In a world of novel-length menus and menuboards that fill entire walls, Flippin’ Pizza stands out for the simplicity of its offerings. Customers choose their sauce preference: white or red. There’s only one crust option, and whole pies come in an 18-inch size only. Pizza can be ordered by the slice, and the adventurous eater can get a calzone or a salad. But that’s the extent of it. And that’s the way founder Patrick Farley likes it.
Friends since sixth grade, Anthony Ackil and Jon Olinto talked about starting a business together for years. They could only agree on one idea, however, and that was “making fast food real.”
Ackil and Olinto trace their appreciation of “real food” to being fed after school by Ackil’s Uncle Faris, who dispensed both home-cooked meals and advice, often reminding the boys to “be good.”
Eventually, the two created a restaurant concept called b.good with the tagline “real.food.fast.”
Sub Zero Ice Cream serves up theater, science, and frozen desserts, bowl by individual bowl. Each Sub Zero customer selects one of six bases, which include higher-fat premium, custard, or classic, as well as healthier options: low-fat, yogurt, or lactose-free rice and soymilk. Next, the customer selects flavors and mix-ins, then watches as they’re combined with the liquid base in a metal bowl and blasted with -321-degree liquid nitrogen. The concoction freezes instantly.
When Mary Ann Beauchamp ran a little restaurant called Wild Rose Café and Deli in the early 1990s, customers would often give their meal a one-word review. That word eventually worked its way into the name of the concept created by Mary Ann and her husband Mark: Café Yumm!
In 2003, Berge Simonian noticed something interesting happening in the restaurant he had operated for almost a decade in downtown Houston. The line for salads was frequently longer than the line for hot foods.
Matt Andrew is no stranger to the limited-service world. He spent eight years on the management team at Moe’s Southwest Grill, giving him the background necessary to create Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint. But there was one major hurdle to overcome before opening his own quick-serve pizza restaurant.
A decade ago, JD and Sarah Gardner returned home to Utah from a trip to Cabo San Lucas, inspired by the surfing culture and local cuisine of the Baja Peninsula Coast. Soon after, the pair opened Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill.
Sean Collins and Dave Rutter—who were partners in a family entertainment center in Provo, Utah, at the time—saw the success of the original Costa Vida and became the concept’s first franchisees. Over the next four years, Costa Vida grew to 22 units, and in November 2009, Collins and Rutter bought the franchise, becoming CEO and president, respectively.
Prior to purchasing Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina from its founder in 2011, CEO Phil Friedman spent 11 years expanding McAlister’s Deli from 27 to 300 units.
These days, he and Salsarita’s president and COO Larry Reinstein are looking to grow the fresh-Mex concept. And grow it has, with a double-digit percentage growth in average unit volume that Friedman attributes to menu refinements he’s pushed forward since taking over the chain.
Rod Silva, founder of Muscle Maker Grill, says making America healthier requires diners increasing the number of healthy choices they make each day. And Muscle Maker Grill is helping them do just that.
In fact, it’s difficult to make an unhealthy choice at a Muscle Maker Grill restaurant. There are no fryers on the premises; the veggies are fresh, the rice is brown, the meat is lean, and the pasta is whole wheat.
Rod Arreola, along with his brother Alan and cousin Eric Garma, grew up in Seattle, where teriyaki restaurants are commonplace. When they learned the rest of America didn’t have the same access to the Japanese flavors they loved, they decided to bring teriyaki to the masses, starting in Las Vegas.
“The teriyaki concept is very mature in Seattle,” says Rod Arreola, president of Teriyaki Madness. “There are a lot of mom and pop shops. We grew up on it. All of the recipes for Teriyaki Madness were developed with the help of a friend who owned a teriyaki restaurant in Seattle.”