In this paper we seek to contribute to the development of an integrative framework on "critical success factors" by building and examining seven models of restaurants performance. Consistent with the fundamental paradigm of strategy according to which the firm must develop strengths that match the key factors in its industry, we seek to uncover the 'key success factors' in this highly dynamic industry. We examine the impact of the competitive strategy on the performance along two lines: first by testing the impact of strategy as an independent variable on performance; and second by examining the mediating relationship of strategy as it can intervene between the resource base of the firm and performance. In doing so, we offer an expanded definition of co-alignment, moving away from questions that examine fit as "when to questions that ask "why or how".