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Editor's Note: Fried food freedom

Property of SeaFood Business magazine
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
July 01, 2007

Understanding restaurant lingo can be frustrat i ng. QSR, FSR, CDR - what does it all mean? One article that won't have you reaching for the dictionary (or Google) is this issue's Top Story "Fish on the fly." Associate Editor Steven Hedlund discusses the menu and format changes at seafood QSRs (that's Q uick- S ervice R estaurants for the acronym-deprived reader).

Traditional seafood QSRs Long John Silver's, Captain D's and Ivar's Seafood Bar are fielding competition from up-and-coming concepts like Fish Express, California Fish Grill and Nemos Seafood. And where there's competition, there are benefits for the consumer.

More and more QSRs are moving to the fast-casual format, which essentially means the restaurant offers some accoutrements like table service and flatware instead of plastic. And with the concept shift comes menu improvements that any health-conscious diner will appreciate: less fried and more grilled. Fast-casual may have higher check averages, but it's worth it to get a meal that has nutritional value.

The changes hit close to home for parents looking for convenient but healthful meals for their family. I love going out to dinner, but don't always relish waiting for what seems like an eternity for the meal. For my family, casual-dining concepts, either chain or independent, are not a great dinner solution. By the time the food arrives the kids have lost interest in crayons and are wielding silverware like forged-steel weapons. The answer to getting a low-calorie seafood meal on the run is fast casual.

Americans are increasingly aware of the nutritional value of the foods they eat, whether it be watching trans fat or calorie consumption. While it's OK to indulge in fried seafood once in awhile, a better alternative is grilled, and fast-casual seafood chains like Fish Express are stepping up to the plate with healthy seafood options. It's about time.



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