While Carl’s Jr. is building upon its positioning as a purveyor of tasty burgers, the chain remains challenged to meet the growing demand for value in a tough economic environment given elevated operating costs associated with its West Coast orientation.
While Wingstop enjoys strong positioning and adept execution around an extremely popular menu item (propelling the chain into the big league), its progress is dependent on mitigating volatile wing costs which is key given the brand’s orientation towards a lower-income demo in a challenging macro environment.
While Hardee’s has improved its relevancy around its brand positioning, the need to strengthen its value positioning may still be required to drive its top and bottom lines.
While Arby’s is well positioned as a QSR drive-thru player that can serve as a credible alternative to a NY deli, the challenge is to expand its market reach among more affluent consumers sufficient to drive both frequency and checks.
Del Taco is the 2nd largest Mexican QSR, positioned around a wide variety of better-quality food (use of fresh ingredients represents a competitive distinction) offered for reasonable prices. While Del Taco enjoys strong concept fundamentals, the chain is tested by a harsh California business environment aggravated by the brand’s orientation towards a vulnerable, less affluent demo.
Taco Bell is extremely well positioned as the only $1B+ national QSR Mexican player and enjoys the added bonus of being able to tap into a material COGs outperformance to go deeper into value should that be warranted.
While Popeyes enjoys a very strong brand positioning, even as sales moderate from its famous chicken sandwich spike, the current economic challenges for its core lower-income demo combined with huge chicken cost inflation represents a notable sales challenge for an unknown duration.
While Panera is well positioned for the long-term with a healthy halo and digital strength, near-term results may be tempered by the need for: more value in a difficult economy; a return to normal dine-in habits; and a solution to relatively high labor costs.
Church’s is executing around a well-conceived strategic plan that works well in today’s operating environment so long as its target market can survive the ongoing inflation scare.
While KFC is making Southern fried chicken cool again, inflationary pressures pose a challenge to keep things affordable for its traditional low-income demo.