Skip to main content

Report Predicts Fast Casual Growth to Continue

According to Technomic's Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report, fast casual makes up just 14 percent of the total $223 billion limited-service restaurant segment, but its sales continue to outpace other operators. Fast-casual sales increased 13 percent in 2012, and the largest chains—those which each made more than $325 million last year—did even better, growing by 16 percent. Fast-casual restaurants continue to outperform both quick-service and full-service establishments and post strong gains even while the rest of the industry is having a more difficult time.
Looking forward, the trend is expected to continue. Whereas the compound annual growth rate for all limited-service restaurants is 4.5 percent (2012 through 2017), fast-casual operators are expected to grow 10 percent, on average, over the same period.
Bakery cafÉs continued to lead all menu categories among the Top 150 fast-casual chains, with U.S. systemwide sales of $6.1 billion, up more than 10 percent over 2011. The Mexican and sandwich categories were second and third largest, with U.S. systemwide sales of $5.7 and $4.4 billion, respectively. The categories that saw the fastest sales growth were sandwich (up 17 percent) and Asian/noodle (up 16 percent). The burger and sandwich clusters experienced the highest unit growth, growing outlets by 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
Top players within fast-casual clusters include:
Bakery cafÉ led by Panera Bread with sales of $3.7 billion.
Mexican led by Chipotle Mexican Grill with sales of $2.7 billion.
Chicken led by Zaxby's with sales of $979 million.
Asian/Noodle led by Panda Express with sales of $1.8 billion.
Better Burger led by Five Guys Burgers and Fries with sales of $1.1 billion.
Sandwich led by Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shop with sales of $1.3 billion.
Pizza led by Donatos Pizza with estimated sales of $157 million.
The Technomic Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report provides Technomic's exclusive rankings, analysis and profiles of the leading fast-casual chain restaurants, helping readers understand emerging trends and players in one of today's fastest growing segments.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds