C-level execs from this year's top fast casual brands gathered Sunday at the Sofitel Hotel in Chicago, where FastCasual's editorial team unveiled the rankings to this year's Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers. Dickey's Barbecue Pit took the coveted No. 1 spot.
"As the popularity of fast casual brands increases so does the number of emerging concepts, accompanied by a multitude of QSR and full-service franchises that are now rebranding in an effort to join our exclusive club," said Cherryh Cansler, managing editor of FastCasual.com. "To help narrow down the choices this year, we accepted self-nominations, requiring each brand to answer a variety of questions about their businesses."
The info helped judges whittle down the hundreds of nominations to 75 brands and 25 executives to round out the final Top 100, Cansler said. Judges not only rated brands on growth and sales, but considered innovation across several categories, including technology, design, customer experience, sustainability and menu offerings.
"The top spot unanimously went to Dickey's Barbecue Pit for not only its impressive growth performance (a 19 percent year-over-year growth rate with nearly 550 units and plans to open 100 this year), but also because it is a leader when it comes to implementing technology to enhance the guest experience," Cansler said.
"What an honor it is to win the #1 spot on the Fast Casual Top 100 list," said Dickey's CEO Roland Dickey Jr. "Thank you FastCasual for noticing us. Our team and our franchisees make this happen for us every day.
"At Dickey’s we keep it simple by focusing on what we do best and what we’re passionate about and that’s bringing authentic, Texas-style barbecue across the country. Normally, we leave Chicago with only a hangover. This year we left with a hangover and an awesome #1 award plaque."
The 2016 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers publication is now available for download.