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When we finally put this issue of Restaurant Business—the first of our new redesign—to bed one week before Christmas, we were ... well, very tired ... but also very excited. Sending it off to the printer felt like putting a bow on a present that we had thoughtfully picked out with someone special in mind. As you tear it open, we hope you like what we chose for you—the design, the stories, the entire package—because, indeed, an incredible amount of time and thought went into every word and image.

The new Restaurant Business isn’t just a redesign, it’s a reinvention. It starts with the physical appearance of the magazine, which was conceived by award-winning design firm Pentagram in New York City. “The restaurant world has its own crazy intensity,” says Luke Hayman, partner at Pentagram. “Our goal was to feed into this whirlwind of creative human energy and provide a smart and engaging experience.”

But it wasn’t only about changing fonts, trimming the size and dropping in illustrations. We took the re-imagination of the magazine to its core—doing research to learn what it is you want and need from us to run your business better (read about the process on page 14), then holding every story to that new charge: delivering business intelligence to smart, growth-minded operators.

So what’s new? For starters, we’ve added several departments that deliver on that mission. In the Know, for example, is designed to feed you business expertise in 20 minutes (or 10 if you’re a fast reader) through bite-size, timely articles and charts. Line Item, part of our new Buying section, is designed to help you wisely manage a particular expense on your P&L, be it social media services, valet-parking services or linen rentals.

The new RB also launches two recurring pages devoted to revenue-boosting beverages: Bar Made covers all things bar-related, from cocktails to craft beers to kegged wines, while Bar: None provides money-generating solutions for operations sans bar, including bottled and canned beers, sodas, coffee, juices and more. There’s also a new Design section to show you how inspiring concepts drive business through innovative design. We kept some of our most popular columns, too. Trend Tracker, Best Practices, Ideation and Advice Guy remain but have been re-energized with the help of cleaner, fresher layouts.

To kick things off, we devoted our January issue to the consumer—arguably the most important element of any successful restaurant operation. Every story aims to put into place a different piece of the challenging puzzle that is today’s diner. We partnered with research firms specializing in food service to bring you exclusive data and insights about what consumers want and what kinds of communications and practices not only resonate, but get them in the door.

It’s ambitious—we won’t normally have four in-depth features in every issue—but we believe it’s important. It’s an issue you’ll want to keep all year, and reference again and again as you review your social media strategies or weigh consumer research or search for proven ways to connect with younger guests.

Check out the issue online and let us know what you think.

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