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Report: Fast-casual industry shows no signs of slowing down

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — According to Technomic’s Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report, fast casual makes up just 14% of the total $223 billion limited-service restaurant segment, but its sales continue to outpace other operators. Fast-casual sales increased 13% in 2012, and the largest chains — those which each made more than $325 million last year — did even better, growing by 16%. Fast-casual restaurants continue to outperform both quick-service and full-service establishments and post strong gains even while the rest of the industry is having a more difficult time.

Looking forward, the trend is expected to continue, according to Technomic’s. Whereas the compound annual growth rate for all limited-service restaurants is 4.5% (2012 through 2017), fast-casual operators are expected to grow 10%, on average, over the same period.

"Fast-casual has become a $31-billion segment since Chipotle began reinventing fast food 20 years ago," said Darren Tristano, executive VP, Technomic. "Consumers today want quality offerings made quickly. Segments like burger, sandwich and Mexican have done a great job delivering on quality, fresh, gourmet, and made-on-demand offerings. There are still areas of growth in the fast-casual segment for operators to adopt these ingredients for success and become viable in the fast-casual landscape."

Bakery cafes continued to lead all menu categories among the Top 150 fast-casual chains, with U.S. systemwide sales of $6.1 billion, up more than 10% over 2011. The Mexican and sandwich categories were second and third largest, with U.S. systemwide sales of $5.7 and $4.4 billion, respectively. The categories that saw the fastest sales growth were sandwich (up 17%) and Asian/noodle (up 16%). The burger and sandwich clusters experienced the highest unit growth, growing outlets by 14% and 13%, respectively. Top players within fast-casual clusters include:

  • Bakery cafe led by Panera Bread with sales of $3.7 billion.
  • Mexican led by Chipotle Mexican Grill with sales of $2.7 billion.
  • Chicken led by Zaxby’s with sales of $979 million.
  • Asian/Noodle led by Panda Express with sales of $1.8 billion.
  • Better Burger led by Five Guys Burgers and Fries with sales of $1.1 billion.
  • Sandwich led by Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop with sales of $1.3 billion.
  • Pizza led by Donatos Pizza with estimated sales of $157 million.

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GMDC enhances membership services

BY CSA STAFF

The Global Market Development Center has appointed Jason Weber as its new member services manager and Joshua Manweiler as its new communications specialist as part of its strategy to enhance membership services.

Weber will report to the senior manager of member services, Vickii Barnard. He has experience implementing programs and strategies to engage with members and deepen involvement. His career began in the grocery industry in 1993 in distribution services for both non-perishable and perishable warehouses for Dillon’s/Kroger. Weber moved into the retail side of the business in 1999 as a buyer for GHC/Kroger (GM/HBC/Seasonal). From that point he became the operations manager for Ultimate Athletic, working with partners such as ESPN, Olympic Governing Bodies, Food & Wine, Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl, developing branded merchandise lines and managing on-site and e-commerce sales. In 2008, he returned to GHC/Kroger as inventory superintendent with a third-party partner Advantage Logistic/Supervalu.

Manweiler will work alongside the department director, Mark Mechelse, and will be responsible for managing media, content writing and editorial, trade press material and advertising, to effectively build the GMDC brand, products and services to its members and prospects.

Prior to working for GMDC, Manweiler integrated his unique abilities with a nonprofit association in Colorado Springs that was focused on education and safety. His position included managing the organization’s technology infrastructure, communications, event coordination, government affairs and website development. He also served as an IT specialist for the College of Engineering at the University of Colorado for five years, and has his bachelor of arts in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado.

"We are excited to welcome Jason and Josh to GMDC as our newest team members,” said Dave McConnell, president and CEO, GMDC. “The addition of these gentlemen delivers a skillset that is complimentary to the GMDC strategy and will continue to build upon the driving force of innovation that GMDC has embarked on throughout the past two years. The connection between our members in doing business well is paramount, and GMDC’s education programs and marketing efforts, as well as attracting new members for our Retailers, is key in building our strengths. Both Jason and Josh’s background fit well, and will be an asset to GMDC conferences and activities.”

The Global Market Development Center is a global trade association dedicated to serving general merchandise and health beauty wellness retailers, wholesalers and suppliers. GMDC promotes critical connectivity to grow and expand member companies by uniting members through business building events and opportunities and enriching their thinking through education and training; consumer and business insights; and information resources.

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Crosland Southeast acquires Blockbuster portfolio valued at $27+ million

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Charlotte, N.C. — Regional shopping center company Crosland Southeast has acquired 24 former Blockbuster stores from Blockbuster Corporate, spanning North and South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida. Blockbuster vacated all stores at closing, and Crosland Southeast has already sold 11 of the 24.

“We are excited to obtain such a desirable portfolio of real estate,” said Tim Sittema, partner of Crosland Southeast. Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2010 and was sold to satellite TV service provider DISH Network. This deal with Crosland Southeast represented essentially all of their stores owned by Dish Network and was a joint venture with Legend Retail Group of Denver. The total cost for acquisitions plus improvements on all of the properties exceeded $27 million.

Nearly all of the 13 stores retained in Crosland Southeast’s portfolio are pre-leased to other retail and medical tenants.

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