Overview of the Quick Service Industry
The fast food, or quick service restaurant industry (QSR), represents approximately 200,000
restaurants and $155 billion in sales in the U.S. alone, they are one of the largest segments of the
food industry (Hoovers, 2011).
This segment of the restaurant industry is “highly competitive
and fragmented… number, size and strength of competitors vary by region, market and even
restaurant. All of these restaurants compete based on a number of factors, including taste, quality,
speed of service, price and value, name recognition, restaurant location, customer service and the
ambience and condition of each restaurant” (Chipotle, 2010).
The QSR industry is seeing growth due to the fact that today’s society is more strapped for time
According to the American Sociological Review, “more than 50% of American
families are dual earner household…multitasking allows parents to accomplish more within a
limited amount of time” (Offer & Schneider, 2011).
However, with both heads of the house
working part-time or full time jobs people have less time to prepare meals and QSRs offer
another way for these families to multitask and save time. In 2011 the QRS industry saw stock
values beat the overall restaurant market. Bloomberg U.S. Quick-Service Restaurant Index,
gained 13.5 percent while the full service restaurant index dropped by 1 percent (Wolf, 2012).
Power of Buyers
Power of Suppliers
New Entrant Threat
While entry into the quick service industry has low barriers (Cambrian Group, 2011) it is highly
competitive and has high saturation. Only 40-50% of new entrants will survive their first year
and see profits (Paiz et. al., 2011 p.4).
While many of players in the QSR industry are franchises,
approximately 300,000 (Franchise Direct), Chipotle operates differently.
All of their locations
are company owned and have relatively low start up costs (“Chipotle Mexican Grill”, 2007).
Due to this Chipotle is able to grow their bottom line much quicker than new entrants into the
While others may see low success rate in the first year due to start up costs,
Chipotle is able to effectively generate profit and growth quickly.
In the sub-category for quick service Mexican restaurants, Chipotle competes with Qdoba, Moe’s
Southwest Grill, Baja Fresh, Taco Bell and El Pollo Loco.
Mexican quick service accounts for
$5 billion of the $20 billion market (Cambrian Group, 2011).
At the end of 2010 Taco Bell held
the largest market share among Mexican QSRs with 52% of the market and 5,635 locations in
the U.S. and 262 locations in 21 foreign countries (Yum! Brands, 2011).
Qdoba in contrast holds
locations in 42 states for a total of 583 locations (Jack in the Box, 2011).
Threat of Substitutions