The Best Fast Casual Restaurants: What Sets Them Apart

What sets the best fast casual restaurants apart from all the rest? Learn what makes them successful so you can choose a rewarding business investment that satisfies your guests and keeps them coming back for more.

A Quick Look at Fast Casual

According to a report from Expert Market Research, the global fast casual restaurant market was valued at close to $189.7 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% between 2023 and 2028 to reach a projected value of around $364.52 billion by the end of the forecast period.

Falling somewhere in the sweet spot between fast food chains and fine dining, fast casual restaurants provide quick service and affordable menu options while still making their food to order with high quality ingredients. This type of restaurant carries a broad appeal to a wider range of diners and presents a healthy bottom line for fast casual business owners.

With fast casuals being an ever-present and increasingly popular restaurant style, it can be difficult for investors to determine which ones have lasting power and which others may be a flash in the pan.

Fast Casual Standouts

Whether you realize it or not, it’s likely you’ve been drawn to some of the top fast casual locations more than a couple of times. These restaurants have built strong brand recognition and loyalty, with a focus on high-quality ingredients, customizable menus, and a fast, efficient service model delivered in a comfortable yet upscale environment that can’t be matched by quick service brands.

The thing that these brands all have in common is an ability to prioritize the guest experience above all else, with a focus on creating a welcoming and inviting atmosphere that keeps diners coming back for more. They also offer a diverse menu that appeals to a wide range of tastes and dietary preferences, while maintaining a consistent level of quality across all locations.

Factors to Consider Before Investing

One crucial factor which every prospective business owner prioritizes is profitability. If you’re not building out your own independent concept, you want to invest in a fast casual restaurant that has a proven track record of success and a loyal customer base. Look for restaurants that have a strong brand reputation and a unique selling proposition that sets them apart from the competition.

You’re also looking for an investment that is within your means. Fast casuals have a higher average sales per unit compared to other segments of the restaurant industry. While partnering with a franchise may seem more expensive at the outset, statistics show that these types of fast casual businesses have a higher success rate than their independent counterparts.

Another crucial element is training and support, a main reason you are likely interested in franchises in the first place. The best fast casual restaurants offer extensive training and ongoing support to their franchisees, helping them to succeed and grow their business.

Wayback Burgers: A Cut Above

One fast casual restaurant that stands out from the rest of fast casual burger franchising is Wayback Burgers. With a focus on made to order burgers, we have built a loyal following of guests who appreciate our commitment to quality and personal service. We also offer a diverse menu that includes hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, plant based burgers, and salads, catering to a wide range of tastes.

The estimated initial investment for a typical Wayback Burgers restaurant ranges between $550,000-$650,000 and includes line items such as restaurant construction, kitchen equipment, furniture, signage, POS system and opening food inventory.

As a well-established and top-tier franchise, we believe that the investment you put into building your own Wayback Burgers franchise is worth every penny, and we are here to support you every step of the way.


To learn more about building your fast casual empire with Wayback Burgers, get started now.


Founded in 1991 in Newark, Delaware, Wayback Burgers is a Connecticut-based fast-casual franchise with a reputation for made-to-order burgers and thick, hand-dipped milkshakes, served in an environment that hearkens back to a simpler place and time — when customer service meant something, and everyone felt the warmth of the community. Since 2018, Wayback Burgers has served as a proud partner of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, having raised over $850,000 to date through donating a portion of the proceeds made for every burger and sandwich sold. Wayback Burgers currently operates in 35 states with over 170 locations nationally and internationally in Brunei, Morocco, Pakistan, Ireland, South Africa, Japan and 7 provinces in Canada. Through its executed international master franchise agreements, Wayback Burgers is also developing in 16 provinces/countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.