The Top 30 Emerging Brands for 2019

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Fishbowl, a leading data, marketing, and analytics solutions provider, has announced its sixth annual Emerging Brands Report. Each year the report features a list of 30 emerging restaurant brands displaying growth based on progressive and innovative approaches to food, service, atmosphere, and customer service. For 2019, the Top 10 are, in order, Cava GrillBartacoTrue Food KitchenDig InnMendocino FarmsUrban PlatesLemonadeThe Little BeetBibibop Asian Grill, and Punch Bowl Social. True Food Kitchen, Mendocino Farms, and Cava Grill also made the list in 2018.

To create the list, Fishbowl solicited nominations from industry experts, food enthusiasts, industry executives, advisors, and thought leaders. In addition, blogs, industry publications, and media mentions were reviewed. Fishbowl’s proprietary social analytics was then utilized to develop more structured reviews, check-ins, and ratings.

“This rich data source is important as it reveals how brands position themselves against one another, and based on ratings and frequency trends, we evaluate growth in consumer enthusiasm,” said Fishbowl’s Chief Analytics Officer Mike Lukianoff. A restaurant’s performance—specifically in the areas of ratings and review count growth—determined its inclusion on the 2019 list. “Many times, consumers discover a brand early in its development and become emotionally invested in its growth,” said Lukianoff. “This creates an active sense of ownership that drives their loyalty and increases support on social media.”

The Fishbowl Social Score™, which was introduced into the ranking process last year, was used to determine key performance indicators that rate a restaurant’s success on a 1-10 scale across multiple social media channels. Cava Grill, with a 9.8 rating, led the list, followed by Bartaco at 9.7 and True Food Kitchen at 9.6. The Fishbowl Social Score also factors in an “Enthusiasm Index” which is based on the number of buzz phrases that reviewers use when they write up their commentary about each restaurant experience. “This method provides us with essential insight into consumer feedback, frequency measures from social activity by location, and growth if there has been a recent or a planned unit expansion,” said Lukianoff.

Each year, Fishbowl’s Emerging Brands list contains aspects that serve as indicators of existing trends. One year, burger and pizza restaurants dominated, while in other years, “fresh” brands or restaurants with brand strength topped the list. Distinctive in 2018 was the diversity of concepts from burgers and Mediterranean to Asian and Italian. This year, restaurants offering healthy, high-quality nutritional foods, salads, and vegan menus dominated the list.

“It has been exciting to watch brands enter the list as new concepts and go on to achieve great success in the marketplace,” said Lukianoff. “Social Media can make or break a restaurant’s reputation, and it’s those that understand this marketing concept who can find themselves with a profound competitive advantage.” Social Data Analytics is a key component in the suite of analytic capabilities that Fishbowl delivers to the restaurant industry. Its unique digital and data platform enables clients to leverage knowledge so they can engage guests in a more personalized manner and reach customers via preferred channels.

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