It’s clear we’re becoming an increasingly impatient and demanding nation of consumers. The so-called ‘consumerisation of technology’ revolution has empowered us in ways thought unimaginable just a decade ago and it has raised the bar around what we expect and are prepared to put up with when dealing with service-led brands.

Are you willing to pay a premium for a same day delivery slot because you can’t wait just a few days for normal delivery?

Or perhaps you find yourself breaking into a cold sweat if your takeaway app delivery estimator shows ’35 minutes until your rider arrives’ when you mentally prepared yourself to wait just 25 minutes?

You’re not alone!

In 2017 we expect brands and businesses to work with us in ways that suit our lives, not vice-versa. Furthermore, if we’re not happy with the service or product we have received we’ll increasingly let brands know through social media. It has seemingly never been easier to complain in the belief that you might be heard.

This desire for speed and control helps explain what we’re seeing in the eating out of the home market too, a market that Morar tracks regularly through our study “The Big Restaurant Survey”. In the last couple of years there has been an explosion of so called ‘’fast-casual’’ brands expanding in London and increasingly across the UK.

The concept of fast-casual is not new itself, but it has certainly gained momentum in the last few years as the category has evolved. From the phenomenal growth stories of Nando’s (65% growth in estate size from 2010 to 2016) to the ‘’better burger’’ revolution and rise of the likes of Byron and Five Guys. More recently we have also seen a wave of ‘artisan pizza’ brands begin to scale, all wanting a slice of the action to take advantage of the UK consumer’s seemingly insatiable desire to eat out. Perhaps the humble kebab is next?

Fast-casual brands operate in a hybrid part of the market between fast-food and full service restaurants. Increasingly as a nation of diners we’re choosing to visit fast-casual brands over their full service and fast-food counterparts because they better balance control, quality of product and price point with our needs today. The strongest operators and brands in this space are typically located in high footfall areas and champion transparently sourced ingredients in their products, delivered at speed and a price-point that lends itself to trial and repeat visits.

In the next post I’ll share a few further observations on this part of the market, including lessons for existing operators as they decide how to best react.