Personnel Updates:
AFC Enterprises(dba Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen) announced that Ralph Bower has been named President U.S. operations.
Asian Concepts Franchising Corp. (dba Wok Box) named Al Story as COO and Lars Fredborg and Nelson Wong as Regional Directors.
Boloco named James Lux as VP of Information Technology.
Boston Marketappointed Sara Rosenberg Bitorf as Chief Brand Officer; she was most recently at Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association selected Donna Dooher as its new Chair.
Cedar Fairannounced Craig Grimes as the new VP of Foodservice; he was most recently with Levy Restaurants.
Church’s Chicken appointed Michael Mader as Senior VP of Global Strategy, Planning, and Alliances, and John Barnett as Senior VP of Global Supply Chain and Purchasing.
Churchill Downs reported the resignation of Rohit Thukral as Exec VP Technology Initiatives.
Denny’s Corporation’s COO Robert Rodriguez is no longer with the company.
Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants promoted Timothy Sharp to VP of Operations.
DineEquityannounced that Applebee’s VP of Culinary and Menu Strategy Shannon Johnson and IHOP’s Executive Director of Communications Patrick Lenow have left the company; replacements are being sought. IHOP Senior VP of Operations Jim Perros retired and Tom Coelho was promoted to VP of Operations but the company is still looking to fill the Senior VP position.
Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. announced the appointment of Ginger Gregory as  Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.
Einstein Noah Restaurant Group appointed Brian L. Unger to Chief Restaurant Officer.
Farmer Bros. Co. hired Michael Keown as CEO/President.
Freebirds World Burrito named Dave Coussirat as Director of Operations for OK and TX and Bonnie El Halta as Director of Operations Support.
Gatti’s Pizza named Richard Snead as CEO/President, succeeding Michael Mrlik.
Giordano’s hired Yorgo Koutsogiorgas as CEO and Brent Johnson as CFO.
Kona Grill promoted Christi Hing to CFO.
McDonald’s Corporation announced that Vice Chairman/CEO Jim Skinner will retired effective 6/30/12; current President/COO Don Thompson will succeed him.
Moxie’s Restaurants LP hired Alex Chen as its Culinary Architect.
MTR Gaming Group appointed Troy J. Buswell as VP, General Manager of Scioto Downs Casino & Racetrack.
Panera Breadannounced that Founder/Executive Chairman will become Co-CEO with President Bill Moreton.
Perkins & Marie Callender’s named Jeffrey Warne as CEO, effective 4/9/12; he was most recently with O’Charley’s and succeeds Jay Trungale.
Spot Coffee (Canada) Ltd. announced the appointment of Anton Ayoub as President, replacing Raymond Stapell.
Starbucks Coffee Company announced the promotion of Adam Brotman to Chief Digital Officer and Curt Garner to CIO.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide named Vincent Gillet the Global Brand Leader for W Hotels Worldwide and Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts, effective immediately.
The Wendy’s Company announced that Stephen D. Farrar, COO North America, will retire 4/20/12; the position will not be filled. Wendy’s also appointed Craig S. Bahner as Chief Marketing Officer.
Tropical Smoothie Café hired Cyndi Richardson as VP of Marketing.
Vail Resortsnamed Co-President John Garnsey as President of International to focus on expansion of the company outside North America.
White Lodging promoted Michael Hildum to VP of Region 6 (TX).
Wild Wing Cafénamed William E. Prather as CEO, succeeding Edna Morris. David A. Leonardo was named Chief Development Officer.
Financial Focus:
AFC Enterprises(dba Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen) reported total revenue of $153,800,000 for the year ending 12/25/11.
Burger King Holdings reported total revenues of $2,335,700,000 for the year ending 12/31/11.
Canterbury Park Holding Corporation reported net operating revenue of $40,586,426 for the year ending 12/31/11; concessions sales were $5,042,387.
Carmike Cinemas Inc. reported total operating revenue of $462,209,000 for the year ending 12/31/11.
Churchill Downs reported net revenues of $696,854,000 for the year ending 12/31/11.
Cosi Inc. reported total revenue of $102,135,000 for the year ending 1/2/12.
Craft Brew Alliance reported sales of $161,000 for the year ending 12/31/11.
Domino’s Pizza Inc. reported total revenues of $1,652,200,000 for the year ending 1/1/12.
Einstein Noah Restaurant Group reported total revenues of $423,595,000 for the year ending 1/3/12.
Hastings Entertainment reported total revenues of $496,387,000 for the year ending 1/31/12.
J. Alexander’s reported net sales of $157,175,000 for the year ending 1/1/12.
Jamba Juice reported total revenue of $226,434,000 for the year ending 1/3/12.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. reported total revenue of $403,217,000 for the year ending 1/29/12.
MTR Gaming reported net revenues of $428,086,000 for the year ending 12/31/11.
Pizza Pizza Limited reported revenues of $218,542,000 for the year ending 1/1/12.
Reading International reported revenue of $245,805,000 for the year ending 12/31/11.
TravelCenters of America reported revenues of $7,888,857,000 for the year ending 12/31/11.
U-Swirl Inc. reported total revenue of $2,637,000 for the year ending 12/31/11.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
Apollo Global Management said its affiliate will buy the operator of indoor water park resorts Great Wolf Resorts.
Carrols Restaurant Group has agreed to acquire an additional 278 Burger King restaurants from Burger King Corp., which will make Carrols the largest franchisee in the system.
Frisch’s Restaurants announced that Golden Corral Franchising Systems has exercised the right of first refusal and will purchase substantially all of Frisch’s Golden Corral operations and real estate; closing is expected by the end of Frisch’s fiscal year on 5/29/12.
Hersha Hospitality Trust acquired The Rittenhouse Hotel.
Tacala LLCacquired 34 Taco Bell locations in the St. Louis DMA and two in the Knoxville DMA from Taco Bell Corp.; Tacala had acquired 27 St. Louis Taco Bell restaurants the previous month and is now the largest Taco Bell franchisee in the U.S.
The Krystal Company announced it has been acquired by Argonne Capital Group LLC.
Unique Pizza and Subs Corporation reported it has signed a letter of intent to purchase Pizza Fusion Holdings; no timetable was announced.
Industry Insight:
Baja Fresh opened its first store in Singapore.
Baskin-Robbinsannounced a new master licensing agreement to expand the brand in Mexico; 25 new locations are planned for this year and at least 50 more over the next few years.
Benihana Inc.announced that its Board of Directors is exploring strategic alternatives available to the Company, including a possible sale, in order to maximize shareholder value.
Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries has selected MEFranchising as its strategic partner to launch the brand in the Middle East; the first store will open in Saudi Arabia this year.
Booster Juice opened its first location in South America, with a restaurant in Brazil.
Craft Brew Alliance changed its ticker symbol to BREW.
Red Lion Hotels Corporation announced that its board of directors has authorized Bank of America Merrill Lynch to explore strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value, including a potential sale of the company or a strategic combination with a third party. 
Sbarro announced a franchise agreement for 15 restaurant in India.
The Briad Groupis now offering franchise opportunities for its self-serve fro-yo concept CUPS Frozen Yogurt – That’s Hot.
Real Estate:
5 & Diner Franchise Corp. is actively seeking franchisees for the following areas: Philadelphia Tri-State Area for 5-10 new locations; Trenton/Princeton/Brunswick for 3-5 new locations; Edison/New Brunswick/Piscataway/Somerville for 3-5 new locations; Northern New Jersey for 5-10 new locations; Toms River for 1-2 new locations and Freehold for 1-2 new locations.
Baskin-Robbinsis seeking franchisees across Canada, focusing initially on AB, BC, and ON. B-R is also projecting more than 20 restaurant in CA over the next several years and is seeking franchisees for the expansion.
Carrols Restaurant Group will remodel about 450 Burger King locations over the next 3.5 years.
Daphne’s California Greek management is ready to franchise across the country; the company hopes to open 50 locations over the next three years.
Del Taco is planning to open more than 40 restaurant in the Houston market.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened its first location in WA and is searching for additional sites in the state. The company is also searching for sites in the Atlanta market and in the San Francisco Bay area.
Dunkin’ Donutsannounced a franchise agreement for nine restaurants in Omaha and Lincoln NE; the first will open in 2012 and the remainder by 2017. Franchisees are sought for western NE as well as Springfield and Joplin MO.
Noodles & Co. is opening eight locations throughout the Washington DC area this year.
Stevi B’s Pizza signed an agreement for four locations in north AL.
Togo’s Eateries announced a $15 million fund to fuel development in 2012 and beyond.
Woody’s Bar-B-Qopened its first Atlantic Canada location in NS; the company already had locations in BC and ON.
Green Initiatives:
McDonald’shas just announced a major environmental initiative: The company is launching a pilot program to phase out polystyrene beverage cups The company is testing replacement of polystyrene with a double-walled paper hot cup at approximately 2,000 of its restaurants in the U.S., primarily on the West Coast – that represents nearly 15 percent its U.S. restaurants.