The fast casual segment is the industry's game changer. Although, the industry is still defining what fast casual is– it is recognized that these restaurants are in their own category. However, according to D.C. zoning laws, most fast casuals are under the category of "fast food." This effects where fast casual restaurants are allowed to open and depending on the neighbors zoning restrictions, they have to undergo a rigorous approval process.
Several fast casual businesses, including Nando's want to change the zoning definition of fast food. Currently as it stands, a restaurant is considered in the fast food category if customers pay for their food before they eat, if the restaurant has a drive thru, and if the food is served on paper products. Read More