Chick-fil-A has a plan. The plan is not a new one per se. Other fast food chains have tried the strategy before, but did not achieve all that much success. Chick-fil-A has faith in the new menu items, which are heavy on the healthy side. Some of the items are a bit odd. Roasted butter nut squash is a pretty unique item to find on a fast food menu. Whether or not the supremely health conscious consumer will be willing to venture into Chick-fil-A to buy them won’t be answered right away.
The fast food world has absolutely changed over the past two decades. In the 1980’s, fast food was bashed for being unhealthy. McDonald’s responded by releasing the disastrous McLean Deluxe healthy hamburger. No one bought it because no one cared about eating healthy at McDonald’s. Yes, people new fast food restaurants were not exactly bastions of fitness. No one really cared. Over time, sensibilities and attitudes changed. Customers do worry about what a steady diet of really awful fast food can do.
The fast food industry – McDonald’s and others – long since realized that “good foods” needed to be on the menu. This is why salads are featured so prominently in restaurants that never, ever would have entertained the notion of offering greens in the 1970’s. All that has changed.
Chick-fil-A reveals the absolute change in business models fast food chains have been employing. In the glory days of fast food, making something fast meant deep frying or skillet frying things. Menus had to be kept simple and straight-forward. Hamburgers were perfect for fast food restaurants because they are easy to make and people know what they are getting. Similar chicken and fish sandwiches followed. In time, the ability to make more complex fast food items became possible thanks to new innovations in kitchen technology and appliances. Even longer preparation was not much of a problem since history reveals how to time the rollout of certain foods at certain amounts at particular times of the day.
Since customers worry about sugar and fat content, they are more demanding of their meal choices. If nothing nutritious is available, they simply will skip the restaurant. Keeping these customers in the fold is a reason to make menu items healthier.