Sometimes, it’s difficult to keep up with all the ‘foodie’ trends out there – from locally sourced, to vegan, to gluten-free, the healthy options are everywhere but the latest movement shaking-up the restaurant market is Fast Fresh.

Healthy, fast-casual restaurants are on the rise putting major focus on providing customers with high-quality, healthy, locally-sourced food at a quick service pace.

“This trend has trickled down from the full-service sector,” explains Molly Townsend, Senior Associate with Colliers International | Minneapolis-St. Paul’s retail division. “Franchise owners have seen the success of using high-quality ingredients at full-service restaurants, and combined it with the fast-casual success of places like Chipotle and Panera.”

Having been labeled as one of the healthiest cities in the US it’s only natural (no pun intended) that this trend is taking over the Twin Cities with restaurants such as Café Zupas, People’s Organic, Naf Naf Grill, Mad Greens, Mod Market, and Sprouts all hunting for “A” locations in established retail trade areas; typically an end cap in first-tier suburbs such as Edina, Woodbury or Roseville.

These restaurants focus on providing people with multiple choices and options, enabling them to design their own meals to their specifications targeting younger, health-conscious customers who are willing to pay more for better-quality ingredients.“People want to know where their food is coming from, and they want to be able to make healthier choices without sacrificing their time,” says Townsend.


But how does this play into the customer experience?


Mindful Dining

Consumers, especially Millennials, are becoming more and more concerned with where, when and how their food made its way onto their plate. With issues including sustainability, food waste and animal treatment all being concerning factors, the transparency and way restaurants handle these aspects are creating a new set of characteristics consumers will use when deciding where to eat. While quality taste and price are still most important to consumers, how good they feel before, during, and after eating is starting to weigh more on their decisions with many Millennials describing how and what they eat as a “way of life.”


Tech to Table

Forget farm to table, new technology and e-commerce food delivery methods are quickly fueling the Fast Fresh fire. Technology has bred society to expect instant results and this NOW way of life has made its way deep into the food and restaurant industry. With the rise of food delivery businesses like Bitesquad and GrubHub the consumer is now able to get all their favorite dishes delivered right to their home or business. Amazon has even jumped on the train recently launching its AmazonFresh program which allows customers to do all of their grocery shopping from the palm of their hand then have it delivered directly to their door step. Convenience is the driving factor here saving people lots of time, while giving them the freedom to order exactly what they want when they want it.

With Millennials driving many of these trends and service oriented retail growing, consumers are blending online with bricks-and-mortar to customize their dining experience to meet their wants and needs. With more and more of these restaurants filtering in from the East and West coasts every day, the fast fresh trend is quickly entering Minneapolis and we are sure to see some big changes in restaurants and retail because of it.