fast-ca·​su·​al ˈfast-ˈkazh-wəl How to pronounce fast-casual (audio)
variants or less commonly fast casual
: of, relating to, or being a restaurant that combines elements of fast-food service (such as counter ordering) with other elements (such as made-to-order food) that are typical of a full-service restaurant
The fast-casual restaurants typically offer fresh, hand-prepared burgers and fries in an atmosphere that might feature plush chairs and a fireplace but no kiddie playland.Karen Robinson-Jacobs
Not content to merely upgrade their menus, some chains are looking at overhauling their entire concept to match the fast-casual approach, whereby meals typically are prepared to order and there is limited table service.Julie Tamaki
fast-casual noun
or fast casual
plural fast-casuals or fast casuals
fast-casuals became the darling of the last decade, driven in part by the effects of the Great Recession, skyrocketing rents and rising food costs. Tim Carman

Examples of fast-casual in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Chicken has become a more popular category in fast food and fast-casual businesses, especially with the rise of chicken sandwiches at restaurants like Chick-fil-A and Popeyes. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 16 Nov. 2023 As previously reported by ESSENCE, O’Neal recently announced the launch of a new installment of his fast-casual restaurant franchise Big Chicken. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 20 Oct. 2023 If global tech towers and fast-casual lunch chains reflected one downtown ideal, which is the model now in crisis, the post-pandemic downtown of Jackson Square—eclectic, crafty, and refined—is a vision on the rise. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, 16 Oct. 2023 One of our most frequent fast-casual stops is Chipotle. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 4 Oct. 2023 While many flock to Applebee’s for its comfortable ambiance, kid-friendliness, or simply for the spinach and artichoke dip, one of the fast-casual restaurant’s famous deals has made a comeback. Lizzy Rosenberg, Peoplemag, 1 Oct. 2023 Meet for happy hour at B Side beforehand, and there are multiple fast-casual places in the neighborhood to get a picnic, including District Dumplings, Rasa and Nando’s. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2023 Alex Susskind, senior director of academic programs at Cornell University’s Nolan School of Hotel Administration, said that the biggest challenge for restaurants such as Louise’s has been the rise of fast-casual chains, which have changed diners’ behavior. Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2023 The fast-food eatery, located at 184 Euclid Ave, first opened in 2017 as an innovative concept in the fast-casual dining space. Alex Darus, cleveland, 19 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fast-casual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1995, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fast-casual was in 1995

Dictionary Entries Near fast-casual

Cite this Entry

“Fast-casual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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