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Restaurants need to be smarter, smaller, faster

Smarter. Smaller. Faster. Not to be confused with Kanye West’s “better, faster, stronger,” these three words could be the hook for any business today.

In this issue we use those three words to title our special report on foodservice equipment. We produced that section as the industry gathers at The NAFEM Show, where the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers gathers the foodservice industry together every other year to showcase more than 500 equipment and supplies manufacturers.

But as I looked at those words on page, they became about much more than efficient equipment, smaller kitchens and faster operations. The words are so strikingly relevant to everything restaurants — or any business, really — need to do today.

Companies have to work smarter — do more with less, build efficiency, manage costs, and develop an engaged brand, not just a well-known one.

Companies have to act smaller even when thinking big — reducing footprints, staying locally relevant, making person-to-person connections, analyzing each transaction in the millions undertaken.

Companies need to be faster — whether in failure or success, speed is today’s currency.

Restaurant concepts that were born in this new world — this smarter, smaller, faster world — have a high potential of succeeding with today’s more-educated and engaged food consumer. These brands have a better chance of “getting it,” when compared to perhaps older and larger concepts that have to spend time navigating new terrain, building new relationships and reformulating old ways of doing business.

The team at NRN found some of these new and fresh concepts and we highlight them here as Breakout Brands. For three years now, NRN has looked to identify restaurant concepts poised to make some waves with consumers, franchisees and investors. Think of these Breakout Brands as the younger brother of our prestigious Hot Concepts awards.

And finally, it wouldn’t be a day in the restaurant industry if we didn’t talk about McDonald’s. What a turn of events for one of the most storied brands in the world. NRN has spent time analyzing the company’s sales performance, recent leadership changes and future outlook — with our editors and reporting showcased on CNBC, Forbes, International Business Times, NPR and Reuters TV.

With “All eyes on McDonald’s,” we wrap up the most important events.

Whether McDonald’s will see a turnaround or continue to struggle with what I believe is a brand and relevancy issue, there is no doubt the chain will need to focus on three little words: smarter, smaller, faster.

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

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