Here, we will give a brief intro on fast food business, explain what it is and its pros and cons. We will also look at some facts surrounding fast foods just to give an amateur reader the idea of the whole business. "The Fast Food is the type of food which is fast (in avail), more convenient and in many cases inexpensive." (Harvey, 2004, p. 144) It can be bought from any place which sells foods or different kinds of snacks such as in different kinds of restaurants, stores or even the vending machines. It is made very popular mainly because of its cheap price, like in less than five dollars a person can get its desired filling meal. "It is also considered to be cheap because it is made out of less expensive ingredients like meat which is of high in fat or cholesterol instead of the much healthy lean meat." (Ann, 2000, p. 133).
However, it should not be considered as 'Bad', it may be much greater in calories or fat but eating it once or twice in a week does not causes anyone any harm "although those individuals with heart related problems such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity should not consider eating fast food on a regular basis" (Iggers, 1996, p. 224). There are different chains of fast food which are now changing their services in reply to the customers in bringing much desired and more 'health friendly' ingredients, ingredients which are low in fat, have different kinds of healthy fruits and vegetables in addition. Much of these chain restaurants are of multinational companies such as KFC, McDonalds, Subway and so on.
Here are some interesting facts about the fast food industry, on average in every month, some eight out of ten of the children in the Northern American hemisphere visit any fast food place such as KFC, Subway or any local restaurant.
The investment in this business has rose in huge proportions in the last couple of decades, in the Americas its total worth is more than one hundred and forty billion dollars. Besides the fast food available in the restaurants, there are many different types of cold drinks, coffees or other drinks. Nowadays, we can organize birthday parties or different other types of celebratory events at these restaurants which offer many different kinds of deals in the favor of the customer.
Besides the regular food and drink, there is a separate play area for children in many restaurants where the children can involve in healthy and fun exercises and can also socialize with other children present. "The total quantities of fast food services are steadily rising, in the United States more than three hundred thousand are present." (Taylor, 2004, p . 119).
"It is also considered to be a highly advertised field" (Roberts, 2001, p. 121), where roughly a person in the United States views more than ten thousand ads related to fast food in a year. This business is also considered as a huge employer (in the South American nation of Brazil, fast food industry employs the most personnel).
It is also the fact that soon after the opening of McDonalds in the Arabian Gulf region (after first Gulf War), the queues for the people (waiting in their cars) was more than 7 kilometers. Fast food companies are the biggest buyer of beef, potatoes and the second biggest buyer of chicken throughout the world. They are also one of the biggest owners of land property in the world.
However, there is a negative side to all this progress as well. Some of the criticizers of this industry say it threatens small businesses, "some even suggest that eating the hamburger meat served at these restaurants can result in Alzheimer's disease." (Oddy, 2003, p . 127).
"It can also give huge levels of insulin, which is connected with the Type 2 Diabetes" (Tinker, 1997, p. 139). Critics say because of people's habit of eating at restaurants more and more cases of diabetes are appearing (more than five hundred thousand every year). A single item like Double Whopper (burger) contains more than nine hundred calories which means that a person has to jog for more than eight kilometers in burning it off.
In this paper, we will discuss methods to start a new business in fast food industry and develop a 'Marketing mix' strategy for fast food takeaway (keeping regard of all the facts and figures explained in the introduction as well).
Fast Food Industry
The business of fast food is rapidly growing in Europe and the United States. The correct management of such a business from the start is very crucial and it is what defines the success of the business owner. Some of the main points which should be looked after when dealing with this business are the Qualification and the Skills of the management as well as the staff, proper resolution on all the market and trading issues, legislation procedure and so on.
The business owner should always make sure that it has the required amount of funds to start the business venture of the fast food "there should be enough money to carry on the business for at least two years since the success is not guaranteed at first instance and the funds are always required when the base of the business i.e. The customer consumption fails to grow as planned." (Grew, 1999, p . 209).
The funds are used in many different places such as the rent fees, the complete or partial insurance, payment of the equipment, payment of the supplies, payment of the food, the salary of the employees, the promotion of the business through advertisement and so on. In many cases, business loan are considered for the startup of the business, in this case the right amount of loan purchase must be necessary which can be paid back on the monthly basis.
Information must be gathered about the business as much as possible. All the laws and regulations regarding the business (the local zoning laws and all of the necessary health codes must be followed at all cost). Get the business license before the start of the business. A complete plan should be made highlighting all the objectives that needs to be achieved in the short-term as well as the long-term by the business regarding everything (such as costs, the overall strategies of marketing and profit making and so on).
If possible, try to buy into franchise which has shown to be a success. This makes the chances of success of the business owner more. This process may be more expensive but at the same time, the owner will find it easy to get a loan to start up its business since a well-known name is easily given loan under easy conditions and if anything goes wrong afterwards then the parent corporation is always there to help the individual business owner.
In the case where the owner wants to start a new fast food restaurant without any affiliation, then it should firmly decide what the concept should be, which age group or gender group should be more attracted towards the restaurant.
Owner of these restaurants should not forget that they face very tough competition from many of the popular franchises, the owner should come up with attractive concepts that make him unique among all of the competitors, it can reduce the price of the products it offers, it can offer many type of special deals which can be much better than anyone else, it can also offer other services such as different discount rates, different kinds of toys for kids with their meals, free stuff that people prefer to have or just a neat and beautiful environment for the customer.
The owner should put a thorough decision on the kinds and variety of fast food that it will provide to the customer. There are many that offer different types of cuisines besides the regular food like Chinese, Italian, French, Spanish, Indian and so on. The development of an easy menu for the customer is also very essential. Menu can contain different types of 'Combo' meals.
"The employees are the backbone of an organization" (McCuaig, 2003, p .87), therefore it is very necessary that talented persons (with experience if possible) given the top most priority for the related job. Interview is an important phase in hiring, if the manager does not have the expertise then it should hire someone who has. The employees should be aware of the high standards that they need to follow in the workplace.
They should also be aware of all the ethics, code of conducts, rules and regulations of the workplace. The senior level management should take steps in training the employees further even if they come from a related background. Furthermore, they can be taught of manners and discipline, the ways on how to treat a customer in different situations.