Personnel Updates:

American Restaurant Concepts, Inc. announced that it has hired Rick Akam to serve as COO for Dick’s Wings and Grill.

Ashford Hospitality Trust Chairman Archie Bennett Jr. retired, effective 1/18/13.

Back Yard Burgers Inc. appointed David McDougall as CEO.

Bloomin’ Brands CFO/Exec VP Dirk Montgomery resigned.

Burger King Corporation appointed Jerrell Moore as Chief Diversity Officer.

Cheddar’s Casual Café hired Peter Gaudreau as Exec VP of Operations.

Craft Brew Alliance announced that Martin J. Wall, VP of Sales, left the company 2/1/13.

Darden Restaurants made the following executive changes: Dave George has been named President of Olive Garden, Valerie Insignares has been promoted to succeed George as President of LongHorn Steakhouse, and Will Setliff has been promoted to SVP and Chief Marketing Officer.

Dion’s Pizza named Mark Herman as CEO.

Fiesta Restaurant Group named Nancy Clark as Chief People Officer.

Guckenheimer appointed Rex Roe to VP of Operations and Len Cerasoli to Director of Sales.

HEI Hotels & Resorts promoted Clark Hanrattie to CFO.

Homestyle Dining LLC, parent to the Bonanza and Ponderosa steakhouse franchises, appointed Thomas A. Sacco as CEO/President, replacing Tamara S. Jones. Other management changes at Homestyle included the following: Ed Herman was named VP of Company Operations; Andy Short was named Director of Operations Support, overseeing training and information technology; Chef Al Good will report to Dave McDonald, Senior VP of Purchasing and Distribution.

Host Hotels & Resorts appointed Struan B. Robertson as Exec VP, Chief Investment Officer.

Huddle House named Michael as CEO; he was most recently at Arby’s.

Liquid Nutrition Group Inc. announced the appointment of Dean Spokes to the role of VP Operations and Nelson Cabral to the position of VP Merchandise.

McDonald’s Corporation announced that Honorary Chairman and former CEO Fred L. Turner has passed away.

McKibbon Hotel Management promoted Randy Hassen to President and Bruce Baerwalde to Exec VP.

Papa John’s International promoted Steve Higdon to VP of Global Communications.

Panera Bread Co. named Roger Matthews Jr. CFO/Exec VP, effective 3/18/13.

Real Mex Restaurants named Charles Robinson as its new CEO/President.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers promoted Dana Benfield to VP of Engagement Marketing, responsible for its loyalty program, social and interactive media, gift cards, licensing and merchandising and guest relations.

Sonic Corp. announced that President Scott McLain will resign, effective 3/31/13. At that time, Chairman/CEO Cliff Hudson will assume the title of President.

Sunburst Hospitality CEO Kevin Hanley stepped down and was succeed by Pamela Williams.

Sysco Corp. appointed Mike Davis as President of Sysco West Texas and David DeVane as Market President of the Southwest Region.

The Marcus Corporation appointed Kirk A. rose as President of Marcus Hotels & Resorts.

The National Restaurant Association today announced that Matt Walker has been named Vice President of Government Affairs.

Tilted Kilt named Eddie Goitia as CFO.

Walt Disney Resort named George Kalogridis President, succeeding Meg Crofton who will assume the role of Disney Parks Operations President for the U.S. and France.

Wynn Resorts hired Gamal Aziz from MGM Resorts International as President/COO of Wynn Resorts Development.


Financial Focus:

BAB Inc. reported revenues of $2,675,000 for the year ending 11/30/12.

Buffalo Wild Wings reported total revenue of $1,040,530,000 for the year ending 12/30/2012.

Chesapeake Lodging Trust reported total revenue of $278,276,000 for the year ending 12/31/12.

Chick-fil-A reported systemwide sales of $4,600,000,000 for 2012.

Cineplex Inc. reported revenues of $1,091,866,000 for the year ending 12/31/12; concession sales were $329,332,000.

Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment reported revenues of $225,912,000 for the year ending 12/31/12.

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. reported total revenues of $658,181,000 for the year ending 12/29/12.

Famous Dave’s of America Inc. reported total revenue of $154,988,000 for the year ending 12/30/2012.

Ignite Restaurant Group reported total revenues of $465,000,000 for the year ending 12/31/12.

International Speedway Corporation reported total revenues of $612,400,000 for the year ending 11/30/12.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. reported net revenues of 11,131,132,000 for the year ending 12/31/12.

McDonald’s Corporation reported total revenues of $27,567,000,000 for the year ending 12/31/12; systemwide sales were more than $88 billion.

Penn National Gaming reported net revenues of $2,899,465,000 for the year ending 12/31/12.

Starbucks Corporation reported total net revenues of $18,299,500,000 for the year ending 9/30/12.


Mergers & Acquisitions:

Apple American Group is now part of Flynn Restaurant Group LLC, following Greg Flynn’s acquisition of Southern Bells Inc., a large franchisee of Taco Bells; the latter are now operating within the Flynn group as Bell American Group.

Bob Evans Farms Inc. announced an agreement to sell its Mimi’s Café chain to LeDuff America; closure of the transaction was announced in mid-February.

Caribou Coffee was acquired by Joh. A. Benckiser Group in a move that privatized the company.

Ignite Restaurant Group announced that it has agreed to acquire Romano’s Macaroni Grill from private equity firm Golden Gate Capital; closure is expected in the third quarter.

Meritage Hospitality Group acquired two Wendy’s portfolios in GA and VA, bringing its total Wendy’s locations to 111.

Nimes Capital Group acquired TD Food Group, operator of Yum! concepts in Hawaii, Guam, and Saipan.

Northeast Foodservice Equipment was acquired by Kittredge Equipment.

PNC Riverarch Capital has acquired a controlling interest in Burger King franchisee Goldco LLC.

The Go Roma fast-casual Italian brand was acquired Wednesday by former Morton’s Restaurant Group CFO Ronald DiNella and his investment partners, the Roma Restaurant Investments group. The HQ will move from San Francisco to Chicago and DiNella is now CEO/President.

The Saxton Group acquired 20 McAlister’s Deli locations in OK, KS, and MO.

U-Swirl Inc. acquired the Yogurtini and Aspen Leaf yogurt chains, while simultaneously Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Inc. acquired a majority stake in U-Swirl.


Industry Insight:

Baskin-Robbins franchisees will open 249 additional shops across China over the next 10 years.

Bennigan’s opened its first location in the UAE.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is offering its Colorado customers catering options and expects to roll it out to all of its markets this year.

Cinnabon-Auntie Anne’s opened in Trinidad.

Dunkin’ Donuts announced an agreement for multiple locations in Vietnam over the next few years.

Fatburger has opened the doors to its first Pakistani location.

KFC plans to open its first location in Mongolia this year.

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation announced that it opened its first franchise location in India.

Moe’s Southwest Grill opened its first location in Costa Rica.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen opened a location in Vietnam.

Punk’s Backyard Grill, an upscale independent restaurant serving American food, has closed in Annapolis MD.

Quiznos is expanding into Mexico with an agreement for more than 150 restaurants in the next 10 years.

Ruby Tuesday announced the closure of all its Marlin & Ray’s and Wok Hay concepts and is seeking a buyer for its licensed Truffles Grill locations.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group signed an agreement for the development of four Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations in China over the next few years.

Starbucks opened its first location in Vietnam.

The Cheesecake Factory opened its first internationally licensed restaurant in Dubai.


Real Estate:

Baskin-Robbins is seeking franchisees in the Los Angeles area.

Bennigan’s announced agreements to develop 30+ restaurants in 2013 in AR, FL, MD, MI, MN, NJ, TN, TX, and VA, as well as Mexico, Cyprus, and Korea.

Bruegger’s Bagels is seeking franchisees for Nashville TN, Tallahassee FL, and Huntsville AL.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. plans to open 165 to 180 restaurants in 2013, including four in foreign countries.

Dickey’s Barbecue is expanding in new and existing markets in the first part of 2013 in areas such as WA, CA, CO, UT and VA; the company has more than 150 stores in development.

Dunkin’ Donuts is planning to open multiple units in Southern CA by 2015.

East Coast Wings & Grill expects to open 12 additional locations by the end of the year. New restaurants are scheduled to open in 2013 in AL, FL, GA, IN, KY, NC, PA, SC, TN, and TX.

First Watch has signed a multi-unit franchise agreement to open restaurants in seven cities in TN, KY and NC in the next five years; the first will open by mid-year 2013.

Jamba Inc. plans to open 60-80 new units globally, refresh 75-100 stores, and add JambaGO and Smoothie Stations to existing locations. Jamba announced a franchise development agreement for 15 new stores in KS and MO over the next nine years.

Ker’s WingHouse Bar & Grill plans to open three to five location across FL.

Kona Grill will open its first location in ID later this year.

Little Caesars is targeting small suburban markets and rural communities for franchisee growth.

Pancheros will open between 10 and 25 new units next year, entering new markets including CA.

Platinum Restaurant Group (dba Eddie Merlot’s) will open three locations in 2013, one each in CO, MI, and PA.

Saladworks has locations opening this year in FL, NC, NY, TX, KY, and TN. The company’s pipeline contains 150+ units for the next several years.

Sbarro Inc. plans to add 10 stand-alone locations this year.

Schlotzsky’s Franchise LLC is set to open tri-brand stores (Schlotzsky’s/Cinnabon/Carvel)  in the new markets this year, including KY, NJ and NC as well as: Minneapolis MN; New Orleans LA; Orange County CA; Philadelphia; and Sacramento CA. The company plans 40-50 openings in 2013.

Sizzler plans to open six new restaurants in the San Francisco market and will remodel six more.

Starbucks Corp. announced that in the next five years, more than half of its new 1,500 U.S. locations will be drive-through.

The Saxton Group is seeking locations in the Kansas City area for 10 new McAlister’s Deli restaurants.

Togo’s has agreements for new restaurants in ID, CA, and OR. The company is targeting Portland, Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City for future development.

Villa Enterprises plans to open a dozen new units during the first quarter and the company hopes to open concepts in five additional countries in 2013.

Wendy’s Co. plans 25 new restaurants and 200 remodels in 2013.

Woody’s Bar-B-Q is seeking franchisees in Central and West Central FL; the company is targeting small towns in this area to develop its Woody’s Bar-B-Q Express, a smaller version of its traditional restaurant.


Green Initiatives:

Elevation Burger joined the Organic Trade Association, a business association for the organic industry whose members serve certified organic products or provide services that serve the organic industry business.

Performance Foodservice launched its GreenBasis label for its branded foodservice disposable products that meet the company’s criteria for environmentally responsible manufacturing processes, product composition or product life cycle options. The GreenBasis label will be reserved for Silver Source and First Mark branded disposable products such as cups, napkins and cutlery. Products free of toxic materials or made from recycled content will receive the GreenBasis designation as will those verified as compostable, biodegradable, recyclable or reusable.