This is part of an exclusive online series by Nation's Restaurant News and Chain Store Guide, profiling the restaurant industry's top 10 growth chains. Go to NRN.com's Special Reports page to read more profiles highlighting the industry's fastest-growing players based on five-year unit growth rates.
Home of the Charburger, Foster's Grille restaurants can be found in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia. The restaurants are intended to be casual neighborhood places where families can gather for made-to-order burgers, fries, and shakes, as well as a cold beer.
Shawn Foster, the chain's president and chief executive, told NRN in a 2008 interview that he believed fast-casual would be a strong area of growth for the restaurant industry as consumers look for inexpensive, but high-quality food.
"There are parents out there wanting to feed their children quickly and at a reasonable price," he said. "Because of our position in the economic era right now, there are a lot of people in the fast-casual marketplace who can't afford to go spend $40 on a meal."
Two years later, fast-casual "better burger" chains like Foster's Grille, Five Guys and Smashburger are growing as many other concepts dig out from the recession. However, they face pressure from all sides, as casual-dining chains like Applebee's and The Cheesecake Factory and fast-food players like McDonald's and Burger King ramp up their burger offerings.
Foster's Grille is franchising and seeking to open restaurants in territories with a population of around 75,000 -- at least half of which is between the ages of 21 and 60 -- with an average household income of at least $50,000, and a concentration of retail, office, and residential locations.
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