Taco John's

QSR 50 Contenders

Want to know which 15 brands are knocking on the QSR 50's door? Some are old favorites, others are new to the list, but they're all trying their hardest to climb their way into the Top 50 ranks.

51 McAlister’s Deli rank last year: 52

Big Idea: Mini Desserts

Tapas continue to grow in popularity, as do sliders and other little burgers. Even antipasto has found a place in the small-dish arsenal within American restaurants.

So why not the same for the end of the meal?

Bite-size desserts have been predicted as a food trend for years, but they really haven’t trickled down much from the fine-dining sector until the past couple of years.

Taco John’s Rolls Out Mexican-Inspired Salads

The fresh taste of West-Mex has never been fresher. Taco John’s is rolling out two new, Mexican inspired salads: the Chipotle BBQ Chicken and Cran-Apple Almond Chicken Salads.

The limited time offer hit stores April 9 and will be available through September 2.

“Our team has created salads with bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and zesty dressings,” says Bob Karisny, vice president for menu strategy and innovation at Taco John's International.

Taco John’s Enlists World Series Champ for Fish Tacos

Taco John’s is introducing new Fish Tacos this month. The Mexican restaurant chain has teamed up with Kent Hrbek, a two-time World Series Champion with the Minnesota Twins and an outdoor TV show host, to launch the new menu item as warmer weather arrives.

“Our research shows customers want lighter, fresher menu items as winter winds down and spring moves in,” says Bob Karisny, vice president for menu strategy and innovation. “Our new Fish Tacos earn high marks in both of those categories– they’re light and fresh with an original flavor.”

The State of Snacks

It’s 3 p.m., and there are still two hours left in the workday.

As the afternoon drags, a snack would be a great pick-me-up. There’s a vending machine in the break room and a convenience store down the street.

Better yet, how about something fresh from a restaurant?

Increasingly, consumers are looking at quick-service restaurants to grab a bite to eat during nontraditional dining hours, such as mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or late evening.

The Growth 40

Watch: Buffalo Tops Growth 40 List

Sitting on the edge of the U.S.-Canadian border and taking a backseat to another, more cosmopolitan, Empire State city, Buffalo, New York, often falls into the background. The city’s beloved NFL team plays the occasional home game in Toronto, its intense winters freeze out Niagara Falls–bound tourists, and the City of Good Neighbors’ meat-and-potatoes character doesn’t incite a barrage of flashy adjectives.

2010 in Review

Reporting by Blair Chancey, Sam Oches, Daniel P. Smith, Robin Van Tan, Barney Wolf & Lori Zanteson

1. BK Sold to Brazilian Investors

Becoming the decade’s biggest restaurant buyout, No. 3 burger chain Burger King Corp. was acquired by 3G Capital, a New York firm backed by Brazilian investors, for $3.3 billion in September. —BC

2. The Food Truck Obsession

These Spuds Aren’t Duds

Potato fries may have originated in Europe, but Americans have certainly embraced them as their own.

After all, nearly 8 billion servings of french fries were sold in U.S. restaurants during the 12 months that ended in June, according to statistics from NPD Group, a global market research firm. That represented 15.5 percent of all restaurant orders.