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What a difference a year makes

Change is good, even when it’s subtle.

This month's issue marks the one-year anniversary of the new Restaurant Business. While I’m half tempted to load our staff into the minivan and hightail it over to some casual chain down the road for a little celebratory song and dance, I thought it better to use the time—and this space—for a moment of reflection. (Also, I don’t have a minivan.)

Last January, we introduced you to not just the redesign of Restaurant Business, but our reinvention. Not only were the look and size of the book totally new, but we also recast our mission, to deliver business intelligence to smart, growth-minded restaurant operators on every page, with every word. One year in, it’s a mission we live and breathe. And like all living, breathing things, the magazine continues to evolve and grow.

Twelve months ago, we debuted 10 new recurring departments in the magazine, including Line Item—the P&L-focused kickoff to our new Buying section—and Bar Made and Bar: None, pages dedicated each month to profit-boosting strategies for operations with and without a bar. They’re now fully part of our DNA alongside longstanding, popular columns such as Trend Tracker, Best Practices and Advice Guy.

You also may notice that we’ve shaped and shifted some sections, the goal being to better deliver information you can use. Our Design stories, for example, now use larger photos to show more details of the restaurant spaces we feature, so you can really see (and not just read about) the elements that resonate with consumers and make a certain concept a buzzed-about traffic magnet.

To help us pinpoint what needs refreshing on our pages, our staff gathers in a conference room every couple of months for a postmortem, to look back at our most recent issues and note what worked well and what we could do better. Nothing is off limits, and yet none of these sessions have ended in any fisticuffs. Some of the results are obvious (like the changes to Art of the Business) and many are subtle, such as tweaking the structure of a story so it’s easier to follow or making sure to speak to some question we left unaddressed in a previous iteration of our consumers’ favorite chains report. But all are important to make sure we’re constantly delivering the information that speaks to your business in a way that makes sense and doesn’t waste your time.

This issue, our second annual issue dedicated to the consumer, is no exception. We’ve worked hard to provide even more valuable information on this important subject, in even more digestible and relevant ways. If you can, please take a minute to let us know how it’s working for you by emailing me at kkillian@cspnet.com.

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