Restaurant Roundup: QSRs Make Changes to Value Menus Amid Inflation

Amid Inflation, QSRs Make Changes to Value Menus

As inflationary challenges continue, restaurant brands are rethinking their value offerings, with some presenting new deals to woo price-conscious customers and others going the other direction, upping prices as ingredient costs rise.

For instance, quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand Domino’s, the world’s largest pizza company, announced Monday (Aug. 15) the return of its 50% off deal for one week, offering the option for pizzas purchased via the brand’s digital direct ordering channels.

“Domino’s has always been focused on value that can feed a family at a reasonable price,” said Frank Garrido, the brand’s executive vice president of U.S. operations and support, said in a statement. “Domino’s stores nationwide are ready to bring pizzas and smiles to customers who are looking to make their money go further this week.”

Similarly, Costa Mesa, California-based chicken restaurant chain El Pollo Loco, which has more than 480 restaurants across six states, announced Thursday (Aug. 18) new value menu options including a $5 combo deal on chicken quesadillas and a $24 family meal option.

Meanwhile, Restaurant Brands International-owned QSR brand Burger King has replaced its $5 Your Way Deal value offering with a deal priced at $6 or $7, offering more food along with this price increase, suggesting that the chain has been readjusting the deal to find a way to be more profitable without alienating consumers too much.

Certainly, diners have been rethinking their restaurant spending in search of more affordable food options, as prices rise. Findings from PYMNTS’ study “Consumer Inflation Sentiment: July 2022 — Consumers Pull Back and Prepare for the Long Haul,” which drew from a July survey of nearly 3,800 U.S. adults, revealed that 77% of consumers are shifting to eating more at home instead of at restaurants in response to inflation.

Read more: As Prices Rise, Three-Quarters of Consumers Eat at Home More Often

July’s Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) data, reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), noted that food at home (i.e., grocery) prices increased 13%, and food away from home (i.e., restaurant) prices rose 8%.

Plus, findings from a national online study of 3,783 consumers conducted by PYMNTS last month revealed that consumers feel the effects of these increases to an even greater extent, reporting that they are paying 20% to 30% more for retail and grocery purchases and to eat at restaurants.

See more: Why Retailers Should Worry About Inflation but Dread the Wealth Effect

Starbucks Reconfigures Leadership Team, Eliminates COO Position

As Starbucks, the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue, looks to adjust for the digitally shifted future, the company is rethinking its C-suite. The company announced Thursday that it is getting rid of its chief operating officer role at the end of the fiscal year, shifting some of the position’s responsibilities to Frank Britt, executive vice president and chief strategy and transformation officer.

“Given the moment we find ourselves in with our Reinvention underway, this is the right decision as we chart the course and the future path for Starbucks,” current Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote in a letter to Starbucks partners, adding that he would transition to an advisory role Oct. 3 and leave the company at the end of the year. “After 20 years with this incredible company, I am sincerely grateful for the many opportunities I have been given to impact Starbucks growth around the world and, in doing so, have a positive impact for the many partners I have served.”

Wendy’s Announces New Off-Premise-Centric Store Design

As QSRs look to solidify the digital ordering gains of the past few years into a strong, long-term omnichannel business, many are rethinking their physical spaces to accommodate this shift. Wendy’s, for its part, announced Wednesday (Aug. 17) the launch of a new restaurant design for domestic and international locations, entitled Global Next Gen, which includes designated spaces for off-premise orders.

These stores feature a delivery pickup window, pickup shelves for mobile orders and parking spaces for these mobile customers, among other design updates such as new back-of-house technology, more efficient kitchens and more.

“To accelerate our business and expand our footprint across the globe, we must consistently meet the needs of our customers however they chose to engage with Wendy’s, whether that’s through a digital platform or in the drive-thru,” Wendy’s President and CEO Todd Penegor said in a statement. “Global Next Gen enhances the customer experience across ordering channels and streamlines operations for our crew, all while creating better returns for franchisees.”