Chain News & Profiles

Chain News & Profiles includes news on chain restaurants, operations, profiles, trend pieces and new concepts.

Chain Innovators: Energy Kitchen

Energy Kitchen is proof that Americans are getting more serious about their health. Every item on the seven-year-old chain's menu is less than 500 calories. All of its dishes are grilled, baked or steamed. Yes, there are salads, but also burgers, wraps and robust breakfast items.

Chain Innovators: Menchies

A dual focus on product innovation and delivering a customer service experience that leaves guests smiling is fast putting Menchie's on the map — the entire map. From just three units in 2008, the company expects to pass the 200-store mark this year. By early 2012 the self-serve, pay-by-weight fro-yo concept will have a presence in every U.S. state, as well as in five international markets.

Chain Innovators: Wing Stop

Wing Stop is flying high with a concept that does 75 percent to 80 percent of its sales in takeout and 92 percent from three items — wings, fries and beverages — out of kitchens that measure 600 sq. ft.

25 Chain Innovators

Circle the wagons, slash prices and hold on tight? Not these chains. Coming off of the toughest operating environment in recent memory, companies now solidly in positive territory and positioned to prosper as the turnaround takes hold are those that spent the past couple of years innovating, shaking up their menus and concepts, and making strategic moves to create new opportunities for growth.