Toast Restaurant Blog

Welcome to the best thing since sliced bread: bite-sized restaurant content to inspire, inform, and indulge in. Go ahead, help yourself.

Not sure where to start? Click here.

Join our community of 25,000+ restaurant professionals.
Subscribe today for daily tips and insights on restaurant trends.

The Top 30 Restaurant Experts to Follow in 2016

Posted by Allie Tetreault on 12/12/15 1:00 PM in Industry News & Trends

16 minute read Print

restaurant experts 2016

The restaurant industry is in a constant state of flux. As new restaurant management strategies arise, it becomes increasingly important for restaurateurs to keep a pulse on industry news and trends.

That's why we created the first annual Top 30 Restaurant Experts To Follow. The following restaurant experts are the most influential thought leaders in restaurant leadership. From chefs, to restaurant owners, to CEO's, to restaurant consultants, everyone here has experiences and insights and are a valuable, reliable resource for the latest solutions and best practices. 

Our methodology was to choose restaurant leaders active on Twitter within the past month, and with more than 1,000 followers. Their social reach must be great, and they must post excellent restaurant content about management, food, and/or marketing. 

The following is an alphabetical list of the most knowledgable professionals in the industry. Restaurateurs, open up your Twitter account and follow these industry professionals for some great day-to-day restaurant insights! 

The Top 30 Restaurant Influencers 

aaron allenAaron Allen 

Restaurant Consultant, Aaron Allen & Associates 
Follow globe-trotting restaurant consultant Aaron Allen to all 7 continents, 7 wonders and 100+ countries.@QMG -


adam-rappaportAdam Rappaport 

Editor-in-chief, Bon Appétit Magazine 
Under his leadership, Bon Appétit has evolved to include a robust video presence, a successful podcast and nearly 1 million social followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
@rapo4 -


Alan Sytsma alan sytsma

Editor, Grub Street Network 
Food Editor at Grub Street. Chances are good I'm hungry right this second.
@asytsma -


Alex Van Burenalex van buren

Food and Travel Writer
Journalist. Food/ travel writer. Digital editor/ strategist. Bylines: Travel & Leisure, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Epicurious, Food and Wine. 
@alexvanburen -


barbara fairchildBarbara Fairchild

Food Writer, Editor, Consultant
Noted food authority, restaurant and travel expert. More than three decades on staff at Bon Appetit magazine, including over ten years as editor-in-chief.
@fairchildonfood - LinkedIn


Bret ThornBret Thorn 

Food Writer, Nation's Restaurant News
Follow the adventures of a New York City food writer.
@FoodWriterDiary -


brooke williamsonBrooke Williamson 

Chef and Restaurateur
Chef. Restaurateur. The Tripel, Play Provisions, Hudson House Bar. Lucky mother & wife.
@ChefBrookeW -


cheryl bachelderCheryl Bachelder

CEO, Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.
Restaurant chain CEO focused on developing purpose-driven leaders who evidence competence and character in all aspects of their lives. Author of Dare To Serve.
@CABachelder -


chef chris hillChris Hill 

Chef, Bach Kitchen 
Inspired Chef/Entrepreneur/Author IG: TheChefChrisHill 2X TEDx Speaker
@bachkitchen -


dana cowinDana Cowin 

Editor-in-chief, Food & Wine 
Food & Wine editor in chief. pathologically positive. mom. adventure organizer. omnivore.
@fwscout -


daniel bouludDaniel Boulud

Chef, Cafe Boulud, Bar Boulud, and More
Daniel Boulud is Chef-Owner of several award-winning restaurants and the Feast & Fêtes catering company
@DanielBoulud -


danny meyerDanny Meyer

CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group
Restaurateur, always Setting the Table. Danny, his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 25 James Beard Awards.
@dhmeyer -


danyelle freemanDanyelle Freeman 

Food-obsessed writer at; Author of Try This: Traveling The Globe Without Leaving The Table.
@restaurantgirl -


donald burnsDonald Burns

The Restaurant Coach™
The Restaurant Coach™, industry expert at . Former USAF Pararescue. My mission: increase profits, build brands, strengthen teams.
@donaldburns -


ellie mirmanEllie Mirman

VP of Marketing, Toast 
VP Marketing at Toast, all-in-one restaurant technology platform.
@ellieellie -


helen rosnerHelen Rosner

Features Editor, Eater 
Features editor at Eater & Eater Upsell cohost. Editor, writer, critic. 
@hels -


holly atkinsonHolly Atkinson

Co-Chair of Communications, Slow Food NYC
Food Tech and Local Food digital strategy & communication for Sea to Table, Phoenicia Diner, Slow Food NYC, and more. Arts, media, activism: ActOnClimate, VotingRights, UniteBlue, P2
@HollyA -


hudson riehleHudson Riehle 

Senior Vice President, National Restaurant Association
National Restaurant Association - SVP, Research & Knowledge Group
@HudsonRiehle -


chef john beshJohn Besh

Chef, Author of Best Big Easy
Author, chef & restaurateur dedicated to preserving our nation's foodways. Follow along for updates from the ten restaurants in New Orleans and San Antonio.
@chefjohnbesh -


jonathan mazeJonathan Maze

Financial Editor, Nation's Restaurant News 
Jonathan Maze covers finance for Nations Restaurant News, as well as restaurant chains based in the Midwest.
@jonathanmaze -


josh martinJosh Martin 

Director of Digital and Social Media, Arby's  
Golf Addict. Sports Nut. Husband. Dad. Kennesaw State & MTSU alum. Digital & Social Media guy at Arby's. Views expressed here are my own.
@Jmart730 -


ken burginKen Burgin

Owner, Profitable Hospitality 
Sharing with restaurant, cafe, club and hotel operators to make business more profitable. Focus on marketing, management, cost-control, training, staff.
@KenBurgin -


mario bataliMario Batali

Chef, Restaurateur 
Food, like most things, is best when left to its own simple beauty.
@Mariobatali -


mark morenoMark Moreno

President, MM Restaurant Development 
Winning Strategies, Processes, & Innovations for Restaurants
@foodsho -


nick kokonasNick Kokonas

CEO, Tock, Inc. 
I am not unemployed. I'm NSFW. Co-Owner: Alinea / Next / the Aviary CEO: Tock, Inc.
@nickkokonas -


paul barronPaul Barron

CEO and editor-in-chief, Foodable 
CEO, editor in chief, Exec Produce at Foodable, largest WebTV Network in food. Founder of RSM Index and Fast Casual. Author of The Chipotle Effect. 
@paulbarron -


rene redzepiRene Redzepi

Chef, Restaurant Noma
Chef at restaurant noma in Copenhagen
@ReneRedzepiNoma -


Rick BaylessRick Bayless

Chef, Frontera Grill, Tropolo, Xoco
Chef: Frontera Grill/Topolo/Xoco, 8 Cookbooks, Emmy nom for Mexico-One Plate at a Time, Top Chef Masters winner, Recipient of Mexico's Order of Aztec Eagle
@Rick_Bayless -


rocky tarantelloRocky Tarantello

CEO ROCInc. Restaurant Operator, Culinary Expert, Chef, Business Owner, Family Man. 


ron rugglessRon Ruggless

Southwest Bureau Chief, Nation's Restaurant News 
Restaurant info & links | Roughly 60% water (results may vary)
@RonRuggless -


will guidaraWill Guidara 

Co-Owner, Make It Nice Hospitality Group 
Made Nice, Eleven Madison Park, The NoMad, The Welcome Conference
@wguidara -

Please note that with so many knowledgeable professionals in the restaurant industry, there's no way we could have fit everyone on this list. So let us know who we’re missing!

Congratulations to everyone featured here, and good luck to contenders next year! Who did you think were the most influential restaurant experts? Who would you add to the list? Leave a comment below! 


toast restaurant management blog

Written by: Allie Tetreault

Allie Tetreault is the Content Strategist for Toast. When she's not managing the Toast Restaurant Management blog and creating valuable resources for restaurateurs, she's belting in an a cappella group and toiling over new recipes in the kitchen. Her favorite foods are sushi and pasta -- but not together!

Leave a comment today. 

DISCLAIMER: All of the information contained on this site (the “Content”) is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal, accounting, tax, career or other professional advice. The Content is provided “as-is” without any warranty of any kind express or implied, including without limitation any warranty as to the accuracy, quality, timeliness, or completeness of the Content, or fitness for a particular purpose; Toast assumes no liability for your use of, or reference to the Content. By accessing this site, you acknowledge and agree that: (a) there may be delays in updating, omissions, or inaccuracies in the Content, (b) the Content should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal advisors, (c) you should not perform any act or make any omission on the basis of any Content without first seeking appropriate legal or professional advice on the particular facts or circumstances at issue and (d) you are solely responsible for your compliance with all applicable laws. If you do not agree with these terms you may not access or use the site or Content.