A snapshot of the current restaurant industry provides some clues:
The bulk of that growth in limited service rests on the back of fast-casual restaurants, which posted 9.1% gains in 2016, according to Technomic. (In contrast, traditional fast food reported just 3.9% growth in the same period.) Technomic is forecasting a return to double digit growth for fast casual in the coming year.
Beyond the obvious broad customer appeal, what are some of the other shared characteristics of these fast-growing restaurant concepts?
1. Strong unit economics. It’s easy for restaurants to grab headlines for opening new units, but simply opening new stores doesn’t count for much if each one isn’t high-performing.
2. An investment in technology. Today’s consumers expect online ordering, mobile apps and convenient takeout and delivery options.
3. A successful restaurant needs to stand out from the crowded pack with signature menu offerings, craveable items and quality ingredients. An engaging backstory and clear brand mission also help carve a place in the industry.
4. Deep pockets. It’s a no-brainer why emerging restaurant concepts seek out funding from investors. Capital, preferable from a variety of sources, is essential for sustained growth. The most successful brands will win that funding.