The Philippines is filled with many different restaurants and it is certain that we all have our own favorite places to dine at. But have you ever wondered about those types of restaurants that do not fit in the category of fine dining and fast food?
Maybe your favorite restaurant offers a fast casual dining type of service! Let us have a go and talk about what fast casual dining is and if it is a good fit for you
What are Fast Casual Dining Restaurants?
Fast casual dining is a form of dining service that bridges the gap between fast food and fine dining restaurants. They offer the convenience of fast food restaurants but offer quality comparable to that of fine dining experience.
In short, fast casual dining is more of the bridge that connects the gap between fast food and fine dining restaurants. Oftentimes, these fast casual restaurants are in limited numbers or are in a restaurant group that possesses a few branches only.
This type of service is often found in the city areas in the Philippines such as Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Quezon City, and the likes. In addition to this, fast casual dining restaurants can be recognized by the sit-down and relaxed type of atmosphere comparable to cafes and restaurants with lounges. Some of them even introduce their own style of aesthetic to their customers like different themes, their own shades of colors, the style of food they serve, and the approach to the service itself—which is mostly the ability to choose what goes in your food.
Fast Casual Dining versus Fast Food Restaurants
As mentioned earlier, fast casual dining is considered as the one in between fast food and fine dining, but what differentiates it from fast food?
The short answer to that is the quality of the food. Fast casual dining restaurants offer a wide variety of freshly made foods cooked in different ways depending on the customer’s orders.
For example, fast casual dining restaurants can serve home cooked meals like tapa and adobo cooked only upon ordering them. Fast food restaurants, however, only offer ready made foods or meals that need only reheating to be served like hamburgers and fries. Most of the time, fast casual restaurants use fresh ingredients sourced only a day or two before serving while fast food restaurants use frozen ones.
To add to that, foods that are available in fast food restaurants can also be served by fast casual restaurants—just made with better quality and ingredients. For example, Jollibee can serve fried chicken and fries but Shakeys’ can also do the same but with better ingredients used.
Fast Casual Dining Restaurants in the Philippines
In the Philippines, there are numerous fast casual dining restaurants almost everywhere in every city. Some of them can also be found in shopping malls and such but mostly seen with their own branches and establishments. So here are five examples of fast casual dining restaurants in the Philippines.
1. Hola Eat Play Drink (Highly recommended)
We may or may not know of a place to satisfy your Pinoy taste buds, and we are doing it with style. HOLA is a fast-casual dining and eco-friendly restaurant, combining sustainability, creativity, and playfulness in every dish and cocktail—setting it apart from your regular, everyday resto-bar. HOLA is creating gastronomical experiences for all five senses for pure pleasure and warmth in every bite.
Although HOLA is a resto bar, they possess the key components of a great fast casual dining restaurant and they are absolutely winning.
Can’t believe it? Visit us here.
2. BonChon Chicken Philippines
You can visit their official Facebook page here.
BonChon Chicken is a fast casual dining restaurant service in the Philippines that mainly focuses on Korean-style fried chicken and cuisine. According to BonChon Chicken’s main website, they believe that Filipinos deserve world class quality foods—and they deliver it well by introducing Korean foods and drinks in the Philippine market that fits the average Filipinos’ taste buds while remaining authentic and true to the Korean cuisine.
3. Shakeys’ Pizza Philippines
According to Shakeys’ Pizza Philippines website, they are considered as one of the leading fast casual dining services in the Philippines. Their history started way back 1975 in Metro Manila and they kept on growing in popularity that they now have 307 branches in the whole Philippines.
They target the Filipino families that prefer a full dining experience while retaining the speed and convenience of fast food restaurants, which led them to creating a fast casual dining service. Their menu is mostly made up of American types of foods such as pizzas, wings, their all time famous Mojos, and milkshakes.
To know more about them, visit their official Facebook page here.
4. Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar Philippines
Peri-Peri Chicken Philippines is a South-American styled fast casual restaurant that mainly serves chicken cooked in different ways. They have grilled chicken and fried chicken, but what they boast about most is their savory sauces. With their South American cuisine, it is common sense that their foods and franchise would take off since Filipino and South Americans share the same love towards spicy and savory foods—which led to the success of Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken in the Philippines.
Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar is also a part of the Shakeys’ Philippines group of companies.
Visit Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken’s official Facebook page here.
5. Tokyo Bubble Tea Philippines
Tokyo Bubble Tea describes themselves as a fusion of Western and Japanese cuisine. They started their business in 2006 and was one of the first restaurants to pioneer the bubble tea craze here in the Philippines. Basically, they are one of the first ones to serve milk teas in the country.
Their most popular branch is in SM Megamall located in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila and they are currently growing in number. They serve mostly drinks but their freshly made meals and Japanese-style foods are one to try out.
You can visit and order using their official Facebook page here.
6. Max’s Restaurant
The House that Fried Chicken Built, or so they say since their history tells the same. Max’s Restaurant dates back to the Second World War when the first people they served their food to were American soldiers looking for a drink or two. Then it grew larger and larger and branches can now be found all around the Philippines and overseas—they managed to expand to California and Canada, places with a huge Filipino population. Max’s Restaurant specializes in fried chicken and other Filipino meals, which is why Max’s Restaurant is so close to the hearts of the Filipino citizens.
To visit their official Facebook page, click here.
Should I Open a Fast Casual Dining Restaurant?
Fast casual dining restaurants do not differ much from other restaurants so opening one can sometimes be a hit-or-miss. But in these times, opening one is actually not a bad choice.
According to Statista, the Philippine food industry racked up 8.55 billion USD in revenue back in 2020, making an entrance to the fast casual dining industry today a good investment.
Deciding to open a fast casual dining restaurant is one thing but there are more factors to consider when trying to establish a fast casual dining restaurant.
Factors to Consider when Opening a Fast Casual Dining Restaurant
There are factors to consider when opening a fast casual restaurant.
- Do not be Afraid to Start
While it is true that the fast casual restaurant industry only builds up around 10% of the population of restaurants in the world, it has grown over 500% since 1999. So there is nothing to fear about when trying to open a fast casual dining restaurant.
If you have the capital and you are passionate about creating experiences for the taste buds? Owning a Fast Casual Restaurant is a dream come true!
- You have a knowledge on creating food
The most important factor that you should consider is your food. Your food must not only be good, but it should also hit the right spots when tasted by the Filipinos.
For example, your food may be authentic and follows the proper culinary practice but if it does not fit the taste buds of the Filipinos, finding success is unlikely.
With that said, hiring skilled chefs that would deliver your style greatly is also a vital point in fast casual dining restaurants since you should be creating freshly made foods for your customers—since this sets you apart from fast food services.
A good example of this is HOLA’s menu. HOLA is an experimental and eco-friendly restaurant, combining sustainability, creativity and playfulness in every dish and cocktail—setting it apart from your regular, everyday resto bar. HOLA is creating gastronomical experiences for all five senses for pure pleasure and warmth in every bite.
An example of experimental dishes that HOLA can serve is the Sisig & Match me since it is a Filipino dish added with some Mexican styled twist. In a sense, it is like a sisig taco but you have the freedom to choose how you like it.
Another one would be the Poquiyaki which is a mix of both traditional foods of Philippines and Japan. It is a combination of Poqui, an Ilokano traditional food, and Takoyaki which is a Japanese street food, hence the name Poquiyaki.
Just like HOLA, you can experiment with different types of foods as long as they fit the taste buds of your target consumers. If you are interested in HOLA’s menu, check out their best sellers here!
- You don’t just possess Cooking Skills but also People Skills
You should also take note of how you should treat your employees. To succeed in the food and restaurant industry, you should take care of your employees as they are your most important assets. Pricing your food a little bit higher is okay as long as your employees are paid well and fairly.
- Price and Location
The next factor is pricing, which is already mentioned, because you should stand out among your competitors. You should also consider your location if there is an abundance of potential customers and consumers that would like to try out a new fast casual restaurant.
- The vibe and theme of your fast casual restaurant must fit
Lastly, your restaurant should fit the vibe and atmosphere of a fast casual dining restaurant. Your prices might be fair, your food might be good, and your location might be optimal, but it will all boil down to your restaurant’s concept.You should stand out among your competitors so it may be time to put your creative juices together and think of a concept that would fit the vibe of a fast casual restaurant while retaining the ambiance and atmosphere.
Fast casual dining in the Philippines is still a small percentage of the Food & Beverage industry but their success and rise in popularity is already very visible. For sure, a hundred more fast casual restaurants are sprouting and will establish themselves as years go by so keeping an eye on them is a good way to find your way around these restaurants, whether you want to dine in or start your own fast casual restaurant.
Want to have a go at one of the finest fast casual restaurants in Mandaluyong? Make a reservation and dine at HOLA.