The bun is dead; long live the bowl.
Asian restaurants are now the fastest-growing fast food category in America, growing 10 percent in 2014, according to data from market research firm Technomic.
Jill Failla, consumer editor at Technomic, told Fusion that consumers tend to view these restaurants as healthier (though whether that is actually true can vary from brand to brand). They also often just look cooler, she said, and have picked good locations.
"Some key trends driving growth include new and refreshed prototypes, many featuring open kitchens, tea bars and drive-thru lanes; more airport outlets are being added by Asian/noodle category players as well," she said.
Not coincidentally, they're all also based out of California, whose metro areas continue to see health population growth.
So which chains are driving the growth?
At No. 1 by a wide margin is WaBa grill, which specializes in teriyaki and rice bowls. The company saw sales growth of 40 percent last year. Founded in 2004, the chain now has 84 locations as it has exploded across southern California.
Despite having turned 40 in 2013 saw sales grew 15 percent last year to $2.3 billion. As of December it had 1,729 units in the U.S.. It is the No. 1 chain by volume in the Asian/noodles category.
Founded 20 years ago by a UCLA economics grad, The Flame Broiler saw sales growth of 12 percent in 2014. It now has 153 locations in America.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.