Why Fast-Casual is the Future of Food Franchising

Franchise Insights | Apr 4, 2022

Noodles & Company franchise team member holds up a takeout order

Fast-casual restaurants represent one of the fastest growing segments in the industry, winning over customers with convenience, quality, and budget-friendly options. As the restaurant industry returns to normalcy following a tumultuous few years, fast-casual franchises continue to trend upward and reach record-high sales. Find out what else makes fast-casual restaurants a customer-favorite and a smart investment for multi-unit franchise owners.

Increased Customer-Demand

In today’s busy world, restaurants that cater to customers on the go are the top choice for professionals, families, and anyone else in need of a quick but delicious meal. Fast-casual franchises find balance between serving quality food and offering the convenience of quick-service dining. Perfect for both a pit-stop between meetings and a leisurely weekend lunch, fast-casual franchises are growing in popularity amongst consumers of all ages. And the proof is in the numbers.

According to Allied Market Research, the fast-casual restaurant market was valued at $125.6 billion in 2019. The same group forecasts the industry will grow to $209.1 billion by 2027, a CAGR of 10.6% within 6 years!

Strong Performance in Every Economy

Fast-casual franchises show positive growth through all types of economies, as proven by their performance over the past two years. While many business sectors suffered, fast-casual restaurants continued to boom. There are a host of reasons for this trend.

Firstly, fast-casual franchises offer guests convenience through quick turnaround times, digital ordering options, and ease of access. In the era of Amazon, speed and access are highly valued by consumers of all ages, and restaurants that can deliver these qualities tend to win repeat customers.

Fast-casual restaurants also offer guests exceptional value, serving quality food at competitive pricing. This is ideal for budget-friendly consumers in any economy, but makes fast-casual restaurant franchises especially attractive during times of economic strife.

Benefits of Off-Premises Dining

The past few years have triggered a rise in off-premises dining, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. To-go meals and delivery continue to dominate the market, with many consumers ordering out multiple times a week. This change in dining behaviors presents a huge opportunity for fast-casual restaurant franchises that are positioned to pivot to meet this demand.

According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, weekly off-premises dinner purchases went up by approximately 8% in older generations, and even higher amongst millennials and Gen Z, during 2021. Delivery has become especially popular, with global food delivery segment expected to reach $97 billion by 2024.

Restaurant franchises that have their own delivery app stand to benefit best from this trend. A Statista survey shows that 67% of consumers would rather order from a restaurant’s in-house delivery service than a third-party app.

Grow with a Leading Fast-Casual Franchise

With a popular ordering app, differentiated menu, and quick table turnover, the Noodles & Company franchise remains on top of fast-casual restaurant industry trends. While burger and chicken chains are a dime a dozen, Noodles & Company wins over consumers with meals made of fresh ingredients and healthy options for the whole family.

To learn how you can bring this in-demand franchise to your market, reach out to our team.


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