What is Fast Food Industry Analysis?

Mary McMahon

Fast food industry analysis is a detailed exploration of the fast food industry to identify emerging trends and make projections about the future of this sector of the economy. It usually covers fast food in a specific region or nation to provide detailed information about a particular market. Analysts with experience in economics, politics, and the restaurant industry can be involved in the preparation of a fast food industry analysis. Governments, investors, and members of the fast food industry may commission such an analysis for the purpose of making decisions about business practices and policy moves.

A fast food industry analysis may examine the health effects of restaurants in a given area.
A fast food industry analysis may examine the health effects of restaurants in a given area.

The analysis may start with an overview of the industry. The analyst discusses the history of the industry, with a particular focus on the history in a given region, taking note of historic growth rates and key events. This lays the groundwork for a discussion of the industry in its current state. This can include yearly sales figures, profiles of major fast food companies in a region, and discussions about customer surveys and other tools used to measure public attitudes about fast food.

A fast food analysis covers fast food in a specific region or nation to provide detailed information about a particular market.
A fast food analysis covers fast food in a specific region or nation to provide detailed information about a particular market.

The analyst pulls this information together to make predictions about where the industry is likely to go over the course of the next few years or decades. The fast food industry analysis can discuss the likelihood of growth as well as emerging trends that may be important to know about, like consumer concerns about particular ingredients. It can also look at regulations with a potential to impact the industry, such as changes to health codes, product labeling requirements, and so forth. The fast food industry analysis should provide a complete overview of what to expect in the future.

Members of the industry use analyses to make decisions about how and where to expand. They also use them for adjusting product lineups, working on new advertisements, and reforming corporate missions to align them with consumer interests. If consumers are expressing concerns about animal welfare, for example, a company might choose to pursue humane certification for its animal products to appeal to consumers.

Investors can rely on a fast food industry analysis to make investment decisions, looking for growth sectors in the industry and companies likely to perform well. For regulators, such documents are helpful for identifying new areas of regulatory concern, measuring the effect of regulations on the industry, and developing better regulations to protect consumer interests without damaging those of the industry.

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Discussion Comments


@Mammmood - My cousin took a marketing class where he was required to do an industry analysis example to determine what establishments were successful and why. He chose three well known fast food establishments.

He focused on their product line, their geographic expansion and their profitability and then compared the three companies. His analysis attempted to show in what ways one company was doing better than the other.

He shared some of his results with me and it was very insightful. I concluded that success or failure in the fast food industry was not simply the result of throwing up a sign and hoping consumers would stampede into your restaurant. Even with well known brands, it’s not that simple. Basically you have to do the same market research you would have to do with any business if you want to succeed.


@NathanG - I think that McDonald’s has the biggest portion of the fast food market share, but Wendy’s and Burger King are nipping at its heels.

After all in the final analysis they’re selling the same product; yes, in slightly different packaging and different flavors, but it’s more or less the same.

One of the things that amazes me is how much ongoing research takes place in the fast food industry to try to key in on what the public’s tastes and lifestyle choices are.

For example, after the low carb diets became all the craze, many fast food establishments began offering “wraps” for their typical chicken sandwiches. These wraps were low carbohydrate and from what I’ve read, they’ve sold quite well. I still wouldn’t recommend fast food for good health necessarily, but I suppose an indulgence now and then wouldn’t hurt.


@miriam98 - I think that one of the biggest food industry trends is that the fast food restaurants have become very health conscious. Some of them have added fruits to their lineup of side items although I seriously wonder how much of the public goes for these healthier desserts.

Still, it’s good for public relations to say the least. Also these companies have begun listing nutritional information on their menu items. You’d think this would scare people away, but they still go on gulping down the burgers and fries, sodium, fat and all.


I watched a television program about fast food industry trends in China. In particular they were focusing in on McDonald’s.

That franchise had established a big presence in China but was unveiling plans to expand further, to thousands of stores. One of the things they did was to analyze local culinary preferences and try to adapt the McDonald’s menu to fit those tastes.

So they came up with a whole menu of items that we would not be familiar with here in the United States but were palatable to mainland Chinese. Of course in analyzing where to expand they chose locales that were close to cities, where people would be more amenable to traditional fare like the Big Mac.

That was still the staple of their business and would be for the foreseeable future. It was so interesting to see the Chinese people respond so happily to the fast food company’s presence in their region.

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