Reporter's Notebook

Hot Concepts by the numbers

A look at the winners and the panel by the numbers

This is part of NRN’s special coverage of the 2011 Multi-Unit Foodservice Operator conference, or MUFSO. The conference is taking place Sept. 25-27 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas. Follow all coverage on NRN’s "At the Show" section. This post is part of NRN's newsroom blog, Reporter's Notebook.

The 2011 Hot Concepts panel discussion didn’t disappoint.

Only at MUFSO will you see the entrepreneur behind a 6-unit – and growing – burger brand sitting on stage with the senior director of brand management at one of the largest companies in foodservice, Sodexo. And they were both discussing the same thing: How to resonate with today’s consumers.

A look at the winners and the panel by the numbers:

5 winners
• 32 restaurants in operation
• More than $80 million in systemwide annual sales (and that’s just among the four commercial winners)
• Operating in more than 11 states
• 5 for 5 using social media tools
• 1 out of 5 that have used Groupon or Groupon-like services
• 3 out of 5 using iPad technology for ordering or operations
• About $20 million: The amount of lending True Food Kitchen has received from P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
• Zero: The number of challenges described by the winners that they didn’t turn into opportunities
• 1: Just one curse word on the panel tonight courtesy of Twisted Root Burger winner Jason Boso. Allow me to reenact:

Yours truly as moderator (after learning Boso doesn’t like much meddling from investors and doesn’t appreciate all that technology can offer by way of instant guest feedback): “Wait, so you don’t listen to your investors and you don’t listen to your customers?”

Boso: “Yes, I’m a son of a bitch”

Contact Sarah Lockyer at
Follow her on Twitter: @slockyerNRN

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Reporter's Notebook is NRN's newsroom blog, where our editors give their points of view on news happening in the restaurant business.


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