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How the past lit a path through the pandemic for 5 top industry leaders

The chain CEOs vying to be Restaurant Leader of the Year explain how they found direction in key experiences from their past.


Wingstop becomes a minority investor in its UK franchisee

The fast-growing wing chain will help Lemon Pepper Holdings expand overseas.

The leading chicken concepts in Technomic’s Top 500 sales ranking all showed positive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite high wing costs, Wingstop said same-store sales are positive for April, jumping 2020's 33% comps boom.

Wingstop and KFC, among other chains, have struggled to source chickens amid intense demand and worker shortages among distributors and processors.

Charlie Morrison, one of Restaurant Business’ Restaurant Leader of the Year nominees, leveraged his background in data and technology to build Wingstop into one of the country’s fastest growing brands.

Charlie Morrison’s $6 million pay package included $2 million in bonuses, thanks to the wing chain’s strong pandemic performance.

Large chains dominated the list of the quickest growing concepts, according to the Technomic Top 500, as the pandemic favored big chains over small chains.

The chain’s same-store sales rose 21% in the first quarter, completing a remarkable year. But its performance was improving long before quarantine, says RB's The Bottom Line.

RB’s The Bottom Line examines which fast-food restaurants won, and which ones lost, during a pandemic-laden year. Pizza chains like Domino's and Papa John's, and chicken wing chains like Wingstop, did best in 2020.

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