Every city in our country has a fast casual establishment and almost all of us have enjoyed the fast casual dining experience. Fast casual restaurants have proven that consumers want quality food in a timely manner. Fast casual restaurants have also proven to be a successful endeavor for individuals who want to own their own franchise. Headlines such as: Fast Casual Sure Thing Burger Plans Expansion, Chipotle’s Growth Remains The Envy Of Restaurant Stocks and Starbucks Drives High-end Coffee Sales are but a few of the multitude of trending stories centered around fast casual.
Paul Barron coined the phrase “Fast Casual” in the late 1990’s. This type of restaurant does not offer full table service, but promises a higher quality of food and atmosphere than a fast food restaurant. Examples of popular fast casual restaurants are Starbucks, Chipotle and Panera Bread. Technomic Information Services defined the term “fast casual restaurants” as meeting the following four criteria:
- Limited-service or self-service format
- Average meal price between $7 and $11
- Made-to-order food with more complex flavors than fast food restaurants
- Upscale or highly developed décor