This week, Foodable Network released its first documentary— Fast Casual Nation: Changing The Way America Eats, on Amazon.
The full-length documentary, narrated by the network’s CEO and Executive Producer, Paul Barron, begins by exploring the food landscape that led to the birth of fast-casual concepts across the country.
“You had casual dining, you had fast food and that pretty well defined food service. Sit-down experience: you tipped, the service, longer wait times. Restaurants doing great sales volumes and then QSR, fast food. Nothing in between,” said Firehouse Subs’ CEO, Don Fox.
Modern Market’s CEO, Anthony Pigliacampo believes fast casual could not have happened if it wasn’t for the fast food segment teaching consumers how to eat out multiple times a week over a span of 30 years.
“I think what’s really happening is consumers are finally saying: 'Wait a second, I really need to eat out all the time because of my lifestyle. I’m a busy modern person, I need to eat out'... And we think that’s how consumers view fast casual and it is the fuel that enables them to have this modern lifestyle,” explained Pigliacampo.
Millennials, of course, are a big driver of the fast casual sector and with this generation growing up in a world where technology, food customization, and social media have all collided, it created the perfect storm to drive this food sector to new heights.
"This is a part of my life's work to explore the future of food. Fast casual is and will be a part of that future that is shifting in a big way today. This documentary is the first step in a mission that is designed to help the restaurant business shift into what will be the next generation of food. Fast casual is on the threshold of being a catalyst of how food and restaurant operations will flourish in the next 20 years,” said Barron, who has over 25 years of experience in the industry.
The film also touches on how some restaurants were able to survive the 2008 recession by getting creative with real estate, the changing attitudes of the consumer towards healthier options, and how traditional culinary professionals began moving into the fast casual space in order to make thoughtful food more approachable.
"It is clear that you cannot create a market, what happens is you can understand and see things in a different way. Understand how the consumers respond and then respond to it,” said Ron Shaich, founder of Panera Bread.
Fast Casual Nation: Changing The Way America Eats is not just a film for restaurant industry professionals. It’s a documentary where anyone from the business world, film world or even foodies can learn something from and enjoy!
Amazon Prime members can watch the film for free as long as they have an active account. Non-members can rent the high-definition movie for $2.99 or buy it for $9.99.