Newly published data reveals what’s next for the popular fast-casual segment
CHICAGO, May 8, 2018: The fast-casual segment has rebounded since 2016, but experienced a consecutive year of single-digit sales growth performance in 2017. Unit growth decreased for the third consecutive year, dropping from 9.8% in 2015 to 6.1% in 2017. These findings and more can be found in Technomic’s recently released Top 250 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report, now available for purchase.
The 2018 report can be purchased at https://www.technomic.com/available-studies/industry-reports/top-250.
“Although the segment shows signs of slowing, fast casual is still a bright spot in the industry,” said Dave Henkes, Technomic senior principal. “There are a lot of exciting things happening on fast-casual menus and, as the U.S. market becomes increasingly crowded, we can expect many of these brands to look internationally to further bolster their brand.”
Key themes from the report include:
- Total sales growth in 2017 was at 9% for the top 250 restaurant chains
- Chicken was the hot protein of 2017 and fast casuals capitalized on its popularity
- Fast-casual chains with impressive triple-digit unit growth included CoreLife Eatery and Wahlburgers
- Despite being the smallest fast-casual menu category by sales, the pizza segment continued to outshine the others, with a 27.3% year-over-year increase
Looking forward, expect to see fast casuals featuring a larger focus on clean-eating initiatives and planet-friendly changes to align with growing concerns among consumers. Ethnic flavors and ingredients will also thrive in the coming year with the rise of Middle Eastern concepts, touting exotic yet healthful menu items. Chains looking for more exponential growth will look to unpenetrated global markets, including Australia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
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