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What to Know about Fast Food
Fast food companies have come a long way from just a burger and fries. The industry has begun focusing on quality offerings, tech-savvy ordering solutions, and more sustainable practices. Convenience still remains the most important pillar of the industry, but consumers are beginning to have more choices, and better experiences.
Types of Fast Food Restaurants
If you are looking to get a quick meal, there are many types of food to choose from. Below, there is a general list of foods you can expect to see in fast food chains.
The original fast food concept was based on the simple and beloved Hamburger and French Fries. It is also common to see chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, salads, and dessert offerings. This concept has been successfully attempted by a number of fast food chains, and local fast food eateries.
There is a variety of Mexican themed fast food joints, offering burritos, tacos, quesadillas and other fare. For days when a simple burger seems too bland, head over to one of the many spicier options. There are local varieties, and national fast food chains that offer quick Mexican inspired fare. These restaurants also tend to offer a high degree of customizability in their menu items. Often, consumers can build their meal right in front of them.
Asian fast food companies tend to offer lighter fare, like rice and vegetables, noodles, and meat entrees. These types of restaurants tend to either be buffet-style, or made-to-order. Meaning that you can either choose from limited options for a quick pick up, or you can order what you want and wait for twenty minutes. There are some that offer both quick turn around and made to order items, though.
Everyone loves a big bucket of chicken- this can be a fun option to feed a large group of people. Fried chicken places also offer some of the best sides out there. Mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, coleslaw, and biscuits offer variety to please everyone’s palate.
Pizza. The quintessential American movie night food. Pizza can be ordered by the slice, by the pie and also for pick up, delivery or dine in. It is a popular choice when there is a big crew of people, because it is highly customizable and highly scalable.
There is a variety of higher quality shops offering sandwiches, salads, and soups. These options tend to be the most expensive offerings in the industry. Many of these types of restaurants also focus on organic and fair trade ingredients. The atmosphere tends to be hipper at these establishments, and there is often an expanded drink menu.
Breakfast and Cafes
Mornings can be hectic. Sometimes getting out of the house does not include food. Fast food breakfast offerings can be a lifesaver on those days. While some of the other types of fast food companies have a breakfast menu, there are a few restaurants that are known exclusively for offering morning sustenance. Coffee, pastries, donuts, and bagel sandwiches are common fare. Some of the more breakfast-focused fast food chains have attempted to expand into the lunch hour, with varying success. The biggest items for them continue to be foods associated with breakfast.
Ice Cream and Sweets
There are a few fast food places that serve only dessert. Ice cream stands and cupcake shops are the most common of these. If you are looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, these can be great little options!
Hotdogs and Street Food
Some areas, like cities, have numerous kiosk options. The best known is the Hot Dog stand, but restaurateurs have jumped on the bandwagon to offer almost anything. There are Gyros, Tacos, BBQ and more. Again, it all started with the Hot Dog- an American Classic.
The Best Things about Fast Food
When we look at the marketing model and fast food reviews, it is clear that convenience is the overall goal. The word “fast” after all is defined as “moving at high speed.” For humans, this tends to mean that we are busy, and in a rush. In terms of food, Faster means Easier.
- Fast food is fast. It may seem self-explanatory, but there is no quicker way of getting a complete meal on the go. On days where we simply have no time to pack a lunch, cook dinner, or think straight, convenience is king.
- Fast food companies respond to consumer feedback. Companies underwent some serious scrutiny from the public in recent years. Fast food was cited as a major factor in the obesity epidemic, especially among children. The titans of the industry have responded by gearing their menus to healthier choices, adding in new options, and reducing hormones and additives in their food.
- Fast food is never boring. Though there is a plethora of fast food to choose from, each company seeks to invigorate its menu at least once a quarter. Customers can try seasonal foods and take advantages of seasonal deals.
- Fast food restaurants give guarantees. Many companies offer money back guarantees. In the case that orders take longer than a specified time, food is not delivered in acceptable condition, orders are incorrect, or a customer just doesn’t like the food, many branches of fast food chains offer full replacement or refund.
- Fast food chains offer comfort food. The standby offering still exists. There are some days that we are low on energy, and just want a high calorie, cheesy, greasy burger. Fast food has got us covered with their classic offering of fast food meals.
- Fast food companies keep up with times. Many fast food companies have responded to the continued demand for convenience by creating mobile fast food apps and ordering kiosks.
Consumer Concerns about the Fast Food Industry
These are the top consumer complaints about fast food.
We’ve all heard about the toe in the chili. Cleanliness is a major complaint in the restaurant industry, and fast food chains have a nasty reputation for maintaining sanitary stores. Top reviews complain about insects, rodents, dirt, and hair in their restaurants or on their plates! Yuck!
What happened to the $1 menu? The increased demand for quality offering has shunted the demand for cheap food. At this point, making burgers at home is more affordable and higher quality. The cost of fast food is almost entirely speed driven, but companies are charging more in an effort to improve quality. The double edged sword means that affordable and quick food is becoming scarce.
Low quality service
Customer service complaints are a major issue for these companies. Despite corporate training and service measures, customers report about:.
- Rude service;
- Slow service and order fulfillment;
- Unwillingness to solve consumer complaints;
- Food received in damaged condition due to rough handling;
- Discrimination and poor treatment of individuals with disabilities.
Low quality food
Consumers usually share their negative feedback regarding:
- Under or overcooked food,
- Food items that are not as advertised
- Food that tastes bad or is not fresh, i.e. wilted salad, brown fruits, dried out buns, cold food, etc.
Many companies offer money back guarantees for delivery complaints, service complaints, or quality complaints. Consumers have often found that those guarantees do not get upheld to the standards they expect. There are many examples of people being served the wrong order, a cold order, or something they simply didn’t like. In some cases, employees do not make amends with their customers, who leave hungry and angry.
How to Eat Cheap at Fast Food Restaurants
If you’d like not only to satisfy your hunger but also to save a couple dollars, the following tips can help you.
Shop the value menu
Although the $1 deals are mostly gone, there is still a section of the menu that is priced on the lower end at most places. There are also quantity breaks, like family meals and party packs.
Don’t be embarrassed to grab a kid’s meal
For a lighter lunch, sometimes a kid’s meal is plenty of food. Kid’s meals also tend to be cheaper, and since the crackdown on childhood obesity, offerings tend to be healthier. Getting yourself a kid’s taco, some chips, and a drink could hit the spot! A four-piece chicken nugget, fries and a yogurt might be just enough.
Use coupons and LTO promotions
There are always fast food deals to take advantage of like coupons and limited time offers, the 5-buck lunch, or twofer deals. These are advertised at the store, online, and sometimes in local papers!
Take advantage of add-ons
Some restaurants allow customers to add on additional toppings for free. Load that sandwich up with as many veggies as possible, and you can get away with a large meal for less.
Skip the soda
Opt for drinking tap water instead. Not only will it save you a couple bucks, it will save you a lot of calories!
How to Choose the Best Fast Food for Lunch Today!
In case you’re confused with numerous choices, the hints below can help you get the best fast food meal for less money.
Search for nutritional information
Fast food companies are required to disclose their nutritional information on their websites. They also have copies of their nutrition sheet available at the counter. Check out which foods match your dietary needs the closest, and narrow down options that way.
Using internet search engines is a great way to narrow down which chains are offering the best deals. Also, do some research by asking friends how much their lunches cost them. Record the information somewhere, and pick the most cost-effective choice.
Check the apps
Whether you are going to drive through, order delivery, or walk in, chances are you can place your order with your phone. Check the app for the restaurants you are considering and see
- which process appeals to you
- if any apps have built in coupons
- if the menu looks enticing!
Decide what style meal you are interested in!
This is probably the hardest part! You’ve got some criteria for nutrition, price, and ordering, but maybe don’t know what you are in the mood for. Deciding on the best fast food to eat largely comes down to your preference. So you can try one thing today, and another tomorrow!
As any business sphere, fast food restaurants have their own pros and cons that are reflected in consumers’ feedback. However, fast food companies are continually seeking to improve customer experience, and build customer trust. And as the industry improves, choosing a quick bite at a fast food restaurant remains a viable choice.