How Millennials Are Changing The Fast Food Empire

Millennials Are Slowly Saving The Fast Food Industry

Go ahead and eat that fourth crunchy taco, boo.

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I like fancy brunch places with aesthetic food and bottomless mimosas like the next person, but there's something about the guilty pleasure of fast food that has me coming back again and again- especially after (or during!) a night out. Personally, I have had a struggle with my semi-addiction: I blame it on the fact that my overprotective parents treated McDonald's as more of a special occasion treat than an actual meal.

When senior year of high school hit, and my friends finally staged an intervention when they found out I'd never had a McFlurry, it was like I had entered a new world. Fast forward a few years and you could find me bringing (and eating) a taco bell 12 pack at whatever kickback I had somehow dragged myself to that week. I'm not alone in my sentiment, however, and I began to become extremely interested in the zeal my friends and many others on social media had for fast food. It wasn't until I did some digging recently and found out how much of an impact our generation has had on the fast food industry, and how we're (probably) changing it for the better.

I have such a soft spot for Taco Bell, if you couldn't tell already, the first corporation I decided to research was Yum! Brands, the parent company of my favorite guilty pleasure. They also own KFC, Pizza Hut, and Wingstreet, FYI.

Back in 2010, the market price for one share was around $30. They experienced gradual growth, eventually reaching about $50 a share in 2015. In the last 3 years, however, Yum! Brands grew exponentially, eventually reaching a peak of around $90 a share- triple the amount from just under 10 years ago.

This is absolutely no fluke. Undergoing some rebranding and leadership changes, this mega-corporation that was the mastermind behind the Doritos Locos tacos and the Doritos Quesalupa Crunch continues to display constant and quite staggering growth, especially in the face of failing chain brands like Applebee's or Chilis. Yum! Brands have realized an important thing about this burgeoning foodie market- sure we can really appreciate a hefty and decadent feast at Habana on Sundays, but that meal will probably set us back $40 we shouldn't be able to spend.

As much as we love a good, rich, and luxurious meal, we also adore cheap deals that fill us up and soaks up all the excess alcohol. It's not to say that they have completely ignored our increasingly healthy eating habits though. Taco Bell, while not taking that step to put avocado toast on their menu (Hear me out: guacamole toast.), has put an emphasis lately on creating unique and/or healthier options for their menu. With the release of items such as the novelty nacho fries, the power menu that contains, at its peak, a whopping 19g of protein per bowl, and the overall decrease of sodium in its offerings, they have successfully tapped into a market of money savvy, nostalgic, and hungry customers.


I'll take one of these...and what will you be having?Edition.cnn.com

Other big fast food companies like McDonald's, Carl's Jr., and Wendy's have also enjoyed recent growth by bringing back fan favorite value menus, and increasing their social media presence (looking at you, Wendy's, you amazing, shady bitch).

There's something rather inspirational about this change. For a generation that is quite famous for being stuck with problems from an older time, and constantly fighting a battle that seems decades too late, this pushback and growth from multi-million dollar companies to revise their marketing and offerings seems reflective of the change that can come from the gathering and push from millennials.

So no, this isn't another "Why Are Millennials Killing X, Y, Z" article, but rather a quick case study into the success and change our quirky, nihilistic, and emboldened generation is undergoing and causing fin a new and difficult time.

If you don't mind now, I'm gonna go and get another Crunch wrap supreme. And pencil in some gym time for tomorrow morning.


Live Mas.

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Sweet Potatoes Are The Most Underrated Vegetable Of All Time

Everything you need to know about the pieces of edible gold we call "sweet potatoes" and why they will always perish over any plain old potato.

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The potato. The heart of the American food industry. A versatile vegetable crop soaked in grease that brings us some of our favorite appetizers and sides. From french fries, to curly fries, to tater tots, to baked potatoes, to hash browns, this hallowed vegetable has become the Johnny Depp of the vegetable family. Now, we are all aware that the configurations of potatoes are limitless, but we commonly disregard the potato's delicious and neglected brother: the sweet potato. I, a credible food connoisseur and highly experienced eater, am here to tell you why you are missing out on a world of flavor if you choose to dismiss the beloved sweet potato and its many entities.

Let me first start this tirade by proving to you my credibility...I, too, once believed that regular french fries were better than sweet potato fries. I scoffed at the idea of choosing those ridiculous orange sticks over my tried-and-true plain boys. I could not be convinced that any sweetness should impede on my savory snacks.

These were dark times.

It was not until a mere month ago that my mind was changed forever.

It was a sunny (scary) Sunday morning, and my pounding head led me on a mission to indulge myself in the finest breakfast foods. I entered my favorite breakfast diner, Angelo's, and waited anxiously for my waiter to stroll over. She filled our water cups and asked if we wanted to start with any appetizers. Before my stingy self could even decline the offer, my best friend ordered a round of sweet potato fries for the table and the waiter scurried away. I stared blankly at her for a solid minute. I could not wrap my head around the concept of munching on sweet potato fries at 8 in the morning. She just stared back and said, "Trust me." Suddenly, a tray of blood orange sticks and a mysterious tan sauce appeared in front of my face. As much as I wanted to ponder the morality of this decision, the hunger began to take over, and I shoved one of the fries into my mouth.

In an instant, it was as if time and space had lost all meaning. When my teeth hit the fry, the perfectly crusted outer shell crunched softly making a sound much like your foot crushing a dried leaf. The now exposed inside of the fry was the perfect blend of mush and warmth that felt like your mouth was receiving a hug. The flavor...unbelievable. It didn't take me long to realize that this wasn't a fry — this was a culinary experience. This fry single-handedly blew the roof off of any predisposed ideas I had about American cuisine.

I am well aware that my fry experience cannot be simulated again by any average food-goer, but I challenge you, the reader of this article, to get out there and enjoy a sweet potato in any form. Stray from your basic fries or tater tots and dabble in a sweet treat which will undoubtedly bring you flavorful satisfaction.

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