“Fast Food” is a term that has seen far too many evolutions in the recent years. The new, small players who started challenging fast food chains like Burger King, KFC, and McDonald’s brought on this revolution. Fast food is becoming a dirty term, and people are abstaining from it. And to overcome this issue, there is a list of new words that are being used by the fast food chain, including, “fast-casual,” “fine-casual,” “fast-crafted,” and even “fan food.” The new phrases are an attempt by the companies to make the food appear healthy and more people-friendly. They do not want the stigma of fast food to be attached with their name or the impression that their food is greasy, cheap, or unhealthy.
Big names ditching the term – Fast Food
Traditional fast food chains have decided that they need to change their image. McDonald’s Corp. has said that it wants to transform into a “modern, progressive burger company.” Along with it, Yum CEO Greg Creed also wants to redefine the meaning of fast food through company’s Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut chains. All the companies want to convince people that they are serving anything but fast food.
“People have come to equate the term ‘fast food’ with ‘junk food’ over the years. So some chains are trying to distance themselves from that image by describing their brands with new phrases like fine casual or fast crafted,” says Candice Choi, food industry writer for The Associated Press.
To explain how well ditching the words “fast food” works, Sarah Zorn, food editor at Brooklyn Magazine says, “Superiority Burger and Fuku were two of the buzziest, most critically acclaimed concepts to open last year [in NYC], and even Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm and Will Guidara are getting into the act with an affordable to-go spot this year.”
Shake Shack, the New York City based burger chain, declared itself to be fine-casual last year. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Shake Shack explained, “Fine-casual couples the ease, value and convenience of fast casual concepts with the-high standards of excellence in thoughtful ingredient sourcing, preparation, hospitality and quality grounded in fine dining.”
The companies and consumers want to make a difference
Del Taco also says that it considers itself to be more than a Quick Service restaurant (QSR) plus. Dairy Queen has changed its tagline to “Fan Food not Fast Food.” Allen Adamson, the founder of BrandSimple consulting, explains, “Everything can be fast today. What you want to communicate is something more desirable, and, the term fast-food has become the ‘death star’ of the industry.” Adamson also said that if you look back, you realize that there was a time when the idea of getting food quickly was a unique concept, but that restaurants can no longer rely on speed alone to attract customers.
For consumers, it is not just about eating healthy, but they are focusing on doing their bit for the environment, too. They’re getting smarter about what they are eating, and they care more about what they put into their bodies. They do not only want to be fit and healthy, but they also care about the way resources have been arranged and whether what they are putting in their mouths will drain planet’s resources. They want to care for their bodies and the environment, too.