The global economic crisis forced consumers in the United States to think twice about where to spend their foodservice dollars. This rethink aided the United States fast food market, which is though of as the cheaper option when eating out. Now that the United States has left its recession consumers are freer with their money, although most are still unable or unwilling to spend higher prices at a full-service restaurant. This is benefiting the fast food market, which is now seen as a low-value treat during a time of thrift.
The fast food market in the United States during 2011 saw McDonalds continue to dominate with a 17% share of the industry. Despite numerous other chained restaurants in the marketplace, the company grew by 6% in value sales, hitting $34.2 billion by the end of the year. Improved menu offerings have helped McDonalds appeal to a wide demographic, including young people, women and families.
The year saw Wendy's replace Burger King as the second place company in the US fast food market, overtaking Burger King for the first time with a 9% market share. Key factors for this surge in growth has to be placed down to aggressive innovation, including adding premium menu items, a new breakfast menu, and the addition of investment into the brand.
One of the big trends witnessed during 2011 was the focus on outlet remodelling, in an attempt to create a more refined and pleasant dinning experience for customers. McDonalds has been at the forefront of this change, with its Plan to Win strategy first being adopted in 2003. Burger King, Wendy's and Subway have all now begun remodelling initiatives in order to compete with the market leader in terms of dinning experience and consumer satisfaction.
The United States fast food market is expected to see growth of 1.8% year-on-year between 2011 and 2016. This figure represents a slow-down in growth over previous years. Threats to continued growth include saturation of the marketplace, and the resulting limitations in expansion opportunities.
For more information on the United States fast food market, see the latest research: United States Fast Food Market
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