News and insights from last year in top QSR brands in restaurant industry.
Your annual guide to the industry’s 50 top-performing brands.

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Experts weigh in on New York’s minimum wage increase.

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Chefs moving into fast casual offer their take on industry's future.
Industry News
This article would start with “It’s that time of the year again,” but honestly, is it? Regardless of the fact that it is technically still summer, the heat has yet to stifle the outpouring of marketing campaigns for fall flavors, which seem to get increasingly elaborate every year. In the land of...
QSR brands develop new menus with healthier protein options for diet crowd.
Menu Innovations
Some of the latest popular menu descriptors are sending a message loud and clear. With terms like buff bowls, packed and powerful, and breakfast power sandwich finding their way to more menus nationwide, it seems protein has become a power food that consumers desire, whether they are following the...
Celebrity TV chef shares how restaurants can use healthy oils and fats for food.
Menu Innovations
Food Network celebrity chef Emily Ellyn has appeared on “Cupcake Wars” and “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and is now working on her first cookbook while also pursuing a Ph.D. (she already has two master’s degrees). Ambitious and focused, Ellyn relishes remaking classic recipes, which includes using healthier...
Industry News
When comparing fast casual from traditional fast food, the food is often the distinguishing factor. Nevertheless, the restaurant’s atmosphere still plays a major part in separating a quick bite from a meal that invites patrons to linger. In 2011 Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill began updating its...
QSR brands use low fat ingredients like healthy cooking oils to improve menu nutrition.
Menu Innovations
Just the mention of words like oils and fats makes some consumers queasy. The former can conjure the image of grease, while the latter may make them think of issues like obesity and high cholesterol. These days, however, the use of good fats and oils by quick-service operators in their cooking and...
QSR sandwich brand Firehouse Subs employs artist to work on store murals.
In the Store
When they decided to enter the restaurant game, former firefighters Robin and Chris Sorensen knew they wanted to honor their firefighting brethren. The brothers were less sure of how to do so in a unique way. “As we were putting it all together conceptually, we saw an article in the paper about a...
QSR brand Corner Bakery one of original fast casual leaders in growing restaurant industry.
Competition
Any brand with its sights set on growth has a solid plan for that growth in place—often an aggressive one, at that. Bakery-café brand Corner Bakery is certainly no exception, with a goal of doubling the size of its 190-plus-unit brand by 2017. Though the Chicago-born and Dallas-based brand has been...
Brian Niccol is chief executive at QSR Mexican leader Taco Bell.
Start to Finish: What Inspires Execs
I’ve always been a big fan of food. Before I was with Taco Bell and in the quick-serve industry, I had a boss who helped me get comfortable with the opportunity to challenge the “way it was done.” Rather, could something be designed differently or packaged differently? How can it be better or...
AOL founder and investor Steve Case bets on upstart fast casuals like Sweetgreen.
Perhaps best known for cofounding America Online (AOL) and later serving as its CEO, Steve Case has now turned his attention to foodservice.
Progressive DC QSR pizza chain designs unique restaurants and menu items.
Creativity runs wild at &pizza, and it starts with the name; the ampersand is trademarked and the brand is pronounced “and pizza.” In the stores, the creativity extends to the pizza—and then some.&pizza cofounder Michael Lastoria says he has a passion for building up new id
In addition to helping conserve cash, bartering often leads to additional exposu
Twenty years ago, Toni Foley began bartering. These days, she won’t run her restaurant—five-year-old Eastside Café in Fairport, New York—without the practice.
QSR donut concept franchise owner uses leadership skills gained on Mt Everest.
Jeff Gottfurcht summited Mount Everest on May 14, 2011, at 6:10 A.M.
QSR brands plate fresh and natural ingredients to improve health and nutrition.
Fresh has become a mantra of the restaurant industry these days, and there’s nothing that conveys fresh better than using raw items, particularly fruits and vegetables.
QSR brands hiring new immigrant employees must legally protect jobs.
In a country whose foreign-born population has eclipsed 13 percent of the total (some 41.3 million people), hiring immigrants has become as inevitable as it is important for quick-serve restaurant operators.And by keeping abreast of relevant laws, filing the right paperwork early and often, and ensu