FORT MYERS, Fla. (July 15, 2011) – Restaurant Business magazine and recently ranked Rib City as the 11th fastest-growing restaurant chain.

The Future 50 is an annual ranking of the top 50 f­­­­astest growing chains with sales of $25 million to $50 million, as tabulated by Technomic.

 “Expansion and unit growth has become an essential factor for the success of today’s chain restaurant brand,” says Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano. “These brands have taken matters into their own hands by taking risks and investing in their future.”

In 1989, father-and-son team Paul and Craig Peden opened the first Rib City in Fort Myers. Twenty-two years later, their award-winning baby back ribs can be enjoyed in 13 Rib City corporate-owned restaurants in Florida and 16 franchise restaurants located across the country including Washington, Utah, Colorado, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois ­­­­and Maryland.

“We’re still a family-owned operation,” said Craig Peden, Rib City’s president. “Each new franchise is as important as the first.”

Rib City’s menu has stayed true to its Southern roots with items such as traditional barbequed chicken, pork and beef smoked slowly over a hardwood fire.

“The fluctuating economy has been­, and will be, our greatest challenge for growth. We slowed our expansion down when the economy was in really bad shape two or three years ago. Even when things picked up a bit, we had an inkling that the economy was not going to be as fruitful as everybody wanted it to be, so we put franchise opportunities on the back burner. This year we have several new franchises and corporate stores going up, but we’re still controlling our growth to maintain the quality of standards at all our locations,” Craig Peden told Restaurant Business magazine.

According to the magazine, rankings are based on percent change in sales versus 2009.

Built as a time-saving resource for the busy restaurant entrepreneur, collects content that operators can use but often don't have time to find themselves. MonkeyDish’s host publication, Restaurant Business magazine, is published monthly and provides restaurant operators with ideas to drive growth, information on how technology creates opportunities and how to stay ahead of the competition. It exclusively serves regional and emerging chains, multi-concept and high-volume independent restaurants.  

Rib City offers a menu of barbecued meats, specialized sauces and complementary side dishes such as made-from-scratch baked beans and coleslaw. Rib City achieves authentic backyard barbecue flavor by slowly cooking baby back ribs and chicken over selected hardwoods - including Red Oak - carefully balancing heat and cooking time to seal in the distinctive Rib City BBQ taste. Meats can be topped with one of four secret recipe sauces: brown sugar-based sweet sauce, vinegar-based tangy sauce, Carolina mustard sauce or hot sauce. Additional menu items include fried okra, three-cheese fries, fried shrimp, coconut cream and southern pecan pies and more.

Rib City’s complete menu is available online at

Rib City is listed with the Franchise Registry, a list of franchise systems whose franchisees have the benefits of a streamlined review process for U.S. Small Business Administration financings. For franchise information, contact Jack Burges, director of franchise sales, at [email protected].



Melinda Isley, APR, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, ext. 12, [email protected]

Beth Watson, 239-334-8634

Text @RB to 618-202-4618 to sign up for Text Alerts from RiverBender!

Print Version Submit a News Tip