International Tastes, Dogs, Entertainment Collabs Mark Most-Read QSR Stories

In a year marked by intense domestic and international conflict -- and Taylor Swift -- the list of most-read restaurant stories reads kind of like 2023 itself: all over the place. From entertainment celebrity promos to corporate announcements, flavor trends to comedic and dog-filled ads, Marketing Daily readers tuned in to a wide range of QSR and fast-casual coverage. Here’s a rundown of the top 10.

Most-read for the year was "Conveyor-Belt Sushi: Asian-Based Fast-Casual Chains A Hit In U.S.," which discussed the popularity of Asian-based chains like Kura Sushi, which brought the concept to American diners, allowing them to grab plates of sushi that moved past on a conveyor belt.

Korean chain Bonchon is capitalizing on Americans’ increasing interest in Korean food and culture, as well its continuing obsession with hot chicken. The trend of new, international and spicy tastes will continue through 2024, as recently reported here.



In our second most-read story, "McDonald's Reports Double-Digit Growth, Teases Spinoff Brand," we have growth financials -- but I suspect that isn’t what caught readers’ eyes. The story was Marketing Daily’s first mention of the long-teased and much-gossiped-about CosMc’s, McDonald’s beverage-based spin-off. The Chicago area location has since launched this month and experienced intense popularity, as some customers waited over four hours on opening day to try a Chai Frappé Burst or Spicy Queso Sandwich.

A few other stories had one feel-good aspect in common: dogs. Number three talked about Scooter’s Coffee National Dog Day promotions. IHOP took American’s love of all things canine further with a spot in the first TV campaign for IHOP’s retail coffee, coming in at number five. In the ad, a  woman sits in her kitchen with a cup of IHOP coffee (the mug emblazoned with her dog). Behind her is the same wall-size painting of the dog, and she also wears a T-shirt with her dog’s image. After she explains she had all these items specially made, she shrugs and says,  "We like what we like.”

Yet another well-known “Dogg” is featured in the sixth most-read story, where the entertainment mogul and rapper Snoop Dogg lends his celebrity to Grubhub. In one spot Snoop raps the original “Did Somebody Say Grub Hub?” catchy track over a montage of the various outrageous locations where he has Grubhub deliver his favorite meals.

Two holiday entertainment collaborations made the list, with "Krispy Kreme Buddies Up With Warner Bros. For 'Elf'-Inspired Collection" coming in at number four during the holiday season. The limited time Elf-themed boxed set featured the Buddy Snow Globe Doughnut and the Buddy Makes Breakfast Doughnut among others, and captured the festive spirit of the classic Warner Bros. film.

The second entertainment story comes in at number seven: "Wendy's Teams Up With DC To Support Foster-Care Adoption With New Frosty Boo! Books." In yet another collab with Warner Bros., Wendy’s offered customers a DC-inspired coupon book for $1 with five free Jr. Frosty treats, featuring iconic Frosty characters dressed up as DC Superheroes.

Alas, poor fries, I knew them well -- said no one in Canada, as KFC removed the chain’s unpopular fries from the country’s menus nationwide. In "Shed A Tear For 'Dead' KFC Canada Fries, Mourned During 'Funeral'," coming in at number nine, the chain announced its new Seasoned Fries by killing off the old fries, publicizing the change with a custom KFC hearse driven through the streets of Toronto and holding a “funeral” live-streamed on YouTube.

The list was completed with more corporate news, with "Chili's Hires VP Marketing Steve Kelly" at number eight, and" KFC Rises To Top of Yum Brands Financials In 2003 Q2 Repor"t rounding out the list at number 10.

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