Personnel Updates

American Blue Ribbon Holdings LLC named William E. Hall President of its O’Charley’s group.

Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar named Mo Boutara VP of Development and Franchise Sales.

Church’s Chicken promoted Craig Prusher to Exec VP and Chief Legal Officer.

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group named Brandon Coleman its new Chief Marketing Officer.

Del Taco Restaurants Inc. promoted John D. Cappasola, Jr. to President and Chief Brand Officer.

Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. has shuffled its executive team and created a new parent company, Dickey’s Capital Group Inc. Roland Dickey, Jr. became CEO of the new entity and Laura Rea Dickey moves from Chief Information Officer to CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. Renee Roozen, previously VP of Operations becomes President of Restaurants Inc.

Erbert & Gerbert’s promoted Jeremy Mittlestadt to the new position of Executive Director of its Non-Traditional division where he’ll focus on expanding the concept on campus and within other institutions.

Freddy’s President and CEO Bill Simon passed away in December after a battle with cancer.

Glory Days Inc. promoted Gary Cohen to Exec VP of Glory Days Grill restaurants.

GPS Hospitality recently promoted Joe Waller to President, Operations. Waller will oversee the integration of the 194 recently purchased Burger King stores into GPS’s existing structure.

Logan’s Roadhouse Inc. named Hazem Ouf CEO.

Papa Murphy’s Holdings Inc. CEO Ken Calwell resigned. Chairman Jean Birch will serve as Interim CEO.

Rave Restaurant Group Inc. named former Smashburger CEO Scott Crane as its new CEO.

Shake Shack Inc. promoted VP of Operations Zach Koff to be its first COO and announced that CFO Jeff Uttz will retire at the end of March.

Sonny’s Franchise Company COO leaves the company to oversee operations at the nine Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q restaurants he recently purchased.

The Veggie Grill hired Randall Niemeyer as its new CFO.


Financial Focus

First Watch reported a same-store sales increase of 3.7 percent in 2016 at the ICR Investors Conference.


Industry Insight

Boston Market Corporation will open 12 US locations and 4 international locations in 2017.

Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. passed the 600-store mark.

DineEquity Inc. will open a co-branded Applebee’s/IHOP restaurant in Detroit in 2017.

Domino’s added yet another avenue to place orders with Google Home now facilitating pizza purchases.

Freshii filed paperwork for an IPO in Canada and expects to add 200 stores in 2017.

Greens Restaurant Group will go entirely cashless at its Sweetgreen restaurants in 2017.

Papa Murhpy’s will trial delivery in 2017 and look to sell up to 100 company-owned restaurants to franchisees as it seeks to better its fortunes after a challenging 2016.

Scotty’s Brewhouse, a 17-unit family-friendly sports restaurant and bar based in Indianapolis, was acquired by Due North Holdings, LLC (owned by Kevin Blackwell, founder of Kahala Brands) which has plans to take the concept national. Founder Scott Wise will stay on with company.

Shake Shack expanded mobile ordering via its app to markets outside of New York/New Jersey including  Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Washington DC.

Starbuck’s ended its Evenings beer, wine and small plates sales at 400+ company stores.

Taco Bueno will open approximately 15 new restaurants in 2017.


Mergers and Acquisitions

ARC Group Inc. purchased two of its Florida Dick’s Wings locations from a franchisee, marking the first time that the ARC Group has operated company-owned restaurants.

Carrols Restaurant Groupis on the verge of another acquisition. The 753-unit Burger King franchisee has agreed to purchase 43 Cincinnati-area restaurants in a deal that should close in January or early February.

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. was acquired by Cerberus Capital Management LP, a deal that will allow the company to emerge from bankruptcy. Cerberus anticipates that Garden Fresh will move forward with “90 to 104” Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes locations. The company currently operates 105 stores.

GPS Hospitality purchased 194 Burger King locations from Strategic Restaurants Acquisitions Corp. almost doubling its BK store count and establishing a presence in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi for the first time.

Pizza Patron Inc. was acquired by Charles M. Loflin, owner of San Antonio Restaurant Group, a 22-unit Pizza Patron franchisee and the largest Wingstop franchisee. The headquarters will move from Dallas to San Antonio.

Rita’s Franchise Co., the organization behind Rita’s Italian Ice, was acquired by Argosy Private Equity and MTN Capital.

Sonny’s Franchise Company sold nine of its ten company-owned Sonny’s BBQ stores to COO Brandon Manly and Heritage Management. Manly will leave the company to run the nine stores.


Real Estate

Ahipoki Bowl will open two franchised locations in Phoenix by early spring.

Erbert & Gerbert’s opened its 100th sandwich shop in New Brighton, MN.

Flagship Restaurant Group is growing its Blue Sushi Sake Grill concept in 2017 with a new Dallas location and its first Midwest locations – Lexington, KY; Indianapolis, IN and Naperville, IL.

Giordanos Restaurant & Pizza opened its first Nevada location in Las Vegas.

Grabbagreen opened its first location in Colorado.

Jollibee, the purveyor of Filipino-style fast food, will open its first Florida location in Jacksonville in early 2017.

Larkburger, a Denver-based better burger concept, will open a location outside of Colorado for the first time in 2017 in Overland Park, KS.

Zoup! will open its 100th restaurant in Southfield, MI in February.