Fast casual concepts are conquering the world. The quick service of a fast food restaurant combined with fresh, healthy products, an appetising presentation, a good story and a fun experience attracts consumers all across the globe. What’s the impact of the fast casual trend? Which concepts master it well? And how can this trend support your business?
The trend: fast casual
The term fast casual comes from the restaurant world and is a combination of fast food and casual dining. You can recognise a fast casual concept by the use of fresh, healthy products, professional and quick preparations, an appealing presentation and a modern look & feel. Many, but not all, fast casual concepts use new technology like digital menus or mobile ordering systems. These concepts are especially popular among millennials, but also highly valued amongst all other generations. Good examples of fast casual concepts are LEON, EXKi and Pret A Manger.
The impact of the fast casual trend
The rise of fast casual restaurants has altered the consumer’s standards. Consumers adopted the high standard of fast service, high-quality products and a good story. A real experience, in short. Because they now know this combination is possible, they expect the same in other markets, including that of baked goods. Fast food restaurants responded to the trend by introducing more special ingredients to their burgers and sandwiches, like better meat, refined cheeses and more vegetables. Many casual dining restaurants, just a bit more luxurious than fast casual, responded by giving their restaurant a make-over, providing it a fancier look & feel, making it more open and transparent.
Flourishing fast-casual concepts
The fast casual trend has also entered the world of bakery and patisserie. Be inspired by these flourishing concepts:
Based in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, this family-run bakery focuses completely on sausage rolls, the perfect snack for every moment of the day. All their rolls are handmade and they offer lots of variations, including vegetarian and halal rolls. With their appearance, striking storytelling and cooperation with famous chefs, they’re a source of inspiration for other bakers.
Fresh food made with exceptional ingredients and an obsessive attention to detail. That’s what Princi offers. Rocco Princi started making bread in Italy in 1985 - artisanally, because for him there’s no other way. Princi’s obsessed with perfection and treats every day like opening night. Maybe that’s what drew the attention of Starbucks? The coffee chain invested in Princi in 2016 and is now expanding the concept – where you can go for artisan breads, fresh pastries, breakfast, lunch and pizza – globally.
This California deli, bakery, café, and market was influenced by traditional East Coast delis, European markets, and Parisian bakeries. Gjusta sources nearly all of its ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and co-ops. Shopping at 5 farmers’ markets throughout the week, they always have fresh ingredients.
Hidden behind customs on the Dutch airport Schiphol is Bread! Travellers can go there for fresh bread that’s made and baked on the spot. They can follow the whole ‘Dutch style’ baking process, from dough to final product. But when in a hurry, travellers can just grab one of the sandwiches or rolls from the open displays.
8 tips to benefit from the fast casual trend
Do you want to benefit from this trend? Perhaps these advices can help you.
Use fresh and preferably local ingredients
- Use seasonal products
- Make your ingredients visible – an open kitchen leads to transparency and trust and gives the guests a real experience
- Tell a good and consistent story
- Make your menu flexible; consumers like to adapt their food to their personal taste
- Pay attention to your interior. These concepts understood that very well. Or do it like they do in America: create one very photogenic wall, where visitors can take their pictures
- Be sure to deliver quick service (with e.g. more staff, a smaller menu or simpler food)
- Never compromise on the quality of your products
Interested in how the products and services of Puratos can help you benefit from this trend? Contact your local Puratos representative.