Hunting for a fast-casual concept? Here are the 10 best

Published in FSD C&U Spotlight

Shopping for a restaurant concept to complement your current portfolio of proprietary and retail operations? Here’s a dream list of potential partners or brands to emulate. Technomic, the research sister of FoodService Director, partnered with and Restaurant Business magazine to rank limited-service chains by a combination of financial success and consumer popularity.  Here’s an introduction to the Top 10.

1. Panera Bread

panera you pick 2

Executives coined “Panera 2.0” as a label for the chain’s suite of cutting-edge tech initiatives, but the term could just as readily signify the reinvented bakery-cafe chain in its entirety—if the tag weren’t as stale as yesterday’s muffins. Something like "Panera 2.8" might be a more accurate way of capturing the changes that range from stripping recipes of additives to trying such unusual ingredients for a big chain as kale. The setup took four years; now, says CEO Ron Shaich, it’s payoff time. He cites the examples of Charlotte, N.C., stores that were collecting $33,000 in weekly sales pre-Panera 2.0 and about $45,000 afterward.


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Industry News & Opinion

Sturgeon Bay Schools in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., has partnered with a local farm to construct a school greenhouse , Green Bay Press Gazette reports.

Construction will begin soon, and the district says that the project is already 75% funded. Once the building is finished, students will be able to grow their own food at the greenhouse and then learn how to preserve it through canning and other methods.

“The greenhouse will provide students with the opportunity to grow food, sample food they have cultivated, design planting plans, tend seedlings, integrate real-life technology in...

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eating mac and cheese

From AFP advanced food products llc

Some iconic food pairings have stood the test of time―peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, just to name a few.

But, classic doesn’t mean boring or on the way out. In fact, there’s been a resurgence of mac and cheese on menus. According to 2018 data from Technomic’s MenuMonitor, mac and cheese menu mentions have grown by the following percentages over the past four years:

On the kids menu: 10.4% As an entree: 7.5% As a side/extra: 8.2%

In addition to increasing menu instances, noncommercial...

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seafood salad

From High Liner Foods.

Seafood—whether it’s in the form of fish and chips or tuna salad—is a menu staple for many foodservice locations. But seafood doesn’t have to be limited to just the center of the plate—it shines on other parts of the menu as well, from soups and salads to sides and snacks.

Here are four ways that seafood and fish are moving outside of the main course.


Starting the meal with soup is common for many diners, and in noncommercial settings, there’s usually an array of soups available each day. According to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the...

Industry News & Opinion

Regional School Unit 17 in Belfast, Maine, is banning straws beginning on Monday, the Penbay Pilot reports.

The ban was put into action by a student group and the district’s foodservice director. Over the years, the district has also phased out plastic utensils and plans to completely eliminate foam food trays this upcoming school year.

Director of Food Services Perley Martin told the Penbay Pilot that the district’s foodservice budget has not increased as a result of the transition to more eco-friendly materials, due to the fact the change was made slowly.


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