One of the top dogs in the casual-dining space back in the day, Bennigan's suffered a bad case of what Paul Mangiamele calls "brand drift." In taking its eye off the ball, Bennigan's failed to make changes that would keep the chain relevant and competitive. Mangiamele, an industry veteran who took the reins in May 2011 and has written about the chain's renaissance in his book "Bennigan's Return to Relevance...Bleeding Green 25/8," leads the charge to rebrand.

For the past 20 years, our firm has helped leading consumer products companies, including Harley-Davidson, Coca-Cola, Whole Foods, Kraft, Cadbury, JM Smucker and many others, figure out how to manifest their brands in places, spaces and experiences. We've also had the opportunity to work closely with many impressive local and regional retailers, grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants as they try to build their brand empires and expand their reach.

Lux Research, an independent research firm specializing in emerging technology, says the green commercial building sector is expected to grow by $280 billion globally by 2020. Here are five trends driving that growth:

Location may still be king, but in today’s restaurant real estate market, strong business intelligence must support curb appeal.

Bar Louie, a neighborhood bar and restaurant chain, has kicked off an aggressive national expansion plan, projecting 40 new openings for 2013 and 2014. In addition, Bar Louie has plans for nearly 100 new corporate and 100 franchise locations across the United States within the next 5 years.

It’s a small but growing practice that’s satisfying some chains’ need for speed and uniformity.

It could be said that behind every successful restaurant brand is a crack legal team working to defend the concept, protect intellectual property, draft critical documents, ensure compliance, negotiate with regulators, manage franchise relations, and anticipate and manage disputes. Chicago-based Cheng Cohen is a leading franchise law firm and its co-founder Amy Cheng is an award-winning lawyer: She was recently honored as Best Lawyers 2014 Chicago Franchise Law "Lawyer of the Year." rd+d tapped Cheng for an update on some of the thorniest legal issues franchisors face today — and a little pro bono advice.