The term “fast food” is usually associated with words like greasy, junk and unhealthy.
With a huge push for a healthier lifestyle in today’s obesity-prone world, many people are shying away from the once very popular fast-food restaurants because of their negative stigma. Customers are demanding positive health changes across the fast food segment and restaurant chains are stepping up to this challenge.
Fast food restaurants have pushed to change the perception and quality of their food by adapting their menus and adding new offerings. Chains across the nation have already implemented changes and have also have made promises to be even more health conscious in the coming years. Leading chains such as McDonalds and Wendy’s are making huge improvements and changing the meaning of fast food by introducing more fruits, salads and “premium” burgers to their menus. Other chains like Pizza Hut are taking it a step further by removing all artificial ingredients from the menu. Taco Bell has also begun removing artificial coloring and flavors, high fructose corn syrup and palm oil from their food. Chick-fil-A has stated that more than 20% of their chicken is antibiotic-free with plans to go 100% free by 2019.
To further convey the fresh ingredient message, some restaurants are visibly showing the ingredients they use. In-N-Out places their fresh potatoes on display for customers to see. Diners can be assured that their food is freshly sliced and then fried. When there is a high visibility to fresh ingredients, customer’s perceptions of the food will be more positive.
Fast food restaurants also get a bad rep by being associated with teaching kids poor eating habits. In an effort to shed this image, chains are providing healthier options for younger generations as well as aiding them in making more health-conscious decisions. Chains such as Burger King and McDonalds have removed soda from the selection choices on their kid’s menus, and instead offering milk or apple juice. There are also selections such as apple slices or yogurt that kids can choose from along with the normal fry offering.
Without losing their uniqueness and staple features, restaurants are adapting their old ways to remove the negative stigma associated with fast food. By changing their menus and redesigning their dining experience, restaurants are moving toward a more sustainable business model in today’s health-conscious market.