Aramark Corp.named Eric J. Foss as CEO/President; Joseph Neubauer will continue to serve as Chairman.
Buca Inc. (dba Buca di Beppo) named Rick Tasman as CEO/President; he was most recently COO at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.
Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced that Exec VP/CFO Jonathan Halkyard will leave the company to pursue an opportunity outside of the gaming industry. Caesars has begun a search for a permanent replacement.
Caribou Coffee’s Senior VP of Retail Operations, Daniel J. Hurdle, has resigned.
Carrols Restaurant Group reported the resignations of Joseph A. Zirkman, James E. Tunnessen, and Michael A. Biviano subsequent to the spin-off of Fiesta Restaurant Group; William E. Myers was appointed General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, succeeding Mr. Zirkman.
Chick-fil-A announced promotions from Senior VP to Exec VP for the following: Perry Ragsdale, Steve Robinson, James McCabe, Donald Cathy, and Tim Tassopoulos.
Darden Restaurants, Inc. announced that Jim Lawrence will succeed Barry Moullet as Senior VP and Chief Supply Chain Officer effective 5/28/12.
Destination Hotels & Resorts Inc. named James Sabatier as President/COO; he was most recently at Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
East Coast Wings & Grill announced the appointment of Dan Collins, CFE as Senior Vice President of Brand Development; he was most recently at Hurricane Grill & Wings.
eegee’spromoted Robert Jensen to President.
Fiesta Restaurant Group named John Todd as Chief Development Officer.
FireBirdrestaurants in New York City named Paul Joseph as Executive Chef.
Fleming’snamed John Merlino Jr. as Director of Culinary Development.
Friendly’s Ice Cream LLC has appointed Anthony Lavely as its Exec VP/Chief Marketing Officer and Patrick Hickey as CFO.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters appointed Michael J. Mardy as interim Chairman, replacing Robert P. Stiller.
Hyatt Hotelsis realigning operations, resulting in the following senior management changes: effective 8/15/12 CFO/Exec VP Harmit J. Singh will become Exec VP of the company until 12/31/12 when he will resign; Gebhard R. Rainier will become CFO/Exec VP effective 8/15/12; Chuck Floyd will lead the new Global Operations Center; Rakesh Sarna will lead the new Americas region; Steve Haggerty will lead the new Real Estate and Capital Strategy group.
Jack in the Box Inc. promoted Leonard A. Comma to President/COO; Linda Lang continues as CEO.
Max & Erma’s named Steve Weis as its President.
McDonald’s Corporation named Dave Hoffmann as President of McDonald’s APMEA, effective 7/1/12. McDonald’s USA named Shannon Johnson Director of Culinary Innovation; he was most recently at Applebee’s.
Orion Food Systems (dba Hot Stuff and Lettieri’s) appointed Henry J. Suerth as CEO; he was most recently as Caribou Coffee Company.
OSI Restaurant Partners appointed David Demo as its new CFO/Exec VP, succeeding Dirk Montgomery who is transitioning to his new role as Chief Value Chain Officer.
Outrigger Enterprises Group has named Hans Weger CFO, replacing Melvyn Wilinsky, who retired. Previously, Weger served as CFO, Exec VP, and Treasurer of LaSalle Hotel Properties.
Quaker Steak & Lube has named Debra Koenig Chairman of the Board.
Real Mex Restaurants confirmed the departure of CEO David Goronkin; Chairman Chris Thomas will serve as Interim CEO.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers announced a new Menu Team, comprised of Scott Weaver, Director of Culinary, Laurie Scanlin Ph.D., Director of Research & Development, and Donna Ruch, Master Mixologist. Weaver was most recently as The Cheesecake Factory, Scanlin was at Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Ruch was at T.G.I. Friday’s.
Saval Foodservice announced the promotion of Bryan Bernstein, Corporate Chef, to Saval’s Marketing Manager. Saval also hired Max Becker as Beverage and Culinary Sales Specialist.
Saxby’s Coffee’s new CEO is Paul Friel, who also heads up the Swiss Farms convenience-store chain.
Sizzler USAadded Richard Pineda as VP of Purchasing and Supply Chain, Forbes Collins as VP of Company and Franchise Operations, and Jerry Delaney as Controller. The company also promoted Khalad Bagul to Executive Director of Safety, Security and Training, Mark Lyso to Executive Director of Franchise Development, Katie Cameron to Senior Director of Marketing,
Starbucksannounced the following personnel changes: Arthur Rubinfeld was named Chief Creative Officer and President, Global Development and Evolution Fresh Retail; Annie Young-Scrivner was named Exec VP and President, Starbucks Canada; Lucy Lee Helm was named Exec VP/General Counsel/Corporate Secretary; Colin Moore was named Senior VP Enterprise Optimization; Craig Russell was named Senior VP Global Coffee, succeeding Dub Hay who will retire later this year.
Sysco Corporation announced the following leadership appointments, which will be effective 7/1/12:  Chuck Staes was appointed Senior VP Foodservice Operations, Specialty Companies; Joel Grade was promoted to Senior VP Foodservice Operations, North Region; Scott Sonnemaker was appointed to the new position of Senior VP Sales; Greg Bertrand was promoted to Senior VP Foodservice Operations, West Region.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has named John Theuer as its new CFO; he was previously at Panda Restaurant Group. Mark Watkins was named VP of Operations.
The National Restaurant Association named Kenneth Walters as VP of Sales for Strategic Accounts.
Togo’s Inc. announced it has hired Zina Hyman as Real Estate Manager.
Tropicana Entertainment named Tony Rodio as CEO.
VooDoo BBQ & Grill hired Gregg Frazer as VP Operations and Executive Chef.
Yum! Brands Inc. announced that Rick Carucci has been promoted from CFO to President; Patrick Grismer has been promoted from Chief Planning and Control Officer to replace Carucci as CFO.
AMC Entertainment reported total revenues of $2,600,594,000 for the year ending 3/29/12; concession sales were $709,872,000.
CKE Inc.filed a registration statement for a proposed public offering.
Ignite Restaurant Group completed its initial public offering and is now listed on NASDAQ as IRG.
Outback Steakhouse parent, Bloomin’ Brands filed with the SEC to become a publicly traded company and will trade as BLM on the NASDAQ.
Benihana Inc.announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with funds advised by Angelo, Gordon & Co.’s (“Angelo Gordon”) Private Equity Group in which Angelo Gordon will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2012 and will privatize the company.
Boyd Gaming Corporation announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Peninsula Gaming, LLC; the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of various closing conditions and receipt of required regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the end of 2012.
Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced it has signed a definitive agreement to sell Harrah’s St. Louis to Penn National Gaming, Inc.; the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2012, subject to regulatory approvals. The property will continue to operate as Harrah’s St. Louis until the transaction is closed.
Carrols Restaurant Group completed the previously announced acquisition of an additional 278 Burger King restaurants in IN, KY, NC, OH, PA, SC, and VA; Carrols is now the brand’s largest franchisee globally.
Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd of China announced an agreement to acquire AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.
DineEquity, Inc. announced that it has entered into an asset purchase agreement for the sale of 33 Applebee’scompany-operated restaurants located primarily in IN and MO; the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter. DineEquity also announced an asset purchase agreement for the sale of 39 Applebee’s company-operated restaurants located in VA.
Dippin’ Dots LLC finalized its acquisition of Dippin’ Dots Inc.
Fidelity National Financial, Inc.  announced it completed the merger of O’Charley’s LLCoperations into those of American Blue Ribbon Holdings LLC, operator of Village Inn, Bakers Square, and Max & Erma’s.
Frisch’s Restaurants closed on the sale of its Golden Corral operations to the Golden Corral Corporation.
Great Wolf Resorts was acquired by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management; the transaction privatized Great Wolf.
Houlihan’s Restaurants Inc. hired Piper Jaffray & Co. to advise it on a possible sale; no details on the process or any possible transaction were announced.
Marriott International entered into an agreement with Gaylord Entertainment Company to acquire the Gaylord brand and hotel management company. Gaylord will become a REIT, owning the hotels but turning management over to Marriott.
Neighborhood Restaurant Partners acquired the assets and development rights of
Casual Restaurant Concepts
, comprising 50 Applebee’s restaurants in the Tampa and Orlando markets.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Centerbridge Partners, L.P., which will result in P.F. Chang’s becoming a private company; the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012.
Saxby’s Coffeewas acquired by MVP Capital Partners.
Taco Bueno has hired North Point Advisors to advise on a sale of the company.
Thomas H. Lee Partners LP has agreed to buy the 25-unit Fogo de Chão chain from GP Investments Ltd.; the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
BAB, Inc.,the franchisor and licensor of Big Apple Bagels and My Favorite Muffin has announced its new franchise concept, SweetDuet Frozen Yogurt & Gourmet Muffins, which it is preparing to roll out this year; the company is accepting inquiries from interested parties.
Baskin-Robbinsopened three ice-cream parlors in London and is planning to greatly expand its presence in the UK over the next three years.
California Pizza Kitchen Inc. will move its headquarters to Playa Vista this summer.
Caribou Coffeeopened its 100th international location with a restaurant in Istanbul Turkey.
Carrols Restaurant Group completed the spin-off of its Hispanic brands into the Fiesta Restaurant Group, a new publicly held company that operates Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana.
Dunkin’ Donutsopened its first two restaurants in India and its first location in Guatemala.
Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a review of strategic alternatives available to the Company, including a possible business combination or sale of the Company, to maximize value for all stockholders.
Huddle Househas signed franchise agreements with Pilot Travel Centers to open five new travel-center eateries in the next eight months. A location in Frystown, PA. was scheduled to open in May, with locations in Anna, TX; Fargo, ND.; New Haven, IN.; and Lebanon, IN., to follow.
Maui Wowiopened its first location in Saudi Arabia.
Miami Subsis opening restaurants in Guyana this year and plans to open locations in Brazil and Honduras.
Pinkberryhas signed a development agreement for India.
Red Mangoopened in Mexico through an international development agreement with theatre chain Cinemex.
Rita’s Italian Ice signed a Master Licensee development agreement for China.
Subway plans to be operating 1,000 stores in India by 2015.
Baskin-Robbinsis seeking franchisees for the South Florida market and the San Diego area.
CKE Restaurantsis seeking new franchisees for its Hardee’sbrand in the greater Tampa FL market, with the potential for almost 90 restaurants in the market; the company is also seeking franchisees to open more than 35 new restaurants in the Charlotte, NC, market.
Corner Bakery Café will open 22 new locations in CT and RI in the next eight years.
Culver Franchising System will open its first East Coast location this fall with a restaurant scheduled to open in SC in September.
Dunkin’ Donutsannounced a development agreement for 12 new locations in Denver, CO, by 2018.
Go Roma isfocusing its initial expansion in the upper Midwest and is planning to open locations throughout Milwaukee and Madison, WI; Indianapolis, IN; Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, IA; Ann Arbor, Lansing and Grand Rapids, MI; and the southern suburbs of IL.
Jersey Mike’sopened its first location in MI.
Johnny Rocketsopened its first UT location.
O’Charley’s Inc. closed 14 underperforming locations in AL, IN, NC, and WI.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen hope to open 20 or more restaurants in the Indianapolis metro area over the next few years. Popeyes also plans to open 13 restaurants over the next 5 years in the San Diego DMA and is hosting an executive roundtable on June 27th in the market to discuss opportunities with qualified franchisees (
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers plans to open 13 company-owned restaurants in 2012, including four Burger Works locati
Taco Cabanahas announced plans to begin remodeling all of its San Antonio and Houston locations with completion slated for this time next year.
Togo’s Eateries Inc. announced it is targeting Phoenix and Tucson AZ for franchise expansion.
Wingstop has a development agreement for several new locations throughout GA and SC.
Yogurtiniopened its first NE location.
Green Initiatives:
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is to eliminate plastic shopping bags from the 10 theme parks it operates by the end of the year. When the initiative is fully implemented, park gift shops will offer paper bags made from 100 percent recycled paper, and give guests the option to buy reusable bags.