The Fast Food Industry: Positioning and Competitive Advantage

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The Fast Food Industry: Positioning and Competitive Advantage

INTRODUCTION
The fast food industry is an ever growing industry regardless of the concerns from many about the health and obesity risks. Despite these risks associated with fast food consumers continue to return indicating there is a high level of competition amongst several members of this industry. This paper will examine and discuss the five following major fast food restaurant chains: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and Sonic. The all intensive purpose of this paper is to focus on the fast food restaurant industry by exploring the above mentioned chains, the competitive factors in which encompass the industry, the company level factors that capture the firm’s positions relative to others in the industry, and how each firm is able to sustain a competitive advantage. Ultimately, the intent of this paper is to convey a complete understanding of the industry and how they sustain their positions as well as competition. Industry

The fast food industry seems to have a pull on all different types of people across the United States. To simply put it, for the average busy American it is fast, convenient, and easy. Not only does the fast food industry employ almost two million employees it also sells over $100 billion dollars worth of fast food every year (Naik, 2010). The above statement gives us a better picture of the impact the fast food industry has on the United States. Accordingly, we will begin to explore the following five restaurants individually: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and Sonic. The next segment will give a small profile of each company describing each fast food restaurant.

McDonald’s
McDonald’s is well known for their hamburgers and french fries. McDonald’s has a menu that is appealing to everyone from the health conscious person with salads and oatmeal’s to the preschool kid with happy meals and a toy. According to the McDonald’s website, “McDonald’s is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 33,500 restaurants serving nearly 68 million people in 119 countries each day” (“Company Profile”). Burger King

Burger King has become highly famous for the saying “Have It Your Way”, meaning you can have your burger any way you want, cheese or no cheese, onions, pickles, or even just plain with meat and a bun. Recently, Burger King has added frappes and smoothies to their menu hopping to appeal to a wider span of consumers. The Burger King website states that “every day, more than 11 million guests visit Burger King Restaurants around the world, and they do so because our restaurants are known for serving high-quality, great-tasting, and affordable food” (“About BK”). Wendy’s

Wendy’s is most famous for their unique squared cut hamburger patties. Wendy’s was named after the founder Dave’s red headed daughter. In today’s commercials you see the actual “Wendy” promoting the latest menu items. The Wendy’s website describes Wendy’s as “the world’s third largest quick-service hamburger company…including more than 6,500 franchise and Company restaurants in the U.S. and 27 other countries and U.S. territories worldwide” (“The Wendy’s Company”). Taco Bell

In our local area of Arizona Taco Bell is the only fast food restaurant where you can get a Mexican cuisine. Taco Bell is known for its late hours even coining the term the “fourth meal”. The Taco Bell website describes Taco Bell as “as the nation’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain…it serves more than 36.8 million consumers each week in nearly 5,600 restaurants in the U.S” (“About Taco Bell”). Sonic

Sonic has the 1950’s drive thru feel, including service where you can get hamburgers, hotdogs, or milkshakes while the carhops skate their way to your vehicle to personally deliver your meal. In today’s time this is an unorthodox method for receiving fast food, however it is greatly appreciated by the consumers. The Sonic website states...
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