Easy, Healthy and Just for Me: Current Trends in Fast Casual Dining

March 2024

Easy, Healthy and Just for Me: Current Trends in Fast Casual Dining

Consumers are still flocking to fast casual restaurants, which offer a convenient and affordable alternative to traditional sit-down dining. Which trends are shaping the industry today? Here are a few key areas to watch:



It’s playing a more significant role than ever in the fast casual dining experience. Consumers love the convenience of visiting online ordering and delivery platforms from their phones or computers. In-store kiosks are also common in fast casual restaurants and give guests the ability to order and pay for their food without waiting in line.



Fast casual restaurants are more likely to offer loyalty programs, an enticing way for consumers to earn discounts on food items. Operators can use these programs to gain a better understanding of their customer base through increased engagement and direct feedback. They can then use this information to optimize the menu and keep these loyal guests coming back.


Health and Wellness

Consumers want healthy choices even on busy days, but fast food is associated with indulgent, unhealthy options. Fast casual operations strike the balance of quickly prepared food with typically more nutritious menu options. These include build-your-own bowls, salads with protein toppings and sandwiches made with better-for-you bread. These easy-to-package, customizable menu items are convenient, especially for on-the-go diners who don’t want fast food. The format lets customers mix and match ingredients with their choice of proteins, veggies, sides, dressings and toppings.


Need some recipe inspiration? These dishes highlight health-forward ingredients and global flavor profiles, and are easily packageable for grab-and-go. Give guests a jump start to the day with this Turkey Quinoa Breakfast Bowl, combining protein-rich honey maple turkey breast with quinoa, goat cheese and veggies. At lunchtime, serve a taste of the tropics with the Kona Turkey Bowl, starring thick-sliced turkey breast in a soy-ginger marinade over forbidden black rice with pineapple and avocado. Or offer a zesty salad with this Vietnamese Turkey Bun-Cha with Ginger-Lime Nuoc-Cham, featuring aromatic turkey patties over rice noodles and veggies with a ginger-lime dressing.


How will you play to these trends at your fast casual restaurant? Share your thoughts on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages, and visit our Resource Center for more tips and trends.



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