The restaurant industry is more competitive than ever.
In an attempt to win over discriminating and cash-strapped customers, restaurant chains went all out with some cool innovations.
We chose a few of our game-changing favourites from the year.
1. McDonald’s tested overlapping breakfast and burgers.
This year, the fast food giant began testing “McDonald’s After Midnight.” The menu has breakfast favourites — like Egg McMuffins and hashbrowns — alongside burgers and fries.
CEO Don Thompson said the brand would love to eventually serve breakfast all day. This was an important step in the right direction.
2. Applebee’s killed the most annoying thing about eating out.
The casual restaurant chain is installing tablets in stores, letting customers pay on the spot and eliminating the need to wait for a check.
3. Burger King created a better version of the McRib.
The “BBQ Rib sandwich” was initially written off as a rip-off of the McDonald’s classic. But Burger King’s version costs just $US1, compared with McDonald’s $US3.
With customers counting every penny, the affordable price is important.
4. Taco Bell expanded breakfast nationally.
Now, everyone will be able to get items like the Breakfast Crunchwrap and the Waffle Taco.
5. Starbucks majorly upgraded its pastry selection.
Starbucks has been rolling out La Boulange — pastries that are a big upgrade over previous offerings.
The move is also a step toward Starbucks’ push to offer more food, including lunch.
6. KFC invented a cupholder chicken container.
The “Go Cup” lets travelling customers eat food like chicken or fries from their cupholders.
The concept is simple, but also creative. KFC claims that 42% of Americans would be more likely to eat in their cars if the food container fit the cupholder.
7. “Better pizza” chains.
A slew of new chains are aiming to do for pizza what Chipotle did for Mexican food. They offer fresh ingredients and pies made in front of the customer — all in less than five minutes.
Need further proof that this is the next big thing? We recently learned that Chipotle has been quietly building a pizza chain in Denver.
8. Taco Bell’s new “low end” menu release.
Taco Bell released a menu featuring a bunch of items for $US1. At a time when McDonald’s and Wendy’s value menus are featuring more expensive items, affordability will help Taco Bell stand out.
9. Dunkin’ Doughnuts’ gluten-free doughnut.
Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat flour. A growing number of people are allergic to the protein, and going gluten-free has become a fad diet endorsed by celebrities like Miley Cyrus.
The doughnut is expected to give Dunkin’ an edge over competitors like McDonald’s and Starbucks.
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