Financing: Need start-up cash? Try some of the new crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter that have already helped operators launch their new concepts
Managing: Lighten up
Growth: Want to find growth capital in a tight market, innovate new menu items, come up with cutting edge branding and get better at local-store marketing? Get some franchisees
Innovation: Look outside the industry for new ideas. RPM Pizza got the idea for car-top signs—now ubiquitous in the industry—from Las Vegas taxi cabs
Concepts: To take advantage of the trend toward snacking, the 46-unit steakhouse chain Black Angus recently created a concept-within-a-concept, Bullseye Bar, which focuses on snacks and finger food
Menuing: Consider altering side dishes slightly to easily create snackable items while cross utilizing in the kitchen
Menuing: Think about indulgence in snacking. Customers get to indulge, but in small portions so it doesn’t feel gluttonous
Menuing: Rethink your sacred cows, like Smith & Wollensky did. Their popular and iconic rib eye got “deconstructed” into a new dish
Preparation: Keep calories down by using a spray bottle to deliver as little oil as you need when roasting veggies, for instance
Beverage: A lot more is being put on draft than beer these days. Try tapping wine, cider, kombucha or other beverages to ease labor and differentiate your bar offerings
Purchasing: If you expect to deal with a lot of gooey cheese in your panini grill, think about a non-stick surface
Beverage: Give tap water some cachet (and maybe a price tag) by infusing it with vegetables, herbs or fresh fruit.
Beverage: Latch onto other beverage trends like skinny cocktails, kiddie beverages beyond milk and fast food beverages beyond sodas.
Marketing: Tired of Restaurant Week? New Orleans chefs banded together for a special promotion spotlighting local products that out-of-towners might not associate with the area
Concept: Dine-in kitchens, chef’s tables, food trucks: the deconstruction of the restaurant has been ongoing for a couple of decades now. A new twist: Oakland restaurant Guest Chef does just that: invites a new guest chef in every few weeks, from Top Chef winners to fire fighters
Trending: Six in 10 consumers say they’d order more dishes with Mediterranean flavors
Check out this year's Great Ideas.