Personnel Updates:

Brinker International, Inc. named David Parsley Senior VP of Supply Chain Management; Parsley most recently served as CEO of Centralized Supply Chain Service, a supply chain co-op buying primarily for DineEquity, Inc.
Crestline Hotels & Resorts announced the promotion of three senior management executives: Edward Hoganson will assume the position of Exec VP of Finance & Business Development; Carolee Ettline Moore is promoted to VP of Sales; and Ryan Hymel is promoted to Director of Finance & Business Development.
Darden Restaurants, Inc. announced new assignments for the leaders of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, its two largest brands: Red Lobster President Kim Lopdrup will become Senior VP of Business Development for Darden; Olive Garden President Dave Pickens will become President of Red Lobster; and John Caron, currently Darden’s Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer, will become President of Olive Garden. JJ Buettgen, currently Darden’s Senior VP of Business Development, will become Darden’s Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer.
Dunkin’ Brands, parent to both Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins, named Neal Yanofsky to the newly created position of President, international.
Frisch’s Restaurants, Inc. announced that Mark R. Lanning will become the company’s VP Finance with the intent that he will also be named the Company’s CFO within three months following a brief transition period working with retiring CFO, Donald H. Walker.
Paramount Restaurant Supply Corp.’s President Stephen McGarry will retire in June; a search for his successor is underway. McGarry was also President of the Foodservice
Equipment Distributors Association and has resigned that post as well.
Penn National Gaming, Inc. announced that Richard St. Jean, 48, has been named General Manager of Hollywood Casino Toledo in Lucas County, OH, which is scheduled to open in the first half of 2012. Penn National also announced that Himbert Sinopoli, currently the General Manager of Hollywood Casino Perryville, has been named General Manager of Hollywood Casino Aurora in Aurora, IL, and Bill Hayles, who previously served the General Manager of the Company’s Black Gold Casino at Zia Park, and most recently was the Assistant General Manager of Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, has been named General Manager of Hollywood Casino Perryville.
Phillips Foods & Seafood Restaurants announce that effective May 1st, Ed Rhodes will move into the newly created position of VP for Sustainability and Aquaculture Development.
Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill named Marc Simon as CEO/President to replace Daniel Pittard.
Tim Hortons Inc. named Paul House interim CEO after former leader Don Schroeder left the company.
Tropicana Entertainment Inc. announced that Anthony Rodio has been appointed President and CEO of Tropicana Atlantic City Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tropicana Entertainment, and Exec VP of Tropicana Entertainment.
Twin Peaks Restaurants has hired Rick Akam as its COO.
Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc. promoted Mary Schell to Senior VP of Government Relations and Corporate Affairs.
Financial Focus:

Buffets, Inc.,
the privately-held restaurant company whose brands include HomeTown Buffet, Old County Buffet and Ryan’s, announced that its Board of Directors has approved the exploration of strategic alternatives aimed at increasing shareholder value.
Isle of Capri Casinos reported net revenues of $1,004,995,000 for the year ending 4/24/11.
Station Casinos received approval to consummate its plan of reorganization and emerge from bankruptcy.
Mergers and Acquisitions:


California Pizza Kitchen, Inc. and Golden Gate Capital announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital will acquire the CPK; the transaction is currently expected to close in the third quarter of this year.
Chairman’s Brand Corp. in Toronto, ON, acquired the New Orleans Pizza chain.
Colabor Group Inc. acquired the assets of Edfrex Inc.
Crumbs Holdings LLC was acquired by 57th Street General Acquisition Corp.
Morgans Group LLC entered into an agreement to acquire the remaining 50% interests that the company does not already own in its food and beverage joint ventures from affiliates of China Grill Management Inc.; Morgans’ ownership interest in the Asia de Cuba brand, and all intellectual property related to the Asia de Cuba brand, will be transferred to CGM. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011. Morgans Hotel Group Co. also announced that it has completed the sale of Royalton and Morgans hotels to an affiliate of FelCor Lodging Trust, Inc.; Morgans will continue to operate the hotels under 15-year management agreements with one 10-year extension option.
MTY Food Group Inc reported an agreement to buy the assets of Jugo Juice International Inc.; the transaction is subject to standard regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of June.
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust announced that it has acquired the Viceroy Miami hotel in downtown Miami, FL.
Publix Super Markets said it is selling Crispers a little more than four years after buying the restaurant chain. The buyer is Healthy Food Concepts LLC, an affiliate of Miami-based investment group Boyne Capital. The sale is expected to close in six to eight weeks.
Roark Capital Group, owner of Focus Brands and McAlister’s Deli, has signed an agreement to acquire the Corner Bakery Café and Il Fornaio brands from Bruckmann Rosser Sherrill & Co.; the transaction is scheduled to be completed in June.
Rycott Wholesale Foods was acquired by Gordon Food Service.
Sbarro said that a potential buyer has expressed interest in acquiring the chain of mostly mall-based pizza restaurants, and the company is now considering a sale as a possible alternative to a previously planned reorganization announced when Sbarro filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April; no further details were provided.
Sysco Canada purchased Bedell’s Foodservice of Ontario.
SYSCO Corporation acquired CA-based Goldberg & Solovy Foods.
Trump Marina Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, was acquired by Fertitta Entertainment and will be renamed Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
U.S. Foodservice announced the purchase of Great Western Meats, a broadline foodservice distributor and provider of fresh-cut portion meats in Central Florida
Industry Insight:


A&W Restaurants is expanding throughout Thailand and Malaysia, aiming to open 100 outlets in four years.
Applebee’s Services, Inc. announced that it has entered into a lease agreement with EHD Holdings, LLC and will move the company’s headquarters and Restaurant Support Center to 8140 Ward Parkway in Kansas City, MO. The move is scheduled to take place by 9/30/11.
Borders Group Inc plans to end a pact with Seattle’s Best Coffee and to begin operating its own in-store cafes; for Seattle‘s Best, the move would mean the closure of more than 200 of its roughly 350 remaining cafes.
Buffalo Wild Wings opened its first Canadian location in Oshawa, ON.
Covelli Enterprises has been chosen to develop new Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Toronto, Canada; the company will expand with 2 or 3 new cafes in the Toronto area this year.
Jamba Juice announced it has signed a master development agreement that calls for 80 stores across Canada over the next 10 years. Locations will begin to open in Canada at the end of
2011.
McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has determined to engage in a sale process as well as a broad evaluation of the Company’s other strategic alternatives, with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors, to enhance value for all McCormick & Schmick’s stockholders.
McDonald’s Corp. is planning its biggest expansion in China by aiming to open 700 new stores by 2013.
Penn Jersey Paper is relocating to 9355 Blue Grass Road, Philadelphia, 19114.
Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. announced the name of its newest casino hotel destination –L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge; the casino is expected to open in the summer of 2012.
Real Estate:


Dunkin’ Donuts announced the signing of a multi-unit store development agreement with Travel Mart, Inc. for 6 new restaurants in Wausau, WI.  The first restaurant will open in 2012 and the remaining 5 units will be developed by 2016. Dunkin’ Donuts also plans to open 36 Dunkin’ Donuts in southeast WI over the next 5 years.
Habit Burger Grill plans to open 3 restaurants in metro Phoenix, AZ, this year with long-term development plans for as many as 15 locations. The Arizona restaurants represent Habit’s first outlets outside CA.
Mountain Mudd Espresso announced a development agreement that calls for 24 locations in Morris County, NJ, by 2016. Mountain Mudd is also expanding into CT through a long-term contract with PJP Coffee Enterprises Inc. The first phase of development includes opening 2 Mountain Mudd kiosks in Hartford and Litchfield counties in 2011, with plans to develop 38 additional franchise locations in the state by early 2016.
Naked Pizza is on pace to have 50-75 open stores by the end of 2011 with locations coming to New York City, Washington, DC, Boulder and Denver, CO, and Princeton, NJ. Naked Pizza also recently awarded franchising rights in Philadelphia and Chicago.
Newk’s Express Cafe has started 2011 with a bang, awarding 24 new franchise locations in the first quarter. Four separate groups have committed to opening restaurants in Jacksonville and St. Augustine, FL., Baton Rouge and Lafayette, LA., MI, VA, and Atlanta, GA.
Schlotzsky’s Deli plans to open about 15 restaurants throughout the Orlando, FL, area in the
next 3-5 years.
Smashburger has signed 5 agreements with franchise partners to open 63 new locations in seven states (AL, CT, FL, LA, NY, NC, OH); the new agreements bring the number of planned locations for the restaurant to 463. It plans to open 75 more nationwide by the end of the year.
Steak Escape is beginning an aggressive expansion and remodeling plan designed to move the company away from shopping malls; it plans to open 33 restaurants in central OH during the next 5 years as it expands into freestanding and strip-center locations.
Tijuana Flats plans to open locations in New Tampa and Bradenton, FL, by the end of 2011; the chain plans to open another 4-5 locations in the Tampa Bay area within 18 months.
Tossed announced that it has signed a franchise agreement authorizing the development of 5 new Tossed locations throughout Boston, MA
UFood Restaurant Group, Inc. announced the company has contracted with franchisee Manuel Rivera to develop and operate 8 UFood Grills in Puerto Rico. The first of the units is projected to open in fall 2011.
Wingstop has announced a development agreement to open 15 restaurants in Seattle-Tacoma.
Technology News:


McAlister’s Corporation has selected Wand Corporation to provide an enterprise level Digital Menu Board solution for all McAlister’s Deli corporate and franchise digital sites.
McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada is partnering with Bell Mobility to offer free and unlimited wireless internet access at more than 1,000 restaurants across the country.
Pizza Hut became the first national pizza chain to launch an ordering application for the iPad. The nation’s largest pizza chain also launched an app for smartphones running the Android system.
White Castle has added online ordering to all of its 400-plus locations in 11 states following a test in Minneapolis in March.
Green Initiatives:


Darden Restaurants, Inc. announced the grand openings of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants in the Arundel Mills shopping center in Hanover, Md. The new restaurants are part of Darden’s Sustainable Restaurant Design initiative, which incorporates sustainable design elements for all new restaurants and, when possible, restaurant remodels.  The initiative’s goal is to limit business impact on the environment while also enhancing operational efficiency.  Sustainable design elements featured in all three new restaurants include recycled building materials, increased use of natural light and energy-efficient equipment and fixtures.  Darden plans to seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for all three restaurants.