Fast-casual chains lead foodservice growth

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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Hot Head Burritos ranked second in Technomic's Top 10 Fast-Casual growth chains.

CHICAGO – Fast-casual restaurants are among the fastest growing restaurants in the United States, according to Chicago-based Technomic, Inc., a leading market research firm. Fast-casual chains recorded an 11 percent increase in sales and nearly an 8 percent increase in units in 2013.

The market research firm’s top 10 fast-casual growth chains, which encompassed burgers to bakery goods to burritos, include:

• BurgerFi
• Hot Head Burritos
• Lime Fresh Mexican Grill
• Mooyah
• Shake Shack
• Zoe’s Kitchen
• Kneaders Bakery & Café
• The Habit Burger Grill
• Chop’t Creative Salad Company
• Smashburger

Technomic attributed the fast-casual concept's success to "better-than-quick-service food, ambiance and fresh, "made for you" appeal." unit expansion is more likely to happen in burger, Mexican, other sandwich and specialty concepts although bakery cafes continue to do well overall.

"Watch for even more menu and concept diversity in this sector," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. "Also look for more quick-service restaurants and full-service restaurants to realign their formats and develop new fast-casual concepts to compete more aggressively."

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