With full-service dining suffering under ongoing pandemic restrictions, independent operators are turning to the quick-service model to meet the needs of guests.
Modeling themselves after chains that saw sales climb during the crisis in 2020, these concepts maintain limited-service elements and have been able to remain open in many cities and states where indoor dining has been closed, under limited capacity or has been in a state of flux as COVID cases (and related restrictions) surge and wane.
Counter service, ordering windows, smaller staff operations plus smaller footprints have allowed these restaurants to fare better at a time when full-service operators are failing.
Unlike chains, however, these independent operators are also creating more inventive menu items, with an emphasis on hand-held items, from fried matzo balls to coffee drinks using goat milk.
Get to know these QSR indies in the newest restaurant niche to trend.