Trends 2024: which fast-food concepts are profitable?

At a time when the fast-food sector is experiencing a downturn, let's zoom in on the profitable and trendy snacking concepts that should continue to stand out in 2024.

Sophie Gaaloul

Sophie Gaaloul


Jan 2024

Fast food: trendy, profitable concepts in 2024
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Trends in the fast-food sector are constantly evolving, offering a multitude of concepts that are both innovative and profitable. From coffee-shops and ramen to vegan options and entertainment experiences, restaurateurs are constantly renewing their creativity to win over their customers.  

In this article, Inpulse deciphers for you the fast-food concepts that will be profitable in 2024 thanks to a strong competitive advantage: a controlled cost of materials combined with an original concept that responds to consumer trends, either through the culinary offer or the customer experience.

On average, the material cost in fast food is around 30%, with variations of between 25% and 35%. For viennoiseries, pastries and coffee-shop type establishments, this cost can be reduced to around 25%, similar to that of donuts. Rigorous control of material costs is fundamental to ensuring the profitability of your establishment, while maintaining a quality offering. It's a delicate exercise, but essential to guarantee both the appeal and economic viability of a concept. Here is a selection of ten trendy and profitable snacking concepts to watch in 2024: 

Fried chicken, a timeless classic

From Japanese karaage to Korean dak gang jeong and traditional Afro-American fried chicken, this dish has won over a wide audience. Even Michelin-starred chefs like Mory Sacko and Greg Marchand couldn't resist incorporating it into their menus. According to Deliverect, fried chicken dominated the ranking of most ordered dishes, surpassing pizzas, pastas and burgers. This success clearly demonstrates the popularity and continuing demand for this concept.

  • Chains specializing in fried chicken continue to grow, particularly in France. KFC, for example, has stepped up its expansion in France. Popeyes ' recent arrival in France marks another important milestone. With over 4,200 restaurants worldwide, Popeyes opened its first location in Paris in February 2023. Since then, the brand has expanded rapidly, with a target of 300 new restaurants over the next 10 years.
  • Finally, Korean fried chicken is also gaining in popularity, with Bonchon, the leader in this field, continuing to expand its global presence since its creation in 2002 in Busan, South Korea.

The rise of coffee shops and brunches

Thanks to the emergence of new coffee-shop concepts in kiosks or bakeries, and the reinvention of traditional tearooms, this concept is booming in city centers and outlying areas. 

  • Columbus Café has established itself as a benchmark in the world of coffee shops, with its innovative recipes and warm atmosphere, while Coutume Café has built its reputation on specialty coffees. Now with 15 locations in the Paris region, Coutume has reached a new milestone by opening up to franchising. Mary's Coffee Shop and Coffee Break also stand out, each with their own identity and approach to the coffee-shop concept.
  • In recent months, it's been the turn of bakery chains to open their own concepts. April 2023 saw the launch of Café Marie Blachère, combining the art of baking with the experience of coffee. Ange Café also recently introduced its new concept to city centers, with its first opening in Narbonne. 
  • With the launch of CosMc's in December, McDonald's is positioning itself as a direct competitor to established coffee-shop chains in the USA. This development indicates that McDonald's sees long-term growth opportunities in this sector.
  • Finally, Starbucks, which has 242 sales outlets in France, is planning to launch "drives" on the outskirts of towns to expand its customer base in France this year. 


Strong growth for donuts in France

With the number of doughnut consumers on the rise, by 2024 doughnuts will be an essential part of the fast-food landscape. Nearly a quarter of French people eat donuts regularly in France*. This new trend is reflected in the proliferation of specialist chains and a variety of offerings in coffee shops and bakeries.

The world-renowned Krispy Kreme chain has made a strong entry into the French market, seducing donut lovers with its iconic recipes and signature glaze. Other French brands are gaining in popularity, such as C'est Mon Donuts and Moonbo.

Vegan fast food

The vegan trend continues to gain ground in the world of fast food. 40% of French people express a desire to eat more plant-based products, and 49% of French households include at least one flexitarian**. In recent years, restaurants have responded to this growing demand with innovative, healthy concepts. Among the trends that stand out are plant-based burgers, creating alternatives to traditional burgers.

Several chains have established themselves as benchmarks in vegan fast food, such as Hank Vegan Burger, Burger Theory, or Naked Vegan Burger.

Ramen, a new wave in Japanese cuisine

Interest in Asian cuisine extends far beyond sushi. In 2024, ramen, the Japanese noodle soup, continues to attract French consumers. With strong sales growth in Europe over the past three years, ramen symbolizes consumers' growing curiosity for exotic, authentic flavors.

In France, several chains stand out for this concept: 

  • Fufu Ramen and Yatta Ramen These ramen pioneers in France played a crucial role in the introduction of this culinary specialty. 
  • In addition to offering a variety of ramen, Nobi Nobi has diversified its menu to include katsu, curries, yakisoba and bao burgers.
  • Well known for its sushi, SushiShop added ramen to its menu in April 2023. 

Hot dogs and rolls, the new stars of sandwiches

The hot dog is enjoying a real revival, as this American classic has been reinvented, attracting a new audience. 

  • Franks Hot Dog offers premium hot dogs, halfway between a 'hot dog' and a roll. 3 years after its launch, the chain has more than 15 corners. This would confirm the question they asked themselves when they launched: "What if the hot dog became the new fast-food darling in France?"
  • Created by Moïse Sfez in Paris, Homer Food is a luxury fast-food restaurant whose flagship product is the lobster roll. After winning the jury prize at the World Lobster Roll Championship in Portland in 2018, Homer has become a benchmark in the field.

Restaurants become entertainment venues

In addition to original culinary concepts, the brands are redoubling their creativity to offer unique and memorable customer experiences. Decoration is carefully thought out in every detail, and teams prepare dishes in front of customers. A significant transformation is underway in the fast-food sector, with food outlets becoming true living spaces, seeking to increase their footfall and appeal to an ever-wider customer base. 

These brands stand out from the crowd and attract customers looking not only for good products, but also for unique experiences: 

  • Street Bangkok Street Bangkok: this restaurant chain immerses diners in the vibrant atmosphere of Bangkok's streets. Customers will find not only authentic Thai street food, but also a décor and ambience reminiscent of the markets of the Thai capital.
  • Holly's Diner : these restaurants offer an immersive experience in a setting typical of American diners of the 50s. With its retro ambience, music and menu inspired by classic American cuisine, Holly's Diner transports guests to another era.
  • GOMU GOMU: the universe of this chain is made up of numerous references to the world of manga and, more broadly, Japanese pop culture, and the chain even offers a clothing line for sale.
  • Toa Sushi : with its open kitchen, this sushi chain showcases the work of its chefs to customers.

Beyond the quality of the offer and the customer experience, the key to a successful fast food business lies in effective management and cost control. To ensure sustainable profitability, it is essential to be able to control and monitor material costs in real time. This is where Inpulse comes in, offering an advanced solution for precise analysis of actual material costs and consumption variances. 

With Inpulse's artificial intelligence, over 2,000 customers have already optimized their management, increasing their margins by up to 5 points on material costs. Want to control your restaurant's costs? Find out how Inpulse can help you optimize your network's operational processes. Book a personal a personalized demo today.


* Bridor study in December 2022 

**According to a Kantar World Panel study for 2021

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