Personnel Update

Aramark announced that Stephen P. Bramlage Jr. has been named Executive VP and CFO. His appointment is effective 4/6/15 and he will report to Chairman, President, and CEO, Eric Foss. Bramlage succeeds Executive VP & CFO Fred Sutherland, who will retire after nearly 35 years with the company, including 17 years as CFO. Sutherland will remain with Aramark through December 2015 to ensure a seamless transition.

Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. promoted John Bowie, Senior VP of Operations to COO. Bowie assumed responsibilities as COO on 3/30/15.

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants welcomed Steve Weis as CMR’s Director of Development.

Captain D’s announced that Wendy Harkness has joined the company as Chief People Officer, effective 4/7/15.

Chesapeake Lodging Trust announced the promotion of D. Rick Adams to Executive VP and COO.

Corner Bakery Café announced its Chief Marketing Officer, Diana Hovey, is leaving to become Managing Director of Share Our Strength’s Dine Out for No Kid Hungry program.

Cosi, Inc. hired Miguel Rossy-Donovan as CFO replacing Richard Bagge, Cosi’s interim CFO. Bagge will soon move into the role of VP of Development for the company.

Crestline Hotels & Resorts appointed David J. Makarsky as COO.

Culver Franchising System Inc. named Greg Schneider as VP of Supply Chain Management.

Darden extended Senior VP and CFO C. Bradford Richmond’s term of employment until 7/28/15. If a successor is appointed prior to the date, Richmond’s title will change to Senior VP of Finance and will assist in the leadership transition with his successor.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in NY welcomed Brian Christman as Executive Chef of the collection’s flagship restaurant.

Farmer Boys added Rona Griego as Director of Construction. Effective 3/16/15, Griego will oversee all construction activities for Farmer Boys Restaurants.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill hired Brian McAlpine as CFO.

Fox Restaurant Concepts brought on a former P.F. Chang’s China Bistro executive, Larry Ryback, to run its True Food Kitchen brand as President.

Golbon announced that Don Poulin joined the organization as Director of Member Development for the Southeast Region.

Good Times Restaurants Inc. hired James Zielke as the company’s new CFO, effective 5/4/15. Prior to his appointment, Zielke was CFO for the Fox & Hound and Champps brands.

HEI Hotels and Resorts announced several promotions: Ted Darnall, COO, will be promoted to the position of CEO of HEI Hotels and Resorts Lodging and Technical Services Company; Clark Hanrattie will be promoted to the position of Managing Director, responsible for all of HEI’s investment and disposition activities, and will retain his role as CFO for all HEI subsidiaries; Tory Waterman, Senior VP of Hotel Finance, will be promoted to the position of Executive VP of Hotel Finance; and Dan Walworth, VP of Operational Planning, will be promoted to the position of Senior VP of Operational Planning.

Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. announced a leadership reorganization of its investment team: James F. Risoleo assumed Managing Director responsibilities for all the company’s West Coast investment activities; Nathan S. Tyrrell became Managing Director of investment activities in the East; and Jay L. Johnson has been elected Senior VP and Treasurer. Also, Struan B. Robertson, who has acted as CIO since 2013, will remain with the company until 5/1/15.

Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc. announced the following organizational changes: Brad Leist has been promoted to CFO replacing Michael Dixon, President and CFO, who left the company on 4/17/15, but will continue working on a consulting basis through 5/15/15; Ray Blanchette, CEO, will resume the title of President; David Catalano has been promoted to COO, overseeing operations for both Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap; Robyn Martin has been promoted to the role of General Counsel; and Jim Mazany, President of Joe’s Crab Shack, left the company on 4/17/15.

International Speedway Corporation promoted seven key executives: Dan Houser to Executive VP, CFO, and Treasurer; Gary Crotty to Executive VP, Chief Administration Officer and Chief Legal Counsel; Craig Neeb to Executive VP, Chief Development and Digital Officer; Daryl Wolfe to Executive VP, Chief Marketing Officer; Joie Chitwood to Executive VP at ISC and President of Daytona International Speedway; Laura Jackson to Senior VP, Corporate Services and Chief Human Resources Officer; and Brett Scharback to Senior VP, Legal and Chief Compliance Officer; and Greg Motto to VP, Finance and Accounting and ISC Controller.

La Madeleine Country French Café promoted John Cahill to President and appointed Duncan Davis VP of Operations.

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises introduced Erik Anderson as the next Executive Chef for its restaurant Intro in Chicago.

Long John Silver’s named Brian Unger as the company’s COO.

Luna Grill announced that Jan Bennett has joined their leadership team as VP of Marketing.

Marco’s Pizza named Darren Gray as its Senior Director of Menu and Culinary Innovation.

MGM Resorts International promoted Nik Rytterstrom to General Manager of Luxor Resort and Casino. Rytterstrom’s appointment follows the retirement announcement of Renee West. West was the first woman to be named President of a Las Vegas Strip property. She will retire effective 4/24/15.

Montage Hotels & Resorts appointed Jason Herthel as President and COO and Kacey Bruno as Corporate Director of Communications.

Noble House Hotels & Resorts welcomed Chris Cantwell as Chef de Cuisine at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa.

Ovation Brands promoted Richard Wykes to the position of Senior VP of Restaurant Operations for the company’s Buffet Division, and expanded the duties of Chip Romp to VP of Training & Operations Support spanning both the Buffet and Ryan’s divisions. Pete Pascuzzi retains the role of Senior VP of Restaurant Operations for the Ryan’s Division.

Panera Bread Co. promoted Michael Bufano to CFO and Senior VP.

Pieology Pizzeria appointed Richard Pineda VP of Supply Chain and Hans Milberger Director of Construction.

Potbelly Corporation announced Michael Coyne as its new CFO, effective 5/1/15. Mr. Coyne will oversee all financial functions and will also be charged with positively impacting Potbelly’s analytical, productivity, and risk assessment capabilities.

Premier Restaurant Equipment hired Jim Palm as Director of Sales – West Coast Division.

RLHC (Red Lion Hotels Corporation) appointed Beth Kennar as Senior VP of Human Resources, effective 4/1/15 and Angie McPetrie Regional VP of Lodging Development for the Central Region.

Robeks Fresh Juices and Smoothies hired Victor “Vic” DeSio as Senior Director of Franchise Development.

Ruby’s Diner Inc. named Scott Barnett Interim CEO, replacing the chain’s founder, Doug Cavanaugh, who remains as Chairman.

Seneca Gaming named current COO Audrey Oswell, President and CEO, replacing Catherine Walker.

Sonic Corp. announced several promotions in its leadership team: Stephen C. Vaughan to Executive VP of Franchise Operations, Finance and Planning; Claudia S. San Pedro to Senior VP, CFO, and Treasurer; and Todd W. Smith to Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. named Jean-Marc Janod as VP of Operations for Mexico, Central America, & Caribbean and Ricardo Calo as VP of Operations for South America.

Sysco Corporation appointed current Senior VP of Finance and Chief Accounting Officer, Joel T. Grade, as the company’s new Executive VP and CFO, effective 9/1/15. Grade will replace current CFO and Executive VP, R. Chris Kreidler, after Kreidler’s recent resignation announcement.

Target Corporation appointed Anne Dament to the role of Senior VP of Merchandising.

Tavistock Restaurants promoted Bobby Shaw to COO of Freebirds World Burrito.

Texadelphia announced that Brian Livingston has been appointed as President. In October 2014, he opened his own Texadelphia franchise in Frisco, TX.

The Krystal Company named Alice Crowder as VP of Marketing for the brand.

Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery named Torie Lynch as VP of Marketing.

Twin Peaks named Pete Bell to the newly created position of Chief Marketing Officer.

Umami Burger appointed Gregg Frazer as VP of Operations.

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill promoted Jason Fleming as Mid-Atlantic Area Director and Phill Helton as Managing Partner of the company’s newest Springfield location.

Wyndham Worldwide named Nadeen Ayala Senior VP of Communications to oversee and align all internal and external communications functions for the company and for its lodging business, Wyndham Hotel Group. Also, the company appointed Richard E. Constable III as Senior VP to oversee government relations and commercial contracts.


Mergers & Acquisitions

American Restaurant Holdings, Inc. acquired Fresca’s Mexican Grill and JoJo’s Pizza Kitchen.

Catalina Restaurant Group Inc., parent to the Coco’s Bakery Restaurant and Carrows Restaurants, will be acquired by an affiliate of Food Management Partners (FMP). Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close on 3/31/15.

Chanticleer Holdings, Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire BT’s Burger Joint, a better burger concept in Charlotte, NC. The company also closed on the acquisition of BGR: The Burger Joint. BGR closed out 2014 with $15+ million in system wide sales, $10+ million in company revenue, nine corporate owned locations, and nine franchises.

ClubCorp completed its acquisition of a multi-club portfolio of six golf clubs further increasing its portfolio of private clubs. The acquisition includes four private clubs, one semi-private club and one public golf club – adding 171 holes of golf in already established ClubCorp markets throughout the Southeast US.

Coco’s Bakery and Carrows restaurants closed this week, as the acquisition of the two family-dining concepts by Food Management Partners was completed.

Del Taco Holdings, Inc. and Levy Acquisition Corp. announced that Del Taco has closed its previously announced recapitalization, in advance of the planned acquisition of the company by LAC. Restaurateur Larry Levy, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of LAC, together with his family and a group of new investors have made a private investment of $120 million in the common stock of Del Taco and now own approximately 46% of Del Taco. Mr. Levy has assumed the Chairmanship of Del Taco.

Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. entered into a definitive agreement and plan of merger with an affiliate of Centerbridge Partners, whereby Centerbridge will acquire Great Wolf.  Great Wolf is currently controlled by funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC. The Merger Agreement was unanimously approved by the board of directors of Great Wolf. The transaction is expected to close in the 2nd quarter of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.

Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc. announced that it has completed the previously announced sale of its Romano’s Macaroni Grill subsidiary to Redrock Partners, LLC.

The Boelter Companies, Inc. announced the acquisition of Direct South, Inc.


Financial Focus

Bojangles’ Inc. filed for an IPO, and expects to raise up to $372M.

Cara Operations Ltd., parent company to Cara Operations, began trading publicly for the first time in more than a decade and quickly jumped approximately 40 per cent above the price set for a $200M stock offering by the Canadian restaurant company.

Ovation Brands Inc. hired financial advisors to evaluate a possible sale of its business, less than three years after emerging from bankruptcy. Ovation operates five buffet brands — Ryan’s, HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Country Buffet and Fire Mountain — as well as a polished-casual brand called Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse.


Industry Updates

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar opened its first location in TN just west of Knoxville, in Farragut.

Bellagio Resort & Casino completed the remodel of the final 403 suites in the resort’s main tower. This marks the conclusion of an approximately $165-million remodel that began in 2011 and encompassed all 3,933 of the resort’s rooms and suites.

BURGERFI announced its first international development agreement for 40 restaurants in Mexico City and the surrounding areas over the next five to seven years, generating approximately 1,000 jobs. The first international location is slated to open in the fall of 2015.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced it is strengthening its leadership position in India by growing its presence in state capitals and accelerating its growth in emerging secondary and tertiary cities, with particular focus on South and West India. There are currently 117 Carlson Rezidor hotels in operation and under development across 45 cities in India, including 14 state capitals. Carlson Rezidor will grow its India portfolio to over 170 hotels within the next five years.

Dairy Queen announced that it signed a long-term multi-unit agreement to develop DQ Grill & Chill restaurants and DQ Treat stores in Poland as well as locations throughout the country of Jordan. These will be the very first locations in Jordan for the Dairy Queen system.

Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. opened its 500th location.

Dunkin’ Donuts announced the first Denmark location in Copenhagen.

Fatburger and sister restaurant Buffalo’s Express are opening their first co-branded location in London in May 2015. The new restaurant will be the first Fatburger and Buffalo’s Express in Europe.

Golden Corral announced the company will expand internationally and reached a franchise agreement with a potential operator in PR for a restaurant that would open in 2017.

Hard Rock International announced plans to open a restaurant in the Tampa International Airport, the brand’s first airport location in North America.

Hooters revealed plans to open the largest international Hooters location in Pattaya, Thailand, later this year.

Ignite Restaurant Group stated the company will test a walk-up window concept for Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants starting in April 2015. Houston locations will use the change to create a “seaside clam shack” feel.

Ikea announced the company will open its largest U.S. store on a 22-acre site in Burbank, CA. The new 456,000-sq.-ft. store is slated to open in spring 2017.

Jamba, Inc. announced plans to further accelerate their refranchising initiative with a goal of becoming a 90% plus franchise-to-company-owned model by the end of fiscal year 2015. The company entered into an asset purchase agreement to refranchise 100 company-owned restaurants in the San Francisco, Sacramento, and San Diego markets. Under the terms of the agreement, Jamba will receive a purchase price of $36M in cash.

Johnny Rockets signed the largest development deal in the brand’s history, with a plan to open 100 restaurants in China, with the first scheduled to open in 2016.

Long John Silver’s announced it will look to buying 50 to 75 of its franchise-owned stores this year. The plan is part of the company’s strategy to solidify and stabilize the brand. The company plans to open more stores in 2016 and also introduced a “gold standard” initiative.

Luby’s Inc. opened its sixth side-by-side Luby’s Cafeteria-Fuddruckers unit, the first outside TX, and continues to see the dual-brand concept as a growth vehicle.

Martin-Brower Company announced the company will make a $16M capital investment to build a food distribution facility on 22-acres at Livingston Industrial Park in the Capital Region, creating 30 jobs in Walker, LA.

Menchie’s announced plans to debut a new Neapolitan-style, fast-casual pizza concept, MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza, in Los Angeles next month. The company has already signed agreements with franchisees to bring the pizza concept to MI, FL, TX, and other parts of CA.

MOD Pizza announced the opening of its first airport location at Portland International Airport within the newly renovated C Concourse. The company plans to open stores in Downtown Portland and Lake Oswego in April 2015.

Olive Garden announced the company will roll out Ziosk tablets at its more than 800 US restaurants by the end of the 2015.

Panera Bread Co. signed letters of intent to sell and refranchise 73 of its company-owned cafes.

Romacorp, Inc. announced the signing of a new development agreement to build an additional three Tony Roma’s restaurants in Australia.

Ruby Tuesday announced the company is opening a regional administrative office in Orlando, FL. The new office, which officials said they did not have the address for, will include positions in marketing, finance, development and IT.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. launched its second hotel version within the sub-segment: Tribute Portfolio.

Steak ‘n Shake announced that it will open 15 new locations in Pakistan.

Taco Bell announced it is testing its limited delivery service in Houston, TX.

Tavistock Restaurants moved the headquarters of its Freebirds World Burrito concept from Emeryville, CA, to Austin, TX.

The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. announced its first restaurant outside of North America has opened in Jakarta, Indonesia. The latest opening comes on the heels of the company announcing its plans for continued international expansion. The Melting Pot is on track to open its first restaurants in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, later this year, as well as its fourth location in Mexico City, Mexico.

ThinkFood Group announced the company’s Beefsteak concept will be opening its second location summer 2015 on Dupont Circle, DC.

TravelCenters of America LLC announced the opening of a new Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurant located in Madison, WI.

Yum! Brands opened a luxury restaurant, Atto Primo, overlooking Shanghai’s Bund to test menu concepts on locals. It will be used as a test kitchen, or “lab,” for future items ending up on Pizza Hut and KFC menus.


Real Estate

Andy’s Frozen Custard signed the largest multi-unit franchise agreement in its 29 year history. The agreement will result in 20 new stores in the areas of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, OK; Dallas, TX; Nashville, TN, and various markets in Central FL.

Another Broken Egg Café announced the signing of a 5-store development agreement for TN with the first store to open July 2015.

Beef’O’Brady’s Family Sports Pub announced the company is seeking growth opportunities nationwide during the coming 18 months.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza announced that it will soon be opening its first NV location in the Las Vegas area.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream signed the largest domestic development deal in its 25-year history brining the first of six Southern CA locations scheduled to open April 2015. The six new Bruster’s locations are slated for Cypress, Artesia, Fullerton, Newport Beach, La Habra and Cerritos.

Captain D’s signed franchise agreements to open at least 14 new restaurants expanding its presence in TN, VA, NC, GA, KY and SC. The company is also seeking entrepreneurs in LA to open 10-15 restaurants in the greater Baton Rouge area, and is focusing its current expansion efforts on the Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Mary, and West Baton Rouge parishes.

Chanticleer HoldingsInc. announced that it will bring BGR: The Burger Joint to the Springfield Town Center in Springfield, VA. This summer’s opening marks the twenty-first BGR location.

Chopped Leaf announced plans for 7 new openings over the next 6 months with 5 restaurants opening in AB, one in BC, and one in SK, Canada.

Cowboy Chicken signed a 7-store agreement which will expand the Cowboy Chicken brand to NE and KS.

Craft Brew Alliance announced that Widmer Brothers Brewing announced a $10M investment to expand its brewery on North Russell Street in Portland. The expansion will increase annual production capacity of OR’s largest brewery by 200,000 barrels (BBL) to 750,000 BBL. The entire expansion project, which includes significant brew house enhancements and a new innovation brewery, is expected to be completed by early 2017.

CREAM inked a franchise deal for more than 30 units throughout FL over the next 7 years. The agreement marks CREAM’s largest franchising deal since launching franchise opportunities in 2012. The company will develop stores in South FL before moving towards West FL and beyond.

Denny’s announced the company is seeking growth opportunities nationwide during the coming 18 months.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened its first NJ location in East Brunswick.

Donatos Pizzeria announced the company is looking for franchisees to open up to 15 stores in Charlotte, NC.

Dunkin’ Donuts announced the signing of multi-unit store development agreements with two existing franchise groups to develop seven restaurants in IL over the next several years. The company also opened its first co-branded location with BaskinRobbins in CA. The company also announced the signing of a multi-unit store development agreement to develop 10 new restaurants in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas of Bloomington, Edina, Eden Prairie, and the communities west of the Metro area. The first restaurant is planned to open by the end of this year.

Gigi’s Cupcakes announced the company is currently seeking local franchise partners to develop two new bakeries in Columbia, SC. Gigi’s Cupcakes has multiple locations in GA and NC as well as one location in Greenville, SC.  The company plans to open 25 locations this year.

Hooters announced it will open its largest location this spring in Las Vegas. The 15,200 square foot space will be located poolside at the Palms Casino Resort.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar Inc. announced the company will enter Southern CA this year, doubling the unit count for the burger-and-craft-beer concept.

Kona Grill, Inc. announced the opening of its newest restaurant in San Juan, PR. The new Kona Grill is located at The Mall of San Juan, a brand new, upscale, one million plus square foot, multi-level retail destination center.

McAlister’s Deli announced it is targeting Phoenix for franchise growth. The brand is seeking experienced multi-unit restaurant operators to help expand McAlister’s presence in the market through multi-unit development agreements in areas such as Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale and Goodyear.

Moe’s Southwest Grill announced plans to target expansion of the brand into the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas in MN. The restaurant franchise is seeking experienced multi-unit restaurant operators to help expand Moe’s presence in the market through multi-unit development agreements.

Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes opened its first WI location in Fitchburg.

Newk’s Eatery stated the company is strengthening its LA presence with the opening of two new locations in Baton Rouge by mid-May 2015. The company also announced expansion plans for the South from Savannah, GA; and Orlando, FL; to Lubbock and Midland-Odessa, TX; with Washington, DC; Richmond, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach, VA; Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Oklahoma City in between.

Papa Murphy’s mentioned plans to strengthen and grow its presence in the Southeast.

Penn National Gaming, Inc. announced that pending final regulatory approval by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Plainridge Park Casino will open its doors to the public on 6/24/15 bringing top-flight dining, gaming, and entertainment options to the Commonwealth.

Penn Station East Coast Subs signed a 10-unit agreement for northeast Atlanta with plans to open 10 restaurants over the next five years, with the first location opening this month in Suwanee, GA. Penn Station is also targeting Alpharetta, Cumming, Roswell, Buford, Johns Creek, Norcross, Duluth, and Lawrenceville for future locations.

Pie Five Pizza Co. opened its first of 15 Chicagoland restaurants in Skokie, IL, and its first OK location in Stillwater. This expansion kicks off the brand’s 400 new franchise and company-owned stores anticipated over the next five to six years.

Pieology Pizzeria opened its first KY location in Louisville.

Planet Smoothie franchise stated plans to open 20 stores within the next three to four years in North TX.

Pollo Campero announced the company is seeking growth opportunities throughout Fairfield, CT, and Westchester, NY, during the coming 18 months.

Quaker Steak & Lube signed a franchise development agreement to launch the brand into the TN market by developing a new restaurant in the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge area in June 2015.

Ruby Restaurant Group opened a Ruby’s Diner in the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill announced it will open 4 new locations in 2015 with a brand new look. Sharky’s design team has created a dynamic new motif that juxtaposes natural materials with a contemporary, linear twist. The new look was tested in the most recently opened locations in Chatsworth, Valencia, and Camarillo and based on customer response, it is rolling out in all future locations. The new locations scheduled to open this year include Northridge, Marina Del Rey, and Thousand Oaks, CA; and the first Sharky’s to open beyond the borders of CA will be in Tualatin, OR.

Sonic Corp. introduced an indoor-dining concept to new locations in cold weather markets, and will expand to 40 locations in the Greater Boston area during the next five years. An additional 25 to 30 locations are possible throughout New England.

Starbucks Corp. revealed that over the next five years it plans to open 3,500 locations in its Americas region and 8,000 new stores in foreign markets. Starbucks is opening a new smaller, take-away only footprint especially focused on meeting the demands of customers in urban locations during the morning peak. The first Express location is scheduled to open in the company’s second quarter, in NY, with four additional stores on tap by year end, now open in Manhattan.

Taco Bell announced it will open new units in shipping containers, restaurants with open kitchens, and units with a smaller footprint designed for urban locations. The new restaurants and packaging will be more environmentally friendly, and the chain is also looking at ways to become more transparent about food, including a possible switch to meat raised without antibiotics or hormones.

The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. announced it has signed a franchise agreement to develop its first restaurant in Little Rock, marking the brand’s entry into AR, and that it is also seeking qualified restaurant operators to re-open restaurants in Memphis and Chattanooga, TN. Additionally, the company announced the company is accelerating its expansion effort in Hartford, CT, by offering a significant discount on its initial franchise fee. In honor of its 40(th) anniversary, The Melting Pot will offer new franchisees who sign a franchise agreement to develop one or more restaurants a 40 percent off the initial franchise fee for their first restaurant – an $18,000 savings. The development incentive will be available through the end of the year.

The ONE Group announced the re-opening of STK Miami revealing a freshly renovated space. Additionally, the company released new expected openings for STK restaurants in Orlando at Disney Springs, Chicago, and Denver in 2015.

Toppers Pizza awarded a 6-unit deal in SD and IA with plans to open all six over the next four years.

Tropical Smoothie Café announced the signing of 51 franchise agreements in the first quarter of 2015 expanding the sandwich and smoothie franchise in markets such as Atlanta, Detroit, Providence, Miami, Charleston, SC, and Fayetteville, NC. The company is also actively pursuing Philadelphia and Northern NJ for franchise growth. Over the next 10 years, the sandwich and smoothie franchise expects to open 50 locations throughout the area in communities such as Upper Darby, Conshohocken, Norristown, Germantown, Wynnefield, South Philadelphia and West Philadelphia.

Twin Peaks signed a development agreement to open eight stores throughout WA and OR, states previously unoccupied by the brand.

Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint announced the signing of its largest franchise deal to date developing 13 Uncle Maddio’s in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, LA; Greater Memphis, TN; and Southaven and Olive Branch, MS.

Wok Box Fresh Asian Kitchen signed a franchise agreement to develop 37 restaurants throughout Northern CA over the next 10 years with the first slated to open in the San Francisco Bay Area in the first half of 2015.

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill announced it will venture outside of CA and open this spring at the Springfield Town Center in Springfield, VA.

Zoës Kitchen announced its first MO location in Kansas City. The company is also seeking growth opportunities throughout DE, NJ and PA during the coming 18 months.


Green Initiatives

Dunkin’ Donuts announced that it will map its international supply chain to understand the feasibility of transitioning to 100% cage-free eggs globally, and based on this assessment, establish a global target with interim deliverables towards this goal. As an immediate step, 10% of all eggs sourced for its breakfast sandwiches in the U.S. will be cage-free by the end of next year. Additionally, Dunkin’ Donuts will source only gestation crate-free pork in the U.S. by 2022.

Ikea announced plans to install a fuel cell system at its location in Emeryville, CA. Consistent with the retailer’s focus on emerging energy technologies, is the first Ikea in the world to convert biogas into electricity through a clean electro-chemical process. The fuel cell system will be installed, commissioned and activated by this summer 2015. Slightly larger than the physical size of a commercial back-up generator, the 300-kW system will operate on biogas and produce approximately 2,497,651 kWh of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 1,304 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equal to the emissions of 249 cars or to providing electricity for 163 homes yearly. Combined with the solar energy system installed atop the store in 2011, these fuel cells will help generate more than a majority of the store’s energy onsite.

Starbucks Corp. noted that it opened its 500th LEED-certified store in 2014, and that 98% of company-operated new stores opened in the U.S. in 2014 were built to LEED standards. Globally, the percentage stands at 64%.

  • Energy management: In 2014, Starbucks installed energy management systems in 4,000 stores to optimize heating and cooling.
  • Renewable energy: The company is on track to purchase 100% renewable energy equal to 100% of the energy used in U.S. and Canadian stores by the end of 2015.
  • Water conservation: Starbucks continues to make strides in water conservation by implementing water-saving solutions in new stores and water filtration retrofits in existing ones. It has set a goal to reduce water use in company-operated stores 25% by 2015, and approached that goal in 2014 with a savings of more than 23% over baseline levels.

Target Corp.  announced the company is expanding its deployment of solar energy. The retailer has signed a power-purchase agreement with Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC that calls for supplier to install solar arrays on the roofs of 180 Target stores and distribution centers across the US from Augusta, ME, to San Diego. When completed, the solar installations will produce an aggregate total of approximately 100 megawatts of electric energy. Though the size of the solar array will vary at each of the retail locations, the average system will consist of 1,700 solar panels. All 180 projects are expected to be completed by the winter of 2016. The arrays will produce a combined total of more than 122 megawatts of clean electric power for the retail giant. The Target retail outlets included in the agreement are located in 12 states: AZ, CA, MD, ME, MI, NH, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, and WI. The agreement also includes two Target distribution centers in NY.

Yum! Brands announced the company is focused on green building design, energy, and water reduction, environmentally preferable packaging, supplier environmental audits and minimizing waste within its stores through increased efforts in oil and cardboard recycling and food donation.

  • Yum! has over 4,200 restaurants that include sustainable building solutions. In addition, the Company has over 30 LEED certified restaurants built or underway across nine countries, the second highest total among restaurateurs. Its LEED certified buildings incorporate elements such as recycled building materials, solar panels, LED lighting, low-water fixtures, energy monitoring control systems, high efficiency air conditioning and heating systems, more efficient kitchen equipment, among other examples.
  • By the end of 2015, all of Yum!’s new company-owned stores will be LEED certifiable. Yum! is also on target to reduce energy consumption in its company-owned restaurants by 15 percent by the end of 2015. It has eliminated the release of almost 1.2 million metric tons of CO2 since 2009, the equivalent to removing 225,000 cars off the road.
  • New this year, the Company has committed to source 100 percent of its palm oil for cooking oil from responsible and sustainable sources by the end of 2017.