The first ever fast food restaurants were the fish and chip shops in Britain in the 1860s but, since then, the industry has expanded to include a variety of foods like hamburgers and pizza.
In 1974 the first McDonalds opened in the UK and the Americanised version of the industry spread rapidly through the country.
Facts and figures
- The first Chinese restaurant in the UK opened in 1908 in London.
- 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac.
- In England, there are 56 638 fast food
- Despite increased regulations in the sector, the number of fast food restaurants in the UK keeps rising.
- There are over 400 schools in the UK that have more than 20 fast food shops nearby.
Quick and easy
Consumers want cheap and easy on-the-go options and fast food restaurants have been able to take advantage of this.
The modern lifestyle keeps getting busier and this makes ready to eat and easy the modern way. This is even opening up space for more high-end fast food shops.
Health is a significant topic of conversation in this industry. This is something that has influenced a lot of fast food menus and some brands have even marketed themselves as the ‘healthier option’.
Healthier independent fast food outlets are also popping up in the UK (in London, in particular). There are more and more vegan fast food shops for customers to choose from and other dietary restrictions, like gluten-free, are being included in several fast food restaurants.
Developments in technology are changing the fast food industry. Customers are can order through Mobile Apps and Facebook have even announced that people will now be able to order fast food through their site.
The way that customers are able to pay has also grown to include contactless payments. These advancements in technology are able to increase the profit margins of many fast food restaurants.
Throughout the McDonald’s restaurants across the UK, touch screen ordering systems have been introduced. These are meant to speed up the ordering process and will probably increase the company’s sales.
Options for consumers
The variety that consumers are able to get hold of is not going anywhere. New brands are opening up in the UK all the time.
Some notable, newer fast food players are Five Guys and Shake Shack. Nando’s is also doing well in the UK market.
When it comes to fast food there really is something for everyone and, for a business owner, this means that each restaurant needs to be sure about what it is they are offering and why people will come to them.
What will the future look like?
People have a steadfast love of fast food, but the industry will see a few changes as technology keeps shaping what’s to come. Already UberEasts has been carrying out trials of food delivery via drone which would cut down on food delivery time quite a bit.
There is also a lot of automation in the fast food industry and this will probably continue happening in the future.
One thing that can’t be ignored is that the fast food industry is going to keep being relevant in the modern economy.
What does this mean for you?
If you are thinking of buying a fast food restaurant, make sure you do a lot of research and find out who your target market is going to be.
The business that you buy needs to be able to keep up with the trends that are happening in this industry.
Think about what area the business is in and who you want to cater for but, as long as you have thought this through and created a thorough business plan, fast food is an industry that is set to continue thriving!