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50 Great Ideas

50 Great Ideas: Chains with creative brains

Indies may get most of the credit for being innovative, but chain restaurants are keeping pace as hotbeds of inspiration. Take a look at some to follow.

Future 50: Emerging Brands

The unlikely rise of The Halal Guys

It’s an unlikely success story—a Cinderella saga of how a concept transformed from a New York City hot dog cart to the country’s fastest-growing small chain.

Operators can learn lessons from traits chains on the rise share. Here’s how they are helping set the pace of the industry, by way of menu, operations and more.

Change agents facing the greatest challenges in the restaurant industry today.

Despite some smaller cities growing their presence, New York City dominates the Top 100 Independents. Here are the 30 highest-grossing independent restaurants in the Big Apple.

Popular new offerings from Top 100 restaurants run the gamut, with operators listing drinks, seafood, steaks and more as popular new items.

In today’s hypercompetitive restaurant industry, the slightest edge can make a difference. The ideas collected here range from small tweaks such as dedicated gum-disposal slips to transformational changes such as solar-powered restaurants. But each one has the potential to make a positive impact for operators.

Ten of the Top 100 Independents operate in the windy city, and another three are located in Chicago's suburbs. This list of restaurants is heavy on steakhouses, with some seafood and Italian for good measure.

The top-grossing independent seafood restaurants of the year.

These are the independent steakhouses bringing in the big bucks.

Over the years, the leading independents ranking has become more geographically diverse. Nevertheless, almost three in 10 Top 100 independents are located in New York City. Here are the highest-volume restaurants in the Big Apple.

The leading independent restaurants lured diners with new seafood riffs as well as limited-time or seasonal menu offerings showcasing fresh ingredients.

The 11 Top 100 restaurants in California are almost evenly split between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Orange County. Here are the top-grossing independents in the Golden State.

A dozen new restaurants made their way onto the Top 100 Independents ranking. Some weren't open long enough to make the sales minimum on last year's list. Others' incremental growth did the trick. And in a few cases, owners asked to be considered, and they were spot on.

Operators share how they’re boosting sales and traffic.

Operators are winning over millennials, among others, with trend-forward dishes and menu presentations.

Want to get guests' attention? Check out some of these smart marketing moves.

As concepts fight for a foothold in the crowded restaurant industry, determination to be on the cutting edge drives many decisions. These 10 groundbreakers all pushed the envelope during the last 12 months in terms of both design and operation, bending traditions and blurring lines within their typical space to set new directions.

An entrepreneur’s passion can fuel growth, or get in the way.

From hyper-local promotions to customized freebies, savvy restaurateurs are finding new ways and new networks to build business. Check these out.

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