Personnel Update

Bar Louie hired Jill Szymanski as Director of Franchise and Real Estate to support the company’s strategic franchise growth plans in markets across the United States.

Barcelona Wine Bars & Restaurants hired Chef Christopher Lee as its Director of Culinary.

Biscuitville Fresh Southern named former Yum! Brands Inc. executive Jim Metevier as the company’s President.

BR Guest Hospitality announced the company’s CEO James Gersten has left the company.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream hired Jennifer Brinker as its VP of Marketing and Product Development.

Captain D’s announced that Phil Russo joined the company as VP of Real Estate.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group appointed Ashish “Alex” Chopra as Director of Development for the U.S. Southwest Region.

Chipotle Mexican Grill hired Curt Garner as CIO. Garner, who held the same position at Starbucks Coffee Corporation, will join Chipotle effective 11/23/15, and become the company’s first CIO.

Churchill Downs Incorporated appointed Marcia A. Dall to serve as the company’s Exec VP & CFO. She will report to CEO William C. Carstanjen, and will assume her new role on 10/12/15.

Corner Bakery Cafe and Il Fornaio announced that restaurant industry veteran Frank Paci has been named CEO of both companies. Paci assumes the position previously held by Mike Hislop who will remain Chairman of the Board. He most recently served as President and CEO at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc.

Cosi Inc. appointed William (Willy) Nicolini as VP of Operations, effective immediately.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. CFO, Lawrence Hyatt, announced he will retire by the end of the 2016. Hyatt has served as CFO of the Lebanon, TN-based family-dining chain since January 2011. The company said he will participate in the search for his successor and assist with the transition.

Craft Brew Alliance Chairman, Kurt R. Widmer, will retire at the end of the year. At that time, he will assume the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus. Mr. Widmer will remain in his role through 12/31/15 to support the transition as CBA’s Board of Directors engages in the process of selecting a new Chairperson.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. appointed Matt Broad as its Senior VP of General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.  In this role, Broad assumes responsibility for all legal affairs, including corporate governance, labor and employment law, development law, litigation, and regulatory compliance.  He will report to Darden CEO Gene Lee.

Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. named Chef Nico Murillo as its newest Director of Research and Development.

Famous Brands International, the parent company to the TCBY Yogurt and Mrs. Fields Cookies brands, named Jonathan T. Drake CEO.

Farmer Bros. Co. appointed Isaac N. Johnston Jr. as Treasurer and CFO.

Hospitality Management Corporation promoted Del Robinette to VP of Sales and Marketing and George Garzzoria as Regional Director of Sales and Marketing.

International Franchise Association announced that President and CEO, Steve Caldeira, is stepping down after efforts to align on a new contract failed. Robert Cresanti, IFA Executive VP of Government Relations and Public Policy was named Interim COO of the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group. The board has formed a search committee to find a replacement for Calderia.

Jamba, Inc. announced that James D. White retired as the company’s President, CEO, and Chairman of its Board of Directors, effective 10/1/15. The Board has formed a search committee to identify a successor CEO, and Mr. White will remain in his current position to help oversee Jamba’s operations until a successor has been identified.

Johnny Rockets appointed Calvin Harris to the newly created position of Director of Culinary Innovation. Harris’ responsibilities include recipe and product development, testing, and implementation. Johnny Rockets also appointed Naresh Vinod Worlikar as VP of International.

Krystal announced that Scott Gallagher assumed the role of Senior VP of Operations, effective immediately. He will report to President and CEO Omar Janjua.

Legacy Foodservice Alliance hired Barry Roach as Director of Marketing.

Loews Hotels & Resorts announced the appointment of David Weidlich as VP of Operations for the portfolio’s Eastern Region.

Logan’s Roadhouse announced David Spirito as VP of Food & Beverage.

McDonald’s named two new senior executives: David Fairhurst was promoted to the recently expanded role of Exec VP and Chief People Officer and Chris Kempczinski was hired as Exec VP of Strategy, Business Development, and Innovation, effective 10/26/15.

MOD Pizza added two VPs to support the company’s expansion across the U.S.: Mike Hilgers will join MOD as VP of Design and Construction and Darren Medina as VP of Store Design.

NPC International, Inc. promoted J. Hedrick to COO. In his capacity as COO, Mr. Hedrick will be responsible for leading the company’s Pizza Hut and Wendy’s restaurant operations and providing key oversight of the company’s construction and development function.

Quiznos named George Jeffrey Global COO to lead all global operations and Susan Lintonsmith was appointed Global Chief Marketing Officer.

Romacorp, Inc., parent company of Tony Roma’s and TR Fire Grill, announced that Stephen K. Judge joined as its new President and CEO.

Shoney’s added Terri Harof as Director of Franchise Sales.

Starbucks Corporation appointed Gerri Martin-Flickinger as Chief Technology Officer, effective 11/02/15.

Subway Co-founder and longtime CEO Fred DeLuca died at 67. DeLuca had been diagnosed with leukemia two years ago, but remained fairly active with the company. Earlier this year, he relinquished day-to-day control of Subway to his sister, Suzanne Greco, so he could focus on his health. DeLuca cofounded Subway in 1965, when he was 17 years old, eventually growing the business to become the industry’s largest chain, with more than 44,000 locations worldwide.

Sunny Street Café brought on Anthony Ticconi as Director of Franchise Sales.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf added Adam Tabachnikoff as Senior VP of Global Brand Strategy. Overseeing the global marketing team, Tabachnikoff will lead the charge in managing the company’s marketing initiatives, brand image, and overall in-store customer experience around the world. He will report to CEO, John Fuller.

The Cornhusker, A Marriott Hotel, majority owned and operated by Marcus Hotels & Resorts, announced the addition of Brandon Ganus as Executive Chef. Ganus will oversee all culinary operations of the hotel, including banquets, special events and daily dining.

The Wendy’s Company said that CEO Emil Brolick plans to retire by the middle of next year and will be succeeded by current CFO Todd Penegor. He will leave after a transition period expected to begin in the first quarter of next year, and will continue to serve on the Wendy’s board of directors thereafter.

Twin Restaurant Holdings, parent to the 68-unit Twin Peaks restaurant chain, named industry veteran Starlette Johnson CEO, succeeding company founder Randy DeWitt.

Veritiv Corporation announced two key senior management appointments: Adam Taylor as Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer; and Dave Hudson as VP and CIO.

Woody’s Bar-B-Q hired David Allgood in the role of VP of Operations.

Wyndham Hotel Group added Chip Ohlsson as Exec VP and Chief Development Officer of its North America division.

Zoe’s Kitchen Inc. named Sunil M. Doshi CFO.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. announced that on 10/1/15, the company completed the acquisition of five Burger King restaurants in OH and WV that are located in or around the Wheeling, WV, market. Carrols is the largest Burger King franchisee in the United States with 665 restaurants as of 10/1/15.

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation completed its acquisition of the assets and undertaking of Casino New Brunswick from Sonco Gaming New Brunswick Limited Partnership, whose general partner is Sonco Gaming New Brunswick Limited, for $95M plus customary working capital adjustment on 10/01/15.

H.I.G. Capital, LLC is pleased to announce that its affiliate has completed the acquisition of T-Bird Restaurant Group, Inc. Headquartered in La Jolla, CA, T-Bird is the exclusive franchisee of Outback Steakhouse for the state of CA, operating 63 stores across the state.

Honeybee Foods Corporation‘s parent company, Jollibee Foods Corporation, acquired 40% minority interest in Denver, CO-based Smashburger for $134M.

KBP Foods LLC announced that it closed a $20M acquisition of 17 Yum Brands restaurants in the Chicago area. This is KBP’s first foray into the Chicago market. Earlier this year, the company acquired 24 KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver’s franchise locations in KS, MO, and FL. The company plans to acquire additional restaurants in Chicago in the near future. KBP Foods is one the largest Yum Brands franchisees in the nation and operates more than 260 restaurants in 10 states.

Panera Bread Co. announced refranchising efforts with PR Management Corp.’s recent announcement that it has acquired 29 company-owned units in MA. The acquisition brings the total Panera holdings for PR Management Corp., based in Newton Lower Falls, MA, to 64 units. PR Management already has Panera restaurants in ME, MA, and NH. The franchisee agreed to open 14 additional Panera units in those three states. The sale of the 29 MA units was completed in mid-July, and included cafés in the Boston area, which is a mixed company and franchised market. The company sold the cafés for about $19M.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea agreed to acquire premium coffee roaster and retailer Stumptown Coffee Roasters, adding to the coffee brands within the portfolio of JAB Holding Co. Terms of the deal, scheduled to close in the fourth quarter, were not disclosed. The 10-unit Stumptown, based in Portland, OR, is owned primarily by private-equity firm TSG Consumer Partners LLC.

The Marcus Corporation completed the previously announced sale of the Hotel Phillips in Kansas City, MO, to an affiliate of Chicago-based Arbor Lodging Partners. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

TrustHouse Services Group, foodservice management company, acquired Cura Hospitality, a PA‐based provider of dining services to the senior living and healthcare markets. Cura Hospitality will continue to operate under its name, and will be led by Mitch Possinger, its current President and Founder.


Financial Focus

J. Alexander’s Holdings, Inc. announced the successful completion of its spin-off from Fidelity National Financial (FNF) into an independent publicly-traded company. Shares of J. Alexander’s Holdings, Inc. common stock have begun trading “regular way” on The New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “JAX.”

Performance Food Group Company announced it has commenced its initial public offering of 14,500,000 shares of its common stock. PFGC is offering 12,777,325 shares and certain selling stockholders are offering 1,722,675 shares. The initial public offering price is currently expected to be between $22.00 and $25.00 per share. Certain selling stockholders have also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 2,175,000 additional shares at the initial public offering price.

Pizza Patrón reported that from January 1 thru mid-September 2015, 46% of its stores set all-time sales records—the best performance in the company’s 29-year history. During the first three quarters of 2015, Pizza Patrón set all-time sales records in 42 out of 92 locations, blowing past 32 all-time records set in 2014. One unanticipated all-time sales record was set at the original Pizza Patrón restaurant in June after nearly 30 years in business.

The Marcus Corporation announced that its Board of Directors has approved a change in the company’s fiscal year end from the last Thursday in May to the last Thursday in December. The Board of Directors also indicated it plans to continue quarterly cash dividend payments based on the new fiscal year calendar. The change will result in a stub transition period from 5/29/15 to 12/31/15.

Wayback Burgers announced the company is considering an initial public offering next year, following a recommendation from an entrepreneurial education group. It currently has 100 locations and is on track to open another 25 units by the end of the year. All of its restaurants are franchised.

Whole Foods Market Inc. has made a minority investment in Mendocino Farms, the first restaurant partnership for the natural and organic grocery chain in recent history. Mario Del Pero, co-founder of Los Angeles-based Mendocino Farms, did not disclose terms of the investment, but he said in an exclusive interview with NRN that the partnership will help the 11-unit, better-sandwich chain build infrastructure as it expands into the San Diego and San Francisco Bay Area markets in late 2016.


Industry Updates

Autograph Collection HotelsMarriott International’s distinctive portfolio of independent hotels is proud to welcome three more one-of-a-kind U.S. properties to its portfolio. Autograph Collection Hotels’ global portfolio consists of 93 hotels worldwide, bringing the brand even closer to welcoming its 100th property.

Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar signed a new location in Quintana Roo that is expected to open in the summer of 2016. The new location will be the first in Quintana Roo but will join the existing Boston’s locations of Yucatan, Merida, and Campeche in Southeast Mexico.

Cold Stone Creamery announced the company will open 12 locations in Cambodia over the next five years with the first location opening in the capital city of Phnom Penh sometime over the next 6 months.

Dairy Queen opened a new DQ Treat store at Wola Park Mall in Warszawa, Poland. The opening of this location in Poland represents the 28th country outside of the U.S. and Canada with a DQ brand presence. U.S. quick service chain Dairy Queen has signed a franchisee to open at least 20 restaurants in the United Arab Emirates by 2019. The brand previously had a presence in the UAE, but the former franchisee closed the last store in 2010.

Domino’s opened its first store in Italy in the northern city of Milan.

Dunkin’ Donuts opened new locations on-campus, in bookstores, and in college stadiums. Three Dunkin’ Donuts locations opened at The University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, one of the largest college football stadiums in the country.  Additionally, the company announced entry into Switzerland with a development of 30 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants over the next seven years.

Freshëns (Fresh Food Studio) announced the company is joining the Exchange restaurant portfolio, bringing another healthy option to diners on military installations. Freshens is known for health-conscious offerings such as handcrafted crepes, salads, international rice bowls, artisan flatbreads, smoothies, and yogurt. The number of locations and opening dates are being finalized, but the Exchange plans to open at least four Freshëns restaurants within a year.

Fuddruckers opened its first restaurant in Colombia as a result of the partnership.  The nearly 2,000-sq.-ft. fast casual eatery with patio debuted in the bustling Pepe Sierra area of Bogota.  It is the second South American location for the brand, which unveiled a restaurant in Santiago, Chile late last year.

Here to Serve Restaurants, parent to the concepts like PrimeShucks, and Coast, shut all 10 of its outposts on 10/5/15, leaving an estimated 1,000 employees without jobs—or a final paycheck. Leigh Catherall, now CEO of the company, told workers on Friday via email that the checks they were due that day would be available Monday. When they showed up at the restaurants where they were employed, they found the places shuttered.

Johnny Rockets launched a new Millennial-focused fast-casual concept called Johnny’s Burger Factory, which the company plans to grow as a sub-brand. Located in about 1,000-sq.ft. at the Walden Galleria mall in Buffalo, NY, the Johnny’s Burger Factory restaurant is the first of two company locations to open this year. The second is scheduled to open outside Syracuse, NY, in November.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. signed a development agreement to open 12 Krispy Kreme shops in Bolivia over the next five years.

La Boulange announced the company is opening a bakery in the same style called La Boulangerie de San Francisco. The chain will start with one location and open up to six more in former La Boulange storefronts. The new bakery will be more rustic than the previous chain.

Lettuce Entertain You announced a second location of Beatrix to the Lettuce Entertain You family when it opens in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood (671 N. St. Clair) later this month. This new addition to the Beatrix brand will focus on healthful grab-and-go selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort opened on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, the new-build 349-room resort. The 17-story Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort offers views of the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway and an array of accommodations.

Marriott International stated the company expects a 75% increase in Caribbean and Latin American distribution between now and 2018, including a tripling of the company’s presence in Brazil with the addition of 11 new hotels there. Additionally, the company announced its debut into Taiwan with the opening of the Taipei Marriott Hotel. Combining Marriott Hotel’s design and innovation with local Taiwanese warmth and hospitality, the Taipei Marriott Hotel is the first five-star international hotel in the dynamic Dazhi area of Taipei, the capital’s new commercial hub. The largest integrated destination complex in Taiwan, the Taipei Marriott offers 320 luxury hotel rooms, a modern convention center, a high-end shopping mall and luxury apartments.

MOD Pizza announced the chain is making its first move overseas with a joint venture agreement to bring the brand to the U.K.

Pieology Pizzeria signed a master franchise agreement to open Pieology’s first locations in Guam and Saipan. The agreement outlines commitments to open at least three locations throughout the territory, with the first to open in Guam at the beginning of 2016. Pieology is the first fast-casual custom-pizza concept to announce plans to build in these markets.

Rusty Taco announced the company will change its name to R Taco. Currently, there are nine Rusty Taco restaurants in Dallas, Denver, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, plus one food truck, with plans in the works to open additional locations.

Smashburger announced the company is on its way to Egypt. This is Smashburger’s initial entry into Egypt, with 25 restaurants expected to open over the next several years. The launch of Smashburger in Egypt will expand the brand footprint to nine countries.

Speedway will close 100 in-store Dunkin’ Donuts kiosks over the course of the next 15 months. The self-serve units set to shutter generate just 0.1% of Dunkin’ Donuts sales and the closures will enable the chain to re-enter a number of areas with freestanding units. Speedway will stay on as a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee. Dunkin’ Brands reiterated the company’s guidance to open a net 410 to 440 U.S. Dunkin’ Donuts units by the end of fiscal 2015, excluding the Speedway closures.

Starbucks Corp. completed its rollout of mobile ordering and payment to all company-operated locations in the U.S. Its locations, five in DC, applied for licenses to serve beer and wine. The move is part of the coffee chain’s ongoing rollout of Starbucks Evenings, which offers small plates, dessert items, and alcoholic beverages. Additionally, the company is in talks to open branches in Italy. The company is negotiating with businessman Antonio Percassi as a potential partner, and a deal could be finalized by late December.

Taco Bell opened this month its long-awaited new urban design restaurant in Chicago that will serve alcohol. To be dubbed “Taco Bell Cantina,” the first urban unit opened in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood on 9/22/15. Later this month, the second will open in San Francisco, near AT&T Park, though an exact date was unclear. The Taco Bell Cantina name will be reserved only for urban units serving alcohol. The new urban locations are slightly smaller and don’t have a drive thru at all. Wicker Park, for example, is about 1,882 sq.-ft., compared with a traditional unit ranging between 2,000- and 2,500 sq.-ft.

Teriyaki Madness launched catering options to its customers.

Texas de Brazil opened in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The new 5,550 sq. foot restaurant features a chef’s table, an open-view grill in the dining area, and accommodates 190 guests.

The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. announced that it is actively seeking qualified area developers to expand its brand footprint in Mexico. As part of its international expansion plans, The Melting Pot aims to develop at least five additional locations in Mexico and is targeting cities such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla, Monterrey, Cancun, and Los Cabos for future growth.

The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. signed an agreement to open STK Rebel Edinburgh in 2017. The new location marks The ONE Group’s first STK Rebel location outside of North America and the first standalone restaurant in the UK and Europe. STK Rebel Edinburgh will open in the South St. Andrew Square development, a joint venture between Standard Life Investments and Peveril Securities. The 165,000-sq.ft. mixed-used development will also feature retail, office space and residential property, and is adjacent to high-end department store Harvey Nichols.

U.S. Taco Co. and Urban Taproom concept launched by Taco Bell Corp. last year closed 9/24/15. Company officials said the Huntington Beach, CA, restaurant suffered from lower-than-expected foot traffic and challenges in obtaining an alcohol permit. However, Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol said the company may try the concept again elsewhere.

Walmart announced that five of its stores will open restaurant prototypes featuring Checker’s and Auntie Anne’s. The restaurants will be located in Walmart Supercenters in Ocoee, Kissimmee, and Clermont, FL, with two of the restaurants slated to open before Thanksgiving and the rest by the end of 2015.

Wyndham Hotel Group introduced plans for further global expansion with the development of the 450-room Sam Lord’s Castle Barbados, A Wyndham Grand Resort.


Real Estate

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar announced the company is seeking growth opportunities throughout CO during the coming 18 months.

Billy Sims BBQ opened its first Dodge City, KS, restaurant. The opening marks the third Billy Sims BBQ in the state.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza opened its first WA state restaurant in Spokane, and announced that it will soon open its first PA location, in Philadelphia this December. The restaurant, which will feature a 3,000 sq.-ft. interior with seating for 65 inside, will be located near Temple University at 1100 W. Montgomery Ave.

BURGERFI signed two franchise deals resulting in 18 restaurants opening in Dallas and the surrounding areas.

Captain D’s announced plans to expand its presence in Orlando, FL. The company currently has 20 Captain D’s restaurants located throughout the state with five located in the Orlando market. Additionally, the company announced plans to expand its presence in NC. The company currently has 28 Captain D’s restaurants located throughout the state. Captain D’s is seeking franchisees in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh-Durham, NC.

Chicken Salad Chick announced the company will open its first NC location in Asheville at the end of October.

Chronic Tacos expanded its Western presence with the recent opening of its first AZ restaurant in Phoenix. Chronic Tacos plans to bring four new locations to the Phoenix market within the next 9-24 months with different entrepreneurial teams. With plans to open more than 10 new locations this year, the franchise is building on its dominance in the Golden State as well as locations in NV and Vancouver, Canada with expansion throughout the western half of North America and has separate multi-unit franchise agreements for 12 locations in CO, five in UT, and three in WA. The fast-casual franchise is also breaking into the East Coast with a multi-unit franchise agreement for five locations in NC.

Corner Bakery Café announced the company will open eight franchised neighborhood cafes in northern Pittsburgh with others planned in the region.

Culver’s announced the restaurant chain is coming to NC. Ground has already been broken in Arden, approximately 10 miles south of Asheville and should be open in early 2016. A restaurant is also planned for the Charlotte area (University City) sometime in the spring of 2016. Others are in the very early planning stages. Culver’s is an expanding fast-casual franchise chain with over 550 independently owned and operated restaurants in 22 states. NC will be the chain’s 23rd.

Del Taco Restaurants announced that three new groups have recently signed to develop 27 new Del Taco restaurants within the Central CA region. Three new locations are slated to begin opening within the next six months.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit announced plans to expand across the Southwest by bringing its signature slow-smoked barbecue to AZ with the addition of four future store locations following a newly executed development agreement. The four locations in and around the Phoenix area will be located in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek. Additionally, the company signed for five additional stores in the state of WA, and executed two development agreements with a family franchisee team in OH and northern KY totaling 13 stores. Also, the company continues to expand across the state of CA, the state with the second most locations following TX. The chain has plans to open 27 more locations in the Golden State, which will increase the state’s store count to 112 stores.

Habit Burger opened its first FL location in Miami.

Hooters announced its largest location worldwide is now open at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The record-breaking, two-story, 15,200 sq.-ft. space seats more than 400 guests. Additionally, the company announced plans for additional domestic openings in Shrewsbury, MA, Somerset, NJ, Mishawaka, IN, Duluth, GA, and Chula Vista, CA.  On the International front, Hooters expects additional new restaurants to open by year’s end in Bangkok, Thailand, Mexico City, and Shanghai, China. In addition to new restaurant growth, Hooters remodeling program continues on a blistering pace with an additional 30 corporate remodels in 2016, as well as at least 20 franchise remodels. By the end of 2016 Hooters will have over 25% of its restaurants to the new prototype design launched in 2013.

Hurricane Grill & Wings opened its first LA location in Lafayette.

IKEA announced it is submitting plans to the City of Jacksonville, FL. Pending approvals, construction of IKEA Jacksonville could begin summer 2016, with an opening in fall 2017. Additionally, IKEA announced it is submitting plans to the City of Grand Prairie, TX, for the Swedish company’s second Dallas-Fort Worth-area store and fourth in the state. Pending approvals, construction of IKEA Grand Prairie could begin summer 2016, with an opening in fall 2017.

J. Alexander’s announced plans to bring an upscale restaurant to Raleigh, NC, with an opening planned in the second quarter of 2016.

Jason’s Deli announced the company is seeking growth opportunities throughout southern FL during the coming 18 months.

Jersey Mike’s Subs opened its 1,000th restaurant and will open 15 to 20 stores in NJ within the next year.

Kneaders Bakery & Café stated the company is opening four new units next month in the Denver area including the cities of Aurora, Highlands Ranchm Castle Rock, and Englewood.

La Madeleine Country French Café opened its first FL café and will open another on 11/12/15 inside Orlando’s Florida Mall.

Lenny’s Subs announced development plans across its home state of TN to further spread the Lenny’s Subs experience across the South. The brand is gearing up for significant growth in the next few years, planning to open five new locations in 2015, 18 in 2016, and 25 in 2017.

Marco’s Pizzas announced plans to open more than 35 additional locations through strategic franchise partnerships in the coming years in CO and WY. The new franchise locations will create approximately 700 new jobs.

MOD Pizza announced the company is bringing its first restaurants to MO with up to six locations expected to open in the St. Louis area by the end of 2016. MOD has already signed leases on a 3,500-sq.ft. space at Fountain Plaza in Ellisville.

Panera Bread announced the company will open seven stores in in ID by early 2016.

Papa Murphy’s mentioned the company will open 30 new locations across the St. Louis region over the next five to six years.

Penn Station East Coast Subs announced the company will celebrate 30 years in business this year and will launch a new restaurant design this fall.

Pie Five Pizza announced a new development deal that will add up to 28 locations in South FL with sites in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Wellington, and West Palm Beach. Pie Five’s newest development deal follows multi-unit deals recently announced in NM, MO, AZ, MI, WI, PA, MD, DE, AR, TN, CO, KY, and IN. This is in addition to company-owned expansion in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas-Fort Worth. Pie Five has grown from one location to 64 in less than four years. The growth rate for the past fiscal year alone reached almost 200%. Additionally, the company opened its first its first KY location in Lexington and its first AZ location in Scottsdale. Pie Five Pizza will be adding more locations to its roster with its latest multi-unit development agreement to build 8 to 10 Pie Five locations in the San Antonio area. The first location will open mid-2016.

Pieology Pizzeria signed a development agreement which includes six franchise locations in the St. Louis area with the first scheduled to open in the newly developed Streets of St. Charles before the end of the year.

Pizza Patrón opened restaurants in Austin, Fort Worth, and Dallas, TX, in September. Each of the new locations was built by a veteran, multi-unit Pizza Patrón owner, one of whom is company founder, Antonio Swad. Company officials say that after suspending its franchising program for the past two years, it is turning its eye towards growth once again.

Red Robin announced the company will speed up renovations to complete them by the end of 2016. The company is on pace to complete 150 in 2015 and will finish the remainder in 2016.

Restaurant Brands International Inc. established an agreement to bring the iconic Tim Hortons brand to the Cincinnati area with plans to develop more than 150 restaurants over the next 10 years, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

Saladworks announced the company will open a location in Irving, TX, and plans to open 15 locations over the next several years.

Sarpino’s USA, based in Lincolnshire, IL, decided to develop new corporate locations in the South FL specifically in Ft. Lauderdale.

Shake Shack opened a location in Las Vegas, NV.

ShopHouse, owned and operated by Chipotle Mexican Grill, now has ten other locations throughout the U.S. and is slated to open two more in IL before 2016.

Slim Chickens announced that the company will open 600 locations nationally by 2025.

Smoke’s Poutinerie opened its first FL location in Tampa. The company recently signed a deal with the Arizona Coyotes and has an aggressive growth plan for more than 1,300 global locations in the next five years, with 70 to 80 of those in FL. Outside of sports venues, Smolkin said his company’s target demographic is 18- to 25-year-olds in urban areas and college towns.

Starbucks began delivery service inside the Empire State Building. The service, dubbed Green Apron Delivery, allows customers to order a selection of beverages and food through a special website to be delivered in 30 minutes or less.

The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. announced the opening of the 10th STK, located in downtown Chicago at 9 West Kinzie St., on the lower floor of The Museum of Broadcast Communications.

Tin Drum Asiacafe announced that the brand is actively seeking potential franchise candidates to expand the brand’s presence nationwide with a focus on developing restaurants in the Southeast. Tin Drum currently has restaurants in Atlanta, and recently opened its first FL restaurant in Tampa this past May. Additionally, the brand just signed a franchise agreement to bring the concept to Ave Maria, FL later this year.

Tokyo Joe’s opened the first of seven planned TX locations in Richardson.

UFood Grill awarded its first franchise agreement in MD. The location will feature the new design and menu in Howard County in late spring of 2016. UFood Grill currently has 14 locations open across the U.S. The company recently unveiled a new prototype for traditional in-line retail sites with plans to expand the chain to more than 100 locations over the next four years.

Wingstop Inc. opened its 800th restaurant in Hillsborough, NJ.

Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen signed a master development agreement for 50 stores throughout the mid-Atlantic. The agreement marks the largest deal to date for the Canadian-based fast casual chain known for offering cuisine of 10 different Asian countries. The stores will be developed over the next nine years, specifically in PA, NJ, and DE with the first three scheduled to open within the next 18 months.

Yard House announced the company is seeking growth opportunities nationwide during the coming 18 months.


Green Initiatives

Chick-fil-A opened a three-story 5,000-sq.-ft. restaurant, its largest location yet, on 10/03/15 at the corner of West 37th Street and 6th Ave in Manhattan’s Garment District. The restaurant is built to LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) specifications, and incudes water and energy efficiency features, air quality control, and waste diversion efforts, among other initiatives. In addition, it will feature a special food waste disposal system (inSinkErator), which spins and separates liquid from solids, reducing the volume of organic waste disposed by 80%. The restaurant will also recycle all cardboard and plastic used in back-of-house operations.

Gordon Food Service’s Wyoming, MI headquarters has earned a silver ranking by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The certification is given for buildings constructed with practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

SUBWAY brand has made LED lighting standard for all new and remodeled restaurants.  This important upgrade will provide energy-efficient lighting that, in 2014 with a small percentage of stores participating, saved 21.9M kilowatt hours – enough energy to power 1,996 households in a single year. Additionally, several more Eco-Restaurants are in various stages of development and an increasing number of franchisees are incorporating green elements into their existing stores. As a part of the restaurant chain’s continued commitment to making its restaurants and operations more socially responsible, the SUBWAY brand has taken significant steps in recent years as  part of its environmental commitment, including:

  • Standardizing low-flow faucets/taps with increased water pressure in all restaurants; annually saves an estimated 277M gallons of water
  • Exclusively offering napkins made from 100% recycled fiber, processed chlorine-free, and printed with soy or water-based inks
  • Using salad bowls and lids made from two recycled plastic water or soda bottles (20oz), diverting 141M bottles from landfills last year
  • Most recently, its newest restaurant location in the Fort Wayne area of IN has earned Eco-Restaurant designation from the brand. Additional SUBWAY Eco-Restaurants can be found in the following U.S. locations: La Place, LA; St. Helens and Keiser Station, OR; Kissimmee, FL; Chicago and Love Park, IL; Loveland, CO; Durham, Cary Park and Chapel Hill, NC; Kokomo, IN; University of California, Los Angeles, CA; and North Haven and Orange, CT.

Walmart took a big step towards becoming 100% supplied by renewable energy. The discounter entered into a long-term power purchase agreement to buy the majority of the electricity generated by Pattern Energy Group’s new Logan’s Gap Wind facility in Comanche County, TX. The energy Walmart will procure from this facility represents nearly one-fifth of the U.S. portion of our goal to source seven billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy by 2020.