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GRLC opens with recognition of global market's best

When restaurant executives speak of the keys to being successful globally, they often mention the importance of finding the right local partner. And the best of those marry knowledge of the market with respect for the brands they operate.

One such partner, Alshaya, a Kuwait-based franchisee of multiple global brands, including Starbucks, The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s and Shake Shack, was recognized with a Global Restaurant Leadership Award of Distinction at today's opening session of the Global Restaurant Leadership Conference in Dubai. Alshaya operates more than 3,500 stores, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa, translating restaurant and retail brands for the local audience.

The GRLC, presented by Restaurant Business parent company Winsight, is a four-day gathering of top restaurant operators and suppliers. Conference sponsors and industry leaders from around the world were invited to nominate restaurants that best exemplify success in growth, innovation and community service, as well as partnership. The selection committee included Winsight and Technomic officials and representatives of the supplier community.

The Growth category winner was Domino’s, which has more than 14,000 locations globally and added almost 1,300 stores internationally last year. Its expansion in India and history of same-store sales growth got the judges’ nod.

Philippines-based Jollibee won in the Community Service category thanks to the strong work of its Jollibee Group Foundation, which offers leadership development, scholarships, environmental efforts and more.

The winner in the Innovation category, Shanghai-based Element Fresh, is a growing chain of health-focused restaurants in China that recently inspired its own knockoff in Vietnam. Its innovation claim comes from taking Western food and presenting it in a more healthful way than what the market has traditionally seen.

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