Everyone loves fast casual restaurant concepts. The most popular is perhaps Chipotle, but everyone always has a few fast casual options in their back pocket for a nice, but quick, meal out. Today, I attended a South By Southwest session that covered fast casual restaurant concepts and the slow food movement. The most interesting part is that the fast casual trend that continues to gain momentum was born out of the recent recession.
New Food Needs
Whenever a new need arises, the market naturally creates a solution. When the housing market bubble popped, consumers didn’t have the expendable income to wine and dine at restaurants and fine dining establishments as often as they used to. They started looking for other dining accommodations that weren’t as expensive, but not as nutritionally detrimental as fast food chains. Enter fast casual concepts such as Agency Entourage’s client, Revolve Pizza Kitchen in Oklahoma City.
The Flight to Quality
Also spurred by the recession is the flight to quality movement. Millennials especially have committed to buying less, but buying quality. Instead of buying new shirts every year, you might buy a couple of more expensive shirts that will last longer.
This movement of quality buying also translated to food. People started to demand higher quality food in fast settings. This led to the expedited proliferation and adoption rate of fast casual restaurant concepts.
The Power of Consumer Brands
Consumer brands have more power than ever to affect social and cultural change. Whole Foods and Chipotle have both led to the increase in demand for better quality food products. This is due in part to the increased connection consumers feel with brands through digital channels such as social media.
They also are the ones creating the experiences consumers interact with on a daily basis. If they have such a great experience dining at Revolve Pizza Kitchen or grocery shopping at Whole Foods, consumers start to expect the same kind of quality experiences across other parts of their lives.
At Agency Entourage we seek to empower our client’s brands in order to achieve their objectives and goals. Whether they want to offer a better dining experience or change the way clinical data is analyzed, we’re there to support those missions.