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This world's a cruel place, and even well-intentioned, high-quality restaurant concepts will fail with so many new competitors. This dog-eat-dog mantra applies doubly in overheated categories like pizza, burritos and, of course, better burgers.

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It only took 10 minutes for Joey “Jaws” Chestnut to snatch victory from the jaws of Matt “the Megatoad” Stonie during the 7th Annual Smoke's Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship in Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, October 1.

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I'm older. I've figured some things out. It's not like I'm back at the first Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, the dealmaking event put on by our sister publication, The Restaurant Finance Monitor, every November. I was a mere youngster back then, and was one of the few women in the room at the time, and for the next few years after that, as well.

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Consider the plight of an architect working with a brand that's starting to franchise. On one hand is the founder. “They've put their heart and soul and passion into creating the brand and the culture,” says Greg Terry, design director at Studio Four Design in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Rich Wagner's life has gotten easier in recent years. As the co-founder and senior vice president of Nature's Table, a 68-unit healthier-eating fast-casual concept started in Florida in the late 1980's, he's seen the concept pick up some momentum as Americans have generally started favoring healthier and more transparent restaurants.

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The name Two Maids and a Mop makes perfect sense for a residential cleaning service, until you begin to hear about the franchisor's extreme thriftiness while growing the business, and you start to do the math. And then you can't help worrying, which maid gets the mop?

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Jeff Gill sat with his head in his hands, unsure of what he was going to do next. It was the early 2000s, and he had bought a business opportunity called Chips Away, which repaired paint chips and bumper scuffs on high-end cars.

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If there had been an opening in our cover story line-up earlier than November, I would have been the one to break the news that Valerie Daniels-Carter is the coolest woman in Wisconsin. As it was, e-magazine PureWow chose Daniels-Carter back in September to represent Wisconsin in its state-by-state listing of cool women doing impressive things.