Former CEO of Smashburger, Michael Nolan, is announced as Pieology president.Read More
The way America eats is changing. We want better options. We want better ingredients. We want better sourcing. We want better experiences. We want food with a story — and we want it fast. The last four decades of fast food is fading and now we're making room for a new culture of good food: fast casual. And what is fast casual?
Find out in "Fast Casual Nation: Changing the Way America Eats." This full-length documentary, which has been 10 years in the making and which first premiered in 2015 during the National Restaurant Association Show, is now available for streaming through Vimeo On Demand and soon to be available on Netflix.
Follow Paul Barron, the pioneer who coined the term "fast casual" in 1993, as he travels around the country to share plates with the greats. Featuring Smashburger Cofounder Tom Ryan, Firehouse Subs CEO Don Fox, Modern Market Founder Anthony Pigliacampo, Panera Bread Founder Ron Shaich, and many others, dig into the stories of the iconic leaders and game-changers who are transforming the movement of our restaurants and the future of our food.
"My advice for people getting into the business is fast casual is clearly where one should expect to find the energy, the growth, and quite frankly, the ability to find what the next couple of generations are going to be eating on an everyday basis," Ryan said in the film. "By consequence of that everyday basis, it's where the biggest part of our business is going to grow to."
Fast casual — the societal shift and evolution from quick-service to high-quality, efficient, better-for-you, and better-for-the-environment ingredients — is the David vs. Goliath story of food. From Miami, Dallas, and Washington, D.C., to the Pacific Coasts of San Francisco, and all the foodie gems in between, this is documentary is more than exclusive interviews with top chefs and restaurateurs. "Fast Casual Nation" is our chance to change food for the better.
"I think the story shows the entrepreneurial nature of the restaurant industry and how consumers are driving change. There is a little something for everyone, whether you are in the industry and want to hear from your peers...or you just love food," film director Nathan Mikita said. "My hope is that you walk away with an education on how the restaurant industry has shifted, and that as consumers, we have a voice — we just need to choose where to put that capital."
Often times, we only see the rotten stories of foodservice: the inhumane, the unhealthy, and the distasteful. "Fast Casual Nation" is here to prove the foodservice industry is one of advancement and one of renewal, and that foodservice is not just filled with the bad apples we see dominating the food documentary scene.
"'Fast Casual Nation' is the first of many restaurant genre films that we [Foodable Network] are launching this year and next, as the need need for great stories about our industry is a huge injustice to the restaurant industry," Foodable founder, film writer, and executive producer Paul Barron said. "Our mission here at Foodable Network is to change that public perception that our industry is full of bad actors."
"'Fast Casual Nation' has been a dream of mine since I launched Fastcasual.com in the mid-90s, and even more so since the publishing of my book, 'The Chipotle Effect," he continued. "The full story is now in place. This documentary is really the first chronology of some of the greatest innovators our business has ever known. This is your chance, as a viewer, to become part of the revolution."
By Joshua Klafter, Foodable Editorial Intern
What do Snapchat and the fast casual restaurant industry have in common? They are both the fastest growing entities in their respective fields. Although it may seem like the restaurant and social media industries are completely different, they often work together to provide success for one another.
According to a report by Bloomberg, Snapchat surpassed Twitter in daily usage earlier this month. A 4-year-old app was able to defeat a 10-year-old internet giant.
Fast casual similarly bested a restaurant giant. Quick-service restaurants, otherwise known as fast food chains, have dominated the restaurant industry for decades. However, since the turn of the century, the demand for a healthier option from has grown. QSR Magazine reported that fast casual is the fastest growing restaurant type in the world for this very reason.Read More
In this “Fast Casual Nation” episode, brought to you by Simplot Harvest Fresh™ Avocados, we explore a few items on the Smashburger menu, including the Spicy Jalapeño Baja with jack cheese, jalapeños, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, and chipotle mayo on a spicy chipotle bun. “It gives you the heat and it gives you this rich, kind of tobacco-y flavor as well.”
On Smashburger’s back-burner are innovative combinations that have yet to hit the menu. Ryan says pairings like fried egg with avocado are really compelling, and finding ways to integrate avocados onto the menu are proving more profitable as avocado consumption continues to rise.