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3 Major QSR Trends in 2021 and Beyond

The pandemic was a trend accelerator for the quick service industry. The evidence of that is pretty obvious, but the reality is that 3-10 years of digital and technology growth happened in under 12 months. Talk about a herculean game of catch-up.

 

Because the world isn’t getting any slower, we’ve identified three major quick service trends that will likely shape 2021 (and beyond)

 

  1. The next installment of chicken wars
  2. Dining rooms are out, smaller footprint multi-drive thru builds are in
  3. Better equipment for a better sandwich

The Henpire Strikes Back

You’ve heard all about it, maybe you partook yourself: The 2019 Popeye’s chicken sandwich launched a frenzy of poultry-motivated competition that is still going strong in 2021, and chains are reporting that chicken accounts for a full third of their sandwich sales. The results are promising for all, but especially for the winners.

 

Every major chain has either released, revamped, or remarketed their chicken offerings to stay on top of that wave. While smaller, more agile chains were quick to roll out their take on the classic in 2020, the newest contenders are the Big Three: McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King.

 

All these sandwiches tend to share the same basic construction: a breaded and fried fillet, pickles, mayo, a crispy bun. What sends a sandwich to astronomical popularity seems to be one thing: quality of the components.

 

Chicken fillet volume per sando has increased on some menus by over 100%, and Popeye’s signature buttery brioche is always fresh, soft on top, and toasted on a PTFE release sheet to a perfect crisp. So when consumers were asked what sets Popeye’s apart, they answered the bird and the bun.

 

Turns out consistency isn’t key— it’s king.

Kitchen Efficiencies

 

Checkers/Ralley’s may be ahead of the curve here. They were early on the scene to prioritize double drive-thrus over dining room space, and continue to innovate for faster turnaround. They recently used new tech to track how “far” workers walked over the course of a shift and found they could save each individual 1.5 miles of movement per week with better a better kitchen layout.

 

More drive-thru capacity, smaller kitchen footprints, better tools and accessories are essentials for modernizing chains looking to restructure for better quality of life, efficiency, and quality.

Better Equipment, Better Burger

 

Flattop griddles have begun to phase out in many commercial operations in favor of clamshell grills. The benefits? They maximize griddle production, reduce cook times, and add consistency to the cooking process. The swing top ensures an even cook on both sides of the patty, effectively eliminating set-it-and-forget-it mishaps. The smaller footprint and compatibility with a wide range of PTFE release sheets enhances not just the product, but ease of use as well.

Kitchens are the engine of the fast food machine. Better components maximize  efficiency, boosts the quality of the operation as a whole, and save money over time.

 

What’s Next?

 

Interested in ways to make your operation easier, quicker, and cleaner?

 

Contact us if you have new challenges that call for product innovations. Our job is to make your job easier every step of the way.

 

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