The QSR segment rarely makes apologies for what it is; after all, not every consumer wants to eat better, all the time. But there are always new operators testing the waters, looking for a point of differentiation. In California — the birthplace of the modern fast food industry — there’s a new concept that sells only grass-fed organic beef hamburgers. Burger Lounge currently has two locations in Southern California, in La Jolla and San Diego. The menu notes that the benefits of grass-fed beef go beyond simple nutrition. There’s talk about how grass-fed helps to reduce global-warming, and balance soil fertility. Those who aren’t interested in beef can try the turkey burger, while those looking to avoidcompletely can sample the vegetarian “quinoa” burger. The menu also boasts fresh salads, hand-cut French fries and onion rings.
Quick-service restaurants aren’t exempt from the health and wellness movement, even if their menu offerings are the antithesis of better-for-you foods. The Big Three — McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s — have tried to include more healthful choices, with mixed results (you had only 10 months to try Wendy’s fruit salads before they were pulled).