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Fast-casual restaurants see growth

As the economy recovers, more people are willing to make purchases they've held off on for several years as the markets have remained tumultuous and unemployment has stayed high. But as consumers open up there wallets a little more, they aren't just purchasing apparel and electronics - they're also spending more money eating out at fast-casual restaurants, calling for these eateries to update their money counters to cope with in increase in patrons who tend to pay with cash.

Some restaurants see significant growth
According to Technomic's Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report, such eateries are growing at a significant pace, as more diners look to enjoy affordable offerings. The research indicates that even though fast-casual establishments make up just 14 percent of the limited-service restaurant segment, sales are higher than those of other eateries. Sales leaped by 13 percent last year overall, and the most popular companies saw growth of 16 percent.

The restaurants continue to perform better than quick-service and full-service restaurants, and the high growth seen in the industry isn't expected to let up in the near future. The report revealed that the compound annual growth rate for fast-casual establishments is expected to hit 10 percent through 2017, compared with all limited-service eateries, which are anticipated to see a rate of only 4.5 percent.

Some of the restaurants that have experienced the biggest surge in sales are bakery cafes, as well as diners that offer Mexican food and sandwich options.

"Consumers today want quality offerings made quickly," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. "Segments like burger, sandwich and Mexican have done a great job delivering on quality, fresh, gourmet, and made-on-demand offerings. There are still areas of growth in the fast-casual segment for operators to adopt these ingredients for success and become viable in the fast-casual landscape."

As diners continue to frequent fast-casual restaurants more regularly and feel increasingly comfortable with the economy and their financial situation, restaurants will continue to see revenue rise. Because many visitors opt to pay for their meals with cash at these types of establishments, the need for an accurate cash counter is made clear. Without up-to-date technology, the owners of small, fast-casual eateries could lack the resources necessary to quickly count daily profits and determine exactly how quickly business is expanding. With the amount of growth expected in this industry in the coming years, manual counting will continue to be an inefficient and potentially inaccurate way for entrepreneurs to determine cash flow.

July 31, 2013