The Chipotle effect: Why America is obsessed with fast casual food

By | February 3, 2015

Chipotle has seen its sales more than quadruple since 2000; Panera has watched its own more than triple in that time; and Shake Shack just went public despite operating only 36 outlets. What’s going on?


Americans spent more than $21 billion at fast casual restaurants last year, according to data from market research firm Euromonitor, which is not bad, considering that the category is only loosely defined at best.