Skip to main content

Sales growth of Technomic’s Top 250 fast-casual chains dips into single digits

For the second consecutive year, fast-casual chains in Technomic’s Top 250 ranking see a trend of decelerating sales and unit growth

Chicago, June 13, 2017–Findings from Technomic Inc.’s recently released Top 250 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report indicate that despite industry-leading growth, the fast-casual segment is not immune to the challenging operating conditions facing the broader restaurant marketplace. Technomic’s annual report reveals that the Top 250 fast-casual chains grew sales a cumulative 8.4% in 2016 to a total of $40.4 billion.

Report is available for purchase here: https://www.technomic.com/available-studies/industry-reports/top-250

While this growth significantly outpaces other industry segments, it lags compared to the 11.9% sales growth in 2015 and 13.8% growth in 2014. A key factor contributing to the slowing sales growth trend is decelerating unit development within the segment, which registered at 8.9% in 2016, following a rate of 9.6% unit growth in 2015.

From a chain-level perspective, the struggles of Chipotle had a substantial impact on the overall performance of the Top 250, as the second-largest fast-casual chain saw its sales drop by more than 13% in 2016. Helping to push the segment in a positive direction, however, were leading chains Panda Express, Jimmy John’s and Zaxby’s, which all saw double-digit growth and operate with annual sales volumes well over $1 billion. The fast-casual pizza segment continues to be a growth engine as well, with the menu category increasing its sales at a cumulative rate of 35%. Look for specialty and health-focused concepts to continue to shine and move up the rankings over the coming years as chains like Sweetgreen, Modern Market and Lemonade expand their location presence and attract increasingly health-conscious consumers.

“As the overall chain restaurant marketplace tightens and the fast-casual segment slowly moves toward a point of maturity, it will become increasingly important for chains to differentiate themselves and stand out in a crowded playing field,” writes Kevin Schimpf, industry research manager at Technomic. “Look for chains to engineer success by reaching further into the breakfast daypart, spotlighting novelty menu offerings to generate customer interest, and by embracing the off-premise market and making smart investments in ordering technology.”

Technomic’s Top 250 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report, now available for purchase, provides comprehensive coverage of the fast-casual industry with chain rankings by sales volume and unit count, key industry trends and themes, growth-chain spotlights, and more.

To purchase or learn more about this and other industry reports from Technomic, please visit Technomic.com or contact one of the individuals listed below.

Contacts:
Press inquiries: Kevin Schimpf, (312) 506-3950, kschimpf@technomic.com
Purchasing details: Patrick Noone, (312) 506-3852, pnoone@technomic.com

About Technomic
Only Technomic, a Winsight company, delivers a 360-degree view of the food industry. We impact growth and profitability for our clients by providing consumer-grounded vision and channel-relevant strategic insights. Our services range from major research studies and management consulting solutions to online databases and simple fact-finding assignments. Our clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants and retailers, other foodservice organizations, and various institutions aligned with the food industry. Visit us at technomic.com.

About Winsight, LLCWinsight LLC is a business-to-business media, event, data and information company specializing in the convenience-retailing, restaurant and noncommercial foodservice industries. Winsight has an extensive media portfolio with leading publications, including CSP, Convenience Store Products, Restaurant Business, FoodService Director, and now Grocery Headquarters as of June 2017. Winsight Media offers a suite of digital products, including websites, e-newsletters, webinars, video, apps and custom marketing solutions. The Winsight Events group produces exclusive large-scale executive-level conferences, including Restaurant Leadership, Global Restaurant Leadership, FARE Conference, Outlook Leadership, Convenience Retailing University, FSTEC, Restaurant Trends & Directions and MenuDirections. Winsight also owns Technomic Inc., the leading provider of market information and advisory services for the food industry. For more information on Winsight and its brands, go to www.winsightmedia.com or www.technomic.com.

Recent Press Releases

August 17, 2017

Technomic's Take: The Changing Face of Foodservice Purchasing

By David Henkes, Senior Principal on August 17, 2017

Independent restaurants have been central to the success of both foodservice distributors and food and beverage companies serving the industry. They are more profitable (mostly due to inefficiencies of the purchase process and pricing practices that aren’t transparent) Read more »

August 10, 2017

Marketing to millennial parents: Study findings show that this growing consumer segment should not be overlooked

Technomic’s 2017 U.S. Millennial Parents Insights Report finds that millennials with children are dining away-from-home at least once per week.
August 3, 2017

Burger consumption rebounds in Canada

Study conducted by Technomic reveals the latest trends and data to understanding consumers’ shifting behaviour and attitudes toward burgers