Feeding Frenzy: 'Fast Casual' Restaurant Behavior

How you navigate the lunch-hour assembly line says a lot about you
Illustration by Sam Taylor; Thomas: Photofest

“Fast casual” restaurant chains, best exemplified by the massively popular burrito factory Chipotle, combine traditional fast-food convenience with sleek, upscale settings and the suggestion of healthfulness. These establishments represent a sector of the food market that grew in sales by 8.4 percent last year—more than twice the growth rate for the market overall, according to food-industry consultancy Technomic. The masterminds behind Chipotle are even piloting an Asian version of the formula called ShopHouse, in Washington, D.C.

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