A lot has changed since Chairman and President Larry Raikes and Vice President Mitch Raikes founded Larry’s Giant Subs shop 30 years ago. Disappointed with the quality of submarine sandwiches available to them in Florida, the two brothers longed for the hearty, robust subs they were accustomed to in their hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. 

For many firms, it can be hard to maintain success as they try to grow larger. The management at HuHot Mongolian Grills LLC has avoided this trap by creating a firm foundation to work from, Vice Pres­ident of Franchise Development Molly Vap O’Shea says. Some restaurant companies, she explains, will often add too many items to their menu or open so many locations that they cannot keep up. “We’re growing with a foundation [that keeps us] successful,” she asserts. 

Because bad news travels fast, the country and much of the world is well aware of the woes of the Motor City. But what’s not exclaimed in the news is Michigan’s strong agriculture industry. In 2009, Michigan ranked as the No. 1 U.S. producer in 11 different commodities including Niagara grapes and squash, according to the National Agriculture Statistics Service. And it has long been known as the No. 1 producer for tart cherries and blueberries. In 2009, Michigan supplied 74 percent of the country’s tart cherries and 26 percent of its blueberries. It’s also the No. 2 grower of apples and No. 1 for producing apple slices.  

Countless fast-casual pizza chains are known more for their gimmicks and marketing campaigns than their pizza. That’s not how Flippers Pizzeria has grown throughout central Florida. Instead of relying on flashy messages, the concept has grown to 11 locations throughout the Sunshine State by refusing to compromise on the quality of its ingredients. 

As demonstrated by the regions of Calabria, Napoli or Tuscany in Italy, great countries create great regional cui­sines. In the United States, Executive Vice President Giorgio Kolaj identifies three great traditions of pizza in the United States: California, Chicago and, closest to his heart, New York. 

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