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The Swift Evolution of Quick Service

Stacy Bailey

Some history

Quick service (QSR) and limited-service restaurants (LSR) provide meals at lower price points, typically at a faster pace with a limited menu and table service. The United States has one of the most established QSR industries in the world. Several of the largest global brands originated here and still lead a sizable portion of the global market. Each state is home to countless fast-food restaurants.

Experts in adapting to their environment

At the onset of the pandemic, QSRs began pivoting in extraordinary ways. Think back to the videos and images of bare grocery shelves and consumers stockpiling groceries. At the same time, on-premise dining was generally shut down. Then, QSRs with drive-thrus became widely (and wildly) popular.1

The restaurant industry was hit hard with job losses as operators cut positions to keep businesses afloat. But QSR operators continued to provide jobs and opportunities—in fact, quick service led the industry on the road to operations recovery, adding value to society in unparalleled ways.1

Leading the industry

Quick service restaurant brands flexed their creative muscles during the pandemic, where the freedom to “streamline and simplify menus to increase service and improve operating costs” became an almost overnight norm due to the lack of in-person dining options.1

Establishments added double drive-thru lanes and windows, with employees often working outside to improve communication and service. The days of discounting were lessened, and touchless ordering and pickup was quickly developed and adopted. That’s most likely not going anywhere anytime soon, if ever.1

Ongoing evolution

It’s an exciting time for our industry. The vast increase of online ordering and third-party delivery remains a key QSR driving force, as the near-instant implementation due the pandemic forced operators to quickly adapt—when a similar rollout might have taken years to achieve the same activity and success.1

The industry standards of convenience and affordability paired with superior hospitality technology can offer position QSRs for success. At Surlean Foods, we provide customizable proteins, sides, soups and sauces, so you can offer an appealing menu with ease and efficiency—whether your customers are dining in, carrying out, or ordering through a third-party delivery system.

To start a conversation with our team, visit

1 QSR Magazine, “The Evolution of the Quick-Service Restaurant Experience” Jan. 2022

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