Technomic's Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report reveals that the fast-casual segment continues to steal share from full-service chains and drive limited-service growth, making up 15 percent of the $231 billion limited-service restaurant segment. Fast-casual sales increased 11 percent in 2013, while all limited-service chains grew by only 3.5 percent.

"It's no secret that today's consumer wants quality offerings made quickly," said Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic. "Fast casual has made an impact on the full- and limited-service restaurant landscape. Before, a consumer might have traded a quality and fresh meal for something quick and economical. Fast casual continues to find new ways to offer both, and it's become a $34.5 billion segment."

Bakery cafes continued to lead all menu categories among the Top 150 fast-casual chains, with U.S. systemwide sales of $6.7 billion, up more than 9 percent over 2012. The Mexican and Sandwich categories were second and third largest, with U.S. systemwide sales of $6.4 and $4.9 billion, respectively.

The Specialty menu category saw the fastest sales growth, up 16 percent followed by Chicken which was up 12 percent. The Sandwich and Specialty clusters experienced the highest unit growth, growing outlets by 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Top fast-casual clusters and their leaders include:

  • Bakery cafe led by Panera Bread with estimated sales of $4.1 billion.
  • Mexican led by Chipotle Mexican Grill with estimated sales of $3.2 billion.
  • Sandwich led by Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shop with sales of $1.5 billion.
  • Chicken led by Zaxby's with sales of $1.1 billion.
  • Asian/Noodle led by Panda Express with sales of $2 billion.
  • Burger led by Five Guys Burgers and Fries with sales of $1.1 billion.
  • Pizza led by Donatos Pizza with estimated sales of $174 million.
  • Specialty led by Dickey's Barbecue Pit with estimated sales of $331 million.

The Technomic Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Reportprovides Technomic's exclusive rankings, analysis and profiles of the leading fast-casual chain restaurants, helping readers understand emerging trends and players in one of today's fastest growing segments.

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Source: Technomic