Shuttered casual dining restaurants have become a common sight in American suburbs, a casualty of pandemic cutbacks, overinvestment in the 2010s, and competition from the fast-casual segment. But this doesn’t signify the end. The opposite is true: Casual dining is making a comeback.
Casual dining brands are becoming more polished, more creative and more experience-focused. FSR Magazine calls it “NextGen Casual,” a movement discussed in a recent webinar with three segment leaders. Black Bear Diner CEO Anita Adams sums up casual dining trends perfectly: “Now’s the time to protect what you stand for and what you’re known for,” she says. Here’s how.