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What is Fast Casual Restaurant Concept & Its Profitability

By Fahad Arafin Last Updated -- Wednesday, 2024-07-10
fast casual restaurant concept

A restaurant is a place where customers visit and enjoy their food according to their choice, spend their time, and pay for the food. Nowadays, restaurants have become one of the most popular and busy places. 

This high popularity brings the restaurant business to the next level. By keeping this thought, many different types of restaurants have been established. The fast-casual restaurant is one of them. 

The concept of a fast-casual restaurant is superb. Many new or existing food business entrepreneurs have focused on establishing a fast casual restaurant, but they need to have more clear information about the concept. So, if you are one of those looking for a fast casual restaurant concept, then stay with us. In this article, we will discuss in detail about fast casual restaurants.

What is Fast Casual Restaurant Concept

Fast-casual restaurants are a type of restaurant designed to combine fresh food items with the flavor of casual dining and fast services at an affordable price. The concept of a fast-casual restaurant is basically to provide fast food while maintaining good quality and nutritious ingredients. 

The atmosphere of the restaurant is prepared to follow casual dining. Fast-casual dining is highly popular in the food business sectors. A fast-casual restaurant's setting is quite large and well-decorated so that customers can enjoy their food and feel more relaxed. 

It doesn't matter what type of restaurant business you are starting but it is important to make an ideal restaurant business plan. You may ask, What type of menu do fast casual restaurants use? The menu is limited, reducing menu complexity while maintaining food quality. Nowadays, these types of restaurants are found in major cities. Quick and affordable food services increase their popularity.

One major important part is that most fast-casual restaurants have an online ordering system that allows customers to order food and pay their bills online. 

How Profitable are Fast Casual Restaurants


Every business has a main motive to make maximum revenue along with the excellent customer services. So, definitely profit margin is something that any restaurant owner can not ignore. If you are planning to start a fast casual restaurant business but worried about its future and the profits, then you are on the right path. 

Here, you will get in depth information about the profitability of a fast casual restaurant.    

Profit margin is the way of calculating any business profitability. It helps to find out the net income of any company. 

You may see three different types of profit margin such as net profit margin, gross profit margin and operating profit margin. 

  • Net Profit Margin: 

Net Income / Revenue * 100

  • Gross Profit Margin:

Gross Profit / Revenue * 100

  • Operating Profit Margin:

Operating Income / Revenue * 100

Fast Casual Restaurant Profit Margin:

If you decide to open a fast casual restaurant then you may ask why is fast-casual so successful or why choose a fast casual restaurant. Fast-casual restaurants are among the most profitable types. Their average profit margin is 6-9%

However, the profitability of any restaurant depends on several factors, such as the size, location, restaurant management, menu, food quality, and many others. So, when planning a fast-casual restaurant, you should focus on the factors that affect restaurant success

Is Fast Casual Better Than Fast Food


Fast casual restaurants are definitely better than fast food restaurants. In general, you may think that fast casual and fast food are the same, but when you go into depth, you will find the actual idea of fast casual and fast food. Both types of restaurants provide quick services, but their dining establishments are different. 

The argument between fast food and fast casual depends on a number of variables, such as pricing, dining experience, food quality, and health issues. 

Here is a comparison between the two so that one can easily understand which one is better.

Food Quality

Fast casual:

Generally uses better-quality foods, such as those that are locally developed, organic, or fresh.

Fast food: 

Usually, it relies on mass production for speed and similarity and employs more processed products.

Health Consideration

Fast casual: 

Usually offers more balanced meals, whole grains,  such as salads, and lean proteins, with attention to healthier selections.

Fast food 

It is well-known for its high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sodium foods, but now several restaurants have begun to provide healthier options.

Experience Eating

Fast casual:

These types of restaurants typically offer an intimate, more relaxed dining experience with beautiful decoration.

Fast food: 

Maintaining efficiency and speed with a simple dining space.


Fast casual:

Fast casual dining is generally more expensive than fast food because it offers a higher quality dining experience and better ingredients.

Fast food:

Fast food is typically less expensive, which makes it a desirable choice for those on a tight budget.


Fast Casual:

Shake Shack, Panera Bread, Chipotle, etc.

Fast food: 

KFC, Burger King, McDonald's, etc.  

Top Fast Casual Restaurants

Fast-casual restaurant popularity is increasing daily, so it is definitely a huge opportunity for restaurant business entrepreneurs to establish fast-casual restaurants. One of the biggest advantages of fast-casual restaurants is customization and balance to ensure quick service to satisfy the guests. 

There are plenty of fast-casual restaurants worldwide. Here we have listed  the popular restaurants.

Shake Shack 


Shake Shack is a fast-casual restaurant based in New York City. It is famous for its extraordinary food services. Shake Shack has an advanced menu that includes hot dogs, burgers, custard, milkshakes, chicken sandwiches, mushroom burgers, and more. 

At first, Shake Shack started its journey in Madison Square Park, but now it has more than hundreds of branches all over the world.

Website: Shake Shack




Smashburger is popular for its natural, fresh food with great taste. In addition to the burger, they also serve sandwiches, French fries, onion rings, and other items. The signature burger's taste is amazing and different from the regular burger. 

Guests can also taste milkshakes as a dessert after finishing their meal. This feature of Smashburger has made it one of the most popular fast-casual restaurants all over the world.

Website: Smashburger




Sweetgreen is a fast-casual restaurant famous for its grain bowls and salads. It is famous for providing healthy eating where the food's ingredients shouldn't have to be boring or blended. 

Customers can also choose their meals from the regular menu or make their menus from seasonal salads. Sweetgreen is very popular among people working in big cities because it delivers high-quality food directly to the office or other commercial workplaces. 

Website: Sweetgreen


Five guys

Five guys

Five Guys has been established targeting some specific areas of the United States of America, but now it has spread all over the world. It is one of the fastest-growing fast-casual burger restaurants in America. 

Five Guys' menu is very simple and affordable. They use fresh, natural ingredients, and they never use any kinds of frozen beef for their foods. The menu of five guys offers cheeseburgers, hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs, sandwiches, milkshakes, etc. 

They are also famous for their potato fries because they fry them twice so that customers can get a crispy flavor outside and a juicy, soft flavor inside. No one can not ignore their super tasty milkshakes.

Website: Five Guys




Panera is a fast-casual restaurant based on bakery or sweet items established in Boston in 1980. At first, it started as a bakery, but later, it became a bakery and cafe. 

Recently, it has more than 2,000 branches worldwide. Presently, it has increased its menu items such as sandwiches, sides, soups, salads, etc. It is growing in popularity for serving a healthy and nutritious breakfast and lunch. 

Website: Panera


The Halal Guys

The Halal Guys

The Halal Guys is a fast-casual restaurant that started its journey in Manhattan, New York. But later, it spread into different parts of New York as well as the whole world. It has the record for being the fastest-growing restaurant. 

The menu of the halal guys consists of a beef gyro platter, beef gyro sandwich, chicken platter, chicken sandwich, combo platter, combo sandwich, falafel platter, falafel sandwich, hummus, fries, baklava, chocolate chip cookies, etc. 

Website: The Halal Guys




Chipotle is a Mexican fast-casual restaurant famous internationally. It has over 3,200 restaurants in the United States, making it one of the most popular restaurants in the country. 

Its unique menu card offers tacos, salads, bowls, burritos, quesadillas, guacamole, and more. Chipotle is also renowned for its taste and affordable price. It also provides vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free items, which are truly made for health-conscious people.  

Website: Chipotle


What is the Difference Between Fast Casual and Fine Dining


Fast-casual and fine-dining restaurants seem similar, but there are many differences between them. Fast-casual restaurants serve fast food items quickly while maintaining quality and health. 

On the other hand, fine dining restaurants are generally smaller, use high-quality ingredients, and are more independent. 

As we know, a restaurant is not only about meeting hunger; it is also about combining experience. These experiences involve several things, such as service, food quality, food safety, ambiance, etc. 

Here is a detailed distinction between fine dining and fast-casual restaurants.

  • Pricing

The major difference between fast casual and fine dining is pricing. In fast-casual restaurants, prices are generally low. On the other hand, the price of fine dining is a little bit higher than fast casual. 

As we know, fine dining uses premium, good-quality ingredients and provides a luxurious atmosphere, which is why the price of fine dining is higher than fast casual.

  • Reservations

Fast casual restaurants follow the rules of first come, first served. It means that customers do not have to reserve a table or make any bookings to get the services. If any customer comes first, they will get the first service. 

On the other hand, fine dining allows a reservation system so that they can provide extra services to the guest who has taken the reservation. Customers can generally come and sit at that table, at which they take reserve.

  • Atmosphere

The atmosphere of fast-casual and fine dining is different. Generally, the atmosphere of fine dining is nicely decorated and romantic. It is the perfect place for romantic dates, dinner, or a night out. 

There are better places for a family meal; it is mostly suitable for young adults. Fine dining establishments have a romantic or classic music system so that customers can enjoy their meals with nice music. 

On the other hand, fast casual dining has a more lively atmosphere so that people of any age can come and enjoy their meal. You may also find some energetic music in the background of fast-casual restaurants. 

  • Menu

One of the most important differences between fast casual and fine dining is menu diversity. If you look at fast casual restaurant menus then you will see that fast casual restaurants have a wide range of menus to attract more customers, and they try to attract them with plenty of dishes. 

In fast-casual restaurants, customers can also modify their menus according to their choice; one can add restrictions or dietary plans according to their health conditions. 

On the other hand, fine dining has a limited menu so that they can maintain their food quality and taste. High-quality ingredients are used so that the taste remains the same, and menu modification is not acceptable because it can change the way they plan for the dishes. 

It can defame their names and reputations. The menu of fine dining restaurants changes frequently so that customers can enjoy the seasonal taste.    

Final Thought

It is difficult to start a restaurant business, but it is much more difficult to run a successful business. Without the proper knowledge and detailed information, it is impossible to run any restaurant. So, if someone wants to start a fast-casual restaurant, it is a must to gather all the information about fast casual restaurant concepts. I hope all the questions related to fast-casual have been solved.