Why fast-casual dining keeps booming

The amount and diversity of fast-casual dining options in the UK continues to grow rapidly; many high streets now boasting a smorgasbord of cuisines. We’ve taken a look at what’s fuelling this trend through the eyes of our 5Drivers model to see which emotions these outlets have been leveraging.

World exploration through food ​

Global foods are no longer the preserve of the dining tables of the elite. Fast-casual players allow consumers to break free of their comfort zones and try something new at an accessible price. This spirit of culinary adventure is prompting the appearance of ever-more exotic choices – from the latest Japanese/Latin-inspired dishes to Hawaiian raw-fish bowls.

Grab-and-go control ​

​Fast-casual restaurants allow speedy dining on demand; a flexibility that’s a natural response to the gradual erosion of formal mealtimes. Steeped in an Amazon Prime, Deliveroo world of near-instant gratification, Millennials and young families want to eat what they like whenever they want it. Breakfast can be an all-day occasion or gourmet avocadoes on toast in a nicely packaged, takeaway box! Players in this domain must, therefore, be constantly alive to quicker solutions or risk looking like outmoded challenges to consumers’ sense of control.

Wholesomeness that gets to consumers’ hearts​

​There’s a significant focus on healthy, high quality and locally sourced ingredients amongst brands contesting this space. For example, some have sought to benefit from the trend towards a more health-conscious outlook by featuring superfoods like kale and quinoa – ingredients that perform the neat trick of playing to both ‘feel-good laziness’ and the thirst for new taste sensations. Meanwhile, strong messages on ethical, community-supporting ingredients help reinforce deeper connections with the brand than would be possible if they were merely about the product alone.


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