There's a great article in this week's BusinessWeek about how the idea for Subway's $5 Foot-Long sandwich was generated by one of their franchisees in Florida … and after a succession of lucky breaks … made it up to head office.
That, combined with a series of annoying, but genius advertisements has turned it into a growth dynamo that has seen Subway's fortunes surge despite the recession.
Co-incidentally, there is also an article in a recent Economist that outlines Yum! Brand's decision to embrace the thinking of John O'Keefe about activating breakthrough results … another programme designed to take ideas form one geography and encourage their successful transference into new markets.
Two great examples of fast-food retailers embracing the idea that great ideas can come from anywhere … you've just got to spot then and then do something with them.