Hungry Brands on the Verge of Superstardom
It's anyone's guess who the next big players will be, what the new darling concepts will look like, which restaurant chains will make that storied leap from local upstart to broader big deal. But one thing's for certain: There's no shortage of intriguing possibilities.
Start digging around for interesting, innovative operators and concepts poised to make that leap and you'll find a diverse group of personalities, ideas and innovations. Collectively, they paint a pretty clear picture of next-gen, modern American dining. The seven concepts listed here have already found a way to master the trends consumers seem to crave most: #boldflavors, #simpleingredients, #authenticfood, #foodtransparency, #plantforward and #corporate-responsibility.
These standout brands range from the decidedly different. Everytable, whose retail/restaurant hybrid model brings wholesome, affordable, chef-developed foods to economically depressed urban neighborhoods, to Burton's Grill & Bar and 110 Grill, polished, full-service chains whose modern approaches to casual dining prove that this segment's often-reported death was greatly exaggerated. Both continue to expand rapidly by appealing to an older, more suburban clientele.
Dat Dog and honeygrow? These red-hot, finger-on-the-pulse brands grab attention for their unique and fresh takes on the fast-casual model. At Dat Dog, it's all about signature sausages, big flavors, diversity and fun. At the more cerebral honeygrow, vegetarian- and vegan-friendly salads and stir-fries featuring "intelligently sourced" local and organic ingredients star alongside next-gen customer-facing technologies.
Rising Roll Gourmet café took a nontraditional approach and spent several years getting a foothold for its gourmet sandwich brand by targeting office buildings, college campuses and healthcare centers. Armed with a new prototype and franchising strategy, it's now jumping into traditional franchising. And Slapfish, a fast-casual concept built on a young chef's vision for filling a gap in the marketplace, is making a splash with its modern menu of creative, sustainably sourced seafood specialties.
How far these seven emerging brands may go or how fast they'll grow remains to be seen. But each, in its own unique way, is already proving its mettle as a modern brand for modern times.