Fast Casual Dining Expected to Impress in 2015

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    The beginning of the new year has many landlords looking for the next growing industry to occupy their properties. For many, restaurants like Baja Fresh, Panera Bread, Chipotle and Qdoba have been a welcomed answer to that search. Called “fast-casual”, restaurants in this sector saw sales of $35 billion in 2013, an 11 percent increase from the previous year. This helps to support preliminary data that indicates another 10 percent growth spurt in the 2014 year. While some skeptics argue that the growth will not continue, many factors indicate that growth is strong and here to stay.

    In addition to many rapid store rollouts for top chain restaurants, the fast-casual sector is experiencing continued sales growth as well as impressive innovation. For example, made-to-order pizza companies, such as Blaze Pizza and PizzaRev, are turning what used to be a meal focused on dinner and group dining into a casual lunchtime meal. Many fast-casual restaurants also attract consumers through their authenticity, many choosing to let their  “story” define their brand. Chipotle is known for this authenticity factor, gaining fame and recognition for its “food with integrity” menu. Unique qualities like these have helped skyrocket many fast-casual restaurants towards widespread success, and for now it looks like the trend will only continue

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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