There are multiple Mongolian grill chains, but HuHot Mongolian Grills LLC sets itself apart with its efficiency. “There are very few, full-service casual concepts where within five minutes you’re sitting down eating your entrée, if you desire,” COO Jeff Martin says.

Based in Missoula, Mont., HuHot has a chain of 57 locations that allow customers to customize their own meals of meat, seafood, noodles and vegetables that are cooked in front of them by the restaurant’s “grill warriors.” 

“Being able to watch their meal stir-fried as they wait to have it handed off to them really provides a level of fun and theater that our guests really enjoy,” Martin says. “People are incredibly interested in what goes into their food. There’s also more confidence in what they’re eating when the food never leaves their sight.” 

Creative Dining Services believes dining brings people together and so it focuses on building a sense of community through great food and an atmosphere where the free flow of ideas is always welcome. The company prides itself on engaging customers with promotions and special events while wowing them with an assortment of dishes that keeps customers coming back.

“The founding principles of the organization stem from wanting to provide fine hospitality dining services to our client base and keeping our focus on our clients,” CEO Jim Eickhoff says. “Our biggest competition isn’t necessarily other providers, it’s the choices today. Customers can go off campus to get Chipotle or go to Applebee’s because it is running a promotion. We want customers to come here because they can find something better than anything else out there.”

The revolution in craft brewing of beer began in the 1970s, but at that time, finding the products of a few small regional or national breweries at restaurants and even liquor stores was still difficult. But not at Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom. Founded in America’s Great Bicentennial Year of 1976 in Boulder, Colo., by Frank Day, Old Chicago established one of the first loyalty programs in the bar business – the World Beer Tour. 

By the 1980s, the number of craft breweries had increased. At Old Chicago, hundreds of beers from around the world – new craft breweries in the United States that now are some of the most established national brands – and breweries in Germany, England and Belgium that were hundreds of years old had their bottles nestled next to each other in copious coolers behind the bar.

Burger King may never have been known as the fast-food chain where customers can “Have It Your Way®” if it was not for Robert Bennett, who coined the term 50 years ago. As the founder of Bennett Management Corp., a family owned and operated Burger King franchisee, Bennett was responsible for many firsts for the company. 

“My late husband, Bob Bennett, was amazing,” President Emily Bennett says. “‘Have It Your Way’ was the model for his entire operation. The company mantra is ‘People Pleasing People’ and we live by that every day at all levels and in all aspects of the business.”

The Maumee, Ohio-based company has been part of the Burger King family since 1965, when Robert Bennett started Bennett Management. “This year is our 50th anniversary and that is a testament to how well Bob ran the company,” Bennett says. “He had a vision and well thought out plan for growing the business. He focused on talented and stable management and put systems and policies in place to ensure Bennett Management was a company with a strong foundation.”

For Royal Sonesta Boston, food service is not just an incidental part of its offerings – it’s one of the most important components of the overall experience it provides to guests.

“We focus on a concept we call ‘food is art,’” General Manager Michael Medeiros says. “Most things here are made from scratch and prepared on-site; the quality of food is very important and we’ve always prided ourselves on that.”

Royal Sonesta Boston’s “food is art” philosophy also addresses the aesthetic part of the dining experience. “To us, a big part of ‘food is art’ is the idea that food should look as good as it tastes,” Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage Brian Dandro says. 

A restaurant or other foodservice environment could have the best recipes around, but that wouldn’t mean as much if its chefs and cooks have to stumble their way through an inefficiently designed kitchen. A kitchen with the most effective design and most appropriate equipment for serving a restaurant’s clientele can mean the difference between success and failure, so it’s not surprising that many in the foodservice industry turn to Premier Restaurant Equipment Co. to design and install their kitchen equipment. Based in Minneapolis, Premier Restaurant Equipment has served restaurant and other foodservice customers ranging from five-star hotels and resorts to fast-casual restaurants to senior care facilities. 

The company emphasizes that its approach is what makes it different from its competitors, and that approach is rooted in the experience its professionals have in the foodservice industry. No matter what the size or scope of a project, Premier Restaurant Equipment Co. says it prides itself on being able to deliver a kitchen design that serves the specific needs of each client. As its clients continue to rack up industry awards for their concepts and service, Premier Restaurant Equipment Co. stands behind the scenes as one of the driving forces behind their success. 

It’s much easier to count the number of years Dick’s Last Resort has been in business – 30 – than it would be to calculate the number of jokes made, napkins thrown, silly party hats worn or laughs and smiling faces induced there. “We’re all about having fun,” says Ralph McCracken, president and COO of the Nashville-based casual dining restaurant group. “Dick’s is unique from any other concept – there’s nothing else like Dick’s, and all of our locations are a bit different from one another.” 

The brand, which operates 16 locations across the United States, attracts large, multigenerational groups of family members, business associates or friends who are out for a special occasion – such as a bachelor or bachelorette party – or just a general good time. Fun-loving and outgoing front-of-house greeters and servers guide and enhance the experience in numerous ways including making jokes, placing party hats with tailor-made sayings on guests’ heads and starting paper napkin-throwing “battles.”

In tropical climates, there is nothing quite as refreshing as an ice-cold lager beer. With that in mind, Carib Brewery Ltd. produces two of the major brands in the market – Stag and Carib Lager. “Our brands revolve around consumers rather than a specific occasion because of the variety we produce,” Managing Director Gabriel Faria points out. “Most of our product usage is centered around conviviality. What this means is that when we look at the range of products and brands – from beer to stout, shandys, ginsengs and malta – you will see that they are focused on occasions that people want to and do remember, for the fact that they had good times with friends and family.”

Among the brands that Carib Brewery Ltd. produces are Stag Lager Beer, Carib Lager, Mackeson Stout, Malta, Smalta and Ginseng (nonalcoholic drinks) and Shandys, a blend of beer and one of four flavors – lime, ginger, lemon and sorrel, a fruit popular in Trinidad around the Christmas holidays. The brewery also produces under license for local and export consumption international brands including Guinness, Ginseng-Up, Heineken beer and Smirnoff Ice.

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