Fast Casual Concepts: The Pros and Cons of Each Restaurant Type
There are a lot of fast casual concepts out there. Fast casual restaurants offer a more upscale dining experience than traditional fast food, with fresher, higher quality ingredients, but are still quick and affordable. So, as an investor interested in the fast casual market, how do you find the right one for you? Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of each type.
What are the Options?
It’s important to recognize the differences between a few of the most popular fast casual restaurant concepts, as well the pros and cons that may be associated with each.
- Build-your-own: Also known as BYO, this fast casual concept allows customers to create their own meals by selecting from a variety of ingredients, sauces, and toppings. This includes popular food genres such as pizza, sandwiches, salads, poke and noodle bowls, and more. The setup is typically an assembly line-style counter where customers can see their meals being prepared. The BYO concept is popular because it offers customization and fresh ingredients. The main advantage of this concept is its flexibility – customers can create a meal that meets their dietary needs and preferences. However, the downside is that it often requires more space to accommodate a larger number of ingredients, which can lead to higher overhead costs. Additionally, the BYO concept can result in longer wait times during peak hours, as each meal is made-to-order.
- Limited Menu: A limited menu concept offers a smaller menu of pre-made items, usually with a focus on a particular type of cuisine or ingredient. The setup can be simpler than the BYO concept, as there is less need for prep space and customization. The limited menu concept can be a cost-effective option, as it requires less kitchen equipment and less staff. However, this concept can be underwhelming for customers who are looking for a wider variety of options.
- Hybrid: The Hybrid concept combines elements of both the BYO and limited menu concepts, as well as including the option to enjoy your meal in a relaxed atmosphere within the restaurant or take it on-the-go. Customers have the option to build their own meals or choose from pre-made items. This concept can offer the best of both worlds, but often requires a larger kitchen and staff to accommodate both options.
So, which of these concepts do customers seem to prefer? The truth is it depends on the individual customer. Some may prefer the flexibility of a build-your-own bowl concept, while others may prefer the convenience of a pre-packaged salad they can pick up on the go, or the comfort of ordering a freshly grilled burger directly off the menu.
Dishing Up Success with Fast Casual
It’s important to note that all of these concepts have the potential to be successful if executed properly. The key is to identify your target market and tailor your concept to their needs and preferences. Factors that influence whether a fast casual restaurant works well or not include location, competition, marketing, and operational efficiency.
For example, a fast casual pizza concept may not perform as well in an area with a lot of established pizza restaurants, while a fast casual sandwich concept like a Jersey Mike’s franchise may struggle in an area with a high concentration of delis. Effective marketing and efficient operations are also essential to the success of any fast casual concept. Location is key, as foot traffic and accessibility can greatly impact sales. Additionally, pricing and menu offerings should be competitive and appealing to the target demographic. Staffing is also important, as a friendly and efficient team can enhance the dining experience for customers.
By understanding the preferences of your target demographic and the factors that influence success, you can choose a concept that aligns with your goals and offers a satisfying dining experience for customers.
TMAD Breaks the Mold
TMAD capitalizes on all the best things about fast casual. For guests, we provide fresh ingredients, customizable options, and a fun atmosphere in which to enjoy their delicious teriyaki bowls should they choose to dine in. About 80% of Teriyaki Madness customers choose to dine “outside the four walls” by opting for takeout, curbside, catering or third party delivery. Each TMAD shop stands at a modest 1,200-1,600 square feet which, in addition to a clever menu which optimizes options while cutting down on unnecessary inventory, keeps overhead low for franchisees.
With its domination of not only the fast casual market, but TWO other sizzling segments (Asian and Chicken), TMAD can’t be boxed in…even if you may choose to take your meal to go.
Since 2003, TMAD has been perfecting its restaurant concept, appealing to a broad range of diners and offers investors the opportunity to grow their portfolio with the backing of a killer brand. With over 130 shops now open and more in development, more investors are opting for multi-unit agreements once they get a taste.
As the nation’s preeminent Seattle-style Japanese bowl franchise, the numbers don’t lie: the Madness is catching on with customers and franchisees across the country. Download our Franchise Report to learn more.