menuwatching - QSR and Fast Casual

Our latest menuwatching report is live, covering fast food or quick service restaurants (QSR) - often defined by their value for money, counter ordering and informal dining or take away formats.

While the lines between QSR and Fast Casual are increasingly blurred, fast casual restaurants tend to offer consumers freshly prepared, high quality food in an informal setting which tends to be more expensive than QSR. Fast casual is a long way off QSR in terms of scale and revenue, however, they are growing fast. Share Shack and Chipotle are good examples.

Our latest menuwatching report takes a look at the state of the QSR and Fast Food sector and what's appearing on menus globally. The areas covered within this are - Better for the World; Premium Fast Food; Plant Based; Seasonality; Healthier; Fun; Cooking Techniques and much more.

To give you a flavour of what to expect in the report we've pulled out three key takeouts, summarised below:

1. Better for the World - Globally millions of burgers are eaten every day, and if we're looking to change the world, fast food can be a good place to start given the sheer volume of orders. Innovative ways to lower the carbon footprint are shouted out on menus such as regenerative farming, and extended plant-based choice is the norm. Given that the majority of those choosing plant-based also eat meat, amazing taste is paramount.

There's also a greater focus on sustainable packaging given the recent headlines linking some fast food packaging to toxic chemicals which are harmful to both the environment and human health.

2. Premium - Given that uncertainty is set to continue with Covid-19 and the economy, more of us are looking for affordable luxury. Whether it's smoked brisket burgers made with dry aged beef or a hot dog served with wild garlic caramelised onions, it's that bit special yet still affordable.

3. Surprise - Fun and surprise continues to trend within this channel when it comes to both flavour and occasion. Rice crispy fried chicken with miso maple butter is an interesting take on the iconic chicken burger, and with more lunch and brunch orders (Better connected marketing, 2020) different occasions are catered for.


Trendhub subscribers can read the full report here. Those not yet registered but keen to find out more can get in touch using the details below.