Fast Casual Restaurant Chains Continue to Grow in Units and Customer Visits

Chipotle, Panera, Panda Express, Five Guys, and Firehouse Subs Top List of Largest Fast Casual Chains

Chicago, April  6, 2016 —Fast casual  restaurant chains, which are upscale quick service restaurant (QSR) concepts, continue  to be on a winning streak, growing  both in units and customer visits, finds The NPD Group, a leading global information company.   The number of fast casual chain restaurants rose by 5 percent to 19,043 total units, based on NPD’s Fall 2015 ReCount® restaurant census, which includes restaurants open as of September 30, 2015. Fast casual customers increased their visits by 6 percent in the year ending February 2016 compared to a year ago, while total foodservice traffic rose by 1 percent, according to NPD’s ongoing foodservice market research.  

The top five fast casual restaurant chains based on number of units are:  Chipotle Mexican Grill, 1896 units, up 9 percent ; Panera Bread, 1869 units, up 9 percent; Panda Express, 1729 units, up 5 percent; Five Guys Burgers and Fries, 1225 units, up 4 percent; and Firehouse Subs,  925 units, up 10 percent.  These and other fast casual chains have been one of the success stories of the restaurant industry for the last several years. 

Chains

# of units

Percent Change from Year Ago

Chipotle 1896 9%
Panera Bread 1869 9%

Panda Express

1729 5%
Five Guys Burgers and Fries 1225 4%
Firehouse Subs 925 10%

Source: The NPD Group/Fall 2015 Recount®

 

The fast casual category is still a relatively small slice of the total foodservice industry. Fast casual restaurants represent 7 percent of total quick service visits, which represents 78 percent of total foodservice industry traffic.   In units, the fast casual category is a small portion of the total 343,407 quick service restaurants in U.S.  The total U.S. restaurant count decreased slightly (-.6%) from a year ago to 629,488 units, based on NPD’s Fall 2015 ReCount restaurant census.

“There has been significant unit growth in the fast casual category over the past several years, and it hasn’t reached a saturation point since traffic is still increasing,” says Greg Starzynski, director- product management,  NPD Foodservice.  “This would indicate that there is room for more growth for the fast casual category into the foreseeable future.”


Related Press Releases

April 3, 2018

Foodservice Delivery in U.S. Posts Double-Digit Gains Over Last Five Years With Room to Grow

March 13, 2018

In a Slow Market, U.S. Restaurant Operators Step it up by Offering Customers Digitally-Enabled Convenience

February 22, 2018

Tis the Season of Lent and Seafood Consumption But Consumers Are Catching On to The Benefits of Eating Shellfish All Year Long

February 14, 2018

Total U.S. Restaurant Count At 647,288, A Drop From Last Year Due to Decline In Independent Restaurant Units, Reports NPD


Press Contact

Kim McLynn
847-692-1781
kim.mclynn@npd.com

@npdfood

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

Want more?

Complete this form to hear from NPD.

Newsletter

Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View our privacy policy.

Follow Us

© The NPD Group, Inc.