Since the economy took a turn for the worse in 2007, fast casual dining has been the fastest growing segment of the restaurant industry. From Chipotle to El Pollo Loco, fast casual is impacting the direction that restaurant industry through it’s growing consumer demand.
So what exactly is ‘fast casual?’ According to an article by QSR Magazine, fast casual is defined as the following:
“fast-casual concepts are hybrids of quick-service and casual dining that provide counter service and offer more customized and freshly prepared dishes than traditional quick-serves, all in a upscaled, inviting atmosphere. It’s conceded that fast-casual concepts should not feature a drive-thru window or true table service. An entertainment factor often figures in, even if it’s simply the customer’s proximity to and interaction with the staff as his food is prepared—for instance, the choice of side dishes at Panera or the interaction with the person building your burrito at Chipotle.”
To give you an idea of how ‘hot’ fast casual dining is doing, check out this great infographic which also points out the top fast casual dining restaurants:
Infographic credit to Fast Casual.