Fast Casual Restaurants - US - February 2019

Fast Casual Restaurants - US - February 2019

"The fast casual restaurant segment continues to experience steady sales growth fueled by diners’ interest in high-quality ingredients and better-for-you menu options in an accessible format. However, as restaurant segments blur with full service restaurants offering more convenient ordering options and fast food restaurants offering more premium ingredients, fast casuals struggle to retain their distinctiveness. Looking to 2019 and beyond, fast casual operators should focus on expanding international flavors, plant-based options, and dayparts beyond lunch to sustain their popularity."

Hannah Spencer, Foodservice Analyst

This report will look at the following areas:

Fast casuals lack distinctiveness
Fast casuals must attract diners beyond lunchtime


OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The issues
Figure 1: Dining occasion by restaurant segment, by correspondence analysis, December 2018
Figure 2: Fast casual attitudes, December 2018
Figure 3: Fast casual behaviors, by dayparts, December 2018
The opportunities
Figure 4: Year-over-year change in restaurant visitation, December 2018
Figure 5: Year-over-year change in fast casual restaurant visitation, by generation, December 2018
What it means
THE MARKET
What You Need to Know
Segment blurring creates increased competition for fast casuals
Fast casual chains fuel LSR segment growth
Market Perspective
QSRs focus on plant-based proteins and transparent sourcing
Figure 6: Restaurant segment preferences – LSRs, by gender/age, October 2018
Casual dining competes for off-premise occasions
Market Factors
LSR segment growth will outperform FSR segment
Figure 7: Total US revenues and forecast of restaurants and eating places*, by segment, at current prices, 2018 and 2023
Figure 8: Top 10 fast casual restaurant chain percentage change in sales over prior year, 2017
iGens become increasingly important diners for operators
Figure 9: Population, by generation, 2013-23
KEY PLAYERS
What You Need to Know
Korean fast casuals proliferate while poke concepts decline in popularity
Fast casuals invest in delivery
Happy hour specials attract evening diners
What’s Working?
Korean fast casuals allow consumers to experiment with international cuisines
Fast casuals and third-party delivery companies define their relationship status
What’s Struggling?
Has poke peaked?
What’s Next?
Dieters are welcome
Figure 10: Chipotle Lifestyle bowls
Fast casuals become happy hour destinations
THE CONSUMER
What You Need to Know
Fast casual customers report high satisfaction
Lack of distinctiveness threatens fast casuals
Panera and Chipotle are top-visited fast casuals
Fast casual operators must look beyond lunch
Restaurant Visitation
Fast food restaurants have highest visitation
Figure 11: Restaurant visitation, December 2018
Fast causal chain visitation highest among suburban dwellers
Figure 12: Fast casual restaurant visitation, by area, December 2018
Parents are heavy fast casual users
Figure 13: Fast casual restaurant visitation, by parental status, December 2018
Black consumers have significantly lower fast casual restaurant visitation
Figure 14: Fast casual restaurant visitation, by race and Hispanic origin, December 2018
Year-over-year Change in Restaurant Visitation
Consumers are increasingly visiting fast casuals
Figure 15: Year-over-year change in restaurant visitation, December 2018
iGens drive fast casual growth
Figure 16: Year-over-year change in fast casual restaurant visitation, by generation, December 2018
Fast Casual Chain Visitation
Panera Bread leads in visitation
Figure 17: Fast casual chain visitation, December 2018
Figure 18: Fast casual chain visitation, by region, December 2018
High-income correlates with Panera Bread visitation
Figure 19: Fast casual chain visitation, by household income, December 2018
Chipotle is popular with iGens
Figure 20: Fast casual chain visitation, by generation, December 2018
Dining Occasion by Restaurant Segment
Fast casual restaurants lack distinctive dining out occasions
Figure 21: Dining occasion by restaurant segment, by correspondence analysis, December 2018
Figure 22: Dining occasion by restaurant segment, December 2018
Younger diners more likely to associate fast casual restaurants with socializing
Figure 23: Dining occasion – Fast casual, by generation, December 2018
Dads more likely to associate fast casuals with morning meals and sports
Figure 24: Dining occasion – Fast casual, by parental status and gender, December 2018
Figure 25: Breakfast/brunch beverages of interest – Coffee, April 2018
Figure 26: Postmates promotional email “FREE delivery from Chipotle for this super weekend!”, February 2018
Fast Casual Satisfaction
More than 9 out of 10 consumers are satisfied with fast casuals
Figure 27: Fast casual satisfaction, December 2018
Customer service and menu item variety drive fast casual satisfaction
Figure 28: Key drivers of satisfaction with fast casual restaurants, net any satisfaction, December 2018
Fast Casual Important Attributes
Real ingredients and fresh vegetables are of top importance
Figure 29: Fast casual important attributes, December 2018
Baby Boomers prioritize health
Figure 30: Fast casual important attributes, by generation, December 2018
iGens and Millennials desire innovative menu items
Figure 31: Fast casual important attributes, by generation, December 2018
Hispanic diners crave global and regional flavors
Figure 32: Fast casual important attributes, by Hispanic origin, December 2018
Noodles & Company customers seek innovative and plant-based dishes
Figure 33: Fast casual important attributes, by fast casual chain visitation, December 2018
Fast Casual Attitudes
Specials could help drive sales, but fast casuals need to improve value perceptions
Figure 34: Fast casual attitudes, December 2018
Younger consumers want portable snacks
Figure 35: Fast casual attitudes, by age and gender, December 2018
Fast Casual Behaviors
Meals beyond lunch remain an important opportunity
Figure 36: Fast casual behaviors, December 2018
Younger urban consumers drive fast casual off-premise ordering
Figure 37: Fast casual behaviors, by gender and age, December 2018
Figure 38: Fast casual behaviors, by area, December 2018
APPENDIX
Data Sources and Abbreviations
Data sources
Abbreviations and terms
The Consumer
Figure 39: Full service dining motivators, by changes in behavior – Restaurant visitation, December 2018
Key Driver Analysis
Interpretation of results
Figure 40: Level of satisfaction with fast casual restaurants – Key driver output, December 2018
Correspondence Analysis
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
US Research Methodology
Consumer research
The Mintel fan chart

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