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Fast-Casual Burger Segment Continues to Grow

Monday, August 29, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

The fast-casual boom continues, with more than half of the Top 75 hamburger chains now fast-casual brands, according to a recent survey by foodservice research firm Technomic.

The Top 75 limited-service burger chains saw their sales grow 1.6 percent last year, reaching $65 billion.

The survey found that even as burger restaurants were opened, the segment’s rate of expansion continued to slow. Unit counts increased .2 percent, but the growth from the past three years was .5 percent, .7 percent and .9 percent, respectively. However, the segment’s expansion has consistently outpaced the limited-service industry as a whole, as well as the restaurant industry.

“Better burger” concepts are benefiting from focused menus, as many quick-service chains in the segment are expanding their menus to include breakfast, specialty coffee and broader entrées. At the same time, fast-casual burger chains that offer adult beverages are successfully competing against casual-dining chains, at a lower price point.

McDonald’s is the clear driver of sales growth within the category, offsetting declines by other large burger chains, while unit growth is primarily coming from emerging brands as they continue to take share from both limited-and-full-service restaurants.

For more information, go to http://www.technomic.com/.

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