Category Archives: Fast Casual

Happy Hour

Happy Hour

More try full bars for boost

Atlanta-based Fresh To Order loves the alcohol business. The six-unit chain has had beer and wine to pair with its grilled salmon or bourbon steak since the first location opened in 2006, but when the seventh restaurant opens later this year, it will have a full bar. And every other new unit will, too. “I like alcohol so much I bought the bottle,” joked Jesse Gideon, the concept’s chief operating officer.

Plenty of restaurants sell alcohol, but Fresh To Order is a fast-casual concept, part of a growing number of limited-service chains aiming at yet another line of business long owned by their full-service cousins. Continue reading

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Filed under Alcohol, Beer, Casual Dining, Fast Casual, Liquor, Spirits, Wine

Craft Beer Gets the ‘Fast-Casual’ Treatment

Fast Casual Craft

Beer snobs, rejoice! Now you can have your cheap eats and fancy brew, too. A growing number of restaurants in the not-quite-fast-food category like Chipotle Mexican Grill and Smashburger are getting into the business of pouring craft beer to go with their burgers, wraps, and other casual fare.
Chipotle has announced it would begin offering craft brews on a test basis in 15 of its Chicago restaurants. Some locations previously sold mass-market beers (Coors Light, Corona), but now selections will include a golden ale and a dark chili-infused ale from craft brewer 5 Rabbit, the Chicago Tribune says. Continue reading

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Filed under Alcohol, Beer, Casual Dining, Fast Casual, Liquor, Uncategorized

Chipotle gets crafty with beer

Chipotle

Several Chipotle locations are adding craft beer to their menus. The chain has already been serving Mexican and Latin American imports along with more common American ales like Miller Lite; the Kansas City market is now testing margaritas.
Now, the chain is trying out craft beers. Two craft beers — made by the Latin-themed, Chicago-area microbrewery, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria — are now on the menu at 15 Chipotles across Chicago. According to the Huffington Post, the new choices include a simple golden ale called 5 Rabbit, similar to Corona, and 5 Vulture, a dark ale brewed with chiles and spices similar to Negra Modelo. If sales are positive, the chain may expand the offering to about 75 stores in the Chicago area.
The craft beer industry has experienced staggering growth for the past five years, including a 14 percent jump in sales in the first half of this year. At the National Restaurant Association Show’s International Wine Spirits and Beer Show in Chicago in May, Technomic’s David Henkes said that beer mentions have increased 65 percent on top chain menus since 2006, “driven by craft.” This is compared to the domestic light beer category, which has been flat during the last couple of years.

View the full article on Fast Casual

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Filed under Alcohol, Beer, Casual Dining, Dave Henkes, Fast Casual, Liquor, Quick Service, Uncategorized

Pizza operators leverage growing demand for craft beer

Pizza Beer

The craft beer industry has experienced staggering growth for the past five years, including a 14 percent jump in sales in the first half of this year.

At the National Restaurant Association Show’s International Wine Spirits and Beer Show in Chicago in May, Technomic’s David Henkes said that beer mentions have increased 65 percent on top chain menus since 2006, “driven by craft.”

This is compared to the domestic light beer category, which has been flat during the last couple of years.

Drivers in craft beer’s growth

Drivers of this growth mirror trends in the food industry, according to Julia Hertz, Craft Beer Program Director at the Brewers Association, especially a bigger demand for localization and increased sophistication about what we eat and drink. Continue reading

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Filed under Alcohol, Beer, Burger, Casual Dining, Dave Henkes, Fast Casual, Marketing, Quick Service

Millennials Driving Adult Beverage Trends

millennials

Technomic report examines consumption, purchase behaviors

Diverse, highly educated, open to new experiences and eager to explore, the Millennial demographic group is already having a significant impact on the adult beverage industry, according to Technomic.

All members of the largest generation since the Baby Boomers will be of legal age to consume alcohol by 2018, and these consumers are already making their mark on the adult beverage industry, driving trends such as craft beer, boutique spirits and sweeter flavor profiles in wine. Continue reading

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Filed under Alcohol, Bar, Beer, Burger, Casual Dining, Coffee/Cafe, Dave Henkes, Fast Casual, Fine Dining, Hotels, Liquor, lounge, nightclub, Quick Service, Spirits, Wine

Bouncing back Experts: Hospitality industry is poised for a comeback

Bouncing Back

Sam Sanchez, owner of John Barleycorn in Schaumburg and six other restaurants in the Chicago area, believes too many restaurants have recently closed.
He wants to see more open again. But the recession hit them all hard. Then a high 12 percent sales tax and, later, the opening of the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines didn’t help.

“We both offer good food, atmosphere and entertainment, but they also have gambling, and that’s an advantage over all of us here,” Sanchez said of Schaumburg-area restaurants versus the casinos. “It’s a competitive market.” Continue reading

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Filed under Casual Dining, Dave Henkes, Fast Casual, Hotels, lounge

BEER-AT-BURGER-CHAIN FAD MAY LEAVE HANGOVER

Beer Burger

BK, Sonic, White Castle and Even Starbucks Look for Boost, but Legal and Employment Issues Abound

Want a beer with that burger and fries?

Fast feeders such as Burger King, White Castle and Sonic are dabbling in booze in test markets. Starbucks has started selling wine and beer in five Seattle locations and at one in Portland, Ore. It plans to offer wine and beer in seven locations in Chicago and will expand the offerings to Southern California and Atlanta to boost evening sales.

The moves can bring higher check prices, but also regulatory headaches. And for big fast-food chains, selling booze on a large scale won’t deliver huge margins — at least at first — since it’s also likely to add upfront costs for franchisees who would need to install new equipment such as coolers and booze lockers. Continue reading

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Filed under Alcohol, Beer, Burger, Casual Dining, Coffee/Cafe, Fast Casual, Quick Service, Wine