Americans are much more conscious of their diets these

days than they have been in the past. Many more are

looking for fresh, local ingredients and different tastes than

they have been offered in the past. Fast food and fast

casual restaurants have taken note and many, from

Wendy’s to Taco Bell to Arby’s are reacting with new

menus and new marketing campaigns.

Consumers are exposed to a lot more these days with

the Food Channel and food blogs, and the more exposed

they are to new flavors, textures and ingredients, the more

they demand and expect from every restaurant they visit.

Wendy’s Co. this month

introduced a new logo with an older-looking

Wendy to indicate that its menu had grown up

as well.

For instance, the chain recently launched

a bacon cheeseburger with sautéed portabella

mushrooms, rather than canned button

mushrooms. Its new chicken sandwich is

made with Asiago cheese and it offers a

chicken salad made with fresh blueberries and

strawberries mixed in with 11 kinds of greens and served

with a dressing containing raspberries, acai juice, shallots

and balsamic vinegar.

Perhaps the most discussed move to the upscale has

been Taco Bell’s introduction of the Cantina Bell menu of

items that were closer to the choices offered by popular

chain Chipotle Mexican Grill. Same store sales at Taco

Bell rose 13% in the third quarter; company execs say the

Cantina Bell menu was the reason.

Nation’s Restaurant News notes that restaurant chains

are getting much more aggressive with their advertising

these days and much of the message rests on claims of

freshness. For instance, the new Arby’s campaign targets

Subway specifically, showing that while Arby’s slices its

meats at the restaurant, Subway’s

deli meats are sliced at a


Taco Bell’s newest ad for the

Cantina Bell offerings makes the

same claims as Chipotle as to

fresh, upscale ingredients and even

features that restaurant’s signature

burrito bowl. And Domino’s newest

commercial takes direct aim at

Pizza Hut’s signature menu item–

the pan pizza–with claims of fresh

dough rather than the frozen dough

that Pizza Hut uses.