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Tropical Smoothie Cafe

8 trends that shaped the restaurant industry this year

A look at the burger wars, no-tipping tests and sales slumps 2016 ushered in.

Technology

Restaurant Business tests chain apps

With most chains trying to score valuable real estate on their customers’ phones, the Restaurant Business team took a look at 25 restaurant apps to see what’s working—and what’s not.

Virgina's health department say the frozen berries sickened patrons of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe chain.

As a group, specialty limited-service restaurant chains from the 2016 Top 500 ranking have increased sales by 7.8%.

More than half of the restaurant industry’s $491 billion in sales come from the Top 500 chains. And these giants grew at a modestly stronger rate, both in terms of sales and store counts, than the industry overall. Restaurant Business focused on the leading 250 performers to identify trends for our first-ever special report delivering lessons from Technomic’s annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. This special package includes lessons for all operators from the largest chains by segment, menu category and more.

Blending vegetables into traditionally fruit-forward beverages has proven to be a winning sales strategy at juice bars, smoothie chains and restaurants.

A proposal to hike the minimum just for restaurants is expected Wednesday.

A game-changing decision is just one of the challenges poking at the franchisee-franchisor relationship.

As evidenced by the sheer number of “veggified” green smoothies sprouting up across the market, better-for-you blends are top of mind for consumers and operators, alike.

As we head into the new year, the mega-trends driving menu and product development fall into three major buckets: health and wellness, big flavors and breakfast. Sound familiar? While there are many cutting-edge mini-trends emerging, those feeding the mainstream are sticking to what customers want right now. But both operators and manufacturers are offering unique twists to differentiate themselves within these buckets.

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