Premium POV

Picking Premiums in the QSR Category

Drive through virtually any urban landscape, and you quickly realize you’ll never go hungry.

That’s because on most streets and many corners of America, there stands any number of competing Quick Serve Restaurants – a.k.a. “Fast Food.”

Whatever your pleasure, you’re sure to find it just a drive-thru order board away. From burgers to burritos, chicken to chalupas, QSRs have our appetites covered. And not just with unhealthy choices either. Many operations now offer a variety of ways to eat healthy while still on the run.

But how do you pick the premium offerings in QSR category from the many choices available? Other than simply selecting the type of food you’re hungry for, how do you identify the best choice in terms of quality and value?

One way is to pay attention to how a QSR brand is marketing themselves. And one popular trend I’ve noticed in the category is something I call “Authenticity.” This is an approach that generally showcases either the legacy of a QSR brand, or the top-shelf quality of its offerings.

A good example of the former is Whataburger. A Texas institution for decades, Whataburger prides themselves on serving big, hearty burger varieties made to order and wrapped up in nostalgic, retro wrappers that hearken back to the chain’s beginnings. This image is further enhanced by a slower delivery pace. Whataburger takes their time preparing your order, reinforcing the idea that “quality takes time.” So when you’re in their drive-thru, it pays to be patient – that big, orange and white sack will be well worth the wait.

Another good example of a QSR promoting authenticity – but this time via top-shelf quality instead of legacy – is Arby’s. Over the past few years, Arby’s has made a concentrated effort to improve both their menu and their physical store appearance. First, is their positioning – “We Have the Meats.” Arby’s is staking out the position of the QSR meat expert, with quality and quantity you’d normally associate with a deli or steakhouse. Then there’s the new restaurant décor. Taking a cue from the upper echelon of QSRs, the “fast casual” players like Panera Bread, Arby’s is following suit with more stylish interior designs of wood and tile and retro lighting fixtures. The overall effect is one of quality and class – the perfect complement to their bigger, better meat offerings.

So the next time your appetite comes calling while you’re behind the wheel, consider filling up at a QSR that’s taking a more premium approach. You’ll enjoy both a better experience, and a better meal. And, if you’re a QSR marketer, consider ordering up the expertise of Warren Douglas Advertising. We offer operations like yours a variety of proprietary tools and processes that will uncover hidden opportunities for increased sales and higher profits.


Learn more about the WD