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Friends you never knew you had

Nobody lives in a vacuum, and certainly not a restaurateur.

Oh, you might like to think that your business rises and falls based solely on what you do to it, the people you hire, and the food you serve. But the truth is that plenty of outsiders have an effect on your fortunes, too.

What's more, it can seem that a lot of them are out to do you harm—foes you may not have even heard of. Last year, this magazine's readers found out as much via a controversial feature we ran on industry enemies ("Here Comes Trouble"), which spotlighted some sworn foes of restaurants—from over-zealous lawyers to animal-rights activists—some of whom were, prior to our story at least, virtual unknowns. Response to that feature was avid, though many suggested that, for the sake of balance, we ought to point out some of the industry's hidden allies as well.

Indeed, we ought. And with this issue's cover story, we are. Because if some people or organizations can cause restaurateurs great harm, it only stands to reason that there are also many that do it a great deal of good. What's more, many are less known than their corresponding foes. So get ready to meet the friends you never knew you had. In a business as tough as this one, you'll only wish there were more of them.

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