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Emerging Brands

Catching up with the Future 50 graduates

Twelve chains from last year's ranking outgrew the list. Where are they now?
Photo courtesy of Roti Mediterranean

RB's annual Future 50 list ranks the nation’s fastest-growing small chains, defined as those earning from $20 million to $50 million in sales. Here’s a check-in with this year’s graduates—the 12 chains from last year’s list that outgrew the threshold.

Pinstripes

Shopping center operator Simon Property Group acquired a minority stake in the 10-unit food and entertainment concept as part of a new development agreement in October 2019. The chain had a goal of growing to 100 locations within the next few years. 

110 Grill 

In jumping from the Future 50 to the Top 500, the Massachusetts-based casual-dining chain picked up where it left off. It was one of the fastest-growing Top 500 chains this year, posting year-over-year sales growth of 58.8%.

Wahlburgers

The burger chain founded by the Wahlberg brothers is continuing to grow via multiple channels. Besides adding stand-alone units, it partnered with the Hy-Vee supermarket chain last year to eventually open 26 units in seven states and is also expanding its retail beef line.

Roti Modern Mediterranean

The 42-unit chain named a new CEO earlier this year and has been on the forefront of several menu trends, including new chef-created bowls.

Philz Coffee

Philz, like fellow graduate Blue Bottle Coffee, is among the small coffee chains that made their mark on this year's Top 500.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle added nearly 15 units last year, pushing total sales close to $55 million and landing in the Top 500 for the first time.

Mendocino Farms

Takeout has been the key to this fast casual’s rapid growth. To account for all the off-premise business, the LA-based sandwich and salad chain is shrinking its dining areas, expanding its kitchens and adding seating areas for pickup guests.

Dig

The farm-to-table concept shortened its name from Dig Inn to just Dig last summer. It also received $15 million from restaurateur Danny Meyer’s investment fund to expand and grow its proprietary delivery service. 

Flower Child

The fast-casual chain snuck onto the Top 500 at No. 498 thanks to another year of massive growth. Sales increased 54.6% and units increased 56.3%.

Your Pie

Your Pie spent last year revamping its C-suite. It hired its first CMO, Lisa Dimson, and promoted COO Dave McDougall to CEO. As of November, it operated 70 units and had 50 in development.

85C Bakery Cafe

The chain known as the “Starbucks of Taiwan” continued its strong growth last year, increasing sales by 30% and adding 11 units, according to Technomic. 

Honeygrow

The fast casual told RB last year that it planned to slow its growth to focus on operators and training. Units declined 10% in 2019, but sales still grew by 11%, according to Technomic. 

Learn more about the Future 50 chains.

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