Why is Fast Casual Winning?

Ekaterina Sorokina
Kevin Stephen Murphy, University of Central Florida


This case study analyzed the fast casual segment of the U.S. restaurant industry. The segment is thriving, while others continue to struggle to maintain average performance. In an attempt to understand the success of the fast casual segment, the study first looked at its development and history. Then the study explored stories behind the top five leading concepts of fast casual segment: Panera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panda Express, Zaxby’s, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. These companies remained the leaders of the segment from 2011 to 2013, which showed their strong positioning in the market and high competitiveness.