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Most popular stories: Industry opinion mixed on Sysco–US Foods merger

Breaking down NRN’s top trending stories

Each week, NRN editor-in-chief Sarah Lockyer gives you her take on the top restaurant industry news.

It has been nearly a year since Sysco Corp. announced a potential merger with US Foods, creating a bit of an earthquake throughout the foodservice industry, as two of the largest distributors set out to combine forces and create a near-monopoly on national distribution. In NRN’s top story this week, Jonathan Maze breaks down the latest in the potential merger, with a twist including news that Sysco may be asked to spin off some assets as government agencies seek to ensure competition.

I attended a recent distributors’ conference and the mood there was mixed when it came to discussion on the pending merger. Some thought the Sysco-US Foods deal could lead to major opportunities for other distributors, as restaurants flock toward stability, while others felt a powerhouse like Sysco-US Foods would only continue to dominate the market. One executive I spoke with, who asked to remain anonymous, said he believed the merger only had a 50-percent chance of actually closing. That would mean an $8.4 billion deal would be wiped out — yikes.

While the industry waits to see how food will actually make it to restaurants, chefs are looking to 2015 as a year filled with local sourcing of meats and produce, healthful options and a focus on kids’ menus. Always a predictor of what’s to come in the kitchen, NRN senior food editor Bret Thorn details the expected trends from an NRA survey of more than 1,000 chefs.

Take a look at NRN’s top 10 most popular stories:

1. Delayed Sysco-US Foods merger could create rival

2. Chefs predict top culinary trends for 2015

3. Applebee's franchisee to acquire Roy’s

4. Investors looking for the next Chipotle bid up restaurant IPOs

5. New TGI Fridays prototype aims to revive bar heritage

6. Arby's overhauls marketing, menu, design

7. McAlister’s Deli names Carin Stutz president

8. Fazoli's is for sale, but not to DineEquity

9. Take a tour of a remodeled Arby's restaurant

10. Pie Five evolves as fast-casual pizza matures

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