Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fast casual food trends

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     with examples taken from existing small businesses.

     Restaurants are difficult to operate. Many start ups do not survive. It's a tough business.

     Today's alert restaurant and cafe owners are taking note of a developing trend. It's not just a quick sandwich you pick up at the health food store. It's fast casual, and it's more like a meal to go. It's take out carried to the next level. 

     Add to your menu choices and you, too, can attract this growing number of people who want fast casual lunches and diners. And take out, too.

     Example: Gustav noticed that take out was becoming more than take out. And in the process it was expanding his restaurant business. Even his regulars were calling ahead to have take out packages ready for them to pick up. Gustav expanded his take out menu and he posted pictures of mouth-watering meals on Facebook with the caption: "Everything here is home made." Interest exploded. Gustav had tapped into the growing trend of people demanding fast casual meals--and take out.

     Example: Miranda runs a small cafe. Responding to requests from several of her regular customers, she began offering them her "home cooked" meals for them to enjoy at home. She began by offering one special meal each day--ready for customers to pick up between 4 and 6 p.m. The response was gratifying, and Miranda soon began offering choices each day. Many customers simply placed orders for two or three days each week--ahead of time. She tailors dishes to people's likes and dislikes--no gluten is one popular request, no sugar is another. "It's like having your own personal chef," reads her Facebook postings--along with the pictures. The cafe has expanded, and it's all because Miranda has listened and responded to her growing list of customers. 

     Take out food has been popular for a very long time. What's new is tailoring the old take out, off the shelf items to more personal meal preparations. It all fits into our brave new world. 

     And I didn't mention pizza once.

     Restaurants are not a one-size-fits-all business. People come in, sit down, and order from a menu. It's all about their choices. Expand on this by offering meals to go, or as they are called today, fast casual.  

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