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Fast-casual Chains Operate Above Average

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At Gyroville, a fast-casual sandwich franchise with a Mediterranean focus, founder Lambros Kokkinelis said evolutionary innovation in sauces has helped a lot, but smart buying is key so the bet on the next LTO isn’t a big bust. “It depends when commodities come down far enough to get a good price,” said Kokkinelis. “I wish the restaurant industry was simple, but it’s gotten very scientific.”

Finally, operational excellence will be what keeps the fast-casual sandwich segment growing. That means not getting too far ahead of the infrastructure.

“If you open up too many restaurants too quickly, you could be in a situation where you don’t have the infrastructure to support it and I think customers are more sophisticated than ever,” said Dunaway. “They’ll give you a couple chances to fall on your face, but more than that, you’re going to really struggle.”

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