The Shift from Fast Casual to Fresh Casual: How Your POS Solution Can Help

Since fresh ingredients are a huge part of your restaurant’s experience and presentation, proper inventory control is critical.

Similar to how fast casual restaurants have established themselves apart from the rest of the restaurant industry, a new dining experience is evolving called fresh casual. With it, a new set of restaurants are looking to differentiate themselves from competitors and gain an advantage.

So, how would one define fresh casual dining, and how are fresh casual restaurant different from former fast casual establishments?  Fresh casual restaurants intend to serve customers the freshest ingredients possible. With mottos like “from farm to table,” these restaurants may source local products and ingredients, remove artificial additives from their menu, or perhaps cook up in-house items from scratch to create a unique, fresh dining experience unlike a typical quick service or fast casual chain.

With this concept, restaurant POS solutions can play a big role in creating and managing that unique, fresh experience.


Since fresh ingredients are a huge part of your restaurant’s experience and presentation, proper inventory control is critical. The goal is to have the right amount of fresh food available to fulfill customer’s requests and to avoid ordering a surplus of food that could potentially spoil quickly and cost you money.

POS solutions help manage your inventory by automatically sending data reports to restaurant owners and managers. These detailed reports give you actionable data that can help with inventory, ordering and more! When it’s fresh, inventory control is taken to a whole new level, and POS software can help more easily manage that.

Build-Your-Own Options

Another important aspect of fresh casual restaurants is the ability for customers to customize their meals. Your guests love being able to mix and match fresh ingredients to create their ideal dish. Today’s consumers enjoy that much more than robotically saying, “I’ll have a #6 with a Coke.”

While typical fast food menu items have a base price, a fresh casual customer’s total cost depends on which ingredients they select. Most fresh casual restaurants have different categories of ingredients like “basic,” “premium,” or “extra”  for example, and each category is assigned a certain price.

To keep track easily, your POS solution, both hardware and software, must be easy to use for your employees. Your receipt printer should detail each specific item, so customers know exactly how much each item costs and what was included in their order to avoid any confusion or concern.

Customer Loyalty

Fresh casual chains such as Chipotle and Moe’s rely on loyal customers, since repeat business and referrals keep their doors open for business. These loyal fans see fresh casual restaurants as “lifestyle” restaurants – a healthier alternative to the fried options out there, and they encourage others to put down the fries and “go fresh” as well. A way to capitalize on their enthusiasm is to create a customer loyalty program through your restaurant POS software.

POS systems have made punch cards nearly obsolete. They track customer data in the cloud, which restaurant owners can take advantage of by emailing or texting specials, offers, and promotions. Loyalty can also be tracked through custom mobile apps where customers earn points for visits, purchases, money spent and more. The bottom line is that it helps keep customers coming back often – a winning move for any restaurant.

Speed is Still Important!

While fresh casual and fast casual restaurants want to stay away from the notion that they are “fast food,” speed remains an important factor for their guests. Today’s consumers are always on the go and expect restaurants to provide a fast, and most importantly delicious, experience each time they visit.

An organized, easy-to-use POS software solution can keep your lines moving so not only are you providing a new, fresh way to experience meals on the go; you are providing that same quick turnaround time they expect.

Since 1978, PAR has been helping restaurant and retail customers put technology to work to improve operations, enhance customer experience, and better manage data and information. 

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