Fast Casual’s Success Spawns Wannabes


The NPD Group, a leading market research company, has determined that the “fast casual” segment of restaurants is the only segment that continues to grow during the current economic downturn. The shift in popularity to this segment has caused existing restaurant chains to renovate and upgrade their menus and facilities to compete.

Fast casual restaurants are considered to be an upscale quick service restaurant (QSR) that offers more service, higher quality food, and a more expensive bill than conventional fast food restaurants. NPD’s recent report, Fast Casual: A Growth Market, pointed out that consumer demand outpaced the rate of unit expansion, meaning consumers felt a higher level of satisfaction within the fast casual segment.

Many fast casual concepts were positioned as a fresh, made-to-order alternative to traditional fast food options, and consumers responded positively,” says Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst at NPD and author of the Fast Casual: A Growth Market report . “Although some fast casual concepts faltered, consumers responded positively to the concepts that offered a new fast food dining experience. The segment benefited from fast food consumers trading up and full service consumers trading down.”

Posted by Markus Micheaels

Edited by Melanie Figueroa