Why the Fast Casual Business Model Is Booming in Suburbia

If you’re thinking about investing in a restaurant, consider the fast casual business model. Learn why it’s increasingly popular and profitable in suburban areas.

Population Growth in the Suburbs

Over the past several years, there has been a nationwide trend to move toward the suburbs and away from urban city centers. According to Freddie Mac, 60 percent of all metro areas are experiencing more growth in the suburbs than in cities. The Millennial generation is contributing to this trend, as they reach life events such as marrying and starting families and are thus seeking larger homes and amenities such as better schools. COVID-19 has also added to the suburban migration, as more people are foregoing what they once saw as advantages of living in bustling cities to settle in areas that are less crowded and perhaps closer to family.

While the overall restaurant industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the fast casual business model kept many restaurants afloat, if not flourishing. Thanks to competitive price points and the ability to pivot toward online ordering, takeaway and delivery, these restaurants have become essential businesses for hungry customers everywhere, particularly in suburban areas when families have exhausted their own fridges and pantries and crave something fresh and delicious.

Fast Casual for Everyone

As recently as a couple decades ago, the dining out options in many suburbs around the country were limited at best. Fast food drive-thrus, the odd Chinese takeout restaurant, and shopping mall food courts were about as good as it would get for many Americans in these areas. But over time, fast casual restauranters began to recognize the value in bringing their concepts to the masses beyond urban city centers.

While flexible in definition, fast casual restaurants are those which provide the convenience of fast food with the quality ingredients and memorable experience of a more formal sit-down restaurant. There are multiple advantages for fast casual franchises to take their businesses to the suburbs, including easy access to a broader demographic of diners and, (presumably) cheaper rent, lower taxes, and less stringent zoning regulations. The fast casual business model thrives in suburban areas with restaurants such as Chipotle, The Habit Burger Grill, and Your Pie leading the charge.

America’s suburban food landscape is taking a cue from its urban neighbors in many respects, as many newer developments are designed to be dense, multi-use, master-planned communities that have all the advantages of city living without many of the drawbacks.

The fast casual restaurant market size was valued at $128.6 billion in 2021, and is expected to reach $214.1 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 10.8% from 2021 to 2027. The fact that suburban areas are embracing and growing fast casual restaurant options speaks to the critical mass of available customers in those areas. No longer satisfied with yesterday’s limited options, hungry diners are supporting restaurants that offer a variety of flavors and authentic cuisines from all around the globe.

Find the Perfect Home with Your Pie 

Suburban populations include people who have previously lived in bustling urban centers, folks who rely on their taste buds to travel the world, and everyone in between. As the nation’s first fast casual brick oven pizza franchise, Your Pie offers authentic Italian flavors and ingredients, a customizable approach, a fun and vibrant dining experience, and unparalleled franchising opportunities.

To learn more about owning a Your Pie restaurant in your town, explore our pizza franchises for sale in North Carolina!