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5 Foodservice Franchise Innovations That Changed the Game

Quiznos, Little Caesars, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ and KFC have all brought inventive concepts to the fast-food world that consumers love, from toasty bread to the first vegan fried chicken.

By 1851 Staff1851 Staff Contributions
Updated 3:15PM 03/30/22

We all have our favorite fast-food brands for various reasons beyond tasty menus and general convenience. Perhaps the food is always hot and ready to go, or the bread is toasted just right, or there are meat-like vegan options – or maybe the drive-thru is simply amazing. These are some of the innovative qualities of the following five offerings that have changed the game and keep consumers coming back for more. 

Quiznos Toasted Subs

When Quiznos founder Jimmy Lambatos launched the sandwich franchise in 1981, he didn’t want to market just another cold-cut sub to consumers. Rather, this entrepreneur introduced toasty, oven-baked sandwiches that brought out the brand's high-quality meats, cheeses and artisanal bread. Since Quiznos revolutionized the world of subs, many other sandwich franchises have followed suit and now offer heated-sub options.  

Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready Pizza

Little Caesars recognized a gap in the pizza market: There was no other brand out there keeping pizzas warm and ready, all the time. And that’s exactly what this brand did when they launched Hot-N-Ready® pizzas in 2001. The Hot-N-Ready pizzas include Cheese, Supreme, 3 Meat Treat®, Hawaiian and Canadian. Fresh-baked pizzas are ready within minutes, held in a warming oven until the customer picks it up. 

Chick-fil-A Outside Meal Delivery 

While Chick-fil-A always has long lines, the brand found a better way to manage drive-thrus than any fast-food brand out there with its outside meal delivery. This method has become an effective way for the brand’s team members to deliver meals to multiple cars at once outside the eatery, rather than one car at a time at the window, helping traffic at each location move along quicker and more efficiently. 


Dunkin’ continues to innovate donuts. The brand was the first to introduce MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats in 1973, and the creativity hasn’t stopped over the years. From Donut Fries and a variety of donut flavors to coffee drinks and baked goods, this brand keeps consumers on their toes with what might be on the menu next. 

KFC Beyond Chicken Nuggets  

Options – consumers need them. KFC realized this before any other QSR when it introduced the 100% plant-based Beyond Fried Chicken in August 2019 as a part of a limited-run test in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, all KFC locations offer the also-plant-based Beyond Nuggets in six or 12 pieces. Several other fast-food chains have followed suit and have started offering plant-based meat substitutes.