Poll: McD’s to Go the Way of HoJo’s

Jan 21, 2003

By George Anderson

A new poll from SupermarketGuru.com reports that six out of ten respondents are eating less fast food than they were last year. One out of three expect to see fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King downsize as consumers search for more nutritious fare.

Phil Lempert, chief executive of SupermarketGuru.com and a RetailWire BrainTrust member said, “We feel these numbers just scratch the surface of consumer discontent with the fast food experience, and that if chains don’t change their basic approach to food, they will disappear. Their window of opportunity may be as small as five years or they may be irrelevant to the marketplace.”

Mr. Lempert likens the current state of fast-food hamburger joints with the situation Howard Johnson’s faced in the seventies. “In 1975 there were more than 1,000 Howard Johnson’s restaurants coast to coast. Known for their orange roofs, HoJo colas and countless ice cream flavors, Howard Johnson’s owned the travel dining business. But business declined as fast food restaurants popularized. Unwilling to change their marketing or merchandising to accommodate the new consumer fast food trend, today, HoJo has approximately 71 restaurants and their flagship in Times Square is closing.”

Moderator’s Comment: Are McDonald’s and Burger King
out of touch with consumers? If yes, are they in danger of facing a similar
fate to Howard Johnson’s?

Anderson – Moderator

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