Restaurants are scrambling to meet new demands from diners who want cuisine they believe is healthy, responsibly-sourced, budget-friendly and often ethnic or regional. Diners also want meals delivered to them quickly, either in a setting that is vibrant, or in the relative peace and quiet of their own homes. All the new requirements are spawning a wide array of restaurant types and a lot of M&A along the way.

Since the recession, consumers have spent less money on dining out. As the restaurant industry has come under pressure, the strongest concepts have survived, and consolidation is now rampant. Dealmaking is currently very active, with private equity firms, strategic buyers and venture capitalists investing in seven fast-growing categories:

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