15 Restaurant Brands to Watch in 2019

When looking back on 2018, it was apparent that there were a clear group of concepts that were starting to separate from the pack in the restaurant industry. Restaurant closures topped at 50K closed locations in 2018– so the market seemed to have some correction.

While we did see some closings of lower performers in casual dining with Applebee’s alone closing over 250 locations in the past two years, the good news was the emerging brand's sector saw significant growth. This sector showed better performance in 2018 than any other brand groups.

These emerging brands consist of about 250 total brands that have multiple locations and are starting to take control of categories. Make sure to check out our 2018 Emerging Brands Report and to be on the lookout for our 2019 list.

sweetgreen-logo

All that said, my 15 brands to watch for 2019 are led by a group of leaders that I think have some unique and interesting aspects that put them in the limelight.

For example, Sweetgreen is setting a new standard of what it means to be a restaurant. The restaurant has morphed into a lifestyle brand or platform that will prove to be a new strategy for several brands that have the following.

lemonade restaurant logo

Lemonade is one of these as well and what separates the brand from the pack is its quality and the brand connection that is prevailing in a big way with guests. If they continue on a growth strategy this could be a player in the healthy halo sector very quickly.

Mod Pizza logo

Mod Pizza is another in this group that has clearly won the fast-casual pizza wars, now with over 400 locations and a management team that is geared toward people and culture this brand could be one to bet on.

Cava restaurant logo

My special mention would be Cava, while not on my 15 brands to watch, their acquisition of the Mediterranean fast-casual chain Zoe’s Kitchen creates both opportunities and challenges that I think are worth mentioning. They also have a rockstar group of investors that are a good reason to keep an eye on them.

Don't miss the episode of The Barron Report above where I break down why these brands have that X-factor.

You're Not A Vegan Restaurant, But A Few Vegan Meals Could Increase Business

You're Not A Vegan Restaurant, But A Few Vegan Meals Could Increase Business
  • These Vegan Recipes Can Broaden Your Menu and Your Customer Base.

  • It Is Time To Realize That Vegan Meals Are Not Just For Vegan Diners.

Vegan is the new gluten-free and just like the trendy gluten-free diet, not all customers who are looking for plant-based menu items are doing so for health reasons.  Vegan diets are clearly better for you and for the environment, but they are also trending. Not all customers who are looking for vegan options are vegans. Some customers are just interested in the cuisine or are looking for a healthy appetizer or entree to pair with menu items more appealing to their carnivorous palate.  Restaurants who are finding ways to broaden their menu offerings are finding success in attracting this new consumer. In this episode from Foodable's Smart Kitchen, we bring you two vegan recipes that will wow your guests, vegan or not.  Watch the full episode for complete preparation and recipe. 


Read More

Diets As A Belief Structure May Be Causing Consumers to Eat Out Less

Diets As A Belief Structure May Be Causing Consumers to Eat Out Less
  • Vegan, Paleo, Ketogenic, Mediterranean, TLC, and Dash Diet all have common principles.  

  • Restaurants should consider do more for these diet trends. 

It didn't seem long ago when losing inches off the waist was pretty much the sole goal of the dieting masses. Today? Well, "diet" is going deity; each "diet's" dogma filling people's stomachs with a sense of purpose and for some even hope.   People with epilepsy and diabetes are told the Ketogenic diet has massive and sustainable health benefits. It is reported that staying true to the Mediterranean diet with help you live longer and have fewer health issues on average. For us, restaurant people... let's not forget the biblical flood of people that changed the foodservice landscape forever with gluten-free requests and needs.   And, of course, there is the vegan diet, which is the best example of the "diet" becoming more about "this is what I stand for and believe" and less about the waistline.  In short, the consumer of today is less likely to frequent restaurants that don't consider their "diet" and restaurants the flock is growing. 

Read More

The Top 5 Tech Trends Affecting the Restaurant Industry in 2018

The Top 5 Tech Trends Affecting the Restaurant Industry in 2018

Technology is always shifting and as a restaurant business owner, you must be able to adapt to stay relevant. 2018 will be another year full of disruption, as technology continues to push the envelope of how operators and brands interact with guests and how guests respond. Check out the video above and see what top 5 technology trends are poised to affect the restaurant industry. 

Read More

5 Seafood Restaurant Trends To Look Out For This Year

5 Seafood Restaurant Trends To Look Out For This Year

Although, significant overall growth is not in the forecast for seafood dishes in the foodservice sector, there are five trends to look out for in 2018.

According to a food industry market research firm, Datassential’s Seafood Keynote report as covered by “SeafoodSource,” seafood in breakfast and brunch dishes is rising in popularity along with patron’s willingness to explore various kinds of seafood.

Read More