Best 2011-2014 Fast Casual Restaurants

U.S. Restaurant Movers & Shakers - Growth, Innovation, Responsibility

Fast casual restaurants in the U.S. have positioned themselves between fast food restaurants and casual dining restaurants. Generally this means that, just like fast food restaurants, full service is not available in the fast casual dining room. But unlike fast food restaurants, the quality and price of the fast casual food is higher, much like casual dining restaurants. While the line between fast food restaurants and fast casual restaurants is usually pretty clear, the difference between fast casual restaurants and casual dining restaurants is sometimes not as clear and just a matter of opinion.

So what are the top restaurants in the fast casual segment of the restaurant industry? According to the annual ranking list published by FastCasual.com, the top fast casual restaurant chains are the fast casual brands and concepts that have the best growth, innovation, and social responsibility. These are the fast casual chains in the U.S. restaurant industry that are defining the niche, and creating trends that other new and existing fast casual restaurant are following. FastCasual.com refers to the top fast casual restaurant chains as the "Movers and Shakers" of the restaurant industry.

What follows is a comparison of the Top 50 Fast Casual Movers and Shakers for 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011 according to the FastCasual annual ranking report. This three-year comparison reveals which fast casual restaurants are still hot and which are not, which restaurant chains are getting closer to the leading edge and which ones are getting less influential.



This list is arranged according to the ranking number assigned to it by the decision-makers at FastCasual.com when compared to a total of 100 other fast casual restaurant chains each year. Under each ranking number are the restaurants that were given that ranking each year.

It might be assumed that the 2014 Movers & Shakers list would be filled with restaurants chains that are relatively new, with fresh concepts that have never been seen in the U.S. retail restaurant industry.  But "new" is definitely not the common thread in the 2014 Restaurant Movers & Shakers.  To the contrary, the restaurant chains that Fast Casual Magazine ranked highest for growth, innovation, and social responsibility in 2014 are largely well-known, seasoned brands which have already received many retail best practice accolades in the history of their chains.

   

What follows is a four-year comparison of the Top 50 U.S. Restaurant Movers & Shakers, according to the annual ranking list published by Fast Casual Magazine.  The list is arranged according to ranking numbers and shows which U.S. restaurant chains have been assigned which ranking numbers when compared to all U.S. based restaurant chains for the past four years.  Click the links to find out more about individual restaurant chains.  

Top 50 U.S. Restaurants Movers & Shakers Comparison 2011-2014:

#1

2014 - Smashburger
2013 - Fazoli’s
2012 - Smashburger, Headquartered in Denver, CO
2011 - Firehouse Subs

#2

2014 - Chipotle
2013 - McAlister’s Deli
2012 - Zoes Kitchen, Headquartered in Birmingham, AL
2011 - Wildflower Bread Company

#3

2014 - Faxoli's
2013 - Freebirds World Burrito
2012 - Firehouse Subs, Headquartered in Jacksonville, FL
2011 - Genghis Grill

#4

2014 - Freebirds World Burrito
2013 - Firehouse Subs
2012 - Zoup!, Headquartered in Southfield, MI
2011 - Mooyah

#5

2014 - Burger 21
2013 - Chipotle
2012 - Freebirds World Burrito, Headquartered in Emeryville, CA
2011 - Five Guys Burgers & Fries

#6

2014 - Luna Grill
2013 - Freshii
2012 - Chipotle Mexican Grill, Headquartered in Denver, CO
2011 - Go Rama, Headquartered in Chicago, IL

#7

2014 - Modmarket
2013 - Penn Station East Coast Subs
2012 - Five Guys Burger and Fries, Headquartered in Lorton, VA
2011 - Chipotle Mexican Grill

#8

2014 - Zoes Kitchen
2013 - MOOYAH Burgers & Fries
2012 - Freshii, Headquartered in Toronto, Canada
2011 - Tom & Eddie's

#9

2014 - McAlister's Deli
2013 - Bruegger’s Bagels
2012 - Wildflower Bread Company, Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ
2011 - Wow Bao

#10

2014 - Firehouse Subs
2013 - Zoes Kitchen
2012 - Go Roma, Headquartered in Chicago, IL
2011 - Au Bon Pain

#11

2014 - Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill
2013 - Wildflower Bread Company
2012 - Raising Cane's, Headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA
2011 - Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill

#12

2014 - MOOYAH Burgers, Fries and Shakes
2013 - Freakin’ Unbelievable Burgers
2012 - MOOYAH Burgers, Fries, Headquartered in Frisco, TX
2011 - Freebirds World Burrito

#13

2014 - Pie Five Pizza Company
2013 - Giraffes
2012 - Mama Fu's Asian House, Headquartered in Austin, TX
2011 - Freshii

#14

2014 - Rubio's
2013 - Miracle Maker Grill
2012 - Qdoba Mexican Grill, Headquartered in Wheat Ridge, CO
2011 - Gruegger's

#15

2014 - PizzaRev
2013 - Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill
2012 - Tom & Eddie's, Headquartered in Chicago, IL
2011 - Zoes Kitchen

#16

2014 - PizzaRev
2013 - Veggie Grill
2012 - Mad Greens, Headquartered in Denver, CO
2011 - Pei Wei Asian Diner

#17

2014 - Freshii
2013 - Wingstop
2012 - Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill, Headquartered in Carlsbad, CA
2011 - Roti Mediterranean Grill

#18

2014 - Blazing Onion Burger Company
2013 - Smashburger
2012 - Boloco, Headquartered in Boston, MA
2011 - Pizza Fusion, Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL

#19

2014 - Burgerfi
2013 - Blaze Pizza
2012 - Jason's Deli, Headquartered in Beaumont, TX
2011 - Einstein Bros. Bagels

#20

2014 - Sweetgreen
2013 - Blazing Onion
2012 - Panda Express, Headquartered in Rosemead, CA
2011 - Smashburger

#21

2014 - Cowboy Chicken
2013 - Cedars Woodfire Grill
2012 - Burger Lounge, Headquartered in La Jolla, CA
2011 - California Tortilla

#22

2014 - MAD Greens
2013 - Burger 21
2012 - Noodles and Company, Headquartered in Broomfield, CO
2011 - Nando's, Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa

#23

2014 - Wildflower Bread Company
2013 - California Tortilla
2012 - Corner Bakery, Headquartered in Dallas, TX
2011 - Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, Headquartered in Miami Beach, FL

#24

2014 - Giraffas
2013 - Elevation Burger
2012 - Wow Bao, Headquartered in Chicago, IL
2011 - La Madeleine Country French Cafe

#25

2014 - Giardino
2013 - Cowboy Chicken
2012 - Stacked, Headquartered in Torrance, CA
2011 - Xoco

#26

2014 - Blue Lemon
2013 - Noodles and Co.
2012 - Wingstop, Headquartered in Richardson, TX
2011 - Qdoba Mexican Grill

#27

2014 - Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint
2013 - Five Guys Burgers and Fries
2012 - Au Bon Pain, Headquartered in Boston, MA
2011 - Corner Bakery Cafe

#28

2014 - Panera Bread
2013 - Bun Mee
2012 - California Tortilla, Headquartered in Rockville, MD
2011 - Noodles and Company

#29

2014 - Elevation Burger
2013 - Panera Bread
2012 - The Counter Custom Built Burgers, Headquartered in Culver City, CA
2011 - Panera Bread, Headquartered in St. Louis, MO

#30

2014 - Boston Market
2013 - Famous Dave’s
2012 - Bruegger's Bagels, Headquartered in Burlington, VT
2011 - Portillo's Hot Dogs, Headquartered in Oak Brook, IL

#31

2014 - Bean Sprouts
2013 - Fatburger
2012 - The Habit Burger Grill, Headquartered in Irvine, CA
2011 - Jason's Deli

#32

2014 - Wow Bao
2013 - The Counter
2012 - Taziki's Mediterranean Grill, Headquartered in Birmingham, AL
2011 - Cowboy Chicken
 

#33

2014 - Bruegger's Bagels
2013 - Giardino Gourmet Salads
2012 - Tender Greens, Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA
2011 - Sky's Gourmet Tacos, Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA

#34

2014 - Veggie Grill
2013 - How Do You Roll?
2012 - Grahamwich, Headquartered in Chicago, IL
2011 - Naples Flatbread & Wine Bar, Headquartered in Naples, FL

#35

2014 - I Dream of Felafel
2013 - Jake’s Wayback Burgers
2012 - Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, Headquartered in Denver, CO
2011 - Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill

#36

2014 - Wingstop
2013 - I Dream of Felafel
2012 - Hot Head Burritos, , Headquartered in Katering, OH
2011 - Potbelly Sandwich Works, Headquartered in Chicago, IL

#37

2014 - Five Guys Burgers & Fries
2013 - Menchi’s Frozen Yogurt
2012 - Genghis Grill: The Mongolian Stir Fry, Headquartered in Dallas, TX
2011 - Sandella's Flatbread Cafe, West Redding, CT

#38

2014 - Moe's Southwest Grill
2013 - Meatheads
2012 - Fazoli's, Headquartered in Lexington, KY
2011 - Paradise Bakery & Cafe, Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ

#39

2014 - GRK Fresh Greek
2013 - Moe’s Southwest Grill
2012 - La Madeleine Country French Cafe, Headquartered in Dallas, TX
2011 - Le Pain Quotidien, Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium

#40

2014 - Dickey's Barbecue Pit
2013 - Pie Five
2012 - Daphne's California Greek, Headquartered in Carlsbad, CA
2011 - Fazoli's

#41

2014 - Schlotzsky's
2013 - Rubio’s
2012 - Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, Headquartered in Dallas, TX
2011 - Specialty's Cafe & Bakery, Headquartered in San Francisco, CA

#42

2014 - Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches
2013 - The Habit Burger Grill
2012 - Cowboy Chicken, Headquartered in Dallas, TX
2011 - Bean Sprouts, Headquartered in Middleton, WI

#43

2014 - JJ's Red Hots
2013 - Top That! Pizza
2012 - UFood Grill, Headquartered in Newton, MA
2011 - EVOS, Headquartered in Tampa, FL

#44

2014 - Muscle Maker Grill
2013 - VooDoo BBQ & Grill
2012 - XOCO, Headquartered in Chicago, IL
2011 - Tin Star, Headquartered in Plano, TX

#45

2014 - Boneheads Grilled Fish & Piri Piri Chicken
2013 - BUCU Burger Bar & Bakery
2012 - Boudin Bakery, Headquartered in San Francisco, CA
2011 - Tin Star, Headquartered in Plano, TX

#46

2014 - Fresh Brothers
2013 - Wow Boo
2012 - Pei Wei Asian Diner, Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ
2011 - Bread & Company, Headquartered in Nashville, TN

#47

2014 - Jason's Deli
2013 - Red Mango
2012 - Epic Burger, Headquartered in Chicago, IL
2011 - Tossed, Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL

#48

2014 - Which Wich?
2013 - SanSai Japanese Grill
2012 - OinkADoodle Moo, Headquartered in Dayton, OH
2011 - Which Wich

#49

2014 - The Bistro - Marriott
2013 - Charleys Philly Steaks
2012 - Cosi Sandwich Bar, Headquartered in Deerfield, IL
2011 - The Habit Burger Grill

#50

2014 - Genghis Grill
2013 - Pie Face
2012 - I Dream of Falafel, Headquartered in Chicago, IL
2011 - Camille's Sidewalk Cafe, Headquartered in Tulsa, OK

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