The 40/40 List

    It’s challenging enough to be an emerging restaurant operator. But after 2020 threw one curveball after another, these 40 brands are still standing—and are ready for the spotlight.

    Rasa founders pose for a photo.
    Cofounder Sahil Rahman and business partner Rahul Vinod were weeks away from opening the second location and were planning opening festivities when the country went into lockdown.

    Everyone wants to find the next big thing in restaurants. That’s the very reason we launched this list back in 2017, in fact; the industry stands to benefit by knowing who’s carrying the torch with innovation. But while the past decade provided a fairly consistent stream of intriguing food ideas and concepts, 2020 completely shuffled the deck, decimating some of those concepts while supercharging others.

    With the end of the pandemic possibly in sight, here’s a look at the 40 fast-casual concepts with fewer than 40 locations that survived COVID-19 and— barring any future crises—are primed for success in our new normal.

    Check out the entire 40/40 List here.

    A Look at past reports: