Updated June 07, 2012Fast casual restaurants in the U.S. have positioned themselves between fast food restaurants and casual dining restaurants. Generally this means that, just like fast food restaurants, full service is not available in the fast casual dining room. But unlike fast food restaurants, the quality and price of the fast casual food is higher, much like casual dining restaurants. While the line between fast food restaurants and fast casual restaurants is usually pretty clear, the difference between fast casual restaurants and casual dining restaurants is sometimes not as clear and just a matter of opinion.
So what are the top restaurants in the fast casual segment of the restaurant industry? According to the annual ranking list published by FastCasual.com, the top fast casual restaurant chains are the fast casual brands and concepts that are defining the niche, and creating trends that other new and existing fast casual restaurant are following. FastCasual refers to the top fast casual restaurant chains as the Movers and Shakers of the restaurant industry.
What follows is a comparison of the Top 50 Fast Casual Restaurants for 2012 and 2011, according to the FastCasual annual ranking report. This two-year comparison reveals which fast casual restaurants are still hot and which are not, which restaurant chains are getting closer to the leading edge and which ones are getting less influential.
The list that follows is arranged according to the ranking number assigned to it by the decision-makers at FastCasual.com when compared to a total of 100 other fast casual restaurant chains each year.
>Click here for the complete Top 50 Fast Casual Restaurant Comparison 2011-2012 >>