FOOD SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Australia

Fast Casual outgrows traditional QSRs

As more competition and more segment comes into Australia, Ciara Clancy, Director - Australia Foodservice at the NPD Groups, revealed that traditional quick service restaurants has only grown a measly 1% in the last 12 months compared to Fast Casual restaurants who have grown 10%.

"The competition is fierce, it's a more fragmented market," she said. She shared that consumers are reducing their visits in the long term, pointing to data that total food service industry is seeing 9 fewer visits per person. However, although traditional quick service restaurants is seeing 7 fewer visits per person, fast casual establishments are actually receiving four more visits per person.

"There is steady, long term gains for fast casual through both organic and new store growth," she noted. Fast casuals in Australia, she explained has evolved due to the rise of Mexican restaurants and more concepts will come, predicting Asian cuisine to be a big part of the upcoming trend.

Clancy added that fast casual restaurants is raising the bar as consumers rate it the best in terms of overall consumers. 65% of respondents from a study she noted said that they are very satisfied in their overall fast casual experience. On the down side, she noted that the fast casual segment is still at its early stages and still a relatively small segment. It will however continue to grow at a steady pace and will eventually win on convenience and price, she said.

Meanwile, an interesting fact she noted is that a threat to QSRs and the fast casual segment now is supermarkets as they start offering more to-go products, and offering consumers more savings on both time and money.

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