Business is booming for many restaurant chains categorized as fast-casual. According to a recent Technomic report, the top 150 fast-casual chains increased sales by about 8% to $21.5 billion in 2011.
“Fast-casual operators continue to outshine every other segment within the U.S. restaurant industry,” Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic said in a press release. “Fast-casual restaurants fill the gap between quick service and casual dining. People want fast, fresh, quality meals at a fair price point. This segment seems to hit that sweet spot right now.”
Here’s a look at the industry’s top seven segments and the restaurant chains that demonstrated the fastest growth in each one, according to Technomic. The sales results are from 2011.
- Bakery caf�: Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA), $3.3 billion in sales
- Mexican: Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG), $2.3 billion in sales
- Chicken: Zaxby’s, $840 million in sales
- Asian/noodle: Panda Express, $1.5 billion in sales (estimated by Technomic)
- Better burger: Five Guys Burgers and Fries, $950 million in sales
- Sandwich: Jason’s Deli, $525 million in sales (estimated by Technomic)
- Pizza: Donatos Pizza $166 million in sales (estimated by Technomic)
Want to learn more facts about the fast-casual dining experience? You can download the full report at Technomic’s website.