Fast Company has released its annual list of the Most Innovative Companies for 2013, as well as Most Innovative Companies by category, including food. The top 10 Most Innovative Companies In Food includes only two restaurants—Applebee’s and LYFE Kitchen.
Applebee’s was ranked No. 2 on the list for its sense of humor in advertising and its system-wide brand revitalization. The company hired Saturday Night Live star Jason Sudeikis last year to voice its latest ad campaign, “See You Tomorrow.” The chain also sold off 479 company-owned stores, which leaves 99 percent of the 1,954 U.S. locations in the hands of franchisees.
"As America's great American neighborhood grill and bar for more than 30 years and a fixture in communities across the country, Applebee's is committed to building on our strengths and recognizing that we can always get better," says Applebee's president Mike Archer. "We and our franchisees view tomorrow as another opportunity to do whatever it takes to make sure that we see our guests every day. We are honored that Fast Company has recognized us as an innovative brand."
LYFE Kitchen ranked No. 6 on the list for using fast-food practices to sell healthy food on a mass-market scale. The team of former McDonald’s execs expected to have revenues of $2.4 million in its first year at its first location, in Palo Alto, and beat estimates by 20 percent. The second location, in Culver City, Calif., will open in February 2013, and LYFE aims to open 250 more outlets nationwide in the next five years. The company also offers catering as well as frozen entrees available at Safeway stores in the San Francisco area and Hawaii, and nationwide through Amazon, AmazonFresh, HSN.com, and Fresh Direct.
According to Fast Company, the Most Innovative Companies initiative is the publication's most significant, high-profile editorial effort of the year. Fast Company's editorial team spends months gathering and sifting data to identify enterprises that exemplify the best in business from across the economy and around the globe. This year's honorees include other major brands like Nike and Amazon.