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Executive Insights

A Salute to Spirited Pairings

Even a chef admired the world over can discover new talents. In the midst of a landmark year, Chef Daniel Boulud discusses the 20th anniversary of New York’s iconic restaurant Daniel, the renovation and reopening this month of Midtown’s elegant French-American bistro—db bistro moderne, next month’s release of his new cookbook—Daniel: My French Cuisine, and his unique partnership with The Dalmore Distillery, which resulted in the first bespoke Single Malt Scotch Whisky created in collaboration with a Michelin-starred chef.

El Centro D.F. Taqueria & Tequileria Unveils Georgetown Location in August

El Centro D.F. will open a second location of its vibrant Taqueria and Tequileria at 1218 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, 20007 in Georgetown in mid-August.  Renowned chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval is working with chef Juan Romero to showcase his popular Mexican comfort food, full of authentic flavors found throughout his homeland.

NRA Pledges Support to Make Operators More Profitable

Phil Kafarakis, NRA's chief innovation and member advancement officer, discusses opportunities to bring more value to members.Name: Phil Kafarakis Age: 55 Title: Chief Innovation and Member Advancement Officer for the National Restaurant Association Hometown: Silver Springs, Maryland Hobbies: Extreme sporter; Tough Mudder; avid reader of business books and newspapers Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Northern Arizona University; International Executive MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University Favorite Cuisine: Mexican Personal: Married, with four grown children Favorite Sports Teams: Baltimore Ravens; Georgetown Hoya's basketball team; Panathinaikos F.

FSR 50: Five Segments, Fifty Leaders

The FSR 50 salutes top performers whose 2012 revenues led the industry across five segments of the full-service restaurant industry: Casual Dining; Family Dining; Upscale Dining; Restaurant Groups; and Independent Operators.

FSR 50: 10 High-Performing, Stand-Alone Restaurants

In the restaurant game, there is no singular path to high revenues. This emerged as the one prevailing truth when FSR began its quest to highlight 10 of America's highest-performing, stand-alone restaurants.

FSR 50: Top 10 Casual-Dining Chains

Casual dining, where checks average $12 to $50 and there is some alcohol service, is still clawing out of a deep hole that saw customers trading down to quick service and fast casual. However, in 2012 this sector captured sales and unit growth, and continues to reassert itself in the American consumers' consciousness.

FSR 50: Top 10 Restaurant Groups

The nation's top 10 restaurant groups collectively managed more than $33 billion in 2012 revenues and more than 12,000 restaurants .From DineEquity's completed push to franchise 99 percent of the Applebee's system to the retirement of venerable Ruby Tuesday executive Sandy Beall, America's highest-performing restaurant groups made waves of strategic plays to bolster relevancy, heighten profitability, and attract guests.

FSR 50: Top 10 Upscale-Dining Chains

Upscale dining, characterized primarily by dinner-focused concepts with extensive beverage programs and check averages above $50, was battered by the recession's money-saving realities. But things are finally looking up for the restaurant industry's upscale-dining stalwarts—with sales growth and unit growth in 2012 among most of the segment's major players.

FSR 50: Top 10 Family-Dining Chains

Family dining—typically defined by check averages below $12 and with very limited or no alcohol service—faces an all-out battle for relevancy amid sharpening competition and shifting consumer-dining habits.

IFMA Awards Coveted Gold Plate to John Metz, Jr.

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) named John C. Metz, Jr., CEO, executive chef, and co-founder of Sterling Hospitality, the winner of its coveted Gold Plate award.  In its 59th year, IFMA’s Gold & Silver Plate awards recognize leading foodservice operators who have contributed to the advancement of their individual segments and to the foodservice industry as a whole.

Casual Dining Makeover

“How do you go from $113 per head at Morton’s Steak House to $18 per head at Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill?” That’s the question Christopher J. Artinian—who became president and CEO of Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill last summer after serving in the same capacity at Morton’s Restaurant Group—hears frequently.

Leaders Learn from One Another

Gender inequality has rarely been a personal soapbox for me—I grew up with four brothers and learned early on to ignore the odds and just assert myself.But sometimes statistics give me pause. A newscast last month noted the national gap in gender pay is roughly 23 percent; so I went digging for details.

7 Innovations of Highly Imaginative Restaurants

Long before any foodservice trend goes mainstream, visionary chefs, restaurateurs, and mixologists are crafting unique offerings to entice, energize, and entertain American diners. At the point of inception, foodservice trends often gain traction at fine-dining establishments or in authentic ethnic eateries—environments where convention is more easily challenged and imagination can flourish independent of systemized operations.

Al Fresco Dining’s Allure

Dining at its finest is found in dramatic outdoor settings that simply cannot be replicated within the confines of a walled and roofed structure. Even the most opulent interior design fails to achieve the splendor of a desert sunset, and no amount of indoor originality can compare to the liberating rooftop view of a cityscape or the simple pleasures of dining alongside a gently lapping river.