Millennials in the US are ditching chains like McDonald’s for different kinds of fast food
Pizza chains like Domino’s have seen sales almost double in the last decade
By Kate Taylor
The fast food business is no longer dominated by burgers-and-fries or fried chicken.
According to a poll from MSN Americans are more interested in pizza and Mexican food than traditional burger and chicken joints: 37 to 32 per cent respectively.
MSN polls its readers, and then uses machine learning to model how a representative sample of the US would have responded, using big data, such as the Census. It’s nearly as accurate as a traditional, scientific survey.
The poll also found roughly twice as many people say their favourite burger place is Wendy’s versus Burger King or McDonald’s, and it’s even more pronounced among younger Americans. Roughly half the country admits to eating fast food at least once a week.
While McDonald’s and other burger chains are synonymous with fast-food for many customers, the rise of pizza and Mexican chains shouldn’t come as a shock.
Pizza chains have been on the rise in recent years. Smaller fast-casual chains such as Blaze Pizza and PizzaRev have had explosive growth, establishing a new kind of pizza chain.
However, perhaps the biggest winner in the pizza industry in 2017 is Domino’s. In the last nine years, the chain has nearly doubled its sales, reaching US$10.9 billion in 2016, compared to US$5.5 billion in 2008.
Domino’s, along with other big-name pizza chains Papa John’s and Pizza Hut, have led the industry in two of the hottest restaurant industry trends in 2017: digital ordering and delivery. While other fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s are still fine-tuning apps and rolling out delivery tests, at least half of all orders at all of the “big three” pizza chains are through digital channels.
Then, there’s Mexican fast-food.
Similar to pizza, Mexican chains in the US are thriving thanks to both a plethora of smaller fast-casual chains and the success of a few big names. Chipotle — which first introduced many Americans to the Mission-style burrito — is once again on the up-and-up, and there are also a number of new comers following in the fast-causal chains’ footsteps.
However, the power of Taco Bell cannot be ignored. While few would argue that the chain attempts authenticity, Taco Bell’s twisted creations have been on fire in recent years.
In May, parent company Yum Brands reported that Taco Bell’s same-store sales grew eight per cent in the first quarter, with sales bolstered by the success of the chain’s Naked Chicken Chalupa. Traffic grew by five per cent, despite industry concerns of an incumbent restaurant recession.
Traditional burger chains and fried chicken joints are unlikely to die out any time soon. Fried chicken especially has been on a hot streak, with the growth of chain’s like Chick-fil-A and non-chicken brands like Taco Bell and Burger King adding more fried chicken to the menu.
However, with millennials’ appreciation for fast food that goes beyond burgers and fries, it’s clear that McDonald’s may not be the king of fast-food forever.
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