- The global fast food market is expected to be worth more than $690 billion in 2022 with a compound annual growth rate of 4.2% from 2017 to 2022. The market was capitalized at over $539 billion in 2016, according to a report from Zion Market Research.
- In addition to growth in sales from drive-thrus, the adoption of Western fast food in emerging economies is expected to help grow this market further. More hectic lifestyles among dual-income households and an increased preference for cheap food with no waiting time also is expected to positively impact fast food growth.
- A shift in preference for natural and healthy food due to the rising occurrence of obesity in developed countries could negatively impact the growth of fast food, according to the report.
With the fast food industry reaching saturation levels in the U.S., many chains have been increasing their international footprints to keep growing. Taco Bell plans to open 600 restaurants in India during the next 10 years. FAT Brands is also eyeing the country, with plans to open 60 co-branded Fatburger and Buffalo's Express units within the next 10 years. Restaurant Brands International also plans to grow Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes abroard. It grew its international units by 1,000 in 2018, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A growing middle class with more disposable income, especially in Asia-Pacific, as well as time-strapped youth turning to fast food for a quick food option, has helped the growth of the market abroad.
While the fast food industry in the U.S. is expected to slow to about a 2% annual growth rate through 2022, fast food isn't exactly falling out of favor with Americans, either. Nearly half of all consumers will grab takeout or hit up a fast food joint once per week.
Expectations for speed of service and quality have risen, and overall customer satisfaction declined among fast food customers over the last year, according to American Customer Satisfaction Index Report. But consumers still have their preferences, with Chick-fil-A taking top marks in this report for the fourth year in a row.
Many fast food restaurants have been turning to new technology, including self-order kiosks, voice-automated drive-thrus and mobile apps, to help increase speed of service. All of these innovations will help increase efficiency and help fast food restaurants growth their same-store sales as well.