Less is More at QSRs and Fast-Casual Chains

January 31, 2018

Less is More at QSRs and Fast-Casual Chains

Operators simplify with fewer menu items

From the February, 2018 issue of The Great Grocerant.

Grocerants could learn from quick-serve and fast-casual chains stressing simplicity to drive traffic and satisfy core-customer demand.

Chief among benefits, retail foodservice operators that cull menu items make it easier for customers to read menus and menu boards, select what they want, and focus on favorites. Staff hiring and training and product procurement also become less complex, while space pressures and food waste could ease too. 

The trend is happening all over.  McDonald’s has a limited, all-day breakfast menu and more value items since slashing its trendy offerings.  Dunkin’ Brands in January began to cut 10% of its menu items. Sonic has removed 17 menu items. And Chili’s did away with 40% of its menu listings, according to Business Insider.

“Operating a Dunkin’ is more complex than operating a McDonald’s,” said Dave Hoffman, who left McDonald’s to become Dunkin’s U.S. president in 2016, reported Reuters. 

Becoming known for one great thing can be powerful.  That would be the $8 fried chicken sandwich at San Francisco’s The Bird, where lunchtime lines are common, and where the sandwich and curly fries stars have slowly shared the spotlight with additions hot wings, salad, beer, ice cream tacos, and a limited egg-filled breakfast menu.

The Keep It Simple Principle seems to be the path to profitability for many operators in 2018.  Grocerants face little risk testing if menu deletions would negatively impact customers; simply replace them if they do.