The 5 Hottest Restaurant Franchise Trends

Restaurant franchises continue to grow as food is one of the few consumer experiences that can still get people to leave the house. If you’re considering a restaurant franchise, there are many different options available. Whether you’re choosing fast food or fast casual, American or Italian, or dinner or dessert, make sure that you do extensive research on a franchise before signing on the dotted line. There are many great franchise opportunities out there, but some may be a better fit for you, your management style and finances, and your location. These five big trends may help point you in the right direction.


  1. The Year of Halal

For many people, the concept of Halal food is difficult to define. Similar to kosher, Halal is both a method of food preparation as well as its own cuisine with its own flavors and ingredients. Halal food has already taken over New York and other major cities, and now it is in position to expand to regions of the country that have less familiarity with it. The best example of Halal food’s explosive growth potential is The Halal Guys, a NY-based franchise that has a five-year 100-location growth strategy.

  1. Premium Chicken Options

Fast casual has already invaded the burger space with brands like Five Guys, In-N-Out, and Shake Shack becoming popular across the country. The next big area for fast casual expansion is with chicken. Currently Chick-Fil-A has few competitors when it comes to high quality fried chicken, and consumers don’t really compare it to cheaper alternatives like KFC and Popeye’s. KFC is currently testing out a fancier, fast casual version of their restaurants, and franchises like El Pollo Loco and the Chickery have great potential.

  1. Southeast Asian Flavors

Franchisees should look for the next big flavors and tastes coming from Asia. Chinese food and sushi continue to be popular, but are too established to be trendy. Restauranteurs are now looking to Southeast Asia for new flavors that could create a franchise. Vietnamese and Thai flavors are very trendy, and there are already some bahn mi franchises that are starting to get attention from franchisees and others. In addition, there is still great potential in Korean barbecue as a fast casual concept.

  1. Sustainably Sourced Seafood

Chicken is not the only area where fast casual can expand, and many people believe that high-quality seafood restaurants are positioned to do very well in the near future. Consumers have shown that they are willing to pay more money for seafood that is high-quality, fresh, locally-sourced and sustainably fished. Growing franchises across the country are offering many premium seafood options such as fish and chips, lobster rolls, crab cakes and fish tacos. The fast casual franchise Slapfish is getting the most attention, but there are many other great choices as well.

  1. Health and Lifestyle

Consumers are no longer completely satisfied by taste and price. They want to know that what they are eating is healthy and they also want to know where their food comes from. Look for franchises that promote a healthy lifestyle and culture. Diners are now looking for this type of experience.