This story is part of NRN's "2011 Forecast & Trends" special report. After years of chilly sales and icy credit conditions, analysts and industry watchers are expecting a thawing of sorts in 2011, with private-equity players continuing to inject much-needed heat into the restaurant sector.
 Several firms went shopping in 2010, including 3G Capital with its $4 billion purchase of Burger King and, more recently, the Catterton Partners-led acquisition of Noodles & Company. ...

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