Analyst Insight by Elizabeth Friend - Senior Consumer Foodservice Analyst
There’s no question that fast casual has become the centre of foodservice growth in the US, but it has become an international phenomenon as well, albeit one that has taken a much different form. Euromonitor International’s 2015 global fast casual data, launched May 19th, paints a very different picture of domestic and international growth. Rather than manifesting via explosive growth through a few seemingly unstoppable chains, international fast casual has come as a result of a slow and steady evolution in consumer preferences. Just like American consumers, young people in wealthier cities all over the world are shifting toward more modern, more casual dining experiences, opening up opportunities for plenty of global fast casual growth over the long-term.
So far, fast casual segments in most developed markets have experienced an entirely different growth trajectory than in the US. The largest international fast casual markets are so far developing in Western Europe, with Germany, the UK and France topping the list with between US$1-2 billion each in 2014. However, each of the three has seen the segment growing slowly but steadily over the past five years at an average annual rate of between 2-8%. On its face this might seem to indicate that fast casual hasn’t been quite as successful in Western Europe, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In all three of these markets, fast casual has grown to a percentage share of the total fast food market that ranges from 7 in the UK to 14% in Germany, well within the range of the US’s 10% fast casual share.