Are We Facing a Restaurant Recession?

The Top 500 restaurant market is in a slump right now. With the lead dining brands’ same-store sales visibly lagging this past second quarter, some analysts and reporters are even using the phrase “restaurant recession.” At reporting chains, year-over-year same-store sales only increased half of a percentage point in quarter two, the slowest growth seen […]

Top 500 Brands Keep Franchisees Close — and Sales Growth Closer

If I had a dollar for every time over the past five years that I’ve heard, “Franchisees are just better at running stores than giant corporate brands,” I would probably have enough money to pay any chain’s franchisee fee and build a new restaurant. Such conventional wisdom seemed airtight recently, as franchise-unit openings have far […]

5 Charts That Explain McDonald’s Move Toward Antibiotic-Free Chicken

A major portion of McDonald’s supply chain is getting the Chipotle Mexican Grill treatment, as the world’s largest burger chain will begin sourcing chicken only from poultry suppliers that don’t use human antibiotics on their animals. Leaders of the Golden Arches also announced McDonald’s would only sell milk from cows that have not been treated […]

Fast Casual’s Healthy Dose of Reinvention

Perceptions of better health have always weighed in fast-casual restaurants’ favor, which is probably why more brands are renewing their focus on healthfulness in the hopes of restarting or accelerating sales growth. R.J. Dourney, the chief executive and largest franchisee of Così Inc., said precisely that in a recent interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, calling […]

Most Consumers Wouldn’t Change a Thing About Fast Casual

Consumers like the variety offered on the menu at fast-casual restaurants, but that does not necessarily mean they’re looking to spice things up with a lot of change. There are several ways fast-casual brands provide variety to consumers, either by having just a handful of items that can be customized however customers want or by […]

U.S. Fast-Casual Chains Looking North for Growth

Several leading U.S.-based fast-casual chain restaurants ramped up their Canadian expansion efforts in 2012. Five Guys Burgers and Fries was particularly aggressive, nearly doubling its units (from 28 to 54) in one year. Five other U.S. chains committed to Canadian expansion—Taco Del Mar, Fatburger, Panera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Smashburger—grew location totals between 9 […]

Goodwill Can Be Good Business

It’s true that many consumers care deeply that the companies they do business with are socially responsible. Some very successful fast-casual concepts illustrate that community efforts can benefit the company at the same time they benefit others. Technomic’s Consumer Restaurant Brand Metrics, an ongoing study that asks consumers about more than 60 specific restaurant attributes […]

Segment Perfomance: Fast-Casual Mexican Restaurants

The Mexican subsegment is the second largest among fast casual restaurants, but it’s among the fastest growing. Mexican concepts included in Technomic’s Top 150 Fast-Casual Restaurant Chains saw their sales rise to $5 billion, a 13.5 percent increase over 2010’s $4.3 billion in sales. The sales jump can largely be attributed to category leader Chipotle […]