CHICAGO Gary Beisler, chief executive of Qdoba Mexican Grill, knew his fast-casual brand would be in for a bumpy ride as the country began its descent into the recession. As the economic news worsened during the summer of 2008, Beisler and fellow Qdoba executives began exploring ways to improve service, food and design throughout the 500-plus-unit system in an effort to emerge "bigger, badder and stronger" when the recovery finally kicked in. One result of those explorations ...

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