Striking up personal connections with customers is key to standing out from the competition, said executives from this year’s four Hot Concepts! Award-winning chains. 
 Though the winners —a sexy sports bar, a classic burger joint, a wine-driven casual concept and an eco-friendly pizza chain — may seem to have little in common, they were quick to zero in on this shared strategy during a panel discussion at this year’s MUFSO conference.
 “It’s ...

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