Changes to Fast-Food Menus in 2022

Joel Eisenberg

As the economy remains volatile, fast-food chains attempt to keep up with consumer demand while managing their bottom lines.

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In-N-Out BurgerIn-N-Out.com

Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: TasteofHome.com, People.com, Wikipedia.org, and CNN.com.

Introduction

In an article published this week by TasteofHome.com, “The Best New Fast-Food Items of 2022,” fast-food menu items are being added at a hastened pace during the second half of 2022. Though some have already been apended to today’s crowded fast-food marketplace offerings, others are imminently available. People.com, in its piece entitled “All the New Menu Items at Your Favorite Chain Restaurants and Fast Food Joints,” is more comprehensive in content and lists dozens of new menu additions.

But what are the reasons behind the plethora of current menu additions, and also subtractions? Is this just a seasonal, or random, event? Or, are there specific rationales behind the individual company decisions?

Let us explore further.

About Fast-Food Menu Changes, 2022

Fast-food, which is also widely referred to as “America’s comfort food,” continues to adapt in response to ever-shifting economic conditions.

Wikipedia features a comprehensive overview of the industry, which states: Fast food is a type of mass-produced food designed for commercial resale, with a strong priority placed on speed of service. It is a commercial term, limited to food sold in a restaurant or store with frozen, preheated or precooked ingredients and served in packaging for take-out/take-away. Fast food was created as a commercial strategy to accommodate large numbers of busy commuters, travelers and wage workers.

According to trade site Zippia.com’s “19 U.S. Fast Food Industry Statistics [2022]: Revenue, Trends, and Predictions,” the fast-food industry as a whole is burgeoning:

  • The United States has 197,653 fast food restaurant businesses as of 2021
  • The US fast food industry market size (by revenue) is $296.6 billion as of 2021.
  • The expected CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of the US fast food industry is 5.1% from 2020-2027.
  • Globally, the fast food industry generated $797.7 billion in revenue over 2021.

Typically, as with our current pandemic era, menu items change in times of volatility to remain relevant and, subsequently, competitive.

As an example why restaurants in general and fast-food companies specifically streamline their offerings, an archived June of 2020 article from CNN.com — published during the height of the pandemic —“Restaurant Menus are Getting Smaller. Here's What Some Big Chains are Dropping,” addressed the issue: The industry has been hit hard by efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. From March to May, eating and drinking place sales were $94 billion below expected levels, according to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association. Reopening will be difficult as well. The slimmer menus are a way to shed complexities and costs, and push simpler or more popular items at a time when conserving cash is crucial for restaurant operators.

Though the rise of Covid-19 may be considered an extreme example, the larger point is whether it’s the economy, a war, or a stock crash of a specific fast-food company, any appearance of volatility can impact most any industry.

Conclusion

In at least one sense, fast-food companies are not unlike most any other businesses: They will continue to change their offerings based on the demands of an ever-evolving marketplace.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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