Monday, July 2, 2012

Future painted by Future 50

The strong showing of polished casual chains (see below) was just one of the surprises in this year’s Future 50, Restaurant Business’ annual ranking of up-and-coming restaurant chains. Here are some of the other ah-ha aspects:

There’s a rebirth of the pizza sector underway. Eleven of the 50 industry’s up-and-comers—22 %—are pizzeria/Italian concepts. They range from Anthony’s to Zio’s. Alternate methods of fueling the ovens, like burning wood or coal, seem to be the points of differentiation from the old guard, along with using premium ingredients.

Breakfast/brunch/lunch (no dinner) concepts also had a strong showing in the growth rankings this year, as did bakeries (including two cake specialists, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Crumbs.)

Many of the concepts on our Future 50 list may be young, but the driving forces behind them aren’t exactly neophytes. Among the veterans nurturing upstarts are Nick Castaldo, formerly of Pollo Tropical, now with Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza (along with Hall of Famer Dan Marino); Bill Baumhauer, formerly of Champps Americana, Fuddruckers and Planet Hollywood, now with The Egg & I; and Neil Newcomb, a co-founder of McAlister’s Deli, now affiliated with Brixx Wood Fired Pizza

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