In surveys conducted across 11 consecutive months leading up to the presidential election, operators questioned by the National Restaurant Association expressed negative sentiments about the business environment for the two quarters following.
While most advertising and marketing efforts have strict objectives and measurable outcomes, Jovanis Bouargoub is more flexible when it comes to his efforts to capitalize on the buzz surrounding Pokémon Go.
It’s a familiar sight: the back-of-house office overflowing with stacks of paper invoices documenting recent deliveries of linens, produce, meat, and dry goods. Perhaps the only thing worse than keeping tabs on all that paper is the headache of entering those costs into bookkeeping software.
Perhaps no cooking style speaks to tradition as much as Italian cuisine. And perhaps no culture on earth holds food as closely as the people of Italy. From pesto ground from basil leaves in the north to the sweet cannelloni found down south in Sicily, Italian foods are much adored for their regional flair and their down-home characteristics.
For many chefs, the opening of a first restaurant marks a sort of culinary rite of passage. For the first time, they have the ability to assert total control and speak with their own culinary voice, not that of someone else.
Robby Kukler’s first restaurant job came the way of a Best Western in Flint, Michigan, where taking care of weary travelers was the name of the game. Now, years later, Kukler is a partner at Fifth Group Restaurants, which operates seven restaurants and a full-service events company in Atlanta.
When owners of Midtown Manhattan’s Bukhara Grill decided to expand and purchase a catering hall in 2013, they started shopping around for bank loans to fund the purchase. Owner/partner Vicky Vij says two banks outright denied them and another put up obstacle after obstacle, dragging out the process for months.
As a beverage consultant and bar manager at Provision No. 14 in Washington, D.C., Chad Spangler says that until the last decade, the beverage programs he observed at most American restaurants were more or less uniform across all segments.
Like many state and local governments, Hawaii has pushed the minimum hourly wage up above the federal rate of $7.25. The Aloha State’s minimum wage is currently $7.75 per hour, and will be growing to $10.
The restaurant industry is reliably unpredictable. What was supposed to be a bustling Friday night can quickly turn into a shockingly quiet, slow stretch. Likewise, there’s no telling when tables could surprisingly fill up during a thin-staffed weekday shift.
The culinary meccas of Rome and Paris don’t have many 200-seat restaurants. Instead, the streets are lined with cozy restaurants and cafés, often with only 40 or 50 seats, “and they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years,” says Ethan Stowell, chef and owner of the nine-concept Ethan Stowell Restaurants.
The average unit volume of the full-service chains in this year’s Top 10 list ranged from $8 million to nearly $15 million—impressive by any standard, but particularly noteworthy when viewed alongside other high performers in the industry.
John Schmidt knows about opening restaurants. The owner of Seattle-area chains Lunchbox Laboratory and Neighborhood Grills, Schmidt opens a new store about once a year. And each time he completes a new build-out, he’s able to secure some services—like plumbing, electrical work, or roof work—without spending a dime.
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.