This section spotlights the most innovative foodservice chain concepts.
Extreme Pizza's take-and-bake business was launched in 1994 and didn't take off as anticipated — and after six months company founder Todd Parent was not above tweaking the concept.
A Midwest staple, Culver's has spread its wings in recent years to cover 19 states. Its basic formula — friendly, fast-casual service; burgers grilled to order, home-style dinners and frozen custard — has put this small-town company in the ring with much larger competitors.
Despite a tough year in terms of both real estate and franchisee financing, Moe's ended 2010 with revenues up 8 percent, 30 new units opened and comp-store sales ahead by 5.4 percent. Significantly bigger gains in both sales and units are expected this year, says president Paul Damico, thanks to a combination of menu innovation, ongoing promotions and a major new positioning campaign.
Firehouse Subs is hot, posting double-digit revenue and unit increases last year with even bigger gains anticipated this year. Don Fox, chief executive officer, credits the surge in part to loosening of credit markets, which enabled it to open 43 stores last year and 30 as of mid-May this year, with another 50 to 70 to be added by year's end.
2012 Best In Class Winners
See who FE&S readers named this year’s Best In Class winners. Manufacturers were evaluated for product quality, product value, product design and aesthetics, service and support, sales reps, product inventory and available product information. Click here to see the complete results.