Fast Casual restaurants have proven efficiency that makes them easy to own and operate. The definition of fast casual is a blend of fast food and casual dining. Most fast casual restaurants have gotten away from table service. They offer customizable entrees, fresh ingredients and a more upscale menu than fast food restaurants. The beauty of fast casual is that all of these aspects blend together for the perfect business model with a streamlined design and high profit margins. Smaller menus, compact kitchens, efficient service methods and high volume preparation combine to make fast casual one of the most efficient sectors of the restaurant industry today.
Menus in fast casual restaurants are much smaller and more compact than the quick service and full service counter parts. With simpler menus and customizable options, getting food to a consumer is easier and faster than ever. Fast casual models do not depend on large kitchens. Instead they are dependent upon foot traffic and quick service, making them perfect for urban spaces, college cities, large cities and more. The higher check average over fast food combined with a high volume of consumers allows for a generous profit margin for restaurant owners.
Since fast casual is a modern take on a standard restaurant model (also referred to as "limited service") they are fitted perfectly for millennial diners. The brands are connected to customers through technology, an inviting ambiance and user-friendly systems making them appealing to the modern day diner. According to the National Restaurant Association, "fast casual will represent 33% of limited service dollar growth by 2021". The business is growing and is so efficient it runs itself making it a dream model to own.
One of the best qualities of fast casual restaurants is the streamlined design. Simplified menus take the pressure off of the back of house. They allow for a less labor-intensive kitchen and a simpler method of preparation allowing for laborers with little to no formal restaurant training. A smaller staff equals a smaller payroll and a reduced kitchen size allows for lesser square footage, therefore increases profitability and the overall bottom line.
According to the National Restaurant Association, the "top four fast casual trends are tech integration and rewards, a shift to off-premise sales (catering), clean label and real food and customization and value". Meatballs, Etc. is the perfect model and unique in the fast casual world. Since the fast casual industry is dominated by burgers, sandwiches and Mexican food, Meatballs, Etc. stands out as a winning concept in a unique sector offering everyone's favorite cuisine, Italian, at the fast casual level.