Lessons the Fast Food Industry Can Teach Your Brand

November 2018
Che Stevenson

The fast-food industry can be an unlikely source of inspiration for any business or startup and can teach your brand a thing or two about how to be successful in today’s economy.

The fast-food industry is booming. It doesn’t matter what happens in the market, there is always money for fast food. With some of the biggest names in the industry being recognised globally and making billions of dollars a year, your brand could take inspiration from the fast-food industry and learn a thing or two about what makes a business successful. Here’s a couple of ‘take aways’ to apply to your business.  

Failure is OK!

Do not underestimate the value of taking risks. Using disruptive innovation is a business strategy that can accelerate your growth when done well. However, innovation isn’t always a linear progress. It can take a few failed ventures before you hit on to a winning idea. If you’re scared of failing, you’ll never succeed.  

The fast-food industry is not exempt from failure. In fact, a lot of the big names in fast food have had multiple failed ideas. Meal ideas, promotions and decor choices can all fail. For example, McDonald’s have had many new menu items that should have been a success but flopped massively. McSpaghetti, McHot Dog, McLean Deluxe, I could go on. However, that doesn’t stop them from trying and coming up with the next innovative idea. It only takes one brilliant idea to recuperate their losses and turn things around.

Stand Out from Your Competitors

To a consumer who doesn’t know your industry well, your business and your competitors are interchangeable. You all offer the same product or service, and they don’t know what makes your company the best choice. All a consumer knows is that they can buy from you, or from your competitor. Therefore the consumer will choose between you in one of two ways: by who is cheaper or by brand recognition.

If your service isn’t cheaper but is better, you will need to rely on your reputation and brand recognition to grow your business. Come up with an innovative new idea that will make you stand out from the crowd. The same is true in the fast-food industry. McDonald’s is a huge brand name, and therefore, they have the market covered. A new fast-food chain would struggle to have the same impact if they tried to replicate McDonald’s business model. However, that doesn’t mean that the fast-food industry is too saturated, it simply meant that new chains must find a way to be unique. Subway managed to do this by promoting a ‘healthy’ and ‘fresh’ fast food option so those in need of a quick meal don’t have to make unhealthy choices. Now they are one of the biggest fast-food chains in Australia.

If your company is in a saturated market, you need to either be the cheapest option, or you need to offer a a service that challenges the industy norms. Do this, and your company could become a disruptive innovator to your industry.

Build Systems

It’s well known successful fast food chains use systems to maximise efficiency and profit. People love predictability! If they can get exactly the same quality of product or service each and every time, they will buy it. Even if it’s probably not the best possible option, they will buy it because they know what to expect. What systems can you introduce into your business to produce a consistent product, service and brand experience? By building systems you’ll be able to reproduce your results consistently and scale your business.

So there we have it, lessons in being successful from the fast-food industry. Don’t be afraid to fail, focus on what makes you different and be consistent. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a household name in your industry.

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