Around this time last year, we clued our readers in to some changes afoot at Restaurant Business—specifically on our website, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com. It started with a name change—we’re the website formerly known as MonkeyDish.com, a clever but irrelevant moniker inspired by a piece of restaurant equipment—and went much deeper from there. We launched a top-to-bottom redesign that was cleaner, brighter and easier to navigate; new sections labeled boosting sales, controlling costs and more, in line with the issues restaurant operators address every day; and a new vision for the content, making it laser-focused on the information and advice that helps you run your business better.
Since the website’s big reveal in October 2013, we have continued to evolve, adding more restaurant-industry news and developing new signatures. (I’m pretty sure the following for “The week’s 5 head-spinning moments” posts on Peter Romeo’s Restaurant Reality Check blog is approaching cultlike status, though it’s a classification that’s difficult to quantify.) And we’re excited to see that people are taking notice. Our traffic has nearly tripled and, this October, the website was named a finalist for two Editorial & Design Awards by min, a media company covering consumer and B-to-B publications. Recognized were RestaurantBusinessOnline.com’s redesign and Romeo’s blog.
It’s a huge honor; our peers in the competition included the redesign of Time.com and a host of witty blogs from Entertainment Weekly. And it reflects the hard work our editors and Web team pour into the content wherever it appears, be it on the pages of the magazine you hold in your hands or the digital pages of the website.
We’ll never rest on our laurels which, for me, is what keeps things exciting. I interviewed Dominique Ansel, inventor of one of the most imaginative and popular food creations in recent years, the Cronut, for our “How to innovate” article. Afterward, I read in his book about the advice he took following the initial, fervent success of the pastry: “Imagine what you would have done if the Cronut pastry never existed. Go ahead and do that.” While it might sound crazy not to ride out a win as far as it will carry you, Ansel understands what keeps a smart operation going: the next great idea.
As any forward-thinking restaurateur knows, you don’t stop just because you have one great idea. You’ll find a collection of them in our annual roundup of “50 great ideas” in this issue—some from concepts that have appeared on the list before. We invite you to take inspiration not only from the ideas themselves, which are meant to be emulated, adapted or outright stolen, but also from the creativity it took to invent each one—and the next one and the next.