Fast Casual Takes Early Lead in Technology Race

Fast casual, the clear standout segment of the restaurant industry for the past decade, has had several advantages contributing to its growth and to its gains in market share at the expense of quick-service and casual-dining brands. Consumers have been drawn to fast casual’s service, ingredient quality and price point, and now, with the latest […]

How Fast Casual Can Win Hispanic Consumers

Restaurants cannot ignore the growing Hispanic population and the spending power these consumers hold. Understanding the needs and how to reach these consumers is crucial for any foodservice operation. Specific areas of opportunity exist in fast casual that could help entice Hispanic consumers to spend their foodservice dollars in the segment. Since 2013, Hispanic consumers’ […]

Specialty Segments to Supercharge Fast Casual’s Momentum

The fast-casual segment has had a remarkable run of sales and unit growth the past 10 years, enjoying broad success in familiar menu categories like Mexican, sandwiches and burgers. But the salad days for specialty fast-casual brands and their burgeoning segments—like build-your-own salad, Mediterranean, pizza and barbecue—are just beginning, and their development likely will sustain […]

Fast-Casual Pizza: A Familiar Growth Story, with a Twist

The rise of build-your-own pizza is reminiscent of the explosive growth over the past five years of the better-burger segment. But there is an important difference. Unlike traditional quick-service burger chains, which have struggled to defend their traffic and market share from this new fast-casual competition, most of the giant pizza chains are growing sales […]

Fast-Casual Spring Menu Items Bring the Heat

Spicy flavors are here to stay, driven by the men and younger consumers who prefer them. As temperatures rise outside, fast-casual restaurants are bringing the heat to the menu as well. The “spicy” callout is still growing on fast-casual menus, up about 3% from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, […]

Why Fast Casual Powers the Sandwich Segment’s Growth

When the initial results of Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report were released last month, the biggest news story to emerge was Subway’s fall from its perch as the second-largest restaurant chain in the United States in terms of annual sales. Implied in that story was a trend many years in the making: Fast-casual sandwich […]

Nando’s Inspires African Flavor Influences

Consumers in general, and younger ones in particular, don’t shy away from bold flavors and in fact are demanding them. This has only accelerated the spread of ethnic foods and infusions on menus. A new global influence is gaining speed, largely attributed to the emerging fast-casual chain Nando’s, a chicken concept that began in 1987 […]

Fast Casuals Smooth Over Health Concerns with ‘Buff’ Items

Diet trends come and go—the South Beach and Atkins crazes of a decade ago have given way to today’s “paleo” and “primal” diets—but considerations about health and nutrition are a constant. Today, consumers want to maintain their health but still use restaurants to indulge. The latest round of menu development in fast casual reflects this […]

Fast Casuals Add Options Kids Enjoy, Parents Approve

Fast-casual restaurants’ reputation for healthy, high-quality food and its status with Millennials should make the segment top-of-mind for family dining-out occasions. Technomic’s latest menu data shows that some fast casuals are stepping up their kids’ menus in ways consistent with their values and positioning to capture these occasions. Technomic MenuMonitor data for the first quarter […]

No End to the Bacon Trend

Even with health and wellness trends top-of-mind with consumers, indulgent bacon continues to provide opportunities for innovation and appeal to menus. Innovation can be built on preparation, spice profiles and mixing the salty, smoky and savory flavor of bacon with sweet and hot. There seems to be no end to the bacon trend, and we […]