Despite a surge from Mexican concepts last year, bakery cafés are still the sales leader of the fast casual restaurant segment, according to Technomic.

Led by Panera Bread, which boasted $3.7 billion in sales in 2012, the other 25 bakery cafés that ranked among Technomic's Top 150 Fast Casual Chain Restaurants posted systemwide sales of more than $6.1 billion in 2012 — an increase of 10.3 percent over 2011, said Technomic's Christine LaFave Grace.

Mexican concepts took the No. 2 spot, pulling in more than $5.6 billion in 2012, growing 13.8 percent.

Technomic's concept to watch

Le Pain Quotidien, founded in Brussels in 1990, opened its first U.S. unit in New York in 1995, but has been growing units by more than 14 percent the past two years, LaFave Grace said. Sales also increased by 17.6 percent (to $121 million) in 2012.

Read more about trends.

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