Sales growth: 29.4 percent
Like most chains in the polished-casual realm, Rusty Bucket wants to present more like an independent operator than a multi-unit company—but this 18-unit concept is hitting the mark, offering a higher quality product with nearly all the ingredients sourced fresh and the cocktails creatively handcrafted. Sales growth stands testament to the brand’s success, topping $43 million in 2014. Among the brand’s more innovative strategies is a sophisticated approach to digital marketing that includes having a marketing ambassador on hand at each store. Rusty Bucket opened two stores in 2014 and plans to open five stores this year—two in Detroit suburbs, and one each in Charlotte, North Carolina; Sarasota, Florida; and Cincinnati, Ohio. The goal is to expand into a new market each year: Charlotte in 2015 and likely Denver in 2016.