The day-to-day responsibilities of a fast casual and QSR industry executive limit the time she can allocate to researching trends, staying current with industry news and following the latest technological innovations.
A few online publications focused on fast casual-related news, research and analysis stand above the crowd. Every industry executive should keep them in her shortlist of trusted sources. In addition, we try to offer our modest contribution, by sharing our conversations with top industry experts, publishing the results of our research work and sharing case studies.
1. National Restaurant Association
Some wonder whether the restaurant industry would function at all without the National Restaurant Association. For broad coverage of all news and trends impacting the restaurant industry, your first stop should be the association’s website. A content-rich “research” section collects industry forecasts, rankings, trends and the proprietary Restaurant Performance Index (RPI), a monthly index that tracks the status and outlook of the restaurant industry as a whole in the USA.
With more than 15 years of experience in the industry, FastCasual will keep you up to date on trends and technology critical to the industry. Fast Casual is also the organizer of the Fast Casual Executive Summit, the annual premiere event reserved for top-level executives in the fast casual and QSR industry. The Fast Casual Top 100 rankings, which include the best brands, technologies, campaigns and menus, are a must-track resource for the industry.
3. Nation’s Restaurant News
Since its founding in 1967, Nation’s Restaurant News has helped generations of executives stay informed. The digital version of this authoritative industry magazine is a treasure trove of news and data. The NRN’s Industry Data section contains restaurant data, statistics and information covering sales and foot traffic data, the annual ranking – Top 200 – of the largest restaurant chains in the country and the annual Consumer Picks report on consumer preferences vis-a-vis 150+ restaurant brands.
4. QSR Magazine
Created to the keep track of the quick service restaurant and franchising industry, QSR Magazine focuses on news and research that are of specific interest to operator and franchisees in this segment. In particular, QSR Magazine publishes a lot of articles related to restaurant technology, operations and (franchising) expansion. The digital magazine also features regular contributions from industry experts and executives. Finally, among other reports, it publishes the QSR 50 annual guide to the industry’s 50 top-performing brands.
5. QSR Web
QSR Web, another media brand in the Networld Media Group’s stable alongside Fast Casual, was founded in 1997 and has since reported on news, events, trends and people in the $140+ billion quick-service restaurant segment. In addition to up-to-date news, QSR Web includes a video section with interviews, commentary and highlights from top industry events. Its downloadable content section contains plenty of industry-specific white papers, case studies and webinars.
6. Fast Casual Nation
Paul Barron, is the founder of FastCasual.com and QSRweb.com, two of the leading websites in this industry. He has worked on a documentary that explores the beginnings and growth of the fast casual industry through exclusive interviews with industry insiders. He is also host of the Foodable WebTV Network series Fast Casual Nation and the blog by the same name. Paul has been at the forefront of most of the leading trends in the restaurant business and he is therefore in the best position to offer an insider look into this emerging restaurant category.
Predicting the future of the fast casual industry isn’t an easy task. Technomic, a Winsight company, is a research and consulting firm that works hard to gather and analyze industry-relevant data, breaking it down into easy-to-use insights. Technomic has become a solid source for food, foodservice and restaurant industry data and intelligence and publishes several regular reports and newsletters such as the Consumer Brand Metrics report and the Consumer Food Trends newsletter.
8. National Retail Federation
Though not strictly a fast casual resource, the National Retail Federation is the largest retail trade and advocacy group in the US and a major player in setting the policy agenda in Washington for the entire retail industry at-large. The NRF website features a very rich Chain Restaurants new section and a dedicated, very active chain restaurants member community, NCCR.