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’ […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Bigger Isn’t Always Better as ‘Better’ Grows Bigger in 2014

Goliaths are getting a little unsteady on their feet, and Davids are flexing their muscles. Technomic’s upcoming 2015 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report shows that Subway has been dethroned as the No. 2 chain in America, falling to Starbucks—which grew U.S. sales 8.2% in 2014. Starbucks and other beverage chains capitalized on today’s 24-7 snacking […]

Fast Casuals Promote Alternatives Amid Rising Beef Prices

Fast casuals such as Shake Shack and Chipotle have reduced 2015 revenue projections in the face of rising commodity costs, particularly a surge in beef prices. With relief potentially years away, fast-casual restaurants have begun exploring ways to alleviate some of the burden of more expensive beef. Almost half of consumers say they have noticed […]

Can a Fast-Casual Pivot Counter Macaroni Grill’s Struggles?

Romano’s Macaroni Grill, newly spun off from Ignite Restaurant Group, appears to be going all-in on its Romano’s Kitchen Counter initiative, expanding the express-lunch service to dinner as well. The appeal of adopting fast-casual tactics to target fast-casual consumers is understandable. But Romano’s is charging ahead with its “concept within a concept” initiative, even though […]

Why Seafood is Poised to Break Out in Fast Casual

While only 6% of seafood entrées on menus in the United States occur at fast-casual restaurants, the segment is hardly swimming upstream when it comes to the potential for selling fresh fish or shellfish. In fact, as Technomic suggested in its recent “Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report,” fast-casual seafood may […]