This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the Fast Casual Restaurants market including Fast Casual Restaurants market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the Fast Casual Restaurants market in the US.

Current market landscape

Convenience and technology helped fast casual operators to navigate the past 2+ years, but it may be time (again) to cultivate the notion that fast casual operations can be value-focused destination dining, too. Among those diners increasing fast casual visitation, there were more occasions stolen from full-service dining than QSRs, indicating that it’s not just convenience, but also enjoyment, that’s driving traffic.

Still, even with recovery in the fast casual segment progressing, engagement is less robust relative to other segments like QSRs and casual dining. To narrow these gaps, fast casual operators need to steal occasions from competitors in both directions by doubling down on convenience, yet keeping elevated experience in the marketing mix too.

Future market trends in Fast Casual Restaurants

Naturally, these competitors have clear advantages: in number of locations, convenience services, awareness and even delivering on experience. One way fast casual operators can enter the consideration set more often is to communicate messages that drive home versatility; to be an option for any time, any occasion.

Timing is perhaps ideal for fast casual operators to lean into and even enhance outreach with loyalty programs and price promotions. With escalated prices across most goods and services, coupled with diners still eager to get back out and enjoy themselves while establishing new daily routines, accessible value, quality and versatility prove to be strong assets for fast casuals.

Read on to discover more about fast casual restaurants market demand, read our US What/How America Eats Market Report 2022, or take a look at our other Foodservice research reports.

Quickly understand the fast casual restaurants market in the US

  • Trended foodservice and fast casual ordering.
  • Types of fast casual operators visited and interest in trial.
  • Changes in and reasons for fast casual visitation.
  • Restaurant perceptions, traffic drivers and new concepts.

Covered in this fast casual restaurants market

Brands include: Portillo’s Vegan Hot Dog, Pure Grit BBQ, Panera Bread, Sweetgreen, Wingstop, Del Taco, McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Domino’s, Applebe’s, Olive Garden, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Starbucks, Dunkin’, IHOP, Denny’s, The Capital Grille, Morton’s Steakhouse, Blaze Pizza, Shake Shack, Jersey Mike’s, Slim Chickens, Pei Wei Asian Kitchen, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Roti, Native Foods, Farmer’s Fridge.

Expert analysis from a specialist in fast casual restaurants market research

This report, written by Pooja Lal, a leading analyst in the Foodservice sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight fast casual restaurants market growth and current trends, and add expert context to the numbers.

Fast casual operators should seize the opportunity to capture new and existing diners to combat competition in other segments and become the go-to destination for all meal occasions. With the right marketing tactics and promotions, operators in this segment can continue to accelerate their growth and win with new and existing customers. Operators should continue to be nimble and provide diners with versatile offerings through value and convenience.

Pooja Lal, Foodservice Analyst, Mintel Menu Insights
Pooja Lal
US Foodservice and Mintel Menu Insights

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of limited-service restaurants, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 2: Category outlook, 2022-27
    • Challenges and opportunities
    • Fast casual recovery lags behind other segments
      • Figure 3: Restaurant ordering 2022-22
    • Parents are especially ripe for the picking
      • Figure 4: Reasons for increased fast casual visitation, by parental status, 2022
    • Contemporary values go beyond price point
      • Figure 5: Fast casual visitation motivators, by generation, 2022
    • Versatility, convenience can help cast a wider audience net
      • Figure 6: Interest in Fast casual concepts, by generation, 2022
    • Keep connections and communications strong with younger adults
      • Figure 7: Marketing-related behaviors, 2022
  3. Market Size and Forecast

    • Innovation in the foodservice market pushes industry growth
      • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and fan chart forecast of limited-service eating places*, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of limited service eating places*, at current prices, 2017-27
  4. Market Breakdown

    • Full-service recovery picked up steam in 2021
      • Figure 10: Total US revenues and forecast of full service restaurants and limited service eating places*, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 11: Market share of total us sales and forecast of full service restaurants and limited service eating places, by segment, 2020-27
  5. Market Factors

    • Elevated food costs may chip into out-of-home occasions
      • Figure 12: Changes in Consumer Price Indexes for food
    • Labor crisis continues to pose difficulties for operators
      • Figure 13: Quit levels, accommodation and foodservices, April 2021-22
  6. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Fast casual operators expand plant-based options
      • Figure 14: Portillo’s vegan hot dog, May 2022
      • Figure 15: Pure Grit BBQ launches first NYC location, May 2022
    • Fast casuals remodel for a new outlook post-pandemic
      • Figure 16: Panera Bread NextGen Store design, April 2022
      • Figure 17: Sweetgreen Instagram – launch of new digital pickup location
    • Subscription services boost visitation frequency and convenience
      • Figure 18: Unlimited Sip Club – Panera Bread Facebook Post, April 2022
    • Munchies spark interest on brand menus on 4/20
      • Figure 19: Wingstop Instagram Post, April 2022
      • Figure 20: Del Taco Instagram Post – 4/20 theme
  7. The Fast Casual Consumer – Fast Facts

  8. Restaurant Ordering

    • Fast casuals to take inspiration from other restaurant segments
      • Figure 21: Restaurant ordering 2020-22
    • Go all in on value, benefits to reach Gen Z
      • Figure 22: Restaurant ordering by generation, 2022
    • Price, value and loyalty for all
      • Figure 23: Restaurant ordering by household income, 2022
  9. Fast Casual Visitation and Interest

      • Figure 24: Fast casual visitation and interest, 2022
    • Expand Gen Z palates with small doses of flavor, authenticity
      • Figure 25: Fast casual visitation and interest by generation, 2022
  10. Change in Fast Casual Visitation and Interest

    • Strive for destination status, yet maintain convenience
      • Figure 26: Change in Fast Casual Visitation and Interest, 2022
    • Parents driving increased visitation
      • Figure 27: Change in fast casual visitation and interest by parental status, 2022
    • Build casual, not necessarily quick occasions
      • Figure 28: Reasons for increased fast casual visitation, 2022
    • Feed the need for value with unique, affordable experiences
      • Figure 29: Reasons for reduced fast casual visitation, 2022
    • Drive fast casual appeal to workers on the go and at home
      • Figure 30: Change in fast casual visitation and interest by work from home status, 2022
  11. Restaurant Type Associations

    • Health is a hallmark of fast casuals
      • Figure 31: Restaurant type associations, 2022
    • Double down on convenience and value for parents
      • Figure 32: Fast casual associations by parental status, 2022
    • Gen Z attitudes point to potential
      • Figure 33: Fast casual associations by generation, 2022
  12. Fast Casual Visitation Motivators

    • Convenience is non-negotiable
      • Figure 34: Fast casual visitation motivators, 2022
    • Focus healthy for women, hearty for men
      • Figure 35: Fast casual visitation motivators, by gender, 2022
    • Fast and healthy will drive traffic
      • Figure 36: TURF Analysis – Fast casual visitation motivators, 2022
  13. Interest in Fast Casual Concepts

    • New channels help FC operators meet consumers where they are
      • Figure 37: Interest in Fast casual concepts, 2022
      • Figure 38: Farmer’s Fridge Instagram Post
      • Figure 39: Fast casual feature interest by parental status, 2022
    • Hybrid workers seek workday balance
      • Figure 40: Fast casual feature interest by work from home status, 2022
  14. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  15. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 41: Total US revenues and forecast of full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places*, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 42: Total US retail sales and forecast of at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27″
      • Figure 43: Total US retail sales and forecast of limited-service eating places*, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
  16. Appendix – Correspondence Analysis

      • Figure 44: Restaurant type associations, 2022
    • Methodology
  17. Appendix – Turf Analysis

      • Figure 45: Table – TURF Analysis – Fast casual restaurant concept interest, 2022
    • Methodology

About the report

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