The most famous fast-food restaurants are burger joints: McDonald’s (MCD), Wendy’s (WEN), Burger King (BKW). But Americans have been in the mood for something different lately, and many of the trendiest quick-serve restaurants indulge that desire for variety, novelty and healthier eating.
Like other parts of the lackluster economy, restaurant industry sales have been growing slowly. So new chains hoping to become the next Five Guys or Chipotle (CMG) have garnered attention with standout food, flashy preparation and an eye-catching atmosphere. It also doesn’t hurt, of course, if a meal seems like a bargain.
To identify some of the most promising up-and-coming fast-food chains, Yahoo! Finance teamed with Technomic, a Chicago food-industry research firm that tracks more than 2,000 chains.