5 Tricks to Elevate the Fast-Casual Dining Experience

Oct 22, 2019 | Fast-Casual, Foodservice Industry, Trends

Fast-casual restaurant concepts are popping up everywhere. According to QSR Magazine, multiple factors fuel the fast-casual boom, including diners’ desire for high-quality service at a low price, and the rise of other on-demand-dining services like UberEats, DoorDash, and Grubhub. Consumers choose a fast-casual dining experience over a traditional restaurant because fast-casual offers quick service, easy access, and superior value for the price. However, there’s a fine line between fast-casual and fast food. To ensure your concept exceeds your guests’ expectations, here are our five tricks to elevate the fast-casual dining experience. 

Have Staff Deliver Food to the Tables

Just because your guests order at a kiosk or cash register doesn’t mean they should stand around waiting for their meals. An important differentiating factor between fast-casual and fast-food is the care and attention your staff pays to your guests. Train your staff to bring entrees directly to guests’ tables and accommodate any follow-up requests your guests may have, like additional utensils or condiments, so guests feel taken care of. 

You can even use custom serving trays stylized with your restaurant’s logo or a unique pattern like the Cambro Century Wood Grain Trays. These serving trays are made of high-performance polyester for long-lasting durability. They’re designed to be scratch and stain proof and are available in five different stain colors to match many themes and decor.  

Design Visually-Pleasing Menu Boards

The food menu is the most important element of any restaurant, but many fast-casual concepts struggle to display their menus in a way that’s easy for guests to digest. Design your menu boards to be clean, simple, and on-brand. This will aid in the ordering process and keep lines moving quickly. You can even consider going digital. Digital menus offer crisp resolution and can rotate through a series of pages to save space and engage guests while they wait to order. 

Get Crafty with Your Bar Menu

If your fast-casual establishment has a beverage program, your bar menu is an easy way to elevate your guests’ experience. Diners love imbibing with carefully mixed craft cocktails, made from unique and intriguing ingredients. Including a few specialty drinks and craft beers on your bar menu can make guests feel like they’re getting the same experience they would if they went to a full-service restaurant. 

Be sure to use the proper glassware for each drink, and top off each cocktail with an attractive garnish. The 10 Tray Commercial Food Dehydrator by Hamilton Beach helps prep your fruit for building eye-catching garnishes. Its 10 stainless-steel trays provide 16 square feet of drying space, and a high-performance heater offers 1200 watts of power. With an automatic shutoff feature after 15 hours, you can easily prepare garnishes for a high-volume shift the night before. These small touches set your business apart and reinforce the value your guests receive by dining with you. 

Use Memorable Dishware

How you present your food greatly influences how your guests perceive its value. Choosing memorable, high-quality glassware, dishware, and flatware, similar to what guests would use in a full-service restaurant, helps distinguish your establishment and reinforce its concept. For example, a fast-casual Japanese restaurant could serve its entrees in bento boxes like the Del Mar Collection from American Metalcraft. Available in round and rectangular shapes, Del Mar bento boxes are made from dishwasher-safe BPA-free plastic, can easily stack to carry multiple dishes, and work great for both dine-in and takeaway. 

Vintage enamelware is also on-trend right now and is appropriate for a variety of restaurant concepts from brunch to bar-b-cue. American Metalcraft’s enamelware collection features multiple sizes of bowls and mugs to carry entrees or appetizers. Their classic white-with-blue-trim look brings a touch of nostalgia to any meal. 

Outfit Your Kitchen with Attractive Equipment

Since most fast-casual restaurants have fully or partially open kitchens, guests have a direct line of sight into your back-of-house operations. Outfit your kitchen with attractive equipment that’s easy to clean. You can find customer order many kitchen appliances with unique color and detail specifications, even a hearth-style pizza oven. 

The Turbochef Fire pizza oven can cook 14-inch fresh dough pizzas at up to 842 degrees Fahrenheit in less than two minutes. With six preset timers and five available colors, the Fire is perfect for any fast-casual restaurant serving up artisan pies. With high-quality, attractive equipment, your cooks can create delectable dishes, and your guests can enjoy watching them work. 

Contact Elevation Foodservice Reps

If you’re looking to step up your guests’ experience at your fast-casual restaurant, talk to us. Elevation Reps will help you select products well-suited to your establishment to keep your establishment top-of-mind when guests go out to eat.