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As the end of the year approaches, it seems like everyone attempts to tell the future.
Marketers and experts are making their predictions on food and menu trends for 2017. What will consumers be gravitating to? Which brands will be experiencing major growth in the new year? And which 2016 fads will disappear?
Business Insider spoke with two restaurant industry experts who have predicted which restaurant chains will "dominate" the industry in 2017.
Topping the list is a brand we have been following since its infancy, Sweet Green.
This better-for-you concept, known for its make your own salad bowls with high-quality local ingredients has 50 store locations so far.
"They have had tremendous growth and have seemingly succeeded where many other chains that have tried to redefine healthy fast food have failed," said Catherine De Orio, an executive director of the culinary nonprofit Kendall College Trust to “Business Insider.” "It ticks all the important boxes: clean eating, responsible sourcing and community building."
Elevation Burger, a gourmet burger concept lands at No. 2 on the list.
"If I'm going to eat a burger, I'm going to eat one... that's 100% organic, with no antibiotics, no hormones," said Shilen Patel, co-founder of the consultancy Independents United to “Business Insider.” "If I'm the kind of person who not only wants to eat well, but also cares about how I'm affecting the world around me, it becomes a very easy choice for me."
But, the gourmet burger segment is quickly becoming saturated with most of the concepts offering organic, hormone and antibiotic free beef.
Another better-for-you concept, Freshii also lands on the list at No. 3.
However, in a surprising turn, Chipotle makes the list at No. 5.
As you are well aware, Chipotle's sales have gradually slipped following the food safety crisis that started in November of last year. Chipotle, whose tagline is ironically “Food with Integrity,” received major backlash for a number of food safety issues, including an E. coli and a salmonella outbreak that created a media frenzy.
But De Orio believes the brand is on the verge of a comeback.
"They are a strong brand with a solid philosophy and a loyal, cult-like following," said De Orio to “Business Insider.” "2017 should see them on the upswing." Do you think Chipotle will start to bounce back in 2017?
Check out the other emerging brands that topped this list here.