Technomic creates insights group to keep up with fast casual growth
As a follow-up to its Foodservice Planning Program study of the fast casual segment, presented to suppliers in January 2012, Technomic is launching a new Fast Casual Insights Group to provide ongoing monitoring and growth forecasts.
The new group is in response to the segment’s growth, which continues to outpace growth of quick-service and full-service segments.
Though fast casual is relatively small — comprising 6 percent of the restaurant industry — its influence has been notable. With origins in once-innovative concepts such as Fuddruckers, Koo Koo Roo and the “home meal replacement” trend, as well as prime development seen in chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread and Five Guys Burgers and Fries, the fast casual sector has evolved and expanded.
“Watching the success of fast casual concepts, quick-service restaurants have adapted by improving menu items and adding fresh positioning. Leading QSRs like McDonald’s and Wendy’s are upgrading to fast casual-like decor and Chick-fil-A is testing table delivery,” said Technomic EVP Darren Tristano, who has been studying the fast casual segment since its identification in the early 1990s.
Tristano adds that full-service restaurants have also integrated elements of the fast casual segment, including Pizza Inn with its recent launch of the Pie Five Pizza Co. brand, and Denny’s with its Fresh Express concept.
“But innovative fast casual concepts continue to evolve, adding full-service elements like table service in the evening and quick-service convenience like drive-thrus and delivery, defying the typical ‘fast-casual’ definition,” Tristano said.
Key components of the Fast Casual Insights Group include:
•Qualitative and quantitative operator research to determine how they define “fast casual,” the critical strategic issues and competitive threats facing operators, and technology’s role in the segment;
•Analysis of Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics data, outlining the attributes that drive satisfaction at fast casual concepts and how individual brands rate on these attributes;
•Historic perspectives including sales and unit growth, segment share and analysis of why some concepts have earned ongoing success while others have struggled or ceased operation;
•A predictive view of the future, including growth forecasts through 2020, the concepts and niches that will see long-term success and why; and
•The Fast Casual 400 — the most thorough ranking of fast casual concepts.
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