those not participating in the "food fast" trend are unaware of the business they are missing because their consumers don't know. The demographics of people who eat at a Hardees vs. a Panera are probably vastly different. As such, I would think "food fast" options would actually drive more new business then increase business within your current customer base (opinion / guess of course).

For example, I wouldn't go to Arby's until a few years ago that they added their "market fresh" line. As a result, I go there and get "food fast" options at what was traditionally a fast food establishment. Locally I see this with Webster's Cafe. They opened a 2nd location which served more then just coffee. This has taken me there several more times then a local coffee shop normally would (and kept me there longer to spend more money :) ).