If the restaurant industry was in a deep recession in 2009, and returned to some semblance of stability in 2010, it may be fair to say 2011 was the beginning of coping with — and dare we say thriving under — the new normal. Challenges were present, from escalated commodity costs to a still-struggling consumer, but victories were had. Industry sales growth returned and restaurant chains began to grow again. The NRN Restaurant Stock Index rose more than 20 percent. Culinary ...

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