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Emerging Brands

Tom Ryan discovers a love for sports bars

The Smashburger co-founder and former McDonald’s executive is behind Tom’s Watch Bar, an upgraded sports bar concept that is coming, quickly, to a city near you.

Financing

Applebee’s John Cywinski on the future of casual dining

A Deeper Dive: The president of Applebee’s joins the Restaurant Business podcast to discuss the chain’s ability to keep its takeout business even as customers return to dine-in.

The NFL Hall of Fame quarterback was also named to the board of advisors of the emerging sports bar chain.

The 1,600-square-foot location offers a scaled-down menu near the campus of Southern Methodist University.

The new CEO wants to get the brand back on track by improving its menu and correcting past missteps.

The chain has doubled down on value and is getting good results: Three-year same-store sales set a new record in the third quarter.

Traffic was down nearly 7% at the chain after it cut back on discounts, but executives say the new strategy is helping the bottom line.

The casual-dining chain said consumers are accepting of price hikes even as sales slowed. It will need to take even more to fight off inflation.

The brand now believes it can have 900 restaurants in the U.S. That footprint combined with robust sales put it on pace to pass its competitors.

With new leaders of people and digital, the company continues its back-to-basics approach under new CEO Kevin Hochman.

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