Recognizing those who excel in the global marketplace
The Global Restaurant Leadership Awards of Distinction are designed to recognize restaurant operators that excel in the global marketplace through innovation, community service, partnership and expansion. Global Restaurant Leadership Conference attendees and sponsors, as well as the industry leaders from around the world, were invited to nominate restaurants that best exemplify success in these areas. A jury of global experts from Restaurant Business, Technomic and Winsight, with counsel from the GRLC Advisory Council, selected the winners.
International success is dependent not simply on unit growth but on crossing boundaries when it comes to setting menu trends, staying ahead of consumer demands, and enhancing operations to become more efficient or improve the experience. The winner in the Innovation category is a thought-leading company that’s building financial success based on innovation. Element Fresh is growing chain of health-focused restaurants in China that recently inspired its own knockoff in Vietnam. Its Innovation claim comes from taking American/western food, presenting it in a more healthful way than what the market may have traditionally seen, and distinguishing itself from other western chains.
Consumers and companies alike are increasingly giving business to those with a great reputation and who work for a goal that is bigger than making money. This award recognizes the concrete efforts of those businesses. The winning company has demonstrated its priority to support the communities where their customers live, as well as the planet itself. Jollibee won in the Community Service category thanks to the strong work of its Jollibee Group Foundation, such as leadership development, scholarships, environmental efforts and more.
When restaurant companies speak of the keys to being successful globally, they often mention the importance of finding the right local partner. The Partnership award recognizes an operator who helped take a brand from another country and adapted it to the marketplace and made it a success. Restaurant companies were encouraged to nominate their most successful partner in a different country. Alshaya won in the Partnership category thanks to its strong relationships with multiple global brands, including Starbucks, The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s, Shake Shack, Al Forno and more.
The Growth category winner is determined on year-over-year increase in units among the Top 100 global restaurant chains operating in two or more countries. Domino’s impressive 14,000+ locations, with almost 1,300 stores added internationally last year, its expansion in India, and its history of same-store sales growth got the judges’ nod.