Top 5 Vendors for Fast Casual Restaurants in the US until 2020, by Technavio

Renewable energy


Key vendors to leverage innovative packaging to keep pace with the competition in the market

Technavio, a company that develops over 2000 pieces of research every year and covers more than 500 technologies across 80 countries, has announced the top five leading vendors for fast casual restaurants in the US in their latest research report. This report also lists 13 other prominent vendors who are expected to contribute to this market’s growth between 2016-2020.

To identify the top vendors, Technavio’s market research analysts have taken into account the revenue generated through sales of food and beverages by fast casual restaurants in the US.

This Technavio report, under the food vertical, is based on the synthesis, analysis, and interpretation of information about the fast casual restaurant market in the US collected from specialized sources. The analysts have derived insights using a mix of primary and secondary research with an aim to provide a holistic picture of the market.

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Competitive vendor landscape

The US market for fast-casual restaurants is fragmented in nature owing to the presence of several large and small players in the market space. The vendors compete on the basis of meeting rapidly-evolving consumer demands to gain market shares and strengthen their foothold in the market space. Retaining customer loyalty in the fast casual restaurant market in the US is relatively difficult due to the presence of several vendors and intense competition. Market players often indulge in price wars by providing promotional offers or slashing their product prices to sustain their existing position in the market. However, this could have negative implications on the company’s profit margins and consequently the overall market growth prospect.

“Vendors in the market are focusing increasingly on innovating the packaging used for home delivery and take away. Innovations are made with respect to the use of biodegradable packaging, compostable packaging, and packaging customized to a particular shape and size of a food product. The use of corrugated packaging is also gaining traction among vendors in the fast casual restaurant market in the US owing to its insulating properties,” says Manjunath Reddy, a lead analyst at Technavio for food.

Top five vendors in the fast casual restaurant market space in the US

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill operates restaurants that serve burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, and salads. The restaurants also serve meals for children with seasonal fruit, organic milk, and chips. As of December 2015, the company operated 1,971 Chipotle restaurants in the US, 11 in China, seven in England, four in France, and one in Germany. It also operates 13 ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants. In FY2015, the company reported a revenue of almost $5 billion.

Key products: Burrito, Bowl, Crispy corn tacos, Soft corn tacos, Soft flour tacos, and Salad.

Firehouse Restaurant Group (Firehouse Subs)

The Firehouse Restaurant Group or Firehouse Subs operates as a chain of fast casual restaurants across 44 states in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It operates more than 960 fast casual restaurants in the US. The company also offers catering services and also franchises its restaurants.

Key products: Smokehouse Beef and Cheddar Brisket, Turkey Bacon Ranch, Premium Roast Beef, Momma’s Chicken Salad, Capt. Sorensen’s Datil Pepper Grilled Chicken, and Firehouse Chili.

Five Guys Holdings

Five Guys Holdings owns and franchises a chain of restaurants in Canada and the US. The company is known for developing a mobile application that enables customers to order food online. It operates stores in more than 1,000 locations in six Canadian provinces and 47 states in the US.    

Key products: Little Bacon Cheeseburger, Cheese Veggie Sandwich, Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwich, Five Guys Style, and Kosher Style Hot Dog.

Panda Restaurant Group (Panda Express)

The Panda Restaurant Group, or Panda Express, operates a chain of restaurants and offers Chinese food, Japanese grill, gourmet Mandarin, and Szechuan cuisine. Their menu also includes soups and salads, appetizers, entrées, and noodles. The company operates its restaurants across the US, Puerto Rico, and Japan. It operates more than 1,800 Panda Express, 15 Hibachi-San, and five Panda Inn restaurants. The company operates through three key business segments that include Panda Express, Panda Inn, and Hibachi-San.

Key products: Entrées, Appetizers, Side Dishes, Plates and Bowls, Sushi and Rolls, Soups and Salads, Noodle and Rice, Sea Food, Specialties, and Desserts and Drinks.

Panera Bread

Panera Bread owns, operates, and franchises retail bakery-cafés and serves more than 8 million customers on a weekly basis. It operates bakeries through Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread, and Paradise Bakery & Café trademark names. As of December 2015, the company operates 901 company-owned bakery-cafés and 1,071 franchise-operated bakery-cafés in the US and Canada. In FY2015, the company reported a revenue of almost $3 billion.

Key products: Freshly Baked Bagels, Breads, Muffins, Rolls, Scones, and Sweet Goods; Sandwiches on Freshly Baked Breads; Freshly Prepared and Hand-tossed Salads; Pasta Dishes; Soups; And Custom Roasted Coffees and Café Beverages.

Other prominent vendors in this market include &pizza, Blaze Pizza, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Godfather’s Pizza, MOD Pizza, Noodles & Company, Pie Five Pizza, PizzaRev, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Shake Shack, Smashburger, Sweetgreen, and Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint.

A more detailed analysis is available in the Technavio report, Fast Casual Restaurant Market in the US 2016-2020. Technavio also customizes reports by other regions and specific segments upon request.

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