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Why the Communication Break Between the Public and American Fast Food Companies?

Posted by on July 9, 2015

restaurant-logosI admit, I’m not understanding the apparent disconnect between consumers and the major fast food companies.

Anecdotally, it would appear that the American public has become more interested in “healthier options” as well as knowledge of the source of their foods. One could surmise this not only from media reports, but also from the apparent success of food outlets catering to these types of interest, like the growth of Chipotle, premium burger restaurants, and the “made on demand” pizza segment.

Yet, the majors keep giving us options to eat more, larger, and “unhealthier” options. Total disclosure: Personally, I like the unhealthier options, but if you don’t, apparently like most Americans these days, you’re likely to pass on the latest offerings from fast food giants who should, it would seem, know better.

Pizza Hut’s 12” Meat Lovers Pan Pizza is 2400 calories, nearly half of them from fat. Each of the eight slices has 740 mg of sodium (RDA recommendation, a high of 2300 daily), and 27 carbs.

Hardee’s new ½ pound “Most American Thickburger” clocks in at nearly 1200 calories, 700 from fat, 3170 mg sodium (!!!!) and 71 carbs. Add medium fries for another 500 calories and 63 carbs.

The golden arches, going through struggles of their own, has told us in recent weeks they are adding weight to their quarter pounder. Their Bacon Club House Burger is 750 calories, 360 from fat, 1470 sodium, and 52 carbs. Tack on 350 calories for medium fries.

(These nutrition figures all came from the company’s own websites).

And we haven’t even taken soft drinks into account.

Let’s not forget the hot dog stuffed crust from Pizza Hut, or KFC testing a “pizza” in Asia that has fried chicken for a “crust.” Yikes.

Yet, the biggies haven’t gotten the memo from consumers, or discarded it without reading.

Over the past few years, the US has spawned so many ‘artisanal” food producers, and the purveyors of quick foods should be looking at quality suppliers like Creekstone Farms or Snake River Farms for beef, or Nueske’s or LaQuercia for processed pork.

There are dozens or hundreds of companies like these, in every segment you serve your customer, whether it’s protein or produce.

I would respectfully suggest that fast food execs take a few days out of the office and the in-house R&D labs, hop on their G5’s (even better, hop in the car stay off the interstates, and eat your way across the country) and go to some of these types of companies, eat a burger, or a slice of bacon.

Compare them against your own current offerings, and be prepared to have a light bulb or two go off in your head.

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