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Freshii rides fast-casual trend, embraces 'healthy eating'

In an ever-growing landscape of new dining entrants, Freshii — a healthy fast-casual restaurant — has opened its first 100 locations at a pace faster than Subway, McDonald's and Starbucks.

The casual-dining sector has become a hot slice of the market, creating what some analysts call the "Chipotle effect." The National Restaurant Association estimates casual-dining sales at $709 billion for 2015. Last year, consumers spent an estimated $21 billion at eateries like Freshii, which offer healthier menus and convenient service.

It took only nine years for Freshii locations to crack triple digits, versus 13 years for Subway, 19 for the Golden Arches and 20 for Starbucks. Freshii founder Matthew Corrin attributes its growth to being at the intersection of three global trends — health and wellness, millennial consumer demand and entrepreneurship opportunities.

"The definition of healthy eating has evolved from 'fresh as opposed to fried,' to something very different," he told CNBC. "As long as we continue to execute over time, Freshii can meet a growing healthy demand."

Freshii was started in...


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