The plate — or box and bag, for to-go customers — used to be the final say in consumer satisfaction. Consumers bought a fast food meal because the taste and quality of the food made the grade — or didn't patronize a chain because their food didn’t make the cut. While that's still true, the scope of discerning customers has pulled back to widen the frame, centering on the journey to that box, bag or plate as well.
Fast food sourcing is in a unique position of having to "untrain" itself out of decades of price-centered pursuit and start paying attention to the story of their supply chain as well. Make no mistake, pricing is still important — customers still demand great value for their QSR dollar, after all — but simply moving ingredients from origin to destination won't cut it in terms of competition. Customers are, by virtue of their wallet-votes, beginning to demand more from their chain experiences, and that means that smart QSR brands are paying attention and planning accordingly.