Fast Casual Restaurant Chains Still Lead in Unit Growth and Customer Visits
Fast casual restaurant chains have grown both in unit count and consumer visits says a market researcher. The count of fast casual chain restaurants rose by 1 percent to 25,312 units as of September 30, 2018 compared to the same period the year before, according to The NPD Group.
Consumer visits of fast-casual restaurants were also up — by 3 percent from February 2018 to February of this year. Compare that to a 1 percent increase of traffic with quick service restaurants and no change for U.S. foodservice traffic as a whole, according to NPD’s market research.
The researcher reports that the top five U.S. metro areas with the most number of fast-casual chain units are:
- Los Angeles, 2002 units, up 2 percent
- Dallas-Fort Worth, 1146 units, down 1 percent
- New York City, 1052, down 1 percent
- Chicago, 956, up 2 percent
- Washington DC, 884 units, up 1 percent
Fast-casual may be a small slice of the total foodservice industry, but it is a quickly rising slice. When it comes to consumer visits, fast casual restaurants represent 8 percent of total quick-service traffic; whereas, traditional quick-service restaurants represent 75 percent of traffic. Quick-service retail, e.g. grocery stores with prepared food, represents 17 percent.