REAL ESTATE

Hot new QSRs focus on quality and customization, not price and convenience

BY Al Urbanski

Blaze Pizza increased visits by 30% last year in part by shunning ingredients like artificial colors, preservatives, and additives. Most patrons of Duck Donuts say they favor the Southern chain for its customizable menu.

These and other rapidly expanding quick-service restaurant chains including Kung Fu Tea and Mod Pizza are riding a millennial-fueled trend that favors quality, healthy ingredients, and customization over the price and convenience model used by McDonalds and Little Caesars, says a study from Numerator.

The market intelligence firm reported that sales are increasing by double-digits at Jamba Juice and Smoothie King because thanks to young consumers willing to pay more for organic items. Asked by the market intelligence firm why they visited these chains, 30% said it was for the fresh and organic ingredients—10 times the number for the benchmark of McDonald’s and Starbucks customers.

Half of the customers of Blaze and Mod, two leading players in the “build your own pizza” business gave customization as a chief reason for their patronage, three times as many as gave that reason for choosing Domino’s, Papa John’s, and Pizza Hut.

Numerator qualifies, however, that the success of these chains owes to their regionality. Few of the market areas of intra-category players overlap. For instance, 95% of Yum Yum Donut customers are on the West Coast, 91% of Shipley Donuts customers are in the West South Central region, while more than half of Duck Donuts eaters are in the South Atlantic.

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