Late Fast Food Relieves Munchies Along With Sales Slump



Late Fast Food Relieves Munchies Along With Sales Slump

Fast-food restaurants are staying open later, providing sustenance to night owls and a rare source of growth for the beleaguered industry.

Late-night customer traffic at fast-food places jumped 12 percent in the year ended in August, according to data from Port Washington, New York-based NPD Group Inc. That compares with a 0.2 percent gain for total traffic.

The increase follows a push in the past few years by more restaurants to stay open until the wee hours and offer special menus designed to appeal to nocturnal customers. Checkers and Rally’s are introducing deep-fried grilled-cheese strips, while Jack in the Box Inc. is selling chicken nuggets slathered with cheese, bacon and ranch — part of a “Munchie Menu” that starts after 9 p.m.

Attracting a late-night crowd has brought both risks and rewards to restaurants.  Read the full story