Personnel Updates:

ARC Group, Inc. (dba Dick’s Wings & Grill) announced that Chris Perrella has joined the Company as Director of Marketing.

Boyd Gaming Corporation announced that it appointed Chris Gibase to the newly created position of Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer. Boyd Gaming also announced that it has named Steve Schutte and Vince Schwartz to the position of Senior VP, Operations.

Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s President of Central Markets and Partnership Development John Payne resigned effective 7/3014.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced the appointment of Andreas Flaig as Exec VP of Development, Asia Pacific.

Cedar Fair’s Carowinds announced that Mike Fehnel has been appointed VP and General Manager of Carowinds, replacing Bart Kinzel. In addition, Gary Chadwick has been promoted to the position of VP of Resale, overseeing all aspects of in-park revenue.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. announced that Clarence Otis is stepping down as Chairman and CEO, effective until the earlier of the appointment of his successor or 12/31/14. Darden’s Board of Directors appointed Charles A. Ledsinger, Jr., as Independent Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, effective immediately.  The company also announced that it has amended its corporate governance policies to provide for the separation of the Chairman and CEO roles.

Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. announced Andy Abbajay as the new COO; he most recently served as VP of Operations for Sbarro.

Domino’s Pizza announced that Stan Gage, VP of Americas Region for International Operations, has been named Exec VP – Team USA, succeeding Steve Akinboro.

Famous Dave’s of America, Inc. announced the election of David J. Mastrocola as the Company’s Chairman of the Board, effective 7/28/14.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced that Michael A. Crawford joined its executive team in the newly created position of President, Asia Pacific. In addition, William Mackay has been promoted to Senior VP, Hotel Operations – Asia Pacific, overseeing hotel operations in the region. Chris Hart, previously President, Hotel Operations in the Asia Pacific region since 2011, will take on the same role in the Americas region later this summer.

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. announced the appointment of John Morberg as its CEO effective immediately.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced that H. Charles Floyd Exec VP, Group President – Global Operations Center, was appointed Exec VP, Global President of Operations of the Company, effective 8/1/14. Hyatt also announced that Peter Sears will be appointed Exec VP, Group President – Americas, effective 9/1/14, and that Stephen G. Haggerty will serve as Global Head of Capital Strategy, Franchising and Select Service, also effective 8/1/14.

Johnny Rockets announced the appointment of Joel Bulger as Chief Marketing Officer;  he was most recently with Church’s Chicken.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. announced that M. Bradley Wall, Senior VP of Supply Chain and Off-Premises Operations, is no longer with the Company effective 7/28/14.

Marriott International Inc. named Brian King Global Officer of Marriott Signature Brands & Global Sales. King will be responsible for leading the Marriott Signature Brands and brand marketing teams, as well as leading the Global Sales Organization.

Marshall Hotels & Resorts named David Price and Matt Jones Regional Vice Presidents of Operations. Price will oversee the company’s New York and New Jersey portfolio, while Jones will be responsible for specific ownership groups within the Marshall portfolio.

Newk’s Eatery hired Chris Cheek as Chief Development Officer to will help meet the company’s goal of growing the group to 200 by 2019. He was most recently Chief Development Officer at Topper’s Pizza.

Noble House Hotels & Resorts announced the appointment of Patricia Handjaja to CFO.

Noodles & Company announced the appointment of Chef Nick Graff as Director of Culinary Research and Development. Graff joins the Noodles & Company team from Quiznos.

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border. Whitworth was most recently President of ACG, the nation’s largest IHOP franchisee, and succeeds Steve Clark who resigned.

Ovation Brands announced the appointment of Robert “Rob” Crews as Senior VP of Marketing.

Panera Bread Company announced that Roger Matthews, Exec VP and CFO, has resigned his position to pursue other opportunities. Effective 8/6/14 Executive Vice Chairman Bill Moreton will serve as Interim CFO as the Company conducts a search for a full-time replacement.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. announced that Ralph Bower, the company’s President-U.S., has resigned effective 8/8/14 to accept a new position. The company has commenced a process to identify Mr. Bower’s successor.

Reading International, Inc. announced the resignation of James J. Cotter, Sr. as its Chairman and CEO and the election of Ellen Marie Cotter as Chairman, Margaret Cotter as Vice Chairman, and James J. Cotter, Jr. as CEO. In addition CFO Andrzej Matyczynski has agreed to extend his planned retirement until 12/1/14.

Real Mex Restaurants named Laurie Lawhorne as its CFO effective immediately; she was most recently at Captain D’s.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. announced the appointment of Jeff Melnick as Senior VP of Operations.

Sears Holdings announced that Alasdair James has joined the company as President and Chief Member Officer for Kmart.

Smoothie King appointed Richard Peabody as CFO; he was most recently Senior VP and CFO for the Corner Bakery Café and Il Fornaio brands.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced the following promotions: Colleen Keating to the newly created position of Senior VP, Franchise Operations and Compliance, Lynne Dougherty to the new role of Senior VP, Owner Services and Administration, and Vera Manoukian to Senior VP of Operations for the North Region.

Sysco announced that Mike Green, Exec VP and President of Foodservice Operations, intends to retire on 12/31/14. Sysco also announced the senior leaders who will guide the company upon completion of its proposed merger with US Foods. It is anticipated that the Sysco Board of Directors will appoint the following officers of the company to report to Sysco President and CEO Bill DeLaney: Tom Bené will lead all of Sysco’s domestic and international operations; Scott Charlton will lead end-to-end supply chain operations including warehousing, inbound and outbound transportation, and replenishment; Chris Kreidler will lead the finance function including treasury, accounting, and investor relations, as well as the integration activities of Sysco and US Foods; Russell Libby will lead corporate affairs, including legal, government relations and communications, business development, enterprise risk management, compliance, corporate social responsibility, and workplace safety; Paul Moskowitz will lead human resources, including talent management, talent acquisition, payroll, and labor relations; Pietro Satriano will lead merchandising and marketing, including product development and innovation, food safety, and quality assurance; Stuart Schuette will lead sales, including corporate-managed customers such as restaurants, healthcare, travel and leisure, and foodservice management; and Wayne Shurts will lead business technology including development of technology and systems vital to integrate Sysco and US Foods, and continuing to oversee the deployment of Sysco’s enterprise platform and develop additional customer-facing business solutions.

Taco John’s named Ms. Billie Jo Waara as its new Chief Marketing Officer.

Target Corporation announced that its Board of Directors has named Brian Cornell as the company’s next Chairman/CEO effective 8/12/14.

The Egg & I Restaurants CEO and Chairman, Bill Baumhauer, has died. Don Lamb, President and COO of The Egg & I, will take over the CEO role on an interim basis.

The Krystal Company announced that Jason Abelkop and Chris Kermode will join the team as Chief Marketing Officer and VP of Supply Chain, respectively.

The Melting Pot Restaurants promoted Bob Margait to VP of Operations. In his new role, Margait oversees overall restaurant operations, service, menu, restaurant environment, cleanliness standards, service style, service systems, food safety and internal marketing initiatives.

The Wendy’s Company announced that Brandon Solano has been named Senior VP of Marketing.

Walmart has promoted Greg Foran to Exec VP, President and CEO of Walmart U.S. succeeding Bill Simon effective 8/9/14.

White Lodging hired Pete Sams as Regional VP of full-service operations.

Wild Wing Café announced the appointment of Tom Lewison to the role of CEO.

Wok HoldCo LLC (owner of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc.) announced the appointment of Ralph Bower as the new CEO of Pei Wei, its fast casual brand. Mr. Bower joins Pei Wei from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

Financial Focus:

Brinker International Inc. reported total revenues of $2,905,452,000 for the year ending 6/26/14.

Dion’s Pizza closed on a $10 million round of funding that will fund a significant expansion.

Frisch’s Restaurants Inc. reported sales of $209,173,000 for the year ending 6/3/14.

Mergers & Acquisitions:

Darden Restaurants, Inc. and Golden Gate Capital announced that Golden Gate has completed the acquisition of the Red Lobster business and certain other related assets and assumed liabilities for approximately $2.1 billion in cash.

KeHE Distributors, LLC completed its acquisition of Nature’s Best. The acquisition was first announced on July 18.

Industry Insight:

Auntie Anne’s partnered with MICROS Systems, Inc. and mobile app development company Qubop, Inc. to introduce ‘My Pretzel Perks’ mobile loyalty app.

Bloomin’ Brands plans to open Carrabba’s Italian Grill in 2015 in Brazil.

Bob Evans Farms Inc. announced two more Bob Evans Express sites will be going into the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor and the Millcreek Mall in Erie, PA. The sites will be operated by Warren-based AVI Foodsystems Inc.

Buffalo Wings & Rings continues its expansion in the Middle East with the opening of its 9th location in Jordan. It has also opened the first of 12 planned locations in Saudi Arabia and signed its first area development agreement for Kuwait.

Charleys Philly Steaks is expanding its international footprint with store openings in the Bahamas and Russia.

Cold Stone Creamery continued its international push as it announced a deal to bring its ice cream to Kenya and opened locations in Pakistan.

Dunkin’ Donuts opens its first restaurant in Luxembourg on August 16.

Fatburger recently opened its first location in Qatar.

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. (dba Pollo Tropical, Taco Cabana and Cabana Grill) will consolidate all its food distribution with Performance Food Group.

FOCUS Brands Inc., the franchisor and operator of Carvel, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and McAlister’s Deli, has tapped restaurant supply chain buying group SpenDifference to manage purchasing for the more than 3,000 domestic locations of its six concepts.

Marco’s Pizza announced its first franchise deal in India with plans to open 400 stores over the next 10 years.

Red Lobster company is moving into downtown Orlando’s CNL Tower I later this year or early next year. The company is still temporarily based in Darden Restaurants Inc.’s Restaurant Support Center following its recent acquisition by Golden Gate Capital.

Rita’s Italian Ice has agreed to serve Rita’s Italian Ice and Custard at the San Diego landmark, Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

Starbucks Corp opened its first shop in Colombia, the first of 50 Starbucks stores planned for the coming five years. This store and all other Starbucks locations in Colombia will be Starbucks’ first to serve only locally sourced coffee.

sweetFrog announced plans to expand into Egypt with the first two sweetFrog  locations set to open in Cairo by the end of 2014.

Taco Bell launched its first fast-casual taco venue, U.S. Taco Co., in Huntington Beach, CA.

The Wendy’s Co. is leaving the Russian market after three years.

Tom + Chee’s corporate headquarters is moving into 125 E. Court St. Currently the office is operating out of temporary space on the building’s second floor while negotiations for a lease on the fourth floor are being finalized.

Real Estate:

Bar Louie announced plans to expand in CA, with a focus on the San Diego market.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza announced its entry into SD and will open 35 new locations by year-end while expanding into the metropolitan areas of New York, Miami, Washington DC, New Orleans, Knoxville, Raleigh-Durham, Boise, Rapid City and Columbus. The company has a pipeline of over 280 restaurants being developed corporately and by 30 franchisees.

Burger 21 announced the signing of its first franchise agreement in MI, with the first location to open in Ann Arbor; it will also be opening  its first restaurant in upstate NY. Burger 21 recently signed two franchise agreements for single units in Ocala, FL, and Raleigh, NC.

Carolina Ale House opened its first location in TN.

Corner Bakery Café recently announced a franchise development agreement that plans to open 12 neighborhood cafés in the state of OR and Vancouver, WA.

Dunkin’ Donuts announced that the company is recruiting franchisees in CO with an emphasis on Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, and Durango. The company also announced the signing of a multi-unit store development agreement to develop seven restaurants in Duluth, MN and the surrounding areas. The first restaurant is planned to open in spring 2015.

GRILLit  will debut in San Antonio later this year with more to follow.

How Do You Roll? recently signed a deal for 35 units across Southern CA over the next 10 years. How Do You Roll? is also expanding in Chicago and New York, and restaurants in Western Canada and the Middle East are slated to open in 2015.

Hurricane Grill & Wings announced the signing of two new multi-unit development agreements in Orlando, FL, that in addition to a new corporate-owned store will total nine new locations in the city.

Jamba Juice announced new incentives to boost franchising, with the goal of adding 500 new stores in the U.S. in the next five years. The company hopes to expand geographically with the incentives, focusing on a number of key markets, including the Baltimore and DC areas, Dallas, Atlanta, Northern NJ, Raleigh/Durham and New York City.

LYFE Kitchen announced it will move its headquarters to Memphis and open two locations. LYFE expects to grow its 10 locations to 14 or 15 by the end of the year, and anticipates opening 15 to 20 locations, including one in Nashville, next year.

Margaritas Management Group plans to open one or two corporate locations each year for the next five years, focusing on eastern MA and southern NH.

Modmarket announced plans for four new locations in TX.

Penn Station East Coast Subs signed development deals throughout the country with plans to grow the business for the first time in major markets such as Chicago (10 locations), Atlanta (5), and Dallas (15), to name a few.

Pie Five Pizza Co. announced the company is set to open the first of seven stores expected in the Midwest on Aug. 15 in Wichita, KS.

PizzaRev opened its first UT location.

Rita’s Italian Ice awarded franchise and area development agreements for NM and three cities in southern CO – Durango, Pagosa Springs and Trinidad. The agreement calls for 30 stores to be developed over eight years with the first location planned for Albuquerque in 3/15.

Russo’s Restaurants announced that an additional 10 to 12 restaurants are planned to open this year in key TX markets such as Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

Schlotzsky’s signed a development agreement to add an additional 15 locations in Oklahoma City and 10 in Tulsa by the end of 2014.

Scooter’s Coffee announced an area development agreement for 20 stores in northwestern Phoenix over the next six years.

Smashburger signed a development agreement for eight locations in upstate NY and VT to be opened within the next five years.

The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille plans to open 11 locations in NJ.

The Kolache Factory is seeking franchisees for the San Antonio TX market.

The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. announced that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout TX, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.

Tim Hortons plans to open 25 Tim Hortons restaurants in New Jersey and New York over the next ten years.

Togo’s Eateries, Inc. announced it has signed development agreements with new and existing franchisees to expand its footprint in several CA markets, including Woodland, Jackson and the Central Valley and East Bay areas.

Tom + Chee announced it will open the chain’s first in IN.

Tropical Smoothie Café announced plans to develop as many as 40 locations in the Atlanta GA metropolitan area in coming years. The company is reported to be eyeing future locations in Buckhead, Midtown, Downtown, Highlands, Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Vinings, Marietta, Alpharetta, and College Park.

Green News:

Caesars’ Entertainment In partnership with NV Energy reported that nearly all of Northern and Southern Nevada resorts and casinos now have operational EV charging stations on site, in addition to Harrah’s Resort Southern CA. A total of 48 charging ports have been installed in guest parking lots as well as valet areas, and are available for guests to use at no cost.

Chili’s Grill & Bar in the Huntsville-Madison area includes such green features as all LED light bulbs, an H2AC system that uses water to help cool the units, and a nitrogen-based gas instead of CO2 to help pump the beer taps; these energy-efficient measures that should use 30-40% less energy than other stores.

Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority announced the Mohegan Sun Massachusetts resort casino is expected to be the greenest resort casino in the nation, with one of the highest LEED scores of any such facility in the industry. Mohegan Sun Massachusetts integrated numerous “green” features in order to improve green sustainability:

  • 5,000 square feet of greenhouse space to help supply an onsite restaurant with fresh produce
  • Landscaped courtyards and open space throughout
  • Public plaza entrance at Winthrop and Washburn avenues serve as the main access point from the Beachmont MBTA station and MBTA buses
  • Forty percent of the power generated from Mohegan Sun Massachusetts will be supplied in a carbon neutral manner, while 50 percent of the site is open space
  • Onsite bicycle accommodations, including a “Beach to Beach” bicycle connection planned for Easton Boston and Revere
  • Electric vehicles for maintenance and security, and electric vehicle charging stations for both staff and public use
  • Preferential parking for low-emitting fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Solar panels on the roof to generate renewable energy on site – capable of saving 800 tons of CO2 a year
  • Energy-efficient lighting and mechanical systems and energy-star rated equipment
  • 1 MW gas-fired co-generation plant that enables Mohegan Sun Massachusetts to offset power grid demands
  • Solid food waste recycling program to create electricity and anaerobic digestion
  • Innovative drainage system and water-conserving fixtures to target a 30 percent reduction in water consumption
  • Maximum use of natural light to reduce power output