The annual NRN Power List is the definitive list of people setting foodservice trends today and shaping them for tomorrow. See the full list >>
If you want to see where restaurant trends will be in a few years, look at what Sam Fox is opening now. He anticipated fast-casual pizza with Sauce Pizza & Wine and capitalized on the mainstreaming of better-for-you food with True Food Kitchen and better-for-the-planet food with Flower Child.
Known for: The founder and CEO of multiconcept operator Fox Restaurant Concepts LLC, Fox is an expert at creating restaurants that appeal to both consumers and investors. True Food Kitchen drew a majority investment from P.F. Chang’s executives in 2012, and The Cheesecake Factory has been investing growth capital in both Flower Child and another Fox concept, North Italia. Sauce was sold in 2015 to an investment group led by Phoenix restaurateur Scott Kilpatrick.
Power move: Fox continues to develop and open new restaurants and currently has around 45 locations and more than a dozen concepts, including Blanco Tacos & Tequila, Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar and a gastropub called Culinary Dropout. He shows no sign of slowing down. His latest, Doughbird, debuted in Phoenix last year.
What’s next: Pizza and rotisserie chicken, perhaps. Doughbird is built around that seemingly incongruous combination which — if Fox’s history is any indication — might become commonplace soon.