Fast food may never really go out of style. It’s great for convenience and affordability, and chains are frequently updating their menu selections to include more healthy meals and snacks to appeal to consumers. For example, there may be additions of meat alternatives to accommodate the recent uprise in plant-based eating.
However, while fast-food companies like McDonald’s continue to do better and better financially, there are some chains that aren’t making the most of today’s trends and are falling behind, as shown in 2021 data describing which chains appear to be more or less popular amongst consumers.
And while several fast-food brands are gaining or losing appeal from customers as 2021 progresses, there’s one that stands out as being noticeably less popular as a leading, major fast-food restaurant chain.
And the major national fast-food chain that’s falling out of favor is…
Unfortunately, Burger King hasn’t been meeting its marks or finding success like Wendy’s or McDonald’s, according to 2021 data on fast-food brands’ value from Statista.com. “Burger King used to be the second-largest fast-food chain in the US for sales, and now, Wendy’s has pulled ahead of BK,” according to Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, a dietitian and Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert.
It’s really about what Burger King didn’t do that’s the problem. “According to Statista, 39% of Americans look for healthy options at fast-food restaurants, and Burger King doesn’t appear to know how to cater to this population at all,” she says.
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They made a weak attempt by bringing in the meatless burger, the Impossible Burger, but with poor marketing, combined with the fact that most people think of Burger King as just having burgers and nothing much else (as the name implies), it has decreased in popularity in comparison to other major brands.
“Plus, they don’t have more plant-based or healthy options,” Lakatos says. By not boosting this market’s demand through more options, their sales have dropped, and are continuing to stay at the bottom.
“And with many of their burgers containing a day’s worth of fat and sodium in one burger, as well as more than half a days’ calories (and that’s before you add a soda!), it’s a turn-off for the people who would like healthier options,” Lakatos says. In fact, here’s the #1 worst burger you should never order at Burger King.
By comparison, Chick-fil-A’s net worth continues to rise and The American Customer Satisfaction Index 2020-21 restaurant survey ranked Chick-fil-A as the top chain for the seventh year in a row.
“They focus on client demands for health improvements and they were one of the first fast-food restaurants to offer a gluten-free bun, grilled chicken nuggets, and only use chicken without antibiotics,” Lakatos says. Many other chains have been doing a good job with increasing healthy menu items that are on-trend too.
“More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and people want this to change, so they’re actually looking for healthier options and avoiding places that are known for high fat, high sodium, and high-fat options,” she says.
“The more people who shy away from unhealthy fast-food restaurants and choose fast-food restaurants with healthier options, the better it is for anyone who is interested in improving their health because then more restaurants will step up and start catering to those who want healthier alternatives as well,” Lakatos explains. So, perhaps Burger King should consider stepping it up!
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