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The Reasons Why Fast Food Restaurants Are So Popular

Fast food restaurants are everywhere. In the USA they are surely popular, as most of the iconic international chains come from here, but at the fact they are successful in several parts of the world. Even here in Italy it is not uncommon to find long queues at some branches of famouses American burger brands and less people inside other kinds of places. The success of fast food is undoubtedly high and several reasons are at the basis of the popularity of these restaurants.

Some products exposed at the counter of a fast food restaurant.

Some products exposed at the counter of a fast food restaurant.

Fast Food is Cheap

In the USA it is not uncommon to find fast food products at a very cheap price while, at the opposite, healthy and organic items are generally very expensive. This is even true at the supermarket, and at the fact the USA even feature different chains of markets, some of them more targeted to low-budget fast food items and some others for people who prefer to spend more in order to get healthy food. In Italy we don’t have this big gap between healthy and junk food and even supermarkets tend not to be particularly targeted: here healthy food is not a luxury and almost everyone can afford to buy fruits, vegetables and biological stuff, still, when it comes to restaurants, we still have fast food chains selling stuff at very low prices compared to those of traditional restaurants with table-service. There are several reasons behind these low prices, including a strong bargaining power towards the suppliers (thanks to the great popularity of the fast food brand) and the big volume of customers that makes it possible to lower the mark up on the single items.

Fast Food is Good Tasting

Most people love the taste of fast food. Sandwiches are often caloric and loaded of sauces, while side dishes like French fries or nuggets meet the taste of several people. There is a general love for the taste of fried stuff and of caloric food. This is added to the love for pastries, and in fact fast food restaurants often feature also a wide selection of ice creams, donuts, croissants, cakes and other sugary stuff.

Some pastries exposed in a fast food restaurant.

Some pastries exposed in a fast food restaurant.

Fast Food Chains Invest Much in Marketing

The biggest fast food chains are generally very aggressive when it comes to invest in marketing. They put much money into TV commercials, internet ads, social media marketing and promotions inside food delivery apps. There are several reasons behind this huge investment in marketing:

  • Big fast food labels often make ads targeted to kids. Kids generally love fast food and commercials make them even more wanting to grab the new arrived burger or to simply go because some famous testimonials are featured. These kids ask their parents to go to the fast food restaurant and this leads to entire families going to dine out in order to make children happy.
  • Other ads are targeted more to students and workers and often highlight the low prices for having a meal at the fast food restaurant before coming back to work. Considering the crisis and the fact not many people can afford to spend much for dining out, these places represent a very cost-effective solution for those who want to save money and still eat in a comfortable place and sitting at the table instead of grabbing lunch from home and eating it in a hurry inside the office (even if bringing lunch from home is surely the most cost effective and - generally talking - also the healthiest solution).
  • Fast food chains generally give much importance to delivery. Promoting delivery services and investing in highlighted positioning on the various platforms allow them to ensure a good number of loyal customers who order food from home. This is not only an additional income, but also represents a big safety in situations like the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Aggressive advertisement: fast food chains release frequent TV commercials and always propose new products. This is a way to let the customers know that they can still enjoy a new experience whenever they go to a restaurant, giving an idea of being always innovative. This also keeps the attention on the general brand over the years, making sure it continues to keep its value from generation to generation. If a fast food chain would suddenly stop to invest in marketing just because ‘everyone already knows it’, there is a risk of a gradual loss of interest for it, specially with the arrival of new generations that would, at this point, grow without seeing any ad of the chain. Then, a potential new competitor could easily invest in advertisement and conquer the hearts of these new generations.
Nuggets are another very popular item at fast food restaurants. They are usually vegetarian or with chicken meat.

Nuggets are another very popular item at fast food restaurants. They are usually vegetarian or with chicken meat.

In general, the success of fast food restaurants lays in a mix of strong marketing techniques, ability to keep the prices low and the fact their food is loved by most people. Plus, they are usually family friendly and also good for students, workers and people who want to eat something without spending too much. And you, do you like going to fast food restaurants or do you prefer other kinds of places?

© 2021 Alessio Ganci

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