12 of the Most Successful Emerging Restaurant Chains | Food Newsfeed
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12 of the Most Successful Emerging Restaurant Chains

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By Danny Klein January 23, 2018 Chain Restaurants
Here are 12 restaurants, ranked by AUV, poised for big things in 2018 and beyond.
An array of standout seafood items at Ocean Prime restaurant.
Numbers game

You can measure the financial health of a restaurant in a lot of different ways. Average unit volume is one of those figures that investors and franchisees (especially) gravitate toward because it’s difficult to cloud. It’s simple enough—divide the total company-operated sales by the total company-operated units and you have a pulse of your restaurant’s performance. AUV is a result of traffic and ticket, two essential vital points. Given that, it allows growing brands to understand how new units are performing. For example, if your AUV growth is greater than your same-store sale growth, you (most likely) can deduce that new stores are more profitable than existing ones. Of course, it’s far from an end-all statistic and many things can affect it. Same-store sales, often measured at units open at least a year, is probably the best definition of current and future success since it’s expressed as a percentage that indicates the relative amount of revenue increase or decrease and is compared to the prior-year period. It’s a reflection of the total dollar amount of sales. This is best to understand what portion of a restaurant’s current sales revenues are a result of sales growth in existing locations and what portion is accounted for by the opening of new stores. Simply, same-store sales are a great way to see if a restaurant is growing revenue from its current assets.

With that in mind, here are 12 restaurants, ranked by AUV, poised for big things in 2018 and beyond. Pictured is Cameron Mitchell's Ocean Prime.

Note: Sources for the data include company reports, SEC filings, and industry research. Numbers with an asterisk* are taken from the most recent annual report or SEC filing. Estimates (e) are associated with privately held companies that don’t release sales figures and are compiled from industry research.

Ocean Prime
  • An array of standout seafood items at Ocean Prime restaurant.
  • Inside a Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, where the setting is posk and the food is top notch.
  • The ornate ceiling of a STK restaurant concept.
  • A bocce court at Pinstripes, an elevated, entertainment-driven restaurant concept.
  • The wine bar at Cooper's Hawk's restaurant location in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Steak and lobster, served with a glass of white wine at Ocean Prime restaurant.
  • Fogo de Chao's newly remodel restaurant design in Beverly Hills.
  • The famous Houston's restaurant sign hangs outside a location.
  • True Food KItchen has a menu built around the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, which helps counteract chronic inflammation.
  • Eddie V's sign against a night sky in Austin, Texas.
  • Wine glasses at Seasons 52, an upscale Darden restaurant.
  • Oysters at Legal Sea Foods, a growing restaurant concept with 36 locations.
  • The exterior of Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill, a restaurant concept that plans to grow into Texas.