Yesterday, the Spartanburg, South-Carolina-based Denny's restaurant chain opened its first fast-casual unit in Orange, California. The restaurant's corporate office describes this new restaurant concept, called Denny's Cafe, as "a smaller version of the traditional Denny's experience that caters to guests with a more streamlined menu, counter service ordering and a smaller real estate footprint."
So what exactly is the definition of a fast-casual restaurant?
By most definitions in the restaurant industry, it's a venue with better
food and ambience than a traditional fast-food restaurant, with a lower
check average than full-service restaurants (in the $8-$15 range), but
without full table service. And it's supposed to be the next big trend
in American dining.
Last month, Nation's Restaurant News
announced that the Gordon Biersch Restaurant Group -- which operates
the Gordon Biersch restaurant in Kansas City's Power & Light
Which restaurant chains will hop on this concept next? Kansas City-based Applebee's? Houlihan's? And will waiters and waitresses be forced to become, essentially, carhops?
(Image via Flickr: Eliot & Jenni)