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Fast Food Faces Stiff Competition from Casual Dining Restaurants (Fast Casual), Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Fast-casual restaurants are a hybrid of fast food and casual dining and include chains such as Shake Shack and Chipotle.  Some rely on counter service, perhaps taking orders at the counter and then delivering the food to tables when ready.  Others offer full table service.
Established chefs (many of whom are famous, thanks to media coverage and TV channels such as the Food Network) are opening fast food and fast-casual concepts.  Guy Fieri of the Food Network had 14 restaurant brands and more than 70 restaurants around the world as of early 2022.  Restaurant chains are also partnering with big name chefs to develop new menu items, such as Pei Wei’s deal with celebrity Asian food master Jet Tilafilm.
The Shake Shack chain of hamburger restaurants is another example of upscale chefs and restauranteurs getting into the burger business.  At Shake Shack, menus include 100%, all-natural Angus beef burgers and sandwiches made from 100% all-natural cage-free chickens.  The firm makes strong statements about the environment and community involvement.
After facing falling sales, many sit-down casual restaurant chains are streamlining food operations, adding fresh, more urbane menu items (such as tuna poke) and sprucing up dining and bar areas.  The results are upswings in revenue for a number of chains including TGI Fridays, Red Lobster (owned by Golden Gate Capital) and Brio Tuscan Grille.
As a result of the Coronavirus, nearly all restaurants, from fast food to fine dining establishments, became more reliant on takeout orders, some for the first time.  F


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