Balancing Speed and Service in Fast-Casual Dining

Not long ago, restaurants were divided into two basic types. There were quick service restaurants, or “fast food” and your traditional sit-down restaurants. But today's hectic busy lifestyle has driven the growth of a third type of restaurant, the fast-casual restaurant. Fast-casual places have gotten so popular that QSR restaurants have had to step up their food quality and selection just to compete.

Fast-casual restaurants are targeted toward busy professionals who don't have the time to sit for a traditional restaurant service but who are interested in fresh, made to order food. The challenge for fast-casual restaurants is to find the right balance between speed, and food quality, meal customization and customer service. Ultimately, customer behavior and feedback will determine where the right balance point is.

Some fast-casual restaurants time every step of the process to see how many seconds they can shave off. For instance, calling people by number instead of by name can reduce bottlenecks at the cash register. But not every cost-cutting measure may be worth it in the pursuit of speedier service. One fast-casual sub chain custom slices meat for each order as customers move through the line even though it would be faster to use pre-cut and pre-portioned meat. They feel the visual appeal of seeing the meat sliced as the sandwich moves down the line is an important part of the customer experience.

To learn more about the trend of fast-casual restaurants speeding up their service, read the full article at


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