Personnel Updates:
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company announced the promotion of Richard A. Zimmerman to the position of COO. Cedar Fair also announced that it has appointed Bob Wagner to the role of Corporate VP, Strategic Alliances and Scott Tanner to the role of Corporate VP, Sales.
Coast Hotels & Resorts named Robert Pratt as President.
DineEquity, Inc. announced the appointment of Daniel Colegrove to the new position of VP, Government Affairs.
Diversified Restaurant Holdings named Lupita Distaso its VP of Purchasing; previously Distasto served as Purchasing Director for Little Caesar Enterprises.
El Pollo Locohired Ed Valle as Chief Marketing Officer.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts named Philip Barnes VP of the Pacific Northwest Region and General Manager of the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel.
Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs, Inc, announced Tim Lipka’s addition to the corporate team as Franchise Development Manager.
InterContinental Hotels Group announced that Joel Eisemann has been appointed Senior VP and Chief Development Officer for the Americas region and Jim Anhut will assume the role of Senior VP Americas Brand Management. 
Kona Grill, Inc. has appointed Michael A. Nahkunst as permanent President and CEO of Kona Grill.
Little Caesars Pizza announced the appointment of Dana M. Tilley as VP of Research, Development & Innovation.
Loews Hotels’President/COO Jack Adler will retire from the company early next year.
Marcus Corporation’s President/COO of Hotel Operations, William Otto, notified the company of his intent to resign effective 11/18/11.
Marriott International named Alex Kyriakidis President and Managing Director of its Middle East & Africa division, effective 1/1/12.
Moe’s Southwest Grill named Paul Macaluso VP of Marketing, and Anissa Mandell the new Senior Director of Supply Chain.
Panera Bread Co. said that co-COO Cedrick “Rick” Vanzura would step down effective 12/1/11.
Pate Dawson Company announced that David Stansfield has been named President of the company.
Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. announced the appointment of Vincent Zahn, as VP of Finance and Investor Relations.
Taco Bell has appointed Brian Niccol as its Chief Carketing and Innovation Officer; he was most recently with Pizza Hut.
The Saxton Group announced that Kirk Lanier has been promoted to President while Kelly Saxton will remain as Chairman; Adam and Matt Saxton have been promoted to VP.
Tropicana Las Vegas announced the appointment of Richard Wilk as VP of Nightlife Marketing and Operations, Joe Bravo as Director of Nightlife Operations and Anthony Pecora as Director of Nightlife Entertainment/Social Media.
Whataburgerannounced a slate of promotions within its executive leadership team, to take effect 1/3/12: Buddy Reno will assume the position of Chief of Staff; Clifton Rutledge will assume the role of COO; Jack Sampson will be promoted to VP of Operations; Rob Rodriguez will assume the role of Group VP of Operations.
Financial Focus:
Friendly’s Ice Cream Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Real Mex Restaurants (dba El Torito Restaurants, Acapulco Mexican Restaurants, Chevys Fresh Mex, Sinigual Restaurants as well as Las Brisas Restaurant) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Star Buffet  filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Arizona.
Mergers & Acquisitions:
Boyd Gaming Corporation announced that it has completed its acquisition of the IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi, MS.
CHS sold its subsidiary Mountain Mudd Espresso to an Idaho company, Café International, but operations will remain in Billings, MT.
Darden Restaurants, Inc. and Eddie V’s Restaurants, Inc. jointly announced a definitive agreement under which Darden has agreed to purchase the Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille restaurant brands; the brands will become part of Darden’s Specialty Restaurant Group. Darden expects to complete the transaction by the end of the calendar year.
DineEquity Inc. announced plans to sell 17 Applebee’s restaurants to franchisee Apple Investors Group; the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.
Giordano’shas entered into an agreement with Italian Food Network LLC to be acquired out of bankruptcy.
Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc. announced that it has entered into a agreement with Riviera Holdings Corporation to acquire Riviera Black Hawk, Inc.; the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close before the end of the second quarter of 2012.
Morgans Hotel Group Co. announced a definitive agreement to sell the Sanderson and St Martins Lanehotels in England; the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter and is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Morgans will continue to operate the hotels under long-term management agreements.
MTY Food Groupcompleted its acquisition of Mr. Submarine Ltd.
Myers Restaurant Supply was acquired by Charlie Fusari and Rob Myers.
Prime Restaurants Inc. announced that it has entered into an acquisition agreement with Cara Operations Limited to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of the Company; the transaction is expected to close on January 4, 2012.
Industry Insight:
Auntie Anne’sis currently targeting international expansion in Russia, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Vietnam, China, and Japan.
Chanticleer Holdings, Inc. announced that it has bought out SG Shaw Foods (Pty) Ltd. from all three Hooters South Africa locations.
Chili’s Grill & Bar opened its first Brazilian restaurant.
Damon’s International Inc.  closed the last four company-owned locations; the company is still for sale following its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and is down to 31 locations.
Davidson Hotels & Resorts will be relocating its operations, sales/revenue management, food and beverage, design and construction, legal, human resources and business development to a new headquarters in Atlanta, GA, next summer; accounting, risk management, payroll and portions of IT will remain in Memphis, TN.
Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation announced that it has signed a new development agreement in the United Kingdomunder which the franchisee has agreed to open an additional 35 locations in the UKover the next six years.
McDonald’sopened its first restaurant in Trinidad and Tobago.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc. announced it has signed an exclusive development and licensing agreement with Alsea, S.A.B. de C.V. to develop Pei Wei Asian Diner throughout Mexico. The agreement stipulates the opening of three restaurants during the first 18 months, and provides an option for a long-term contract with a commitment to open 50 restaurants over 10 years.
Papa John’s International, Inc. opened the pizza company’s 3,000th store in North America.
Pizza Inn Holdings Inc. will open five locations over the next five years in the Chinese province of Zhejiang.
Spicy Pickle Franchising, Inc. announced that it has entered into a binding letter of intent with a new franchisee and developer for seven new Spicy Pickle Sandwich Company locations in the State of Qatar. Spicy Pickle will also open its first restaurant in Canadain the summer of 2012.
Real Estate:
AFC Enterprises, Inc. (dba Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen) announced the launch of an aggressive growth plan to increase its presence in southern CA and is seeking franchisees in Los Angelesand San Diego.
Auntie Anne’s is currently seeking aspiring entrepreneurs who want to serve up fresh, hand-rolled gourmet pretzels as a rewarding business venture for new locations in Arizona, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.. Auntie Anne’s locations can be found in malls, outlet centers, and “non-traditional venues” including colleges and universities and transportation sites such as airports, train stations, and travel plazas.
Boloco plans to add six restaurants between now and the end of next year, including at least two in MA.
Buffalo Wild Wings expects to meet its goal of operating 1,000 Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in North America in 2013; it currently has around 800 locations.
Checkers Drive-In Restaurants plans to add 30 Rally’slocations in Central IN within the next few years.
Corner Bakery Cafe announced its most recent franchise deal to bring seven locations to the South Texas region in less than five years.
Dunkin’ Donutshas 86 new restaurants slated for development in the Washington, D.C., market by 2020.
Hurricane Grill & Wings has a development agreement for 10 restaurants in AL over the next eight years.
Jersey Mike’s Subs opens its 30th market with its first store in the state of LA.
McDonald’splans to add 12 new stores in the metro Atlanta market this year.
Newk’s Express Café opened its 40th restaurant in Hot Springs, AR, the first location for that state. Newk’s also has signed an agreement to open five restaurants in VA, including one in Lynchburg, with the first expected to open in October 2012; other locations will be in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Roanoke and Blacksburg/Christiansburg.
TCBY formed a 10-year area developer agreement that will result in 23 TCBY self-serve locations in NC and SC within the next three years, with two stores to open in Charlotte by the end of 2011.
Green Initiatives:
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and ECOtality, a provider of clean electric transportation and storage technologies, have unveiled the first Blink Direct Current (DC) Fast Charger in Tennessee at the Lebanon Cracker Barrel location. This is the first of 12 Cracker Barrel locations statewide that will install DC Fast Chargers as a part of The EV Project. The stations are able to charge a battery to 80% capacity in under 30 minutes—the fastest charge rate currently available.