Personnel Updates:

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) announced the appointment Matthew MacLaren as Senior VP of Member Relations. Kimberly Miles has also been promoted to Senior VP of Operations. The company recently appointed Troy Flanagan as VP of State and Local Government Affairs.

Another Broken Egg Cafe has appointed Kevin Armantrout to COO.

Associated Wholesale Grocers recently announced that effective October 5, 2014, Steve Arnold, Senior VP of Grocery Products will be promoted to Executive VP of Marketing reporting to Jerry Garland, President and CEO.

Auberge Resorts promoted Caroline MacDonald to Chief Marketing Officer.

Black Angus Steakhouse announced the appointment of Christopher P. Ames as President and CEO.

Boyd Gaming Corporation announced that COO Paul Chakmak left the Company, effective 9/19/14; Keith Smith, President and CEOr, will assume Chakmak’s responsibilities.

Brunswick Corporation announced that David M. Foulkes has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream appoints Corey Bradley as its new VP of Franchise Development.

Burger 21 announced the promotion of Mike Remes to Burger 21 Corporate Chef and field trainer.

Caesars Entertainment Corporation appointed Keith Causey as Senior VP and Chief Accounting Officer. Subsequently, the company reported that Diane Wilfong will resign as Senior VP, Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer effective 10/31/14.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s Exec VP of Industry Relations Nancy Johnson has retired.

CEC Entertainment, Inc. (dba Chuck E. Cheese’s) announced that its Board of Directors appointed Temple Weiss as CFO, effective 9/29/14. He succeeds Tiffany Kice.

CiCi’s Pizza hired Sarah McAloon as Chief Marketing Officer.

Cousins Subs appointed Jason Valentine to Director of Operations; Kim Lesch as Manager of Real Estate; Chelsea Schwabe as Public Relations and Communications Specialist; Hilary Krekling as Training Coordinator.

CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc. (parent company to Gordon Biersch Brewery RestaurantsRock Bottom Restaurants & BreweriesOld Chicago Pizza & Taproom, and ChopHouse) announced Stan Frankenthaler as Chief Officer of Food, Beverage, and Strategic Supply.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. announced that its shareholders have elected all 12 Starboard-nominated directors to Darden’s Board of Directors including: Betsy S. Atkins, Margaret Shân Atkins, Jean M. Birch, Bradley D. Blum, Peter A. Feld, James P. Fogarty, Cynthia T. Jamison, William H. Lenehan, Lionel L. Nowell, III, Jeffrey C. Smith, Charles M. Sonsteby, and Alan N. Stillman. Darden Restaurants announced that its Board of Directors has appointed William S. Simon to the company’s Board, effective immediately.

Denny’s Corporation announced promotions for key leaders, including Chris Bode to the position of COO, John Dillon to the position of Chief Marketing Officer, and Jill Van Pelt to the newly created position of Chief People Officer.

Destination Hotels announced the promotion of Michael J. Slosser to VP and Area Managing Director. The company also promoted Tom Luersen to Executive VP of Operations.

Dinex Group announced Robert McCormick as Corporate Executive Chef.

Domino’s Pizza, Inc. announced promotions of Richard E. Allison as President, Domino’s International; Russell J. Weiner as President, Domino’s U.S.A.; and Michael T. Lawton, CFO, will assume the additional responsibilities of the company’s supply chain division.

Eldorado Resorts, Inc. appointed Gary L. Carano to serve as Chairman and CEO of the newly merged Eldorado/MTR operations. Thomas Reeg now serves as President of Eldorado, and Joseph L. Billhimer, former President and Chief Operating Officer of MTR Gaming, serves as Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer of Eldorado. Robert M. Jones now serves as the Company’s Executive VP and CFO.

Farmer Boys announced the addition of Robert Campos as Director of Franchise Sales.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts promoted Scott Taber to the newly created position of Senior VP of Rooms.

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. announced David A. Carr as CFO and Julie L. Derry as Chief Marketing Officer.

Gold Star Chili has selected Roger David to join Gold Star as a Senior VP on Jan. 1 in preparation to become CEO on May 1. He will replace Mike Rohrkemper, who has served in the company’s top job for six years. Rohrkemper will remain an adviser on Gold Star’s board of directors and participate in strategic projects.

HuHot Mongolian Grill appointed Molly O’Shea the new Chief Brand Officer.

Imvescor Restaurant Group announced Frank Hennessey as its new President and CEO.

John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts announced Carol Davey and Colleen Schuyler-Vinsand as Corporate Directors of Revenue Optimization dedicated to the Hilton, IHG, Marriott and Starwood brands within the JQH national portfolio.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc.’s CFO Douglas Muir will retire in 2015; Muir will stay in the role as Krispy Kreme conducts search to find a successor.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue named Elisia Flores as CFO.

Lion’s Choice appointed Joe Buttice as Director of Marketing.

Loews Hotels & Resorts announced the promotion of Monica Xuereb to Chief Revenue Officer.

Logan’s Roadhouse appointed Sam Borgese to President and CEO.

Marriott International announced that Jim Kauffman, President United States and Canada Full-Service Hotels will retire at the end of the year after 37 years of service with the company. Also, the company has appointed Toni Stoeckl to the position of VP, Lifestyle Brands, with responsibility for Renaissance Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott and Moxy Hotels.

McDonald’s continues to make changes in its marketing department, tapping Fred Ehle as its first VP-Customer Officer. McDonald’s Corp. named one of its former executives, Mike Andres, as President of its U.S. Operations, effective Oct. 15, and appointed former executive, Karen King, as the company’s Chief People Officer.

Metz Culinary Management promoted Tony Mohseninia to District Manager of Corporate & Healthcare Dining, Todd Baker to District Manager of Independent School & Higher Education, and Rick Sell the contract feeder’s VP of Operations.

New York Cruise Lines, Inc. (parent company of World Yacht Cruises) appointed Daniel Boockvar as CEO. Boockvar will succeed Samuel Cooperman who will continue to serve as Chairman.

Noble House Hotels & Resorts announced the promotion of Chris Gautier to COO and Darrell Stark to VP of Revenue Management & Distribution.

Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants has appointed President and COO Gene Lee as Interim CEO, succeeding Clarence Otis, who has stepped down from his role as CEO, effective immediately.

Outrigger Resorts named Peter Skinner VP of Designs and Projects.

Ovation Brands (dba Ryan’s, HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Country Buffet, and Fire Mountain) announced the promotion of SVP of Information Technology Patrick Benson to CIO.

Performance Food Service’s CEO/President William “Mac” Pearce passed away on 9/29/14.

Premier Restaurant Equipment named Ross Cohen Director of Institutional Foodservice.

Reading International, Inc. announced that former Chairman and CEO James J. Cotter, Sr. passed away.

Romacorp, Inc., the parent company of Tony Roma’s restaurants, has recently made two new executive hires: Jim Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer, and Roger Stracener, VP of International Franchise Operations.

Rosewood Hotels named Jacqueline Pucci VP of Human Resources.

Sage Hospitality announced Paul McCormick as VP of Operations in the Premium Lifestyle Division.

Salsarita’s Franchising promoted Mark Cote to COO. The company also promoted Tim Carter to VP of Administration.

Sbarro hired Kim Andereck as VP of Franchise Development.

Sizzler announces the hiring of Kristina Van Bruggen as the new VP of Marketing.

SONIC Drive-In announced the hiring of Harold Ceron to the position of Senior VP of SONIC Restaurants, Inc. (SRI), the arm of SONIC Corp. that operates all company locations.

Starbucks announced that Jeff Hansberry, President of China & Asia Pacific Division, assumed the role of President of Evolution Fresh.

Sysco Corporation announced that Nehl Horton has joined the company as Senior VP, Chief Communications and Government Relations Officer.

The Krystal Company appointed current Krystal’s Chairman, Harsha Agadi, as Interim CEO.

The Marcus Corporation announced the promotion of Kim Lueck to CIO. Lueck will also continue to serve as VP of Technology for the Marcus Theatres division.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation today announced that Foxwoods Resort Casino CEO Scott Butera will be vacating his current role effective 10/31/14.

The Second Cup Ltd. announced that Debbie and Bob Riche will be joining the Second Cup team as Director of Operations, Corporate Cafés and General Manager, Corporate Cafés, respectively.

Tijuana Flats Burrito Co. LLC announced the promotion of three employees: Ron Eubanks, Dede Franklin and Darrin Heisey were promoted to VP in Purchasing, Accounting and IT, respectively.

Veggie Grill announced the appointment of Steve Heeley as COO.

Veritiv Corporation announced the appointment of William Forrest Bell as Chief Accounting Officer, effective immediately.

Wingstop Restaurants Inc. announced the appointment of Michael Mravle as CFO, effective immediately. Mravle will replace Lance Loshelder who will assume the position of
Exec VP of Finance.

Wyndham Hotel Group has tapped hospitality veteran Barry Robinson as President and Managing Director, Southeast Asia and Pacific Rim, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Yogurtland announced the addition of Craig Takiguchi to the team as VP of Brand Management.

Financial Focus:

Dave & Buster’s became a publicly-held company on the NASDAQ market using the symbol PLAY.

Habit Restaurants Inc. filed with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering of common stock.

Intrawest Resorts Holdings Inc. reported total revenue from its Mountain segment of $351,266,000 for the year ending 6/30/14; F&B sales were $46,335,000.

JAB Holding Company and Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. announced that an affiliate of JAB has commenced the previously announced tender offer for all the outstanding shares of common stock for Einstein Noah at a price of $20.25 per share, net to the seller in cash but subject to any required withholding of taxes.

Pizza Inn reported revenues of $42,224,000 for the year ending 6/29/14.

Vail Resorts reported net revenue from its Mountain and Lodging segments of $1,205,860,000 for the year ending 7/31/13; dining revenues were $133,915,000.

Mergers & Acquisitions:

Bowlmor AMF announced that it has formally completed its acquisition of Brunswick Corporation.

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. announced that it exercised its right of first refusal to purchase 30 BURGER KING restaurants in eastern North Carolina and completed the acquisition on October 8, 2014.

CEC Entertainment Inc. has acquired the Peter Piper Pizza chain from Washington-based ACON Investments LLC for an undisclosed amount. Irving-based CEC, adds El Paso-based Peter Piper’s 32 company-owned locations and 115 franchises to its portfolio of 577 Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Einstein Noah Restaurant Group will be acquired by Joh. A. Benckiser GmbH (JAB Holding Co.) which is the parent company of Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Caribou Coffee for $374 million. Einstein Noah will remain headquartered in Lakewood, CO and operate as an independent branch of JAB.

Eldorado Resorts, Inc. announced that it has successfully completed its merger with MTR Gaming Group, Inc. The combined company, which has been renamed Eldorado Resorts, Inc., will trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market beginning today under the ticker symbol “ERI.” Effective immediately, MTR Gaming will cease to be a publicly traded company and its common stock will discontinue trading on NASDAQ.

Golden Gate Bell Restaurant Holdings, LLC (the holding company of Taco Bell franchisee Golden Gate Bell, LLC) acquired 13 Taco Bell restaurants, located primarily in Sonoma and Napa Counties, from a Dallas, TX-based franchisee. Golden Gate Bell now operates 85 Taco Bell restaurants and becomes the largest Taco Bell franchisee in California.

Interval Leisure Group completed the previously announced acquisition of Hyatt Residential Group from affiliates of Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Marlu Investment Group’s CEO, Tony Lutfi, has signed a deal with Captain D’s to buy five of the six restaurants in the Kansas City metro area.

The Second Cup Ltd. announced the acquisition of 17 Second Cup cafés concentrated in prime Toronto area locations.

Industry Insight:

Arigato Japanese Steakhouse confirmed the permanent closure of its three Tampa area locations.

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels has entered into a partnership with discount store operator Meijer. In August, Auntie Anne’s opened its first Meijer franchise location, in Fort Wayne, IN.

Ben & Jerry’s will open a new flagship store in São Paulo, Brazil.

Burger King is set to enter the market in India and open its first restaurants there by the end of the year.

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop announced the opening of its flagship store in Summerlin, NV. The new location is the chain’s 33rd Las Vegas-area location.

Carl’s Jr is set to open at least 100 Carl’s Jr outlets in India over five years and targets to open 1,000 outlets over 10-15 years.

Carlson Rezidor will extend its African network to Uganda and Ghana when it opens the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kampala and the Radisson Blu Hotel Accra Airport, The Exchange, respectively.

Dunkin’ Donuts announced that it has signed a master franchise agreement to begin developing Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants across Austria. The master franchise agreement calls for the development of 25 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants throughout Austria over the next five years, with an initial focus on the Vienna area.

Global Franchise Group (dba Pretzelmaker) announced that the first two Pretzelmaker stores have opened in Perm and Kirov, Russia.

IKEA will invest about $760 million to open seven stores in France and renovate two others by 2017.

Jamba Juice announced that the company has entered into a master franchise development agreement to develop 35 Jamba Juice stores in Taiwan over the next ten years. The first Jamba Juice store in Taiwan is expected to open in 2015 in Taipei. The company also announced that it now has 515 stores in the pipeline internationally, including South Korea, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Taiwan.

Johnny Rockets announced its latest development agreement to bring the restaurant to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, South America. With current partners across regions including the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, and Johnny Rockets is eyeing Vietnam, Thailand, and China next.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue plans to open two new restaurants each in Guam and Malaysia.

Margaritas Management Group opens fresh Mex fast-casual concept, Tacomano, in Durham, NH.

Marriott International, Inc. celebrated the opening of its first hotel under its flagship Marriott Hotels brand in Haikou, Hainan Province, China.

Morgans Hotel Group opened its first Mondrian-branded hotel outside the United States on London’s South Bank.

Peter Piper Pizza will move its corporate operations and corporate employees to Dallas, where Chuck E. Cheese parent CEC Entertainment Inc. is headquartered. There is no exact time frame for the move, but it is said to take place within a year.

Pizza Hut announced the opening of its first restaurant in Africa, a location in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Quiznos has completed its corporate office relocation to QUIZNOS CORPORATE OFFICE 7595 TECHNOLOGY WAY, SUITE 200, DENVER, CO 80237; the phone number is unchanged at 720-359-3300. Also, the company hopes to have 100 new Quiznos restaurants open in the Taiwan market within the next 10 years.

SideBern’s will reopen later this year with a new name: “Haven.”

Smoothie King marked the opening of its 700th store on Sept. 18 with the opening of its Cedar Park, TX, unit.

Starbucks Corp. will acquire the remaining shares of its Japanese joint venture, Starbucks Coffee Japan, for $913 million to accelerate growth across multiple channels in the country.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced it will relocate its global headquarters from the U.S. to India in March 2015 for a month-long immersion. Starwood President & CEO Frits van Paasschen and the company’s top executives will split their time between Mumbai and Delhi. The move follows the company’s temporary relocations to China in 2011 and Dubai in 2013. In the meantime, Starwood Hotels and Resorts plans to open Element hotels in London, China and Frankfurt.

TGI Fridays announced the launch of a refranchising initiative designed to accelerate the growth and re-imaging of the brand’s restaurant portfolio. Fridays is the latest restaurant company to plan an exit from the operations side of the business by selling most of its 247 U.S. company-owned eateries and all 63 of its U.K. restaurants to franchisees. The company expects the entire refranchising program to be completed in an 18-month timeframe, depending on market and other variable conditions.

The Chefs’ Warehouse will begin occupying an industrial property in Union City, CA in March 2015.

The International Franchise Association is sponsoring an expo for potential franchisees Oct. 23-25 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Wyndham Hotel Group (parent company: Wyndham Worldwide Corporation) announced the signing of 10 properties in India including the signing of a franchise agreement for the first Planet Hollywood hotel in India. The company also signed a management agreement for the group’s first property in Ethiopia – opening in the first half of next year.

Yum Brands Inc. plans to debut a KFC restaurant in Myanmar in 2015, making it one of the first big Western fast-food chains to enter the newly emerging market.

Real Estate:

Au Bon Pain is planning three openings throughout the Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD, metropolitan areas during the coming 18 months.

b.good set to open its first Canadian location in Toronto in mid-October and another to follow in Oakville, ON, by the end of the year.

Back Yard Burgers Inc. is planning its return to Charlotte and is looking for a partner to bring as many as 10 locations in the market within five years.

Bareburger is committed to opening 20 locations in Ontario and is looking at sites from London to Ottawa and as far north as Barrie. There are plans to have at least three or four restaurants operating in 2015 with plans to move outside the province of its Canadian flagship store in Toronto.

Baskin-Robbins is currently seeking qualified candidates who are interested in buying an existing Baskin-Robbins shop for sale located in the Northern California area, including Sacramento, Elk Grove, Citrus Heights, Modesto, Windsor, Sonora, Stockton and Vacaville.

Bennigan’s Franchising Company has restaurants planned for CA, FL, MD, MN, NJ, TN, TX and VA; and internationally in Dubai, Mexico, Central America, Cyprus and Korea.

Billy Sims Barbecue opened its first location in KS.

Black Bear Diner announced the signing of a multi-unit franchise development agreement for five franchises in the greater Northern CA region to be built out by 2017.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza announced near-term future openings in South FL, TN, in the greater New York/New Jersey area, and in the Los Angeles area along with its first openings in ID and NC.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza is making plans to open two more locations in Cary, NC, in 2015 and its first location in AL in the first quarter of 2015.

Burger King is seeking growth opportunities throughout MN during the coming 18 months.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has plans to expand its franchising operations in the Americas, with a special focus on the company’s Country Inn & Suites and new Radisson Red brand.

Cheeseburger Bobby’s signed a real estate letter of intent to open a franchised restaurant in the Columbus Park area, with additional high-traffic sites available in Warner Robins and Athens.

Chicken Salad Chick opened flagship store Birmingham, AL.

Cold Stone Creamery is getting ready to re-enter the Canadian market with plans for 150 units across four years.

Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill announced the opening of its first unit in GA.

Cousins Submarines Inc. plans to remodel all its restaurants, including franchisees, to its new “Milwaukee sub shop look” over the next five years.

Covelli Enterprises bought 11 Dayton-area Panera Bread restaurants; the company said it will open in excess of 30 stores in 2014 and has aggressive plans for growth in the Dayton market.

D.P. Dough’s first MN location is slated to open in January in the Dinkydome, near the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.

Del Frisco’s is seeking sites for its Del Frisco’s Grille concept in the DC metro area, including northern VA; the company believes the DC area can sustain five or six Del Frisco’s Grille locations in total.

Del Taco LLC announced it will open 28 new locations (one corporate owned and 27 franchised) in the Southeast United States which includes 18 in AL, five in SC, and four in GA.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened its first location in NM.

Doc Popcorn awarded a multiunit franchise opportunity to develop three locations in the Los Angeles area.

Dog Haus announced it will open four new restaurants in Southern CA by the end of the year, with 70 more in the pipeline.

Domino’s Pizza to celebrate 100 stores now open in Chicagoland.

Dunkin’ Donuts announced it is recruiting franchisees in Minnesota with an emphasis on Minneapolis and Mankato (seven freestanding Dunkin’ Donuts locations are planned to open over the next several years in the greater Duluth area) and in Texas (San Antonio,  Austin, College Station, Bryan, Killeen, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Marble Falls, Kerrville, Fredericksburg and Liberty.) The company also plans to open 40 new restaurants in Michigan during the next several years. Dunkin’ Donuts continues to recruit franchise candidates with an emphasis on Flint, Lansing and Traverse City.

Fatburger is seeking growth opportunities throughout southern CA during the coming 18 months including plans for a dozen new locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Firehouse Subs plans to open restaurants in Roseville and Davis, CA, early next year and will likely open two other restaurants in undisclosed locations by the end of 2015.

First Watch opened its first North Carolina restaurant in Raleigh.

Five Guys announced the company is looking for sites in Collierville, TN.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is preparing to launch in ID. Freddy’s also lists TN and WY as other likely new markets.

Fresh To Order has inked a deal for its first restaurant in Charlotte — and its first in North Carolina — opening this December. The company is scheduled to open 15 new locations over the next 18 months with three to four units opening in Atlanta. The company is actively pursuing franchisees in AL, TN, FL, NC, SC, TX, and mid-Atlantic and lower Midwest states.

Giordano’s will open its first location in Minneapolis in spring 2015.

Huddle House signed five new franchise agreements, in September, for restaurants in Sealy, TX; Owensboro and Elizabethtown, KY; Tuscaloosa, AL; and Hazlehurst, GA; with all expected to open in the next 7-10 months.

Jason’s Deli is preparing to open its first location in the Pittsburgh market.

Kolache Factory announced plans for their first San Antonio-area unit and additional locations are planned in 2015 for Virginia Beach, VA; Omaha, NE; and Albuquerque, NM.

La Tolteca plans to open its first restaurant location in Maryland in February 2015.

Lee’s Sandwiches opened its first store in Oregon.

Maui Wowi Hawaiian eyes California for expansion and opened its first restaurant in TN.

McAlister’s Deli announced it has signed a franchise agreement to open 10 new restaurants over the next seven years in Middle TN starting with opening its first McAlister’s in early 2015. Recently, the company signed an agreement to open 10 additional locations throughout North and South Carolina, Colorado, and Wyoming, with three locations slated to open in late 2014. The new development commitment will result in two new restaurants per year over the next five years.

Mod Pizza will make its Houston-area debut in 10/14 and has three more locations secured.

Moe’s Southwest Grill plans to develop eight locations throughout Las Vegas over the next several years.

Native Foods Cafe expanded to the East Coast with the opening of its 22nd restaurant, in Washington, D.C., and it aims to grow to 200 units in the next two years.

Noble Roman’s, Inc. provided an update on the continued expansion of all three of its growth venues. During the third quarter ended 9/30/14, the company signed license agreements with grocery chains for 225 new locations, 101 of which opened during the quarter. The non-traditional franchise/license venue continued with steady growth as the company signed agreements for 14 additional locations and opened 15 during the quarter. Seven additional franchise locations for the stand-alone take-n-bake format were sold during the quarter.

Papa Murphy’s Holdings Inc. expects to open five new stores in Minneapolis by the end of 2015.

Peter Piper Pizza has plans that call for adding 50 more stores by 2019, including expansion into Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah and Idaho.

Pie Five Pizza Co. announced that it has awarded up to 15 franchise units in Indiana. There are plans to open the first Indiana restaurant location in South Bend in the second quarter of 2015.

Pizza Hut will open 15 to 20 quick-service locations offering by-the-slice pizza this year.

Planet Smoothie has plans to expand its locations in GA in cities such as Inman Park, Midtown Mile, Atlantic Station, Buckhead, Briarcliff, Virginia Highland, Tuxedo Park, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta.

Pollo Tropical plans to open five more stores in TX by the end of 2014, including one more in Houston.

Potbelly Corp. is seeking franchise operators in various NY cities including Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Schenectady and Syracuse. The company also opened its first Arkansas shop in the Midtown area of Little Rock and announced its first unit in Nebraska will open in November.

Project Pie has signed a 9-unit franchise deal that will mark the brand’s debut in NJ.

Red Robin Burger Works has plans to open its first Washington, D.C. restaurant on Oct. 6.

Rita’s Italian Ice announced it has opened its 50th new location of the year, with the first in the state of IA.

Roy Rogers Restaurants has plans to develop four restaurants across Bergen and Essex Counties in northern New Jersey. The first Roy Rogers restaurant is expected to open in 2016.

Rubio’s Restaurants announced it will redesign 60 of its California-based restaurants. Completion is expected by the end of 2015, and more updates are scheduled for 2016. In addition to the restaurant redesigns, Rubio’s will also be opening seven new locations by the end of 2015 and updating its name and logo by adding “Coastal Grill.”

Ruby Tuesday Inc. expect to close 10 to 13 company-owned Ruby Tuesday restaurants, and our domestic franchisees expect to close three Ruby Tuesday restaurants.

Russo’s Restaurants plans to open an additional two to five restaurants during the remainder of the year throughout markets like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.

Salata, Inc. is planning to open six Salata restaurants throughout the Chicago, IL area during the coming five years.

Scooter’s Coffee is eyeing the Kansas City market for expansion. Scooter’s also is delving into new markets and has signed contracts to open 20 stores in Phoenix, 40 stores in Dallas, as well as multiple stores in Sacramento, CA. A 10- to 15-store contract is being finalized in the Atlanta market.

Smashburger will soon have 12 restaurants in MN, with plans to add six to eight more locations in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Smoothie King plans to open 1,000 new stores across the U.S. over the next three years. Included are stores in Miami, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton before the end of the year and five new stores in the greater San Antonio area over the course of 2015. The company also announced that it has signed a five-store development agreement for MO marking its entry into Columbia this November, with plans to develop additional locations throughout the state over the next five years.

SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza’s opened its first SPIN! Pizza location in the Omaha suburb of Papillion, NE.

Teriyaki Madness hopes to have 30 units open by year’s end and 100 stores operating by 2017. So far, national franchisees have committed to opening another 80 locations over time, including in high-population states such as Florida, California, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio.

The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. announced plans to expand the brand’s presence in the Des Moines, IA; Memphis, TN; and Calgary, AB; naming the areas as targets for future franchise development. The company is actively seeking franchisees on the East Coast to bring its interactive dining experience to Hartford, CT.

Tim Hortons plans to open 40 stores in the St. Louis market.

Tom + Chee is continuing its expansion with its first franchise in Kansas City, KS.

Tropical Smoothie Café will enter the Dallas market after recently signing three franchise agreements in the Dallas area and one in Fort Worth. Tropical Smoothie plans to develop as many as 40 locations throughout the Dallas area, in coming years, in locations such as Fort Worth, Plano, Richardson, Grapevine, University Park, Arlington, and Garland.

Umami Burger opened its first location Illinois in Chicago. Umami Burger has plans to open 20 additional restaurants in the Midwest.

Wayback Burgers is turning to the West Coast for expansion with plans to open an additional 10 locations throughout the state of California over the next five years.

Which Wich Superior Sandwiches plans to launch between 10 and 15 eateries to the San Francisco Bay Area in the next two to four years.

Wing Zone plans to open 10 to 15 locations in the Sacramento region over the next five years.

Yard House is seeking growth opportunities nationwide during the coming 18 months.

Zoup! announced the opening of five new units this fall in IL, IN, MA, and MI.

Green Initiatives:

Au Bon Pain began testing a system, SiteSage System by Powerhouse Dynamics, controls and monitors equipment at the enterprise level, offering a birds’-eye view of how much power is being used, where its being used, when its being used, and what is using which ultimately reduces carbon footprint and energy costs. Au Bon Pan’s test began with two sites and has since been expanded to five more. Based on early results, Au Bon Pain can identify opportunities to reduce utility costs by 10 percent to 15 percent and ultimately drive down repair and maintenance costs across all of its cafés.

Caesars Entertainment’s two newest developments, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and The LINQ Las Vegas, were both named LEED-certified Gold and LEED-certified Silver prospectively. LEED certification supports the company’s overall strategic priority to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent per square foot by 2025. In 2013, Caesars exceeded its short term goal of 10 percent with a reduction of 12.7 percent on an absolute basis.

Corner Bakery Cafe uses, on average, 14.5-percent less energy and saves more than 52,000 kilowatt hours a year, equal to eliminating over 80,000 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle. The company was recently awarded the annual Environmental Sustainability Award by EnTouch Controls for its commitment to energy efficiency. Highlights of Corner Bakery Café efforts include:

  • Each Corner Bakery uses, on average, 14.5 percent less energy and saves more than 52,000 kilowatt hours a year, equal to eliminating over 80,000 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.
  • Each Corner Bakery has also reduced its carbon footprint, on average, by more than 88,000 pounds of CO2 a year.
  • Corner Bakery Café projects its total electricity usage will be reduced by more than 8,000 megawatt hours each year, reducing its carbon footprint by nearly 7,000 tons of CO2 each year.

Darden is well on its way to realizing several of its sustainability goals — including reducing per-restaurant energy and water use, as well as sending less waste to landfills. Altogether these efforts have saved the company $25 million since 2008, and Darden expects to save an additional $10 to $12 million by 2016. With over 1,500 restaurants, Darden’s physical carbon footprint is one of the most significant ways it impacts the environment. To address this, the company has incorporated environmental considerations into how it develops and remodels its restaurants. Darden says investment in LED lighting in kitchen and dining rooms has reduced energy use in its Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants by 12 percent since 2008.

Dunkin’ Donuts is looking to phase out its signature foam cups and is testing recyclable-plastic versions to see if they can withstand temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit while helping preserve the environment. Dunkin’ said in its 2012 corporate responsibility report, that it would find an alternative to foam within two to three years.

Hilton Worldwide released its 2013-2014 corporate responsibility report. Key achievements highlighted in the report include:

  • Reducing energy use by 13.6 percent, carbon output by 20.2 percent, waste output by 26.8 percent and water use by 13.1 percent since 2009
  • Achieving ISO 50001 energy management system certification across our entire portfolio of hotels, making Hilton Worldwide one of the first multinational organizations to certify its entire system globally
  • Activating nearly 2,400 global projects and contributing 200,000 volunteer hours during our Global Week of Service
  • Participating in the Carbon Disclosure project

Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. has been recognized by environmental non-profit CDP as a leader among S&P 500 companies for corporate action on climate change and for climate change transparency. Additionally, Host was recognized by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) as the Global Sector Leader for Hotels and achieved Green Star status.

IKEA Group is on target to invest $1.5 billion in solar and wind power by 2015, and bought a higher proportion of its wood and cotton from sustainable sources in 2014 to aid consumers shift to greener lifestyles.

McDonald’s recently re-opened in Boulder, CO, with double-glazed windows that promote solar use. This is the first McDonald’s to implement double-glazed windows.

MGM Resorts International received the Alliance to Save Energy’s highest honor, the “Galaxy” Star of Energy Efficiency Award. Through its sustainability program, Green Advantage, MGM Resorts has reduced its annual energy usage by 14% since 2007. Earlier this year, MGM Resorts announced that it is joining the U.S. Energy Department’s Better Buildings Challenge, a national pledge calling for organizations to voluntarily reduce their building portfolio energy use by 20% in ten years. Additionally, MGM Resorts recently announced the expanded Convention Center at Mandalay Bay that will include a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) array making it the largest convention center array in the world. The anticipated size of the array is approximately 1.9MWdc with an approximate annual production of 3.4M kilowatt hours. The previously announced 6.2MWdc solar PV array on the current Convention Center is slated for completion in October; the combined array will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1,300 homes.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts will more than double the number of properties that operate under its eco-friendly Element Hotels brand over the next two years.

Wyndham Worldwide was recently named to four top sustainability leadership indices: the Dow Jones North America and World Sustainability Indices, and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Climate Disclosure and Climate Performance Leadership Indices.