NEW ORLEANS, La. – Although fast-food and family dining restaurant sales have plummeted in the recession, fast-casual restaurants have grown in popularity, states a recent ABC News story. In the last year, sales in the fast-casual sector reached $18 billion.

Positioned to share in this success is the VooDoo BBQ & Grill franchise, which has had a record year. Over the next decade, the system plans to expand from its current 12 restaurants in south Louisiana to 41 more in five more states – including multi-unit expansions in the Carolinas, Florida and Texas. All of the new 41 restaurants will be fast-casual.

"By serving competition-style barbecue in a fast casual setting, we meet the public's demand for good food served quickly and at an affordable price," said Tony Avila, CEO.

In building for the future, VooDoo recruited Chef Angel Lombrage from the Ruth's Chris steakhouse chain. Dino Arvanetes, VooDoo's COO, also worked at Ruth's Chris.

VooDoo offers ribs, brisket and pulled pork that's slow-cooked with any combination of three sauces: Mojo, Mango Crystal and Cane Vinegar. VooDoo also offers side dishes and sandwiches.

"There are not enough barbecue restaurants to meet demand, especially for lunchtime crowds," Avila said. "Diners gravitate towards fast-casual because the food quality is high, the cost is reasonable and they can eat quickly.”