The 10 Most Influential Restaurant Groups and Enterprises in 2018
By: Karen DeVincent
Jun 06, 2018
Which restaurant group wields the most power in the dining world?
Everyone knows the right answer is your mom’s kitchen (hi, Mom!). But if you're looking to expand your palate, here’s a directory of America's most influential restaurant groups and enterprises in 2018. Prepare to get hungry.
His restaurants, L'ATELIER de Joël Robuchon, Joël Robuchon Restaurant, and La Boutique de Joël Robuchon all fall under the Invest Hospitality Group.
The mind of Invest Hospitality Group's world-renowned chef has invented (and certainly influenced) some of the most-enjoyed meals in the history of mankind; thousands of aspiring chefs want to be the next Joël. For decades, he and his group have had an undebatable influence in the restaurant industry.
Bonus: L'ATELIER de Joël Robuchon in NYC uses Toast! Learn more about this product here.
Why? Because it's the biggest.
Ok, no surprises here: McDonald’s is large and in charge.
According to the 2017 Forbes 2000, Mickey D’s clocks in at number 215 on the list of the world's biggest public companies . While they aren’t number one overall, they are indeed the highest ranking restaurant group with Starbucks – the second biggest restaurant group – trailing far behind at #370. Wielding its size and power for decades, McDonald's continues to have an enormous influence in menu engineering, franchise strategy, and efficiency.
Why is it so influential? After the Obama appearance, outlets like Food and Wine, Tasting Table, Forbes, and Eater couldn’t stop talking about the restaurant’s menu, which explores flavors from Tangier to Tehran, Batumi to Beirut. Following suit, American restaurants are doing everything they can to attract those with presidential prestige to their establishments after seeing Maydan's success.
Daniel Patterson Group
Why?They're the trendsetters.
If you live in Oakland or around the Almeda/Bay Area, you know all about Chef Nigel Jones’ Kingston 11 – Jones and his team are credited by many for making the Jamaican food trend that we’re seeing pop up all over the U.S. a hit.
If you can’t get enough of Kingston 11, Jones partnered with Daniel Patterson Group this year to open one of 2018’s most anticipated restaurants: Kaya. According to Eater, “the cooking at Kaya might be a bit more ‘elevated,’ as he’s choosing the best Bay Area ingredients, but treating them the way he would if he were in Jamaica, where he grew up.”
Domino's is showing that consumers want their pizza experience to be customized, immediate, and tied into their phones. As they make these guest aspirations a reality, they're sure to influence their competitors' business decisions this year.
Why? It's emerging like no other.
Is there anything better than a juicy, flame-grilled burger? How about an organic one stuffed to the brim with all of your favorite toppings that doesn't break the bank.
You can thank Bareburger for helping usher in the “burgers with a mission” trend about 10 years ago, and it’s working.
Bareburger today boasts 44 locations and is one of the biggest emerging chains in the U.S.
Bonus: Bareburger uses Toast! Learn more about this product here.
Why? It's been operating for the longest amount of time.
While you might think our friends at McDonald’s would appear twice on this list, White Castle is actually the oldest restaurant chain in the U.S.
The chain has been pumping out fun-sized sliders since 1921. And, they are just as relevant as ever. While no new Harold and Kumar movies are on the horizon, the chain is keeping it fresh with Opening Ceremony-designed uniforms that you can only buy for hundreds of dollars if you aren’t a White Castle employee. Really.
With so many restaurants in the country, many look to the ones that have stood the test of time to see how to be adaptable, guest-centric, employee-obsessed, and successful. This is exactly why we recognized White Castle CEO Lisa Ingram on our list of the Best Restaurant CEOs.
Why?It's got the trailblazing business lead.
Boston’s Trade is certainly one of the hottest restaurants in town thanks to its chef-owner Jody Adams, who was recently recognized as an inductee for the 2018 James Beard Foundation's Who’s Who of Food & Beverage.
Trade is part of the Trade Restaurant Group (which also includes Porto and Saloniki), where you can also find restaurant staff using Toast! Trade's brand recognition and success make them undeniably influential.
Why?It has the most locations.
Subway's massive worldwide success has paved the way for the modern fast casual restaurant. Their build-your-own meal in a matter of minutes assembly line model of serving food has been adopted by Chipotle, Sweetgreen, Pieology, and more in almost every style of cuisine imaginable.
As the growth of fast casual continues, we can all point our fingers towards Subway (and its 25,000+ locations) as one of the founding fathers of this concept of fast casual, which is still gaining traction in 2018.
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