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Emerging Brands

New brands and soon-to-open concepts worth watching

Emerging Brands

How the pandemic shifted the strategy for Naf Naf Grill

Greg Willman was the Middle Eastern concept’s first franchisee in March 2020. Now, he’s the chain’s CEO and owner as it works to rebuild.

Emerging Brands

Wawa plans to double footprint, open more drive-thrus

The c-store chain known for its food expects to reach about 1,800 locations by the end of the decade, its CEO said.

Fast-casual chicken chains grew their sales by more than 24% over 2019—more than any other segment tracked by the Top 500.

Crisp & Green, founded in 2016 by former fitness chain executive Steele Smiley, said it has been profitable every quarter and that it is seeing $2.5 million average unit volumes.

Zunzi’s was doing well as a traditional fast casual, its CEO said, but then it added a bar and sales soared. Now, it’s changed its franchising plans.

The Indian fast casual’s founders said the money will allow the chain to expand along the East Coast to offer its “authentic and accessible” fare in more cities.

The 17-unit fast-casual adopted practices from bigger brands early on which have helped it navigate through the pandemic with strong sales.

The satellite to its Baton Rouge HQ will house finance, analytics and tech departments to help support the chain's rapid growth.

The 50-year-old casual-dining chain, which has shrunk to just seven U.S. units, sees a future in its smaller Bones & Burgers offshoot.

A scaled-down riff called Friendly's Cafe will fire up its kitchen next month.

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