World’s top restaurant companies honored with Winsight’s 2018 GRLC Distinction Awards

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The parent company of Restaurant Business has named this year’s winners of the GRLC Distinction Awards, a set of honors recognizing the world’s standout restaurant performers in four disciplines essential to global success.

“The Awards program is designed to recognize restaurant operators that excel in the global marketplace through innovation, community service, partnership and expansion,” said Chris Keating, group president of restaurant media and events for Winsight, the parent of RBand four other media titles serving the food industry. Its holdings also include Technomic Inc., the recognized leader in foodservice research.

The four winners will be recognized at Winsight’s Global Restaurant Leadership Conference, a worldwide gathering of restaurant executives in Dubai, Nov. 10-13. The honorees were nominated by the GRLC Advisory Council, a steering committee of restaurant operators and suppliers, along with RBeditors, show sponsors and Technomic’s experts on the international market.

The final selections were made by the editors and senior representatives of Winsight and Technomic.  

Here are the four winners they selected, one per category of competition.

Jollibee Foods Corp., GRLC Distinction Award for Partnership 

The Philippines-based quick-service giant was honored by the judges for the way it forges and conducts its restaurant partnerships, a key factor to international success. Those partnerships span the globe for Jollibee, both with its namesake brand and an extensive portfolio of big-name and secondary concepts. It is known in the U.S. market not only for its Jollibee restaurants, but also as a backer of Smashburger and chef Rick Bayless’ Tortas Fronteras Mexican sandwich concept.

Costa Coffee, GRLC Distinction Award for Growth 

The coffee specialist earned the honor with its rapid expansion in the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Asia. Its selection was based on a gauge from Technomic of the chain's recent growth in unit counts, sales and average sales per unit. U.K.-based Costa was recently acquired by The Coca-Cola Co., which is expected to expand its growth opportunities, possibly to the United States.

Leon, GRLC Distinction Award for Innovation

The United Kingdom-born chain is determined to prove on a global basis that fast food and healthful eating can co-exist. Its stated mission is to deliver the best food to the most people. Leon is pursuing that goal in 60 restaurants on either side of the Atlantic, with more undoubtedly to come as a result of a new deal with HMSHost, the global concessionaire. The pact calls for HMSHost to open Leon units in airports and train stations across Europe and the Middle East. The concept’s reliance on innovation is evident not just in Leon’s menu of better-for-you grab-and-go fare, but also in the way it incorporates sustainability and an ecological sense in its operations. 

Alghanim Industries, GRLC Distinction Award for Community Service

The diversified Kuwaiti company is known in the restaurant business for its operation of Wendy’s, Slim Chickens and Costa Coffee outlets in the Middle East. Consumers in those areas know it as a company that "gives forward" to the community—and the planet—in a variety of ways. Those endeavors include INJAZ Kuwait, a nonprofit that supports Arab youths in need, and several Giving Forward projects that promote education, empowerment and child welfare.

Alghanim recently formed a partnership with the UN Refugee Agency to raise funds to help educate and assist Syrian refugees in the Middle East and North Africa.

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