Inspired by a community-based approach to business and driven by the desire to provide the best ingredients possible, the Flatbread Company serves organic wood-fired pizza, fresh organic salads, and old-fashioned desserts.
Mark Bergsrud was a longtime Continental Airlines employee responsible for e-commerce. During his many travels, he noticed that trying to navigate unfamiliar airports, often with very firm time constraints, led to limited choices when it came to dining.
When Monetta White and her husband, Chef David Lawrence, opened their modern Southern restaurant 1300 on Fillmore in San Francisco in 2007, their initial plan quickly expanded to something greater. The couple embraced the idea of giving back to the youth of the community, an ethos that extends to their latest venture, Black Bark BBQ, a restaurant located a few doors down in the same Western Addition neighborhood.
After ascending to general manager of Chef Thomas Keller’s acclaimed New York City restaurant Per Se in 2009, former maître d’ Anthony Rudolf was learning on the job. “I knew how to run the dining room and I knew how to run service, but from a financial standpoint I did not know how to run the business,” recalls Rudolf, who felt fortunate to have a support system that allowed him to learn.
It’s one thing for a restaurant to work with local vendors, it’s another to bring them under one roof and create a symbiotic relationship. Opened in March, San Diego’s 25,000-square-foot Liberty Public Market unites nearly 30 food vendors through the vision and efforts of the Blue Bridge Hospitality group.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, New Hampshire–based Tio Juan’s Margaritas Mexican Restaurants prides itself on serving quality food and drinks and also on serving incentives to promote employee retention.
Atlanta-based Painted Hospitality is taking its combined entertainment and dining concept—bowling and gaming paired with upscale casual cuisine—to the next level.Having spent a decade operating his father’s restaurant group, Concentrics, Justin Amick, principal and co-founder of Painted Hospitality, is “applying those same principles to a venue encompassing food, beverage, entertainment, and ambiance, all under one roof,” he says.
The word artisan gets bandied about a lot these days, but the Tuscan Kitchen & Market brand takes it very seriously. "We dry-age all of our own steaks; we cure our own salami; we're rolling out all of our own pastas; we're making all of our own bread; and we're making all of our pastries and gelato," declares Joe Faro, founder and CEO of Tuscan Brands.
Margins are tight and unforgiving in the restaurant business, but an obvious opportunity for savings comes in the form of energy efficiency, and numerous state-funded programs offer cost-cutting incentives to help businesses become more sustainable.
Philadelphia native and chef Kevin Sbraga, who runs the successful restaurants Sbraga and The Fat Ham in his hometown, was amazed when two Southern developers journeyed to the City of Brotherly Love looking for inspiration.
Last year, on the first day of October, several Los Angeles restaurants started adding a 3 percent surcharge to their guests’ bills in order to fund employees’ healthcare coverage. It was a strategic shift in policy, motivated in part by the burden insurance premiums would place on already thin profit margins.
Ironically, one of the constants on most restaurant menus are limited-time offers (LTOs), which present loyal customers with fresh dishes and beverages and give restaurants an opportunity to test new items.
What, pray tell, is a micro-chain? Fair question, with a fairly obvious answer: A micro-chain has fewer units than most chains. For the FSR ranking of Top 10 High-Performing Micros, we focused on chains with five to nine units in the U.
To identify the Top 10 regional chains, FSR started with brands that had at least 10 locations at the end of 2014, were located in a concentrated geographic area or region, and had systemwide sales that approached $100 million—and in three instances, topped the $200 million mark.
From the biggest corporate restaurant groups in the U.S. to high-performing micro-chains that have only five to nine units, the FSR 50 showcases the full-service brands that achieved significant measures of success in 2014 and that continue to show promise, even as many evolve the dining experience and reinvent the prototype of their flagship brands.