Drive-Thru Franchise v. Fast-Casual: Which Is Better?

Interested in a drive-thru franchise? They do have their limits. Learn the advantages of a fast-casual franchise and why it may be a better option for you.

Fast-Casual Restaurant Industry

There’s never been a better time to join the fast-casual industry. By 2027, the fast-casual restaurant industry will be worth a whopping $209 billion — and growing. In the world of restaurants, fast-casual concepts provide the perfect vehicle for delivering trend-setting flavors with convenience, high quality food at affordable prices, and exciting franchising opportunities for dedicated entrepreneurs versus strictly drive-thru franchise businesses.

Dining out After a Pandemic

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented exceptional challenges for the restaurant industry, fast-casual concepts have fared better than full-service or fine dining establishments. Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is the touchstone for franchises to understand how their investments are growing. Despite adversity, the fast-casual restaurant industry is on track to grow by more than 10% CAGR over the next five years.

Drive-thru franchises may have thrived at the peak of the pandemic but bridging the gap between full service and fast food, the fast-casual restaurant industry is filled with an endless amount of flavorful potential. Diners can take their pick of virtually any type of cuisine under the sun, and the top fast-casual restaurants appeal to the growing consumer demand for meals that are quick and inexpensive.

Increasingly, consumers seek convenient meal options they can grab on their lunch break with friends without breaking the bank. In order to stay on top of their game, fast-casuals will need to remain flexible and innovative as consumer habits evolve over time.

Innovation Station

One of the key factors driving fast-casual restaurant industry growth is the constant demand for innovation and menu customization. Consumers never grow weary of trying new flavor combinations and specialty items. Changing lifestyles and rising demand for on-the-go food ensure that fast-casuals will always have opportunities to grow and meet new trends and changing preferences.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, millennials are major spenders in the fast-casual restaurant industry, dining out more than any other living generation. As they are poised to surpass baby boomers in spending power, it’s beneficial for restauranteurs to understand how and where they spend their money. When millennials go out to eat, they place a high premium on convenience. Fast-casual restaurants that prioritize technological advances, like POS systems that integrate online ordering into the restaurant’s workflow, enable the speed and convenience that millennials crave.

Millennials, too, are interested in the broader dining experience. Making your food “Instagrammable” is not a new concept, but it may come as a surprise to see that video is quickly becoming the medium of choice over photography. Social media postings including Facebook and Instagram live feeds and stories and Tik Tok videos are proving consumers are interested in food content that moves and makes sound. For fast-casual restaurants, this means creating food that intrigues other senses beyond taste. Difficult to do via drive-thru franchises.

Utilizing social media and other interactive digital platforms promotes guest engagement that translates into new conversions and better guest retention. For some fast-casual restaurants, this may mean enticing guests with proprietary apps, loyalty points, and limited time offers to attract business.

Franchising with Wayback Burgers

It’s difficult to put together a fast-casual restaurant business plan without the backing of a trusted and proven concept. Wayback Burgers has thrived throughout the pandemic, utilizing third-party food delivery services and curbside pickup through their mobile app. Wayback recognizes that having a presence on multiple online ordering apps is a necessity, while also providing direct ordering capabilities off the restaurant’s website.

For ambitious entrepreneurs interested in partnering with one of the fastest-growing burger brands in the nation, get started with Wayback Burgers.