The National Restaurant Association, in partnership with Technomic and Digital Coco, announced that it has created a new industry event focused on the fast casual industry segment. The National Restaurant Association Fast Casual Trends & Directions conference will be held Oct. 3, 2012, in Dallas, TX.

The conference is designed to deliver a comprehensive look at where the fast casual segment is and where it is headed. The event will bring together key players in the fast casual community, including leaders from the National Restaurant Association’s Fast Casual Industry Council.

“We recognize that each industry segment has unique properties, opportunities and challenges, and our new event will address those perspectives specific to fast casual restaurants – a fast-growing segment of the $632 billion restaurant industry,” says James Balda, chief marketing and communications officer for the National Restaurant Association. “By combining research and operator insights in conference programming, we will present a 360-degree overview of both current conditions and future trends.”

"Fast casual professionals can't miss at this event, where we'll cover everything critical to them, including original research, fast casual strategies and actionable recommendations to keep this growing segment attractive and profitable in challenging times," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. “This segment has been an industry bright spot for over a decade and deserves its own event!”

Drawing on an unmatched wealth of expertise in trend-watching, foodservice knowledge, data collection and customer insight, the teams at Technomic and Digital Coco have developed a compelling program for restaurateurs.

"Attendees will be privy to research not previously released—information that can provide a significant edge in the competitive restaurant marketplace," says Paul Barron, founder of Digital Coco, a firm dedicated to assessing the social business movement in the restaurant business with the creation of the first consumer and social brand index.

This event will provide insights for fast casual executives, as well as casual dining, quickservice and family style restaurants executives who can learn from the success of what is one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. Attendance is limited to restaurant operators and sponsoring organizations.

Online registration is available. For more information, contact Lauren Fredericks at (312) 506-3862 email