Technomic Report – Build-Your-Own Built to Lead Fast-Casual

Customization, personalized menu items and staff engagement drive rapid sales expansion for restaurant brands, Technomic finds

Chicago, May 21, 2015, PRNewswire — The fast-casual segment’s blistering pace of sales and unit expansion continued in 2014, with annual sales increasing at more than three times the rate of the total restaurant industry—and even faster for the 150 largest brands contained in Technomic’s Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report.

Within this rapidly growing sector, another subcategory of restaurants is rising far above the competition: build-your-own fast-casual concepts. In 2014, restaurants with a build-your-own format, which moves consumers down the make line and allows them to customize their meals, increased sales twice as fast as made-to-order fast-casual brands. The former reported a collective annual-sales gain of approximately 22 percent, compared with an 11 percent increase for the latter, according to data collected for this year’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report.

“Consumers certainly like the freshness, food quality and prices at made-to-order fast-casual brands, but there is something about the build-your-own format that they prefer significantly,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. “More customers, especially Millennials, see the personalization and engagement that come in a build-your-own menu offering as the greatest differentiator in dining out. These trends are likely to lead fast casual’s growth for years to come.”

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