Fast Food Chains That Are Listening To Customers

McDonald’s has been in a sales slump, but other fast-food restaurants are reaping the rewards of giving consumers what they want.

It’s easy to bash fast food, but several chains are working hard to please customers – and successfully boosting their bottom lines in the process, CBS MoneyWatch reported today.

Last month, McDonald’s reported a 4 percent drop in sales in February compared to the prior month and a 1.8 percent drop compared to the prior February.

A press release cited “ongoing aggressive competitive activity” but reported that McDonald’s is fighting back.

The corporation started off March with “a Turnaround Summit designed to deliver renewed energy and focus around the elements of the restaurant experience that matter most to customers – relevant, high-quality food and beverage offerings, compelling value and outstanding service from a trustworthy brand.”

Such efforts to win over more customers are part of an industry trend, MoneyWatch reports:

Diners may be close to an inflection point of sorts, with many – especially younger ones – demanding healthier items with higher-quality ingredients. Yet others want prices to stay low and drive-thrus to get faster.

It’s a tough spot for many restaurant chains to be in. But this is a savvy bunch, and they’re starting to adapt to the times. Sure, we hear plenty about their stumbles, but it turns out a few of them are making some smart business moves.

MoneyWatch broke down nine ways fast food chains are succeeding despite the fact that – as the Journal of the American Medical Association reported last week – fewer children are eating fast food. Highlights include:

Selling less chicken that was raised on antibiotics

Some chickens raised for meat for human consumption are fed feed that’s laced with antibiotics as a preventative measure. Some health experts worry this practice might contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans.

McDonald’s announced last month, however, that it would “only sourc[e] chicken raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine” and offer milk from cows that did not receive artificial growth hormones.

Expanding menu options

In February, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that it would start offering blended beverages – “one of its most significant menu initiatives for 2015” – after installing blenders in stores nationwide.

The cool new drinks will include fruit smoothies, a Coolatta Lite line and Frozen Dunkaccino varieties.

Last week Dunkin’ Donuts announced that its K-Cup pods will be sold online.

Remodeling restaurants

MoneyWatch gives Wendy’s extra credit on this front:

Wendy’s is in the middle of a massive remodel of its restaurants, dumping the tired-looking brick facade for a new look that includes soaring glass windows, dark gray trim and a distinctive red “blade” featuring its logo.

The new look has aesthetic appeal, but the motivation behind it is profit-driven. A remodeled store can see sales uptick of as much as 30 percent, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

What’s your favorite fast-food restaurant and why? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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