Innovating the restaurant market: Inside the Industry with some leading restaurateurs

By RaeAnne Marsh | In Business

“Greater Phoenix is such an amazing incubator for up-and-coming restaurant concepts and has become a dining destination attracting visitors from across the nation and all parts of the world,” says Joey Maggiore, co-founder of The Maggiore Group. “It has really been growing quickly and it has been astonishing to be a part of our restaurant industry’s massive growth and see it exponentially expand.”

Kyu Utsunomiya, partner and co-founder of Conceptually Social, describes the restaurant market in Greater Phoenix over the past three years as a roller coaster ride. “Pre-pandemic, we were seeing significant growth of new concepts, both locally owned and by national brands. Whether QSR [quick service and fast casual] or elevated dining, the market was consistently announcing new openings and expanding into new development projects all over the Valley. This significant growth saturated the market in several areas of Greater Phoenix and caused many smaller, locally owned restaurants to be unable to compete.” He points to Downtown Phoenix and Roosevelt Row as prime examples of that impact and notes that 2020 and the pandemic shutdown impact would test the resolve of the industry. “The earlier rapid growth ceased completely and, sadly, much of the industry permanently closed doors. Only the well-funded or those who could quickly access government assistant would survive the year plus shutdown.

“Fast forward to today,” Utsunomiya continues, “and the restaurant market has not only rebounded but back at rapid growth again and in many areas, becoming saturated once again. The Greater Phoenix market has never offered such a variety of concepts, price points, style of service and cuisines.”


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November 2022