How your restaurant sales and profits compare to competitors' and what you can do to improve financial performance


As movie attendance goes, so go restaurants

Box office traffic is an underrated influence on the industry, say RB’s The Bottom Line.


Their loss, your gain: Capitalizing on other businesses’ closures

As premium real estate comes up for grabs, limited-service operators across the country are taking creative (and sometimes risky) steps to nab locations.

What to do with leftover wine is one of the few downsides of wine-by-the-glass programs.

Building a winning wine list may be the beverage director’s hardest job.

Red, white or rose—any wine can be “green."

Energy saving may not be “an overly sexy conversation to have at eight in the morning,” acknowledged OSI Restaurant Partners’ vice president of procurement, Kristin Brooks. But a standing-room-only audience showed up at that hour during the Restaurant Leadership Conference to hear the Outback Steakhouse parent’s experiences in cutting utility costs.

There would seem no way possible 2012 could be as withering a year in commodity prices as 2011, and the New Year kicked off with positive news: Congress allowed its 30-year-old subsidies for corn-based ethanol to expire. Ethanol will still be produced, but commodity forecasters expect that in the long run, corn-based fuel production will take up less and less of the corn crop, meaning less competition and better prices for food uses.

By the numbers, for restaurants looking for affordable real estate, 2012 ought to be the best of times. In the retail sector, vacancy rates are still high, by historical standards, and rents are still low.

Restaurants will vie this year for a 3.6 percent increase in total industry sales, which should hit an all-time high of $683.4 billion, according to the just-released business forecast of the NRA.

Here are what we at Restaurant Business regard as the 10 most influential developments and trends of 2014.

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