We don’t have to tell you that it’s a big, big world out there. Apparently, we have a lot of things in common with our fellow earth dwellers, one of which is the desire to eat good food that’s convenient, affordable and delicious. Now, if you are like us, you know that our kind of food is the fuel-your-body-to-climb-a-mountain type of fast-casual food, not the grease-on-the-grill type of fare. It’s a good thing too, because a quick glance at global and U.S. trends shows us that not only are people demanding more fast food franchises, what they really want is fast-casual food because they have higher expectations than ever.
So if you ever sit atop the trail you just hiked and contemplate what kind of future investments you want to make, here are three reasons that now is as good a time as any – in fact, even better – to look for fast-casual food franchise opportunities.
1. A whole lot of people are seeking out the top fast-casual franchises
The global fast-casual industry is a $42.2 billion industry, rising 10% over the past year, even in the face of the current economic challenges. It continues to be a dynamic, evolving sector of the overall restaurant industry.
Despite a year where the overall restaurant industry remained flat, or in some areas declined, SkiftTable.com reported increased traffic for the fast-casual sector. In fact, fast-casual franchise restaurants have been growing at three times the rate as the rest of the restaurant industry. Think a global pandemic can slow it down? Nope. Fast-casual restaurants were the first to adopt safety protocols, keep their drive-thrus open, add curbside pick-up and in some cases, begin delivery services either with their own employees or through a third-party vendor.
2. What about a healthier food franchise?
During this crazy time in our history, we don’t have to tell you that people are thinking more about their personal health and safety, their immunity, and how to live healthier lives. Couple that with their desire for quick, convenient, delicious food options and you’ve got the makings of a need for heartier, healthier fast food franchise and fast-casual franchise offerings
Even before these recent changes, the fast-casual market started trending in the direction of healthier options. An article in Forbes magazine presented statistics that showed the upward trend in fast food franchise concepts is expanding menus to include items that contain less sugar, fat and sodium. This is clearly a push from the competitive fast-casual concepts to provide healthier, more sustainable options for consumers. Plus, now more than ever in history, humans are experimenting with plant-based and more vegetarian options. Further, the current generation has an interest in taking care of our planet (hey, that’s our kind of generation!) and want to know where their food came from and whether it was sourced responsibly. According to QSR magazine, they care about the quality and taste of the food they eat and are willing to pay for it. Basically, healthier, hearty, fill-you-up and feel-good food is the right path to be on when seeking fast-casual or fast food franchise opportunities.
3. Convenience is King
We are Americans. We live in a world of instant gratification, which means we want what we want, and we want it now. The entire idea behind the fast-casual food industry is that it is an opportunity for better quality food that is quick and convenient. If you plan on investing in a fast-casual food concept, make sure you take a careful look at how the business is run. Are operation systems streamlined and easy to work through? Are the menu items simple to prepare? Is there a model in place to get food in the hands of customers in a hurry? That means choosing a concept with multiple options like dine-in, take-away, drive-thru and delivery. Remember, these are all ways to create different revenue streams within a fairly cut and dried business.
So, what’s the moral of this fast-casual franchise story?
Stick with a concept that provides healthier, heartier food that is readily available when people want it. Understand that consumers care about the quality of their food, and that it came from a good place. With that in mind, you should be able to identify a fast-casual franchise that fits the bill and, most important, that you’d be proud to own.