Fast casual restaurants are one of the United States’ biggest trends lately, and they’re popping up everywhere. Before you hit one up, it’s important to know why you should be frequenting these awesome dining locations.
1. The variety
If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat but don’t really feel like a greasy fast food option, chances are you’ll be able to find a fast casual restaurant that has exactly what you want.
You can get burgers, salads, Mexican, and Mediterranean food at fast casual restaurants. The opportunities are seriously endless; whereas if you get fast food, you’re likely choosing from a grouping of restaurants that solely serve only items like hamburgers and french fries.
2. When you’re done, you can leave
Ok, I feel kind of spoiled when I say this, but it’s so true. Sometimes it’s kind of frustrating when you’re at a restaurant and you finished your meal but you still have to wait for your waiter or waitress to get the bill arranged. Instead, you can just get up and go about your day when you finish your food at a fast casual restaurant.
3. They’re everywhere – literally, everywhere
Big shout out to strip malls on this one, because in most strip malls across the country, you can find numerous fast casual restaurants. In fact, franchise owners often look to place their restaurants near other fast casual restaurants. If you’re hungry and looking for a quick meal, you’ll 100 percent be able to find one of these guys.
4. They often have healthier options than fast food restaurants
I live in an area where there’s a plethora of fast food, in fact, we barely have anything but chain restaurants. So it’s kind of hard to find a quick, healthy option. Luckily for me, we also have an abundance of fast casual places I can eat.
Whereas at most fast food places you can pretty much only order a salad for health benefits, at fast casual places, it’s easier to get what you want and have it be healthy. For example, I could order a taco salad at Taco Bell, or I could go to Chipotle and get a burrito bowl, but skip out on some of the unhealthy ingredients. It’s a much better option.
5. Most of them are chains
I love that I can go to the Five Guys near my house or the Five Guys near my school and my burger and fries will taste the same. There’s something comforting about chain restaurants, like no matter where you are in the country (and sometimes the world) you can get that same flavor you love. Fortunately for us, most fast casual restaurants are chains, so you can get your favorite menu item in places all over the country.
6. Low prices
Yes, I am a broke college kid, how’d you know? This is why I looove that fast casual restaurants have low prices. I could go have a nice, sit-down meal at a restaurant and order an expensive salad OR I could go to Panera and get an equally good salad for like $5 less. Every penny counts, folks.
7. No tips
Going along with my last point, the bill at fast casual restaurants is significantly lower than other places because you don’t have to tip anyone. Sure, if there’s a tip jar out by the register then please, give the employees a little something, but you aren’t obligated to tip your server like at other restaurants. I do enjoy being waited on, but if you’re running short on cash, it’s so nice to not have to worry about it.
8. It’s easy to go as a group
I always feel guilty when I roll into a restaurant with a group of friends and our waiter or waitress has to deal with splitting the bill. At fast casual restaurants, it’s so easy to go as a group and have everyone pay individually. I always go to Cava Grill with my friends and it’s so easy that we can all get our food at essentially the same time, but pay separately hassle free. That’s the ish I do like.
9. It’s easier to personalize your meal
I can’t even count how many times I’ve been driving away from a fast food restaurant and my mom is scouring the bag making sure our order is perfectly correct. At fast casual restaurants, it’s easier to guarantee that you’re getting it exactly the way you want.
For example, at fast casual Italian restaurant Vapiano, you stand and watch the cooks make your meal so you know you’re getting it exactly how you want it. This minimizes worries for people with allergies or just for anyone who’s specific about what they put into their body.
10. Only the best ingredients
Lately, many fast casual restaurants have been boasting the highest quality ingredients, and this goes a long way. It’s comforting to walk into a restaurant and see local ingredients, often organic and non-GMO.
I know we’ve all heard rumors that many fast food restaurants aren’t necessarily serving chicken in chicken nuggets… ew. At fast casual restaurants, you can pretty much guarantee you’re eating the chicken you ordered, maybe even a chicken that’s better for you than you thought.