There seems to be constant talk about Millennials’ disruption of the restaurant industry — or any industry, really — with their demands and preferences shifting consumer businesses from every direction.
What doesn’t seem as hot a topic is Millennials’ contributions to business. Millennials actually work. And they are smart. And they are motivated. In the restaurant industry they are shaking up the status quo, not just through new concept development but also through old-fashioned franchising and hard work.
Nation’s Restaurant News spoke to a handful of young restaurant franchisees that have gone into business for themselves. Some grew up in the industry; others saw a franchise business as an opportunity they couldn’t ignore. Their decisions weren’t vanity plays to own a restaurant, but were calculated plays to succeed in an industry they were each drawn to. It’s a storyline the industry would be smart to celebrate.
The restaurant industry should also take note of the emerging brands NRN has ranked as part of the Next 20, our third market research report following the Top 100 and Second 100. Together, these reports paint a picture of the full industry in details not found elsewhere. NRN’s director of data and event content Alan Liddle brings to these reports decades of knowledge and insights that serve our audience well. As NRN closes out another year of latest-year results and data crunching and analysis, Al deserves a tremendous amount of credit.
The Next 20 focuses on brands on the rise. The group’s average year-over-year growth in sales hit 43.3 percent, compared with 6.8 percent for the Top 100 chains and 5.2 percent for Second 100 brands. Sixteen of the 20 chains posted at least double-digit increases in sales. While the majority of these chains are relatively new brands, old-timers like Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken and Wetzel’s Pretzels show that age is just a number.
Both the people and the brands that are breathing fresh air into the restaurant industry prove that a winning combination of the old and the new can be unstoppable.
Sarah E. Lockyer, Editor-in-Chief
E-mail: [email protected]