The Best Fast Casual Concepts: What’s Hot Right Now

Interested in owning a fast casual restaurant? Learn which fast casual concepts are currently thriving so you can be sure to choose one that's successful.

A New Day for Fast Casual

In the world of restaurants, fast casual concepts provide the perfect vehicle for delivering trend-setting flavors with convenience, high quality food at affordable prices, and exciting franchising opportunities for dedicated entrepreneurs.

Several established and up-and-coming concepts adhere to all the tenets of what makes a great fast casual restaurant experience, while providing a platform for restauranteurs to elevate popular standbys, explore new flavors, and put their own personal mark on the industry.

Bowl Them Over

Food bowls are hardly a new concept, but their convenience and cost effectiveness for both customer and restauranteur make the humble bowl a perfect vessel for delivering an assortment of different meals. From teriyaki to poke to smoothie and acai bowls, this fast casual concept can be adapted to a range of flavors and locales.

Bowls can work across all dayparts and also capitalize on social media trends because they’re highly photographable. They represent a novelty to American diners, so they tend to attract younger patrons. They are also easily customizable and can be embraced by healthy eaters in a way that some fast casual trends can’t.

Bowls franchises can steadily expand by offering franchisees a popular concept, a simple operational model, and a small footprint from which to run their business.

Why Fast Casual Pizza Is a Thing

Elevated, cafeteria-line fast casual concepts have been around for a while (looking at you, Chipotle and Sweetgreen), but pizza is changing the game. As a mainstay on Americans’ list of favorite foods, pizza presents a promising avenue for restauranteurs.

Pizza has long been known as a delivery staple, until the growing list of fast casual pizza concepts hit the scene. They offer a customizable, interactive dining experience that harnesses diners’ love for pizza along with their desire for a satisfying meal that can be consumed quickly. This segment has especially made inroads in the lunch daypart, where pizza has never been the most popular option.

Unfortunately, with the onset of the pandemic, many fast casual pizza concepts were hit hard because they were not prepared like traditional pizzerias to provide delivery. Brands that were able to quickly pivot to pizza’s roots in delivery are the ones that are making a swifter comeback in the pandemic’s waning days.

The Dish on Dumplings

While Chinese dim sum has been around for centuries, the deceptively humble dumpling has become increasingly ubiquitous across the United States in recent years, a delicious and popular meal option for diners at all times of day.

By combining classic Chinese flavors with cutting-edge technology, the fast casual franchise Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is anticipating changing dining habits in the future, with multiple franchising developments inked over the past year. This one-of-a-kind dumpling restaurant has adapted to safety and delivery concerns brought on during 2020 by providing a contactless ordering system and state-of-the-art food locker technology to provide guests a safe and easy option to pick up food orders at their peak freshness.

Better Burgers Might Be Best

The “better burger” is hardly a new concept but has risen in popularity alongside growing attention paid to healthier eating, sustainability, and more humane agriculture methods. Founded in 1991 and franchising since 2008, Wayback Burgers’ approach to food and franchising is honest, delicious, and uncomplicated. Wayback takes pride in our adaptability, keeping the menu fresh and updated while honoring classic flavors that diners crave and keep coming back for.

Wayback Burgers’ franchisees can rely on a beloved and trusted brand with a proven system for success, and a level of support that is unmatched. We’ll supply the fast casual restaurant business plan, as well as the comprehensive training and franchise expertise from our home office. You’ll supply the passion for an uncomplicated yet international brand, with over 170+ locations and growing in the U.S. and 38 countries around the globe.

To learn more about franchising opportunities with Wayback Burgers, contact us today.