#043: Sam Oches on Fast Food vs Fast Casual

talk-radio-for-restaurants2013 brought the sixth consecutive year that the fast casual segment has grown. According to a study by The NPD Group, fast casual held to an 8 percent increase in traffic compared to zero percent in the QSR segment.

So what really is the difference between fast food vs fast casual? My guest this week helps us figure it out.

fast food vs fast causal

@SamQSR | Twitter

In episode #043 of the Social Restaurant Podcast, I welcome Sam Oches, Editor of QSR magazine. Sam started out as an Athens, Ohio townie and after graduating from Ohio University, (Go Bobcats!) made his way to become the editor of a top restaurant industry magazine.

Sam is invested in the restaurant industry in every way, and has some great points on fast food vs fast casual and the healthier food movement.

You’ll also want to hear more about Sam’s take on where the restaurant industry is headed.

Go ahead, turn up the speakers, click play and listening to episode #043 of the Social Restaurant Podcast!

What You’ll Learn During the Interview

  • How to differentiate between fast food vs fast casual
  • What the current trends are in the fast casual and fast food segments
  • How brands like Chipotle have made a benchmark for the rest of the industry
  • Sam’s advice on how to get QSR’s attention for a pitch
  • What premiumization is and how it can affect your business

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Additional Show Resources and Notes

The word “fast casual” didn’t exist until 1995. Just 19 years ago, Chef Horatio Lonsdale-Hands, former Chairman of ZuZu Inc. decisively named the segment between fast food and casual dining.fast food vs fast casual

QSR, meaning quick service restaurants, is another top segment of the restaurant industry. QSR Magazine covers everything from kiosks to food trucks to drive-thrus. QSR even covers the fast casual segment, and how typical QSRs are transitioning to be more like fast casual.

The benchmark of the fast casual segment has been Chipotle. From day one, their brand has been about healthy eating, small scale farmers, and fun packaging. Their brand affinity is second to none compared to others in the industry.

fast food vs fast causal This has left brands like McDonalds and Wendy’s to catch up with fast casual. Wendy’s recent redesign has been monumental for the QSR world and it will be interesting to see what other brands will do to catch up.

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