It's getting harder to stand out in a crowded market as restaurants rush to compete and expand.
— Kristen Hawley
Restaurant industry headlines continue to maintain that business is down. Dunkin’ Brands CEO, Nigel Travis, told Business Insider that “the country is probably over-restauranted.”
As chains focus on growth and expansion, he may be right. Subway, the restaurant chain with the most locations in the country, closed hundreds of its restaurants last year. Last month, Dine Equity announced it would close over 100 Applebee’s locations. And others have announced streamlined menus to lower costs and perhaps differentiate themselves from the sea of chain options in any given market.
Last week, one analyst cut his rating on Shake Shack, citing too much competition in the fast-casual space, and the chain’s stock suffered its largest drop in the last nine months. News that Chipotle is getting deeper into the burger business, by hiring famed chef Richard Blais to run its Tasty Made burger restaurants, didn’t help.
This news falls in line with the trends we’ve seen over the past year, and also begs the question: can a burger joint ever be considered fast-casual, or are its roots tied too deeply to fast food to break out of the mold (and sustain a $6 burger)?
This article originally appeared in the October 2, 2017 Skift Table newsletter. Subscribe to get the latest news and insight in your inbox.