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Asian invasion

Chipotle Mexican Grill opened its first ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen in September, making it unofficially "official" that fast-casual Asian chains are a growing force. Casual and fine-dining restaurants are also delivering more Asian dishes and delving more deeply into Asian ingredients and flavors, often exploring those of lesser-known cuisines.

  • Among the top 500 chains in the U.S., currently about 1.7% of sales are from Asian concepts
  • In 2010, sales in fast-casual Asian chains in the top 500 grew by 9.3% 
  • Among the top 250 chains in the U.S., there were 19% more Asian items on menus in the second half of 2010 than in the same period in 2009
  • Between 2008 and 2010, the number of Americans who said they would be very likely to order a Chinese-style beef dish jumped from 30% to 46%
  • 58% of surveyed consumers have tried and liked Asian sauces, such as teriyaki, Szechuan and soy. These sauces were second only to barbecue in the responses of those who tried a sauce with a pork dish
  • According to the last U.S. Census, there are 14.5 million Asians living in the U.S. Asians grew at the same rate as Hispanics from 2000 to 2010, by 43%

Source: Technomic Market-Intelligence Report: Asian