To double the impact of an existing best-seller, a chain may take its winning formula and apply it to other items in unexpected ways, with the goal of creating a second-generation signature. A new technique, piece of equipment or ingredient may spur R&D to make a good thing even better, as happened with these examples in the Revise and Surprise category.

New bakery items tend to make a splash, an Au Bon Pain spokesperson says, but amid new rollouts, the Chocolate Croissant retains its No. 1 spot. Recently, the R&D team tweaked the recipe to make the pastry flakier in light of competitors such as Starbucks adding croissants; still the chocolate-filled version leads Au Bon Pain’s other items in sales.