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50 Great Ideas 2020

50 Great Ideas

When the coronavirus took over the U.S. in mid-March, it was like nothing restaurants had experienced before.

This year’s class of America’s up-and-coming chains faces an uncertain future. But as the coronavirus hit, these small and innovative concepts were characteristically quick to adapt, repacking menu items into meal kits, creating pop-up drive-thrus and more. Here’s a look at how they got here, and where they plan to go next.

The 500 largest restaurant chains in the U.S. continued to grow at a healthy pace in 2024.

The Top 500 highest-grossing restaurant chains recorded their best overall performance in five years in 2019. Chicken had a moment, tech made another leap and the biggest chains got bigger.

The restaurant industry remains a hospitality business. And service can make or break an otherwise exceptional dining experience.

Instagram, food festivals and TV chefs are accelerating the speed at which unique flavors and ingredients hit the mainstream. Consumers now expect operators to update menus more frequently with on-trend ideas. To keep ahead of the curve, operators have to stay on top of new flavor trends without abandoning the old.

For this year’s Power 20 list, RB sought to recognize the next wave of great restaurant leaders. We gathered nominations from current executives and did some groundwork of our own to identify these 20 standouts, whose careers are on the rise thanks to their accomplishments across many areas of the business.

The Top 100 Independent restaurants grossed nearly $1.8 billion in 2018—and much of that is concentrated in major metro markets.

Restaurants in this year’s Top 100 Independents ranking brought in a combined $1.8 billion last year.

With a crowded, competitive restaurant market in the U.S., many operations have headed overseas to drive their growth.

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.

Each of this year's 50 Great Ideas has the potential to make a positive impact for operators.

Which industry trends are gaining traction? What's garnering consumer interest? These emerging chains are the growth vehicles to watch—the ones poised to be major industry players in the coming years. The fastest-growing small chains in America represent a mixed bag of trends, but they have one thing in common: impressive growth in both sales and unit count.

10 sandwich sales drivers

What do these successful emerging brands predict about next-generation concepts?

Today’s busy consumers are increasingly skipping breakfast at home, finds Technomic’s Breakfast Consumer Trend Report.

Check out Technomic's Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, providing a peek at the data as well as insights into the shifts and trends impacting the industry.

Sriracha. Nashville hot chicken. Kale. While relatively mainstream now, these flavors were once uncommon.

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