Fast casual chains are getting squeezed

May 26, 2017

This post is part of the On the Margin blog.

The fast casual sector is, supposedly, a “disruptive” force in the restaurant industry, pulling consumers away from traditional chains while promising higher quality food from a faster business model. 

But that disruption doesn’t mean they’re immune from all the other issues afflicting the restaurant industry at the moment. Indeed, they seem to be hitting fast casual chains harder.

In the first three months of the year, publicly traded fast casual chains averaged a same-store sales decline of 1.6 percent.

If we remove Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and its 17.8 percent