Rising Fast Casual Brands Shaking Up the Foodable Top 25

Rising Fast Casual Brands Shaking Up the Foodable Top 25

By Mae Velasco, Custom Content Editor

If the restaurant and hospitality industry were the box office, then the fast casual segment would be the Shirley Temple of foodservice. And instead of tap dancing, singing, and acting its way into the hearts of millions of consumers, fast casual’s top-performing factors would be elevated flavor profiles, higher-quality ingredients, and efficient service. (You might see diners tap dancing and singing in joy, though.)

From the rise of the better-burger concept and craft pizza, to now explorations in the artisan chicken sector, fast casual has changed the way America eats  — with the numbers to prove it. Known as the fastest-growing segment in the restaurant industry, the Washington Post reported a 600 percent growth from 1999 to 2014, which was more than 10 times the growth seen in the once-dominating fast food sector in the same time period. And according to Forbes, even during the recession in 2008, fast casual saw a rise in sales within the Millennial demographic.

Fast casual is a space for businesses to thrive, for new, unique visions to incubate, and is a hotbed of success waiting to happen. Unsurprisingly, there have been a flood of concepts expanding into the industry, creating a challenging arena to stand out as a fast casual champion. As more consumers are embracing this segment and look toward its future, how do operators, companies, and restaurateurs set themselves apart from the rest?

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