Fast Food Industry External Environment
The Fast Food Industry’s external environment includes six forces outside the industry that can potentially affect or influence it. Demographic, sociocultural, political/legal, technological, economic, and global trends continually fluctuate and must be monitored. Business plans and strategies will be most influential if the industry carefully considers these dynamic forces and act accordingly, as changes in any sector will generally affect the industry to some degree.
Demographic – With each passing year a greater percentage of the population moves from the country to cities or suburbs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics this industry primarily employees first-time job seekers (teens age 16-19), as well as senior citizens and part-time/alternative schedule workers (www.bls.gov). Thus, this trend provides the industry with a greater pool of potential job applicants. It also increases the consumer base. Stores may need to consider adding square footage, or build new stores to adequately supply the demand.
Socioculture – This component looks at changes in cultural behavior, attitudes, and beliefs that may affect demand. A value shift towards increasing materialism has greatly increased the number of dual income families. The US Census Bureau notes that the number of married women (with children) who work has steadily risen from 39% in 1960 to 77% in 2003 (www.census.gov). The convenience of fast food has oftentimes replaced time-consuming home cooked meals. Also, the society’s fast-paced work environment means many employees no longer take one hour lunch breaks. Traditional sit-down restaurants cannot compete with the speed of food delivery. Competition within the industry has also kept fast food prices low, often lower than the cost of packing a meal from home.
An overarching concern of obesity, and shift (at least in theory) towards health, fitness, and a balanced lifestyle continue to...