Fast Food Market Forecast: The Example of the Strategic Product Positioning Meter

The US fast food market has seen a healthy increase in growth over the last three years, and the forecasts may hold up. The fast food market is forecast to maintain its current growth expectations, with an anticipated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.3% for the five-year period 2005-2010. This is expected to drive the market to a value of $57.6 billion by the end of 2010. Drivers of growth include an increasing number of Americans in the workplace, reducing the amount of time spent preparing meals at home . In 2010, the United States fast food market is forecast to be worth $57.6 billion, an increase of 12.1% from 2005.

Forecast Volume

In 2010, the US fast food market is forecast to have 37 billion transaction volumes (Figure 1). This represents an increase of 5.3% since 2005. The CAGR of market volume over the period 2005-2010 is projected to be 1%.

Success factors

Success factors for fast food franchisees will include product and marketing targeting healthier menu selections, brand consistency, low start-up costs, franchisee support and consumer convenience. Subway® represents a compelling example of a fast food franchisee poised for success in the future fast food market. His strategies transcend the fast food market and apply to many other markets and products.

SWOT analysis

Subway sandwich shops are well positioned to build on their strengths and address reasonable threats, weaknesses, and opportunities. The following table highlights these Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.


  • Size and number of stores and channels
  • The menu reflects the demand for fresh, healthy and fast food.
  • Use of non-traditional channels.
  • Association with the American Heart Association.
  • Worldwide brand recognition.
  • Customizable menu offerings.
  • Low franchise start-up costs.
  • Franchisee training is structured, brief, and designed to ensure a quick start-up and success.


  • The decor is outdated.
  • Some franchisees are not happy.
  • Service delivery is inconsistent from store to store.
  • Employee turnover is high.
  • There is no control over the saturation of franchises in certain market areas.


  • Continue to grow the global business.
  • Update decor to encourage more dine-in business.
  • Improve the Customer Service Model.
  • Continue to expand channel opportunities to include event wagons.
  • Improve franchise relationships.
  • Experiment with the self-service business.
  • Expand the offers of packaged desserts.
  • Please continue to check and update menu offerings.
  • Develop further partnerships with movie producers and toy manufacturers to promote new movie releases through kids’ menu packaging and co-branding opportunities.


  • Riots or litigation of the franchisee.
  • Food contamination (spinach).
  • Competence.
  • Interest costs.
  • economic fall.
  • Sabotage.
  • Law Suits.

competitive analysis

Subway is not without competitive pressures. Major competitors include Yum! Brands, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Jack in the Box. Hmm! The brands are the largest in the world, with 33,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. Four of the company’s highly recognized brands—KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and Taco Bell—are world leaders in the quick-service Mexican food, chicken, pizza and seafood categories. Hmm! has a workforce of 272,000 employees and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

McDonald’s Corporation (McDonald’s) is the world’s largest foodservice retail chain with 31,000 fast food restaurants in 119 countries. The company also operates restaurants under the ‘The Boston Market’ and ‘Chipotle Mexican Grill’ brands. McDonald’s operates primarily in the US and the UK and is headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, employing 447,000 people.

Wendy’s International (Wendy’s) operates three fast food restaurant chains: Wendy’s (the third largest hamburger chain in the world), Tim Horton’s and Baja Fresh. Wendy’s operates more than 9,700 restaurants in 20 countries, has been named to Fortune magazine’s list of America’s Top 500 companies, is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, and employs approximately 57,000 people.

Jack in the Box owns, operates and franchises Jack in the Box quick-service burger restaurants and Qdoba Mexican Grill fast casual restaurants and is headquartered in San Diego, California.

Target market

The rise in sandwich sales has been the result of declining consumer interest in hamburgers and fries and increasing demand for healthier options. Sandwich sales are growing 15 percent annually, outpacing the 3 percent sales growth rate for burgers and steaks.

current marketing program

A new generation of restaurants is making big profits off market-saturated burger joints. Dubbed “fast and casual,” these restaurants are dominated by Mexican chains and sandwich joints that offer freshly baked breads and specialty sandwiches.

Respond to changing consumer expectations for healthy, fresh, and custom-made sandwiches; Subway’s marketing program addresses these expectations through a number of approaches. Most notable were the television commercials featuring Jared. These commercials emphasize the healthy aspects of a Subway sandwich by highlighting the 245 pounds Jared lost by eating a Subway sandwich diet. Subway also markets through a national sponsorship of events such as the American Heart Association’s Heart Walks and local events such as triathlons and children’s sports teams.

The Subway example represents product and marketing strategies that are classic examples of focusing on market demand, consumer trends, product leverage, and innovation. Marketing strategies of creating clear brand recognition, brand and product association, and market demands have strategically positioned Subway to increase market share in the near future. These marketing strategies are also repeatable fundamental marketing strategies that transcend the fast food market. Does your marketing strategy link brand recognition with products that support the future direction of your market?

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