Are they Hot or are they a flash in the pan? That's a question the Restaurant Brokers ask each year when Nation's Restaurant News looks at the "up-and-coming restaurants" to pick their five "Hot Concepts" award winners. According to the magazine, these five brands are "resounding with consumers and have strong growth potential."
Do the restaurant brokers agree? Well, we have to say this year's field is a far cry from the everyday sandwich shop. It ranges from a "hippie-chic" chain featuring healthy food to a gastropub concept. Here are their Hot Concepts. What do you think?
Flower Child is first on the list. This brand has grown to seven units in three years by combining a focus on healthy food with decor that feels like you're back in the 70's and headed to Woodstock. This is not some small hippie chick's brand however as powerhouse Fox Restaurant Concepts kicked this one off in 2014. That's not the only large player attached to chain. In November, The Cheesecake Factory Inc. made a minority equity investment in Flower Child and North Italia, another Fox Restaurant Concepts brand. The chain has three stores in Arizona, two in California, one in Dallas and one in Austin (with a second store in the works). What is the restaurant broker take? We are seeing this "healthy fare" space fill up quickly with players. We anticipate some fall out in the next 24 months as Americans say they want to eat healthy a lot more than they actually do.
Another concept noted as "Hot" is a fast-casual Korean concept called Bibibop Asian Grill. The idea is cashing in on the popularity of bowls — and Korean food, one of the hottest Asian cuisines currently. The name comes from the Korean dish bibimbap, a Korean dish of rice served in a bowl, topped with vegetables and often an egg and meat. The chain has more than 20 units and has expanded to Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago and Dayton, Ohio. The restaurant brokers opinion on this one is "Thumbs Up!" There's a void in market for fast casual Korean while most other Asian concepts are well represented. This has some space to grow.