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5 Fast Casual Franchises We Love

Just because they're “fast” doesn’t mean these franchises compromise on quality, ingredients and an excellent investment opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Oh, consumers — they’re always evolving and looking for the next best thing. From the latest fashions to the newest food trends, society’s tastes and preferences can change in a flash. Diners wanting fresh ingredients and more options than just a standard burger and fries joint is one of the many reasons that fast-casual restaurants have been on the rise in recent years.

Fast-casual restaurants provide guests with a perfect alternative when they don’t have the time to sit down for a lengthy meal but want the tastes of a great dining experience. 1851 Franchise has rounded up our top five fast-casual franchises in 2021 below.

Tin Drum Asian Kitchen

  • Startup cost: $150,000
  • Units: 10 

Atlanta’s Tin Drum Asian Kitchen is a fast-casual restaurant inspired by the energy and atmosphere of the streets of Asia. With a large menu featuring fearless flavors, a warm and hospitable atmosphere and a dedication to producing an authentic Pan-Asian food experience for guests, Tin Drum is now open to franchise opportunities nationwide, including in higher-demand markets. Additionally, Tin Drum is a perfect concept for experienced restaurant owners who are looking to expand their portfolio with an up-and-coming brand.

Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar

Tell corporate America to “go shuck itself” — or at least that’s what Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar tells prospective franchisees. Born out of a goal to create a local establishment that would appeal to families of all ages, Shuckin’ Shack is a place where folks can enjoy fresh, flavorful meals and creative cocktails in a chilled-out setting that exudes the nonchalant lifestyles of the beach. From its humble beginnings as a 900-square-foot shack along the North Carolina coast to its current 16 restaurants across almost six states, with several more locations slated to open by the end of 2021, Shuckin’ Shack is the perfect opportunity for those wanting a franchise with a beach experience.

Teriyaki Madness

Teriyaki Madness is another Asian-fusion fast-casual concept on our list of top fast-casual franchises. Featuring a Seattle-style teriyaki, Teriyaki Madness offers guests made-to-order, satisfying bowls, appetizers and side dishes made from all-natural ingredients — all at reasonable prices. Teriyaki Madness’ appeal extends beyond its customer base as the brand has been ranked on Entrepreneur’s Top Food Franchises and FastCasual’s Movers and Shakers list in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, the Inc. 5000 list for three straight years and was named the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the United States by Restaurant Business in 2021.


  • Startup cost: $200,000
  • Units: 109

Shoney’s is truly an American classic, with its tagline of “All-American Kitchen” in towns all across the country. Since the brand opened its first location in 1947, Shoney’s has given customers a welcoming environment that keeps generations coming back for another homestyle meal. Shoney’s is always seeking single-unit and multi-unit select franchisees who bring the right mix of enthusiasm and experience to the table.


Big, fresh and meaty — three adjectives to describe the San Jose-founded Togo’s sandwich franchise brand. A perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs to start their own business, Togo’s products are still made the same way as they were in 1971 — with only the highest quality ingredients like artisan bread, premium turkey, beef and pastrami, in addition to fresh Hass avocado that is hand-mashed in-house every day. With almost 200 restaurants now open or under development throughout the West Coast, Togo’s is certainly a restaurant that is staying ahead of the game.