Trends to Watch and the Top 5 2011 Hot Concepts! Award Winners

Every year, Nations’ Restaurant News selects five of the hottest trendsetters in America as recipients of the Hot Concepts! Award. This year focused on recognizing companies that have made great strides in spite of a down economy and inspired strength and creativity. Winners of the 2011 Hot Concepts! Included Mixt Greens, Twisted Root Burger Company, FöD, True Food Kitchens and Crave.

The celebration for the honorees will take place on September 25-27 in Grapevine, Texas as a part of the 52nd Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators.  Let’s take a brief look at what the editors of NRN deemed the most innovative and strong new concepts in the restaurant industry today.


FöD was established in 2010 by Sodexo. This high-tech dining experience is housed on six college campuses. Each campus can customize a healthy menu to their liking. The patrons order from a touch-screen booth and are notified when their food is ready by pager or their smartphone.

Twisted Root Burger Company

This Dallas-based company claims that a bad economy has actually helped them flourish as high-end dining establishments are abandoned for Twisted Root’s burgers with flair. They now have six locations and plan to add 2-3 every year. Each store generates at least $2m a year.


Crave features American seasonal cuisine, sushi, and a great wine list. Set for the seventh location to debut in October, the company projects $38m in sales this year and over $60m in 2012!

Mixt Greens

With nine locations in SanFran, LA, DC, and NY (and international operations in the plans) this buffet-style restaurant supports high-quality, locally grown food and healthy options.

True Food Kitchen

This company is based in Scotsdale and reports $24m in sales after opening less than four years ago. The restaurant offers high quality, organic foods that are locally grown with wild-caught fish, all-natural beef, free-range chicken and global cuisine.




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