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Beautiful Brands International CEO talks 2011 restaurant trends

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This content originally appeared in Restaurant SmartBrief’s Year-End Report, Part II. David Rutkauskas is the founder, president and CEO of Beautiful Brands International. Check out his blog at Read Part I of the Restaurant SmartBrief Year-End Report.

What was the greatest challenge for restaurants in 2010? How did they overcome it?
The greatest challenge restaurants experienced in 2010 wasn’t necessarily in opening stores. It was in keeping these stores they opened cost-effective and profitable. At BBI, we found the key to overcoming this challenge consisted of creating a simple business model with a lean workforce, implementing strategic marketing and positioning ourselves well in the marketplace. We’re continuing to use a multilayered strategy for gaining a superior revenue stream and keeping our stores flourishing through innovative ideas and practical applications.

How will legislation shape the industry in the upcoming year?
Legislation is always one of those uncontrollable market variables that can have an impact on our industry. With the recent health care law in effect, we have to make staffing considerations and HR changes, so that we can stay in compliance and take care of our employees. The health care issue is a very serious factor that will continue to shape our industry and provide multiple challenges for years to come.

As restaurateurs, we have to keep our eyes and ears open to these issues, contact our congressmen and women in order to give support to bills that best help our industry and oppose those which may jeopardize free-market dynamics.

What’s your best advice for restaurant owners and managers in 2011?
I give this advice every day to our hundreds of franchisees and master developers … form your own future. Don’t let the economy dictate your level of success; instead, go out there and create it. Find that need the consumer has — that niche that hasn’t been filled yet. Go meet that need using a profitable business model and your 2011 will be beautiful! I’m very excited I can help entrepreneurs and their families find their success through franchising and fulfill their desires for a thriving business. It’s more than a job to me, but a great opportunity to share the success I’ve had with people and help them find the wealth they’ve always dreamed about. I firmly believe entrepreneurs need to cultivate an attitude of achievement and a “create your own destiny” state of mind. If they do, then I believe they can expect great things in their life and business and find the ability to meet the challenges of 2011 with courage and a sense of optimism.