For Fast Casual restaurants, performance is improving and we're almost out of the woods after a painful downturn during the pandemic.
Although Quick Service has outperformed Fast Casual throughout COVID, in the past couple of months, Fast Casual has gained back significant ground and is nearly even in sales year-over-year.
As it has experienced some recovery, there have been 6 key areas driving that improvement:
- Macro trends in May-June of reduced unemployment
- A reduced gap in restaurant traffic in urban vs. rural areas
- Improvements at breakfast
- Attracting key younger, affluent skewing consumer segments
- Sustaining high check size growth
- Transaction volume increases
Brands who have seen the best recovery, relative to the low points a few months ago, include several sandwich/deli brands like McAlister's Deli, Jimmy John’s, Firehouse, and Jersey Mike’s.
On the other hand, brands like Wingstop, Raising Cane’s, and Chipotle performed well during the severest COVID lockdown periods in late March and early April, and they continue to perform well today.
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