Fast-Casual Upstarts Recruit Big-Time Investors for Accelerated Growth

LeBron James has made another monumental decision to switch teams, and while this one did not require a self-indulgent TV special—or cause any of my colleagues from Ohio to burn his jersey—it probably will turn out to be another shrewd move to a winning organization. The basketball star has cut ties with McDonald’s and will […]

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 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, […]

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 […]

Meatless Options Appeal to Fast-Casual Consumers Beyond Lent

It’s the time of year for fish sandwiches and other limited-time offerings for Lent, when restaurants hope to stay top-of-mind for those who avoid meat on Fridays or for the entire season. Some fast-casual players have joined in the fun: Pollo Tropical brought back its Grilled Shrimp for a limited time; Newk’s Eatery debuted ahi […]