FROM THE FLOOR: Fast Casual is Talk of the Town

Fast-casual exectuives discuss the booming category during a panel at the National Restaurant Association's annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.


Fast casual continues to be the hottest segment of the restaurant industry, so there’s no surprise that it’s drawing plenty of attention during the National Restaurant Association’s annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show.

The Whole-Grain Way

Operators promote whole-grain foods on Whole Grains Sampling Day.
Quick service restaurant chains promote whole grain menu items.
As part of Whole Grains Sampling Day, the Whole Grains Council is offering promotional materials to help operators showcase the ingredients.

Whole-grain products are no longer a niche part of the foodservice industry. Seventy-two percent of consumers want more whole-grain products from restaurants, according to a 2014 International Food Information Council survey. And some 10,000 food items with the whole-grain stamp brought in $9 billion worth of sales in 42 countries in the year ending October 2014, according to data from market research firm SPINS.

FIT for the Future

When the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (CRAEF) held its first Force in Training (FIT) program, volunteers from several quick-serve brands stepped up to help high school students prepare for possible foodservice employment.

“Quick service is a very large segment of our industry and it employs a lot of young people,” says Alycia Harshfield, executive director of CRAEF. “A lot of people’s first job is in quick service, so quick service is a valuable partner in this effort to prepare and train young people.”

Rubio's Redesign Reels In Big ROI

Rubio's Restaurants

Read More About

Rubio’s Restaurants is reeling in a big catch with its suitability-focused redesign. The San Diego–based fast casual, known for its seafood and coastal cuisine, is in the process of updating 60 of its West Coast units and seeing notable sales increases in renovated units.

“We will have completed 18 units by the end of this year,” says Rubio's CEO Marc Simon. “The increase in comp. sales has been significant—we’ve had double-digit comp. sale increases in all but one of the units we’ve remodeled, and there’s a particular competitive challenge in that one unit.”

Rubio’s Reels in New Sustainable Shrimp Dishes

Rubio’s Restaurants, the brand known for coastal cuisine and its fish taco, is continuing its culinary evolution by going tropical with the addition of its sustainable Tropical Shrimp burrito and Two Taco Plate. These new menu items are inspired by the flavors of the Yucatan region of Mexico and represent Rubio’s dedication to being a friend of the ocean and serving sustainable seafood whenever possible.

Fresh Perspective

Lighter menu offerings at restaurants long ago moved from being a nice option for health-conscious customers to being the expectation of a sizeable chunk of the population. Increased consumer demand for more nutritious dining choices has sparked an industry-wide movement toward health-focused menu development.

Rubio's Ad Links Its Ocean Advocacy to Culinary Inspiration

San Diego-based chain Rubio’s launched an extension to its current ad campaign, “To The Ocean,” with a centerpiece television commercial entitled “Through The Language.” The first phase of the campaign launched in late August and was an ode to the ocean celebrating Rubio’s dedication to supporting ocean health. The current executions link the ocean with Rubio’s culinary developments, which feature grilled seafood, representative of Rubio’s commitment to sourcing sustainable seafood whenever possible.

Rubio's Reels in Lobster Taco, Burrito LTO

Rubio's Restaurants, known for its fish taco, is celebrating the return of its fan favorite, Langostino Lobster Taco and Burrito, for a limited time. Rubio’s is giving the seasonal classic an update with the addition of its new citrus rice. Created and developed by Ralph Rubio and the Rubio’s culinary team, the citrus rice features white rice mixed with lime juice and lemongrass. Designed to complement Langostino Lobster’s flavors, the items represent Rubio’s lighter, fresher approach to seafood.

Rubio’s Embraces Summer with New Coastal Trio

Rubio’s, a brand known for popularizing the fish taco, is introducing The Coastal Trio, a taco flight of three sustainable options including The Original Fish Taco, The Grilled or Blackened Tilapia Taco, and The Salsa Verde Shrimp Taco. In addition to The Coastal Trio, Rubio’s will be featuring its new Sangria at most locations and its Fire-Roasted Corn Guacamole and Chips. Fans and friends are invited to visit their local Rubio’s to try these new mouthwatering offerings and learn more about Rubio’s menu evolution.


3 Sustainable Seafood LTOs Join Rubio's Menu

As part of its continued efforts to offer guests high-quality coastal cuisine, Rubio’s Restaurants is introducing three new chef-crafted sustainable seafood items to its menu for a limited time. Today, Rubio’s fans and friends are invited to stop in and try the new Grilled Chimichurri Salmon burrito, taco, and salad.