Industry Updates: Restaurant & Foodservice – September 2015
Another Broken Egg of America, Inc. announced the addition of Tom Petska as the Director of Franchise Sales.
Applebee’s President Steven Layt resigned and DineEquity CEO Julia Stewart will serve as Interim President.
Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. named Greg Vojnovic Chief Development Officer, a newly created position, effective 9/8/15. Vojnovic previously held the same position at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc.
Back Yard Burgers hired Angela Murray as the company’s Controller, Lorraine Brenner has been elevated to Director of Human Resources and Field Training from her previous role as Human Resources Manager, and Robert Fuller has been tapped as Back Yard Burgers’ VP of Operations and Supply Chain.
Bob Evans Farms, Inc. named Douglas N. Benham to the new position of Executive Chair. The company further announced that Mark Hood, CFO, Mike Townsley, President of BEF Foods, John Fisher, Executive VP and Chief Concept Officer, and Colin Daly, General Counsel and Secretary, would comprise an Office of the Chair, reporting to Mr. Benham. This new leadership structure, which became effective 8/27/15, replaces the Office of the Interim CEO, which was established in December 2014, and will continue until a new CEO is named.
Boston Market appointed four new members to its management team: Jim Brandon joins the concept as VP of Finance; Daryl Still was named VP of Supply Chain; Jason Lessman was promoted to the newly created role of VP of Human Resources; and Dan Ledgard was promoted to the newly created position of VP of Operations and Licensee Services.
Church’s Chicken promoted Jennifer Chasteen to Senior Director of Brand and Product Strategy.
Cinemark Holdings, Inc. announced Mark Zoradi has been named to succeed Tim Warner as CEO effective 8/24/15. Mr. Warner, after a nearly 20-year career at Cinemark and more than a 50-year career in the movie theatre industry, has been named as Cinemark’s Executive Vice-Chairman. Mr. Warner will work closely with Mr. Zoradi and the management team to facilitate a smooth transition. Mr. Warner has also agreed to provide consulting services to the company after the expiration of his employment agreement.
Darden Restaurants, Inc. announced that Bill Lenehan has been named CEO of Four Corners Property Trust, Inc., the real estate company that is expected to be separated from Darden later this year in a spin-off, split-off or similar transaction. Four Corners is expected to elect to be subject to tax as a real estate investment trust, effective 1/1/16. Until the separation, Lenehan will report to Darden CEO Gene Lee. Lenehan’s appointment as CEO of Four Corners is effective immediately.
Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. announced that Michael R. Shutley joined the company as VP of Federal & State Government Affairs. Reporting directly to Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications Officer, Mr. Shutley will work closely with senior management to develop and implement the company’s legislative initiatives and to advocate for Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins franchisees at all levels of government, both domestically and internationally. Additionally, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that Suzanne DeChant has been appointed as Regional VP for the Philadelphia / Baltimore / Washington (PBW) region and upstate NY.
Farmer Boys Restaurants named Larry Rusinko to the position of Chief Marketing Officer. Rusinko replaces Karen Eadon, Farmer Boys’ former CMO, who was promoted to President and COO in May 2015.
GRILLiT, Inc. Ghazi Hajj, CEO of Healthy & Tasty Brands Corporation, of which GRILLiT is a signature brand, announced effective 8/12/15, Mr. Hajj has resigned as CEO and has been replaced by Mr. Henry L. Klein as his successor. Mr. Hajj will remain with GRLT as an advisor.
Hospitality Management Corporation (HMC) named Patrick Bajdek as VP of Development.
Huddle House named Christina Chambers as VP of Franchise Development.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation named Samie Barr as VP of Global Brands. Barr will be responsible for the brand development and management of the Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt brands.
Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center, a Starwood Hotel, named Michael McDonald Director of Culinary and Executive Chef.
Logan’s Roadhouse CFO James Hagan resigned, just three months after he was named to the position. The company named Edmund Schwartz, former Chief Administrative Officer at Pet Supplies Plus Inc., Interim CFO. There is no word on a search for Hagan’s permanent replacement.
Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles named Greg Cutchall CEO and Partner. Cutchall is President and CEO of Cutchall Management Co., which operates several restaurants in Omaha, including Paradise Bakery & Cafe, Burger Star and Rock Bottom Brewery. He will open three company-owned Lo-Lo’s — in Omaha, Dallas and Las Vegas — by the end of this year as part of the partnership.
Lone Star Restaurant Supply appointed Darren Anderson as President and COO, and promoted Steve Schaefer to Executive VP of Operations.
Marriott International, Inc. appointed Tricia Primrose as Global Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer.
Metz Culinary Management hired Brian Bachman as VP of Purchasing.
Newk’s Eatery named Robert Nygren CFO and promoted Alan Wright to Chief Marketing Officer.
Papa John’s International, Inc. promoted Robert Thompson to Senior VP of Marketing and Edmond Heelan to Senior VP of North American Operations, Global Operations Support, and Training.
Red Lion Hotels Corporation announced that its Board of Directors appointed Robert G. Wolfe as Chairman.
Sauce Pizza & Wine named Bryan Vincentini as COO.
Shoney’s added two new all-stars to its Executive Team: Michael Wozniak as Shoney’s new COO, and Eric Cleveland as Shoney’s new Executive Chef.
Target Corporation promoted John Mulligan to the newly created role of Executive VP and COO, effective 9/1/15, and Cathy Smith as Executive VP and CFO. Both Mulligan and Smith will report to Target’s chairman and CEO, Brian Cornell.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf named John Fuller, formerly CEO of Johnny Rockets, its next President and CEO.
The Krystal Company announced that Scott Gallagher will be joining the company as its VP of New Assets and Implementation, effective immediately. He will report to CEO Omar Janjua.
The Wayfarer announced Chris Shea as Executive Chef.
Wayback Burgers enlisted Chef Dale Miller to serve as a Consultant of Menu Development and Innovation.
Wyndham Hotel Group announced the appointment of Eduardo Cruz del Rio as VP of Operations for Latin America and the Caribbean. Cruz Del Rio will report to Paulo Pena, Wyndham Hotel Group’s President and Managing Director for the region. Additionally, the company appointed Lisa Borromeo Checchio as VP of Brand Marketing.
Yum! Brands, Inc. appointed Micky Pant as CEO of Yum! Restaurants China, succeeding Sam Su who announced his plans to retire as Chairman and CEO of the China Division. Su will serve as an Executive Advisor through February 2016 and also remain on the Yum! Brands, Inc. Board of Directors to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. Additionally, the company promoted Joey Wat and Peter Kao to the position of CEO of KFC and Pizza Hut China Division, respectively. Roger Eaton will become CEO of the KFC Division outside of China and India.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Food Management Partners acquired Ovation Brands Inc., which owns five buffet brands and a casual-dining location. With the acquisition of Ovation Brands’ Ryan’s, Fire Mountain, Country Buffet, Old Country Buffet, and Hometown Buffet concepts, San Antonio-based FMP’s portfolio has grown to 500 restaurants and more than $1B in annual sales. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ovation Brands has more than 300 restaurants in 35 states.
Frisch’s Restaurants, Inc. approved a merger transaction with an affiliate of NRD Partners I, L.P. valuing the acquisition at approximately $174.5M. Following the closing, the company’s shares are no longer trading on the NYSE MKT and the company was delisted on 9/4/15.
MTY Food Group Inc. reached a binding agreement to acquire 60% of Big Smoke Burger. The consideration for the transaction is expected to be $3M, paid from MTY’s cash on hand. The closing of the transaction is scheduled to happen in September 2015 and remains subject to several closing conditions as well as to standard regulatory approvals. Following the closing of the transaction, the operations will be relocated to MTY’s offices in Richmond Hill, ON. Big Smoke currently has 17 locations in Canada, the United States, and the Persian Gulf region. Its founder Mustafa Yusuf will continue to own 40% of the company and continue his functions after the deal close.
Yum! Brands Inc. sold the two-unit Super Chix Chicken & Custard concept to its founder and an investment group founder Nick Ouimet, now CEO of Super Chix. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ouimet said the new Super Chix company plans to open two to three Super Chix restaurants in 2016 and three to four units in 2017. The first Super Chix opened in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, TX, in April 2014. Both restaurants have about 50 seats, with small patio areas.
Frisch’s Restaurants, Inc. has previously notified the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) about its Special Shareholders’ Meeting. It is the company’s expectation that its shareholders will approve a merger transaction with an affiliate of NRD Partners at that meeting and that a delisting of the Company’s shares should occur effective with the closing of the approved merger transaction.
Applebee’s and IHOP announced the two companies will consolidate headquarters in Glendale, CA, as part of parent company DineEquity’s larger consolidation effort. DineEquity expects the brands to grow faster with all functions in one place.
ARC Group announced the company will continue to market the Dick’s Wings & Grill brand at all Jaguars preseason and regular season home football games at EverBank Field.
Buffalo Wild Wings opened its first restaurant in Dubai.
Focus Brands Inc. announced the company is rolling out on-demand delivery service for all six foodservice chains in its portfolio, including Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Schlotzsky’s. Focus Brands will kick off delivery service at 34 select locations in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Portland, and San Francisco.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams announced the company will reopen its production kitchen, but will no longer make its ice cream on site.
KFC announced the company will add 400 locations in Turkey and sales are expected to grow more than 10% annually in Turkey, making the country the second-biggest growth market after Russia.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. signed a development agreement to open 24 Krispy Kreme shops throughout the country of Peru over the next five years and announced intentions to open in Myanmar.
McDonald’s announced the company is branching out into western Siberia after reaching a new agreement with a franchisee. The Oak Brook-based burger giant already has 500 restaurants in 125 cities in Russia. Now there will be 20 more in the Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, and Altay regions of western Siberia.
Panera Bread Co. tapped Charlotte, NC, as its second market for delivery service. The option is now available at 15 Charlotte-area locations, with plans to expand in the near future.
Pizza Patron stated the company will open the concept’s first standalone location as one of the 12 stores it will launch by end of 2015. The new setup is 1,200-sq. ft. and includes a drive up window.
PizzaRev signed a franchise agreement to bring PizzaRev to Mexico. The agreement calls for 20 PizzaRev restaurants to be developed throughout Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Nuevo León, and Coahuila.
Red Mango announced the company is able to offer frozen yogurt to the high schools through its partner Aramark, which provides food services and concessions to school districts.
Schlotzsky’s and Moe’s Southwest Grill partnered with Postmates to bring restaurant delivery to select markets.
Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill announced the company is moving forward with a new flagship prototype design that company officials hope will cement the brand’s premium fast-casual positioning. The new prototype, which opened in Northridge, CA, in July 2015, is the 23-unit chain’s first freestanding restaurant built from the ground up. The 2,800-sq-ft restaurant features different seating areas, including a nine-seat bar, tufted leather booths, a community table, and a communal fire pit on the patio. An open kitchen emphasizes scratch-made cooking.
Starbucks announced the company will sell wine, craft beer, and small plates during evening hours at 24 more locations, increasing the total number of locations in the incremental rollout to 70 across the U.S. The company, which first launched the service in 2010, also applied for liquor licenses at hundreds of other U.S. locations and hopes to expand the program to those stores by the end of the year.
Studio Movie Grill announced the opening of its 23rd national location and second in CA. The 41,311-sq-ft theater will house nine auditoriums and will be part of the 628,000-sq-ft upscale outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment destination also anchored by Macy’s. SMG Simi Valley is slated to open 10/22/2015.
Subway announced plans for a major brand overhaul, possibly shifting its focus to redesigning existing stores rather than opening new ones. This could include updates like new uniforms for workers and digital displays. The company may also make updates to its menu, removing fillers, and taking additives out of food.
Target announced starting in October 2015 the company will roll out a new cafe concept, Freshii, which will go into nine stores, while Pizza Hut will open restaurants in three stores featuring a limited menu of “artisan” pies. Two Minneapolis stores will get outposts of D’Amico & Sons, a local Italian restaurant. About 1,700 out of Target’s nearly 1,800 stores have cafes. In the test markets, the cafes will be replaced with a Freshii, a D’Amico & Sons, or Pizza Hut.
Texas de Brazil opened at Central City in Seoul, South Korea. The new 7800-sq-ft restaurant accommodates 150 guests and features a chef’s table, an open-view grill in the dining area, a signature wine wall, and a bar/lounge area. Located in Gangnam, the new Seoul location is the company’s 40th restaurant and 5th international location.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf announced the signing of an exclusive area development agreement to introduce its premium beverages and innovative brand culture to China.
The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. announced its first restaurant in the United Arab Emirates has opened in Dubai. This is the fifth international location for the company, which made its overseas debut earlier this year in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Villa Enterprises announced the company opened two restaurants at SIMON Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, at 498 Red Apple Court Central Valley, NY. The restaurants include a new prototype designed South Philly Cheesesteaks & Fries, and a new Villa restaurant concept, Tony + Benny’s Authentic Brooklyn Pizzeria, conveniently located at the food court. Tony + Benny’s new restaurant is named after brothers, Anthony and Biagio Scotto, who came from Italy to the U.S. with their father, Villa Italian Kitchen Founder, Michele Scotto.
Zaxby’s Franchising Inc. opened its 700th restaurant on 8/17/15, in Charlotte, NC.
American Social, the upscale sports bar and farm-to-table restaurant that originated in South FL on Las Olas Boulevard and expanded to downtown Miami, has announced a new location in Tampa. The more than 12,000-sq-ft, bay-front space at The Pointe on Harbour Island contains more than 8,000-sqr-ft of interior space and more than 4,000-sq-ft of bay-front patio dining, which includes more than 2,500-sq-ft of private event and patio space. Adjacent to the new developments recently announced in downtown Tampa, AmSo is walking distance from the Tampa Bay Convention Center and Amalie Arena.
Baskin-Robbins announced the company is recruiting franchisees in CA to develop new ice cream shops in San Diego and San Francisco. Currently, there are more than 450 Baskin-Robbins locations throughout CA, with one new shop in development in Fresno.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s stated that the company expects to open 11 new stores in four states by the end of 2015 and the brand expects to reach 250 stores by 2020. The company also opened a second location in Kuwait this year.
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza announced expansion plans to open its first AR location in Little Rock.
Bojangles announced the company will open stores in Griffin, Marietta, Lawrenceville, and Doraville, GA.
Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q’s fast casual sister concept, Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q, signed two more franchisees set to open later this fall in Augusta, GA, and St. Augustine, FL. These will be the fourth and fifth restaurants in the growing concept, which will now have locations in FL, GA, and SC. In addition, multiunit deals are being consummated with groups for the FL panhandle, Atlanta, and Manchester, NH, areas.
Burger 21 stated the company is targeting Houston for future restaurant sites and prospective franchisees. The Tampa, FL-based company currently has 16 locations open and more than 25 franchised units in development across the country with further plans for continued expansion.
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop opened its first WA location in Tukwila, which marks the chain’s expansion to 18 states and federal districts, putting the sandwich franchise in over a third of the U.S.
CKE Restaurants Inc. announced expansion plans for its Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Canada. The company currently has 16 locations and 10 franchisee groups with contracts to build more.
Corner Bakery Cafe expanded into PA with the addition of eight neighborhood cafes throughout northern Pittsburgh. Additionally, the company is seeking growth opportunities throughout Bergen, Hudson, Union, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties in NJ during the coming 18 months.
Cowboy Chicken signed a multi-unit store development agreement that will expand the Cowboy Chicken brand to north TX and south central OK, including the counties of Grayson, Hunt, Cooke, Bryan, and Carter.
Del Taco announced the company is seeking growth opportunities in primary markets throughout TX during the coming 18 months.
Diversified Restaurant Holdings, Inc., parent company of Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern and one of the largest franchisees for Buffalo Wild Wings, announced that it has signed an amended area development agreement with Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. to open ten additional Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in MI and FL over the next five years.
Dunkin’ Donuts signed a multi-unit store development agreement with new franchise group to develop three new restaurants in Springfield, MO. The first restaurant is planned to open at 4020 S. Campbell Ave in December 2015, with the remainder opening by 2019.
Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee have teamed up to launch a cobranded coffee-and-bagels concept in Colorado Springs, CO. Parent company, JAB Holdings, plans to open 20 of the cobranded units by the end of the year, beginning with the CO and MN markets, according to a news release. A second Colorado Springs location is slated to open later this month.
Firehouse Subs announced plans for expansion into Canada specifically with plans to open more than 90 locations in the Ontario market.
Fogo de Chao announced it will open five new company-owned restaurant locations in the U.S. Over the next five years, Fogo plans to grow the company-owned restaurant count by at least 10% annually, with the long term goal of at least 100 additional churrascarias in the U.S., in addition to international expansion with qualified joint venture partners.
Fresh To Order announced expansion plans for its first IL location in Chicago and three other major market expansions in TX, PA, NC, and SC. Fresh To Order also has open units in high-traffic growth areas such as the CNN Center in Atlanta and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop announced the company will open its first FL location in Brandon by the end of the year. The TX-based chain is in the middle of an expansion throughout FL, with franchisees also targeting the Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Orlando areas.
Hurricane Grill & Wings announced the signing of a new multi-development agreement that will bring the concept to the state of CA.
IKEA broke ground where it is constructing a new, larger store in Burbank, CA, less than one mile away from the company’s oldest store in the Western United States. Until the new, roomier store opens on the new site in spring 2017, customers can continue to shop at the existing IKEA Burbank. (Nearby IKEA stores are in Carson, Costa Mesa, and Covina.) The current 242,000-sq-ft IKEA Burbank, the first IKEA store in CA and sixth in the U.S., opened November 1990 on 6.4 acres along I-5 at San Fernando Boulevard. The future 456,000-sq-ft store and its more than 1,700 convenient parking spaces will be built on 22 acres west of San Fernando Boulevard and south of Providencia Avenue, providing customers with improved accessibility.
In-N-Out Burger announced plans to open more stores in OR following the launch of its first store in the state Medford on 9/9/15.
J. Alexander’s Holdings announced plans to bring an upscale restaurant to Lexington, KY, with an opening planned in October 2016.
Kings Point Ventures, a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee, announced plans to open 31 locations within the next seven years in the Indianapolis area.
McAlister’s Deli announced it signed franchise agreements with a new franchise group to open five restaurants in the Phoenix market over the next four years. The brand is targeting Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, and Gilbert to open the new locations. Additionally, the company signed five franchise agreements with plans to open restaurants in the Chicago market over the next four years specifically targeting Lake Villa, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Wheeling, and Arlington Heights, IL.
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers announced the company will open its first MO restaurant in Sunset Hills, a suburb of St. Louis, in March 2016.
MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes opened its first IN location in Noblesville.
Naf Naf Grill announced the company is now expanding across the Midwest and will open a location in Madison, WI.
Pie Five Pizza mentioned the company will open its first GA location in Atlanta.
Pinkberry opened its first Canadian location in Mississauga, ON.
PizzaRev opened its first CO location in Boulder.
Pollo Tropical announced the company will open four remodeled restaurants in Central FL, part of its $20M effort to freshen its image. The new look features brighter colors to go along with the restaurant’s island themed foods. The effort includes the remodeling or opening of 17 restaurants.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. stated the company will open 115 to 150 new restaurants over the rest of 2015.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop opened its first NC location in Greensboro.
Rita’s Italian Ice mentioned the company is continuing its expansion in the Midwest and seeking franchisees to join its team for the KS and MO territory, including two stores and a mobile unit currently open in Wichita, KS.
Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina opened its first of seven GA locations in Alpharetta.
Sbarro announced a nationwide rebranding and the premiere of its first free standing restaurant in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus, OH in October 2015. The new stand-alone concept represents a major innovation for the Sbarro brand, which currently operates more than 800 eateries in shopping malls, airports, and travel plazas in cities across the world. The Clintonville eatery will be located at 3645 N. High St, Columbus, OH and will feature delivery and carry-out services, as well as indoor seating for 20 and an outside patio.
SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza opened seven locations in four states and has three more locations under construction. The growth spurt began in March, when SPIN! Pizza opened a location downtown in Crown Center, a destination popular with both locals and tourists in its Kansas City, MO, home market.
Taco John’s announced plans to build 15 Mexican food franchises in Indianapolis.
Taco Maker mentioned the company is seeking growth opportunities throughout Miami-Dade and Orange counties in FL and in Columbia, Panama, and Venezuela during the coming 18 months.
The Halal Guys opened its first franchised location last week in Chicago; the site is the brand’s first store outside of the home base market in NY. Additionally, The Halal Guys opened two corporate brick-and-mortar restaurants in Manhattan, and has over 200 franchise units in development in territories, including Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, NJ, CT, DC, VA, and the entire state of CA, which sold out within the first months of franchising, as well as a handful of international markets.
World of Beer announced the opening of its newest location, and first in New York City, in Chelsea. This marks the rapidly growing franchise’s fourth tavern in the state of NY. This year, World of Beer has opened 14 taverns and is projecting 12 more taverns by the end of the year.
Zoe’s Kitchen Inc., the fast-casual Mediterranean operator, has set its sights on development in the new market of Denver in 2016. Zoe’s has targeted 31 to 33 new units this year.
IKEA announced recently that as of 9/1/15, all IKEA stores will only sell LED bulbs and lighting to enable customers to live a more sustainable life at home. This bold move was announced in 2012 and IKEA is pleased it has met its commitment. Since 2013, IKEA U.S. customers have purchased 7.6M LED bulbs, helping them collectively save nearly $3B in energy costs.
Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill opened its newest restaurant with an exterior that uses a wood alternative made of recycled plastic, oven hood and air conditioning units have variable speed motors to save energy, and mechanized window coverings are activated by sunlight to reduce the building heat load.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide introduced new technology and dedicated on-property actions, offered conservation-focused guest programs and joined with community partners. In July, Starwood announced that it was nearing its 20% water reduction goal by achieving a 17.26% decline in water consumption since 2008. The reduction follows the launch of Starwood’s 30/20 by 20 environmental goals in 2009, aimed to cut energy use by 30% and water use by 20% by 2020 globally.