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From the editor: 2015 Next 20 chains are building brands that resonate

From the editor: 2015 Next 20 chains are building brands that resonate

NRN takes a look at 20 restaurant chains best positioned to crack the Top 200 — and what they’re doing to get there. RELATED: • 2015 Next 20: Flexibility helps many brands meet their goals • Gallery: Meet the 2015 Next 20 brands • Sales and unit trend data

There have been a lot of numbers in our special reports this summer — the Top 100 in June, the Second 100 in July and now The Next 20 in August. Each report is a tour de force of data, analysis and insight into movements within the industry, both past and present. The data also points to predictive trends that all can learn from to adjust business practices. And together, the information in these three reports represents $258 billion of U.S. systemwide sales from 220 brands.

The Next 20 is a more detailed look at emerging brands on the rise. The group posted 29.4 percent average year-over-year growth in U.S. systemwide sales, while the chains in the Top 100 and Second 100 together saw average domestic system sales grow 6.1 percent. Next 20 chains, on average, saw their number of U.S. locations increase 22.9 percent and estimated sales per unit grow 4.8 percent. In comparison, the Top 100 and Second 100 chains together booked average unit growth of 3 percent and average estimated sales per unit growth of 2.7 percent.

The Next 20 group is smaller, obviously helping those growth numbers. These chains post systemwide sales in the U.S. of $141 million or less. Domestic unit counts at each chain are 237 or less. But you should meet these chains, regardless of size, as they are building brands that resonate with today’s consumers.

See profiles of the Next 20 standout brands

Alamo Drafthouse CinemaGolden ChickNewk's EateryRock & BrewsSalata

I would be remiss to end this summer of data — reports many of you tell me you rely on all year — without giving major props to Alan Liddle, our director of data products, and Christi Ravneberg, our production director. These reports are massive. They start with a database of thousands of cells and end with the finished products you’re holding now and using online. The information isn’t someone else’s data we place on a page and present on our website. This is proprietary data we build using our team of veteran editors, and that we collect and analyze to present the most detailed information on the restaurant industry.

Al has been leading this project for close to 20 years, with Christi on board for 10 of those. The attention to detail, sourcing on data, building of sales models, and the various rounds of revisions and quality checks is second to none. It’s like running a perfectly tuned restaurant, with everyone and everything in their places and focused on the end product — the enjoyment of the guest, which in this case is the vast NRN audience.

It’s like I always say, data and information can only get you so far; it’s the people behind the product that make the biggest difference.

Sarah E. Lockyer, Editor-in-Chief
E-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: @slockyerNRN

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