FOOD & BEVERAGE
What’s hot on chain menus? Healthful salads, indulgent options, huge burgers, spicy condiments, Asian influences and toasted sandwiches.
Menu-development pipelines promise foods and beverages that meet diner interest in freshness and health along with customizable combos.
Baguette, ciabatta, focaccia and sourdough say sophistication as chains translate classic sandwiches into contemporary creations.
Dish R&D: Bloody Mary Shrimp
Hard Rock Cafe displays heavy mettle in giving shrimp cocktail a rock ’n’ roll makeover.
Raising the Bar
Catchy names help sell alcoholic beverages, but nothing beats a trained staff.
It’s a java jamboree as chains scramble to expand and upgrade coffee beverages.
R&I’s 41st annual ranking of the Top 400 restaurant chains updates the balance of power in the battle for industry leadership.
The 400: Take It From the Top
This year’s 400 largest U.S.-based restaurant chains report aggregate sales of $237.4 billion, an 8.8% advance from last year. These chains’ total unit count, however, is up only about 1%.
Top 400 Segment Rankings
Way to Grow
Unit expansion is one path to concept growth; improvements in existing-unit menus and services are others.
Cost pressures have led several chains to seek bankruptcy protection and reorganization. At the same time, stronger operations pursue acquisitions that continue industry consolidation.
The 14 concepts new to the Top 400 embody the restaurant industry’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Learn how Top 400 chains manage food and labor costs.
Meeting consumer interest for fresh foods demands close monitoring of produce quality and adherence to safe-handling guidelines.
D’Angelo’s gets a brand makeover; Tru’s Gale Gand lends creativity to Häagen-Dazs Shops; Wendy’s and Burger King ready innovative menu additions; Ronald McDonald promotes fitness; The American Cafe tries take-and-bake meals; Sodexho USA will open a Damon’s Grill. Menu Focus goes Cajun. Popeyes President Ken Keymer answers One Quick Question.
The Ten-Minute Manager examines how Top 400 chains connect with the communities they serve.
Phil Romano shares with Interface the stories—and lessons—behind concepts such as Fuddruckers and Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
Carl’s Jr. aimed to parlay its small-change ad budget into something much bigger than airtime.