Fast-casual chains are getting squeezed

Recent reports show declines in revenues for fast-casual dining restaurants. Examples of fast-casual dining include Panera Bread, Co., Chipotle, and Habit. Fast-casual dining has been popular in recent years as alternatives to traditional fast food restaurants. However, recent improvements to traditional fast food menus have siphoned off customers from fast-casual dining. The recent tug of war for revenues demonstrates that while demographic trends change, restaurant chains must continue to adapt to ever changing trends and changes.

Key Takeaways:

  • The fast-casual segment is supposedly a disruptive force in the restaurant industry, pulling consumers away from traditional chains while promising higher quality food and a faster service model.
  • But that disruption doesn’t mean fast-casual chains are immune from all the other issues afflicting the restaurant industry at the moment.
  • In a notably weak period for restaurants, the fast-casual segment was the weakest.

“In the first three months of the year, publicly traded fast-casual chains averaged a same-store sales decline of 1.6 percent.”

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