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5 restaurant brands on the rise

A closer look at this year’s class of Hot Concepts winners

What does it take to become the next “it” brand? An on-trend menu? Disruptive technology? Sustainability? A rabid fan base? Happy employees?

For the five growing brands in this year’s class of Hot Concepts Award winners, it’s all of those things.

For more than two decades, the Hot Concepts Awards from Nation’s Restaurant News have been spotting forward-thinking brands that are making waves. Past winners have gone on to have a big impact on the industry, including Smashburger, True Food Kitchen and Shake Shack.

This year’s honored brands — &pizza, The Crack Shack, Garden Bar, Maple Street Biscuit Company and Mulberry & Vine — are poised to carry on that legacy.

They’re tapping into many of today’s biggest trends: “clean” food, sustainability, convenience, comfort food, and tech-driven operations designed with the Millennial customer (and employee) in mind.

They’re expanding, too: &pizza, for its part, plans to double its unit count by 2020; The Crack Shack ventured outside of its home market of California this summer with a new location in Las Vegas; and Maple Street was set to open a new store in Alabama late last month as well.

All of the winners will be honored at a special reception during the annual MUFSO conference in October in Denver, where attendees will be able to sample the chains’ signature menu items. The leaders of the brands will also be featured in an in-depth panel discussion on the keys to growth in today’s business environment. The Hot Concepts Awards are sponsored by V&V Supremo.

Get to know these brands on the move.

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