Fast-casual restaurants gobbling up Tampa Bay market

They don't serve food in a sack from a drive-through window.

They also don't have waiters taking orders and delivering dishes tableside.

"Fast-casual'' restaurants fill a niche between fast-food and casual dining. Customers order at a counter, and an employee brings their meals to a table. Guests aren't expected to leave tips.

Nationwide, fast-casual restaurants reflect the fast-growing segment of the food service industry, generating $27 billion in sales last year. Here in the Tampa Bay area, a well-established testing ground for chains, diners eat them up.

"That's where all the action is right now,'' said Nick Vojnovic, president of Little Greek Restaurant chain. "Americans are getting more sophisticated in their tastes and demanding higher quality products. But the young generation is accustomed to getting things at a faster pace.'' Read More

Posted on August 29, 2012 and filed under Fast Casual.