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

Share Article

Fast casual 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.

“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.

Fast casual 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. In the year ending February 2016 fast casual customers increased their visits by 6 percent while total foodservice traffic rose by 1 percent compared to year ago, 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% ; Panera Bread, 1869 units, up 9%; Panda Express, 1729 units, up 5%; Five Guys Burgers and Fries, 1225 units, up 4%; and Firehouse Subs, 925 units, up 10%. These and other fast casual chains have been one of the success stories of the restaurant industry for the last several years.

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.

“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.”

-30-

About The NPD Group
The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food / foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games. For more information, visit http://www.npd.com and npdgroupblog.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kim McLynn
The NPD Group
+1 (847) 692-1781
Email >
Visit website