Great food is not the only ingredient needed to succeed in the restaurant business in the current economic climate; a strong strategic business plan is mandatory to stay ahead of the competition. To make sure his seven restaurants continue to thrive, Michael Cordúa, co-owner and founder of Cordúa Restaurants, partnered with financial expert Juan Deshon, who became Cordúa’s CFO in April 2011, and since February 2012 is also the company’s COO.

A combination of competitive advantages – a sports emphasis, being family-friendly, serving high quality food and being a great value – are the legs of the table on which Beef ‘O’Brady’s is building its franchised chain of restaurants. “It’s those things coming together that make us very unique,” Chief Development Officer James Walker declares. “We appeal to a wide audience – we appeal to sports fans and families alike.”

Many fast-food restaurant chains use discount promotions to reel in consumers still stinging from the recession. Yoshinoya America Inc. – a Japanese bowl fast-food concept with 1,759 locations in California, Las Vegas and around the world – has taken the opposite approach. Instead, it touts the use of fresh ingredients and its commitment to authentic Japanese meals to bring its customers back.

For thousands of people in Omaha, Neb., and beyond, a hot cup of coffee from Scooter’s Coffee is how the day gets started. As Director of New Business Development Todd Graeve explains, the company wants even more people to start their day with a cup from Scooter’s. Even though the Scooter’s brand competes against some of the most ubiquitous names in the industry, Graeve says the company expects to double in size to more than 200 stores nationwide within the next five years.

At Salty’s Seafood Grills, success is defined by offering world-class seafood, steaks, service and smiles. Through a combination of quality food, location and high-touch service, the Pacific Northwest restaurants have become regional landmarks.

First-time visitors to Razzoo’s Cajun Café may not know what to make of certain items on the casual-dining restaurant’s menu. The restaurant admits items such as “Rat Toes” – shrimp- and crab-stuffed jalapeños that are battered and fried – or its “Grilled Gator Tail” – alligator meat over jambalaya – might sound weird.

People like to be given a wide range of choices with their meals. But the restaurants of PizzaRev exceed customers’ expectations by offering more than 30 different pizza toppings for one affordable all-in price, Partner and co-CEO Irv Zuckerman says.

The Olive Tree Italian Family Restaurant was a concept inspired by the owner’s childhood home on the family olive grove and vineyards. Growing up with the freshest local ingredients and making their own olive oil and wine, Nick Hapsis  knew he wanted to share that kind of unique dining experience. He and his wife, Kaliopi, started on their venture of making his dream a reality.

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