Fast-casual restaurants lead in consumer-catering market, finds Technomic

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th December 2012

Recent research on US consumers’ expanded usage of restaurants and retailers for catering has found that fast-casual restaurants are expected to outperform all other players.

Consumer research company Technomic found that fast-casual restaurants in the United States have a projected growth rate of 12 per cent over the next three years, well-ahead of quick-service sandwich restaurants (8 per cent) and club stores such as Costco (7 per cent).

Technomic reported overall, restaurants are now capturing four times the revenue of retailers for catering occasions, $19.3 billion versus $4.0 billion.

The report also found that 20 per cent of surveyed consumers would now consider fast-food restaurants as a source for at-home catered occasions, compared to just 7 per cent in 2009. In contrast, warehouse clubs have slipped 7 percentage points in shoppers’ minds, from 26 percent in 2009 to 19 per cent in 2012.

Director of the Technomic Parties Off Premises (POP) study, Melissa Wilson, said that fast-casual restaurants appear to be taking share from independent caterers.

“Improvements in food quality, especially at fast-casual and fast-food chains, appear to be a significant factor in restaurants’ recent gains with catering consumers,” Ms Wilson said.

“Social catering occasions can provide a consistent stream of business from core customers. While seasonal peaks are evident for specific occasions, the majority of users average more than two of these purchases each month,” she added.