Fast casual restaurant
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (May 2014)|
A fast casual restaurant is a type of restaurant in the United States that does not offer full table service, but promises a higher quality of food with fewer frozen or processed ingredients than a fast food restaurant. It is a concept used in the United States, positioned between fast-food and casual dining. The typical cost per meal is USD $8-15. The category is exemplified by chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Culvers, Zaxby's, Noodles & Co., and Panera Bread.
The concept did not become popular in the United States until the early to mid-1990s, and did not become mainstream until the end of the 2000s and the beginning of the 2010s.
During the economic downturn beginning in 2007, fast casual dining saw increased sales to the 18–34 demographic. Customers with limited discretionary spending on meals tend to use it on dining perceived as healthier.
Publisher and founder of FastCasual.com Paul Barron is credited for coining the term "fast-casual" in the late 1990s. Horatio Lonsdale-Hands, former Chairman and CEO of ZuZu Inc., is also credited with coining the term "fast-casual". ZuZu, a handmade Mexican food concept co-founded by Lonsdale-Hands in 1989, filed a U.S. Federal trademark registration for the term "fast-casual" in November 1995. In the July 1996 edition of Restaurant Hospitality, editor/associate publisher Michael DeLuca calls Lonsdale-Hands a "progressive pioneer in the burgeoning ‘fast-casual’ market segment."
The company Technomic Information Services defined the term "fast-casual restaurants" as meeting the following criteria:
- Limited-service or self-service format
- Average meal price between $8 and $15
- Made-to-order food with more complex flavors than fast food restaurants
- Upscale, unique or highly developed décor
- Most often will not have a drive thru
- Julia Moskin (25 July 2014). "Hold the Regret? Fast-Food Seeks Virtuous Side". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
These ambitious new chains make up only a sliver of the nation’s $683 billion restaurant industry. But all are within its swiftest-growing segment, "fast-casual", a subset of fast-food that includes places like Chipotle and Panera, whose offerings are marketed as a rung or two higher than those of Burger King or Taco Bell: fewer frozen and highly processed ingredients, more-comfortable seats, better coffee and (sometimes) healthier food.
- "Fast Casual – Insights for Innovative Restaurants". FastCasual.com. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- "2010’s Twenty Largest Fast-Casual Franchises". BlueMauMau. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- Jargon, Julie (1 February 2010). "As Sales Drop, Burger King Draws Critics for Courting 'Super Fans'". The Wall Street Journal (Yahoo! Finance). Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- Wheelen, Thomas L.; Hunger, J. David (2006). Strategic Management and Business Policy: Cases (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-149460-2.
- "Fast Casual Trademark Serial Number: 75017852".
- "Formula for Success". Restaurant Hospitality 80 (7): 81–86. July 1996.
- "What exactly is fast casual?". Franchise Times. January 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2011.