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Twin Peaks

Sales: $97.7 million (+89.7%)
Headquarters: Addison, Texas
Market segment: Casual Dining
No. of units: 28 (+55.6%)
ESPU: $4.2 million (+19.6%)
Year founded: 2005

Through a combination of aggressive franchising and some corporate development, parent Front Burner Restaurants Inc. said it will have 50 Twin Peaks outlets up and running by the end of the year, showcasing the casual-dining brand’s photogenic all-female waitstaff and signature 29-degree beer. Twin Peaks ended fiscal 2012 with 28 units, but the company just opened its 35th restaurant in Little Rock, Ark., and recently debuted in such high-profile locations as the Las Vegas Strip with a unit that features a climbing wall.

The concept has attracted several enthusiastic franchisees. In March, for example, Twin Peaks signed a seven-year, 16-unit deal for Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia, and in late July it announced a four-unit deal for the southwest coast of Florida. Twin Peaks has relied on conversions of former restaurant spaces for its new units. However, it also has begun building its first ground-up buildings, seen in the July-opened 8,500-square-foot Little Rock branch and at a unit under construction in north Fort Worth, Texas. The new units borrow elements from a more contemporary mountain-lodge-like design introduced last year in Chicago.

Kona Grill

Sales: $96 million (+2.5%)
Headquarters: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Market segment: Casual Dining
No. of units: 23 (flat)
ESPU: $4.2 million (+6.9%)
Year founded: 1998

Kona Grill has carved out a niche among casual-dining peers by combining an American grill menu with an extensive range of sushi offerings — a culinary strategy that provides a point of differentiation from upscale-casual competitors like The Cheesecake Factory. The chain’s signature sushi rolls and sashimi, combined with its selection of cocktails and wine list, account for a slight majority of Kona Grill’s sales, officials have said.

During fiscal 2012 Kona focused on a happy hour menu to increase alcoholic beverage sales and drive even more traffic to Kona’s patios, which are a major source of business in its warm-climate markets. Unseasonably warm weather in the first quarter and half of fiscal 2012 benefited Kona’s sales performance, though the brand struggled a year later with those same-store sales comparisons as weather turned cooler.

A new interior design for restaurants that are scheduled to be remodeled includes a lounge area with more comfortable seating and televisions to encourage between-daypart lingering. An unspecified number of remodels were scheduled for 2013, officials said.