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Fast Casual 2.0: The Next Great Wave in the Restaurant Industry

Fast-casual restaurants are dominating the foodservice conversation, but there's a major shift happening in that space. QSR magazine calls it Fast Casual 2.0.

The first wave of fast-casual restaurants, such as Chipotle and Panera, changed the conversation in the restaurant industry, and next-generation concepts such as California-based Mendocino Farms and New York–based Num Pang promise to change it further.

Fast Casual 2.0 brands take now-familiar touch points of fast casual to a new level. They offer the same kind of menu customization Chipotle made famous, but they tend to be more chef-driven, with signature items crafted by a team of culinary professionals. The brands often focus on an overall experience rather than just the value of what they offer—and that generally includes an enhanced beverage program with beer and wine. The ingredients are high quality, often local, and usually healthy or without additives. Growth strategies are tempered, with new-unit expansion and profits becoming secondary ambitions to other long-term goals like community development and an investment in suppliers and vendors.

In this webinar, QSR editor Sam Oches speaks with leaders of Fast Casual 2.0 brands about where this next great wave is headed.



Ratha Chaupoly, co-chef and owner, Num Pang


Mario Del Pero, co-founder and CEO, Mendocino Farms


Mike Ganino, growth and change consultant and former fast-casual exec



Sam Oches, Editor, QSR magazine