It’s the “fast” part of fast-casual that’s important, after all. People have less time to sit around in a vibrant urban area than an exurban strip mall, and they also have a lot more options if they don’t like what you’re serving up or how fast you’re serving it. Since soup-and-sandwich competitor Così might close some stores in major metropolitan areas, that will open up the light lunch market for a new chain. One whose kitchens can crank out an entreé every six seconds, as a Panera can at peak lunch and dinner hours.
Panera Tries to Speed Up for Its Move Into Cities [Bloomberg Businessweek]