What's the difference between fast-casual restaurants for sale and fast-food restaurants for sale? A fast-casual restaurant promises a higher quality of food with fewer frozen or processed ingredients than fast food restaurants and does not offer any form of table service. The fast-casual restaurant concept is typified by stores like Chipotle, Five Guys, Newk's Eatery, or even Panera Bread.
Technomic wrote in 2015 that "for the second year in a row, the fast-casual sector was the growth engine of the United States restaurant industry." Their Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report "found that fast casuals increased their collective annual sales by 12.8 percent to $30 Billion in 2014 and that growth rate was nearly double the next-largest increase from any other restaurant segment." That's one reason for the popularity of the fast-casual restaurants for sale in our database.
The Restaurant Brokers have written and spoken about the fast-casual trend for several years. We saw the increase in the market on the heels of the 2008 recession where full-service diners "traded down" for a better dining experience into fast-casual while those in fast food looking for an upgraded experience went in the opposite direction. That trend has continued since that time with full service continuing to lose share to the fast-casual industry. That's one reason why our fast-casual restaurants for sale are such drivers of interest. It is also worth noting that most fast-casual restaurants for sale are franchise restaurants, though not all.
Other national trends that play into the growth of this segment and the turnover in fast-casual restaurants for sale are increased focus on sourcing of goods and nutritional counts. Most concepts in this segment, though not all, have a greater focus on sourcing locally and regularly make food nutrition numbers available even in advance of a federal mandate to do so.