Personnel Updates

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC announced David Miller has been elevated to the position of President and COO of the company.

Captain D’s LLC announced Steve Bielewicz has been named Senior Director of Franchise Development, Jennifer Benjamin as Director of Franchise Development, and Jeff White as the new Director of Real Estate.

Darden Restaurants Inc. named Rick Cardenas as CFO.

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. announced the appointment of Jeff Little as Senior VP of Development.

Famous Dave’s of America Inc. named Alfredo Martel the chain’s new Chief Marketing Officer.

Focus Brands Inc. named Michael Dixon as the company’s new CFO.

Grill Concepts Inc. has promoted John Sola to succeed co-founder Bob Spivak as President and CEO. The company also promoted Thomas Kachani to Executive VP Operations, and Phil Kastel to Executive VP Culinary.

Hurricane Grill & Wings announced that William Richardson will be joining the company as COO.

Long John Silver’s Inc. has named Julie-Ann Reid as Director of Brand Marketing.

Newk’s Franchise Company announced the promotion of Adam Karveller to VP Information Technology and Keith Moody to VP Franchise Operations.

Papa John’s International Inc. has promoted Sean Muldoon to Chief Ingredient Officer.

Paul Martin’s American Grill has named Brad Kaemmer as its first CEO.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. has appointed Steven J. Fricker as Senior VP of Development.

Rave Restaurant Group Inc. named Bob Bafundo the new President of Pizza Inn. The company also announced the hire of Chris Heiser as the new Director of Construction.

Ruby Tuesday Inc. named Mike Ellis its new Chief Development Officer.

SpartanNash announced Craig Sturken has retired as Chairman, and Chris Meyers will become its new CFO and Executive VP, effective April 11.

Starbucks Corporation announced its COO Troy Alstead has resigned from the company.

Toppers Pizza named Donette Beattie as the company’s new VP of Supply Chain.

Wakefern Food Corp. has named executive Cheryl Williams as its new CIO and VP of the computer information services division.


Financial Focus

Ovation Brands Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection.

US Foods filed a registration statement for an initial public offering.


Mergers and Acquisitions

Sysco announced the acquisition of European distributor Brakes Group. The company also announced plans to buy North Star Seafood Inc., based in Florida.

US Foods announced an acquisition of Massachusetts-based distributor Cara Donna Provision Co.


Industry Insight

Bruegger’s Bagels and Jamba Juice will open the first of several planned co-branded stores in early March. Several locations are currently under construction in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

CKE Restaurants Inc. announced it is moving its headquarters from California and Missouri and consolidating them in Nashville, TN, early next year.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. announced it will be opening a fast-casual biscuit house named Holler & Dash this spring.

Fiesta Restaurant Group Inc. announced it will separate its Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana concepts into two companies in 2017 or 2018.

Pita Pit Inc. announced the grand opening of its 600th global location.

Starbucks Corporation recently announced a partnership to open the first Starbucks store in Italy.

VertsKebap Inc. is shortening its brand name to Verts, with a “Mediterranean Grill” tagline, as well as making plans for a new design and menus.


Real Estate

Bloomin’ Brands Inc. announced plans to close 14 Bonefish Grill locations.

Crest Foods Inc. will open 30 Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip in the U.S. and 20 more in the Middle East in 2016. The 30 U.S. locations will include two non-traditional locations; one will be at the San Diego Zoo opening in May and one location outside the University of Kentucky and will open in June.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is expanding into its 44th state, and will open its first Hawaii store by late 2016.

Ovation Brands Inc. closed 74 units in February and 92 units in March.