Personnel Updates

Billy Sims BBQ named Jennifer Gamble, formerly of Bennigan’s, as the brand’s new VP of Marketing.

Chick-fil-A Inc. has promoted Tim Tassopoulos from Exec VP of Operations to President and COO assuming the roles Dan Cathy vacated in 2013 to become Chairman and CEO.

East Coast Wings and Grill named Brett Larrabee Vice President of Brand Development.

Fiesta Restaurant Group (Pollo Tropical) named Todd Nonken to the newly created position of VP of Marketing.

Innovative Dining Group named Nicolas Kurban as its first COO. Kurban comes to the organization from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Krispy Kreme announced that former General Mills VP of Global Media Jackie Woodward is its new Chief Marketing Officer.

Krystal welcomed Rodney Lee as its new Exec VP and CFO. Lee comes to the chain having had stops at Fazoli’s and YUM! Brands.

Mama Fu’s Asian House named Steve Burt President and CFO.  Prior to joining Mama Fu’s Burt was CFO of a Texas liquor retailer and wholesaler.

Pie Five named Wendy Moats Senior Vice President of Operations. Wendy comes to the company from Starbucks and takes over for Chris Smith who left the company in March.

Pollo Tropical named David Groll Corporate Executive Chef. Groll had last served as Director of Research and Development for Family Sports Concepts, Inc. (Beef’O’Brady’s).

Quiznos CEO Doug Pendergast has stepped down to spend more time with his family. CFO Katie Scherping will serve as Interim President and CEO as the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Red Robin CFO Stuart Brown will leave the company on July 15 to pursue other opportunities.

Smashburger named Gregg Koffler as its new Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales & Administration. Koffler comes to Smashburger from a similar position with Corner Bakery Café.

Tropical Smoothie Café appointed Barry Schnur as new Chief Financial & Administrative Officer. Schnur comes to the company from the technology trenches having worked with IgnitionOne and Silverpop.

The Wendy’s Co. announced that Todd Penegor has officially taken over as CEO.

Yum! Brands, Inc. announced Keith Siegner joins the company as VP of Investor Relations and Corporate Strategy.


Financial Focus

Bob Evans Farms, Inc. announced its fourth-quarter and full year results for FY2016 (FYE 4/29/16). Net restaurant sales were down 3.7% from the previous year while same store sales were off 2.5%. The eye-popping number was net profits for Q4 FY2016 – down 90% from Q4 FY2015.


Industry Insight

The federal government announced plans to revise rules governing overtime, expanding the salary threshold for employees eligible for overtime pay from approximately $23,000 a year to $47,000.

Dairy Queen rolled out its first line of coffee-based beverages in the hopes of capturing some consumer spend in the caffeinated segment with iced coffees, mochas and frappes.

McDonald’s has offered voluntary buyouts to corporate employees at the director level and above in an effort to reduce administrative costs.

The Organic Coup, billed as the first USDA-certified organic fast-food chain has raised $7 million in an initial round of financing. The concept was created by ex-Costco executives Erica Welton and Dennis Hoover, and a large piece of the funding came from an investment by Costco founder Jim Sinegal.

Pizza Hut will remove artificial preservatives from its meats and antibiotics from its chicken by early 2017.

Starbuck’s will introduce a “cold bar” menu in US stores, following a 20% sales increase of its cold-brewed products in Q4 2015. The move means a wider selection of cold-brewed and iced menu items along with new brewing and preparation processes, including a nitrogen-injection process for some cold beverages.

Subway announced the creation of Subway Digital a one-stop division charged with providing direction and development for all customer-facing tech. The goal is to do big things in Subway’s pursuit to digitally engage consumer inside and outside of their stores.

US Foods started trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Wingstop opened store number 900 – its newest location in Indonesia.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Gigi’s Cupcakes has been acquired by private equity firm FundCorp Inc., the organization that earlier acquired the Gatti’s Pizza chain. Founder Gigi Butler will stay on as spokesperson and face of the brand while new President and COO Judy Renfrow and Vice Chairman Michael Poates will run the chain.

Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. announced that it has struck a deal to acquire eight Wendy’s locations in the Oklahoma City area and is finalizing a deal for an additional ten locations. Meritage currently operates more than 160 Wendy’s franchises.

MTY Food Group will acquire Kahala Brands in a move that will see the Canadian company’s portfolio grow to more than 50 banners. Joining MTY brands such as Cultures, ManchuWok and Mr.Sub will be the likes of Cold Stone Creamery and Blimpie. MTY will move its US headquarters to Kahala’s Arizona offices. The deal is expected to close in the next two months.

Ruby Tuesday, Inc. sold its remaining Lime Fresh Mexican Grill franchised units along with the brands intellectual property and franchising rights to the newly created EverFresh Endeavors.

Sysco Corp. learned that its planned acquisition of UK-based Brake’s Group will not run afoul of EU competition regulations. The acquisition will bring markets in the UK, Ireland, France, Sweden, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg into Sysco’s purview.


Real Estate

The Counter Custom Burgers will open the first of 15 planned locations in Mexico in 2016.

BGR (Chanticleer Holdings) announced a development deal to bring five locations to Salt Lake City.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store will open a second Holler &Dash Biscuit House fast-casual concept this summer in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Dairy Queen will open 30 to 50 new stores in the greater Chicago area over the next five years with a focus on downtown locations.

Johnny Rockets opened its first-ever location that features a drive-thru in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Little Big Burger (Chanticleer Holdings) will open three new locations in Portland, OR by year end.

McDonald’s is headed downtown. Bidding Oak Brook, IL farewell, the company announced that it would move its headquarters (and Hamburger U) to Chicago’s West Loop by 2018.

Pieology opened its first Maryland location.

PizzaRev has made it to Tennessee. The first location opened in Jackson.

Qdoba is uprooting headquarters in Denver for sunny San Diego and moving in next door to parent company Jack in the Box. The moving van arrives in early January.

Restaurant Brands International has a signed a deal with Restaurant Development Partners to grow the presence of Tim Hortons in Minnesota over the next decade. The company framed the deal as the largest of its kind for the Tim Hortons brand south of the border.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill will move its home office and restaurant support center to Denver from Houston by April 2017.

Rubio’s Restaurants completed the acquisition of eight Florida Lime Fresh Mexican Grill locations, a deal that was first announced in November 2015. Rubio’s will convert these locations to Rubio’s Coastal Grill formats, reopening each location in turn by fall of this year. These Florida locations are Rubio’s first East Coast stores.

Scooter’s Coffee will double its store count in the great Des Moines area this year from four to eight. Area franchisees David and Stephen Froscheiser plan to grow to 20 stores in the next few years.

Shake Shack marked a couple of firsts with one new location. The new store in Minnesota’s Mall of America is the first Shack in Minnesota and the first location within an enclosed mall.

Simply Southern Restaurant Group brings its first Chicken Salad Chick restaurant to Texas on June 21 with a grand opening in North Fort Worth.

Sushirrito, a West Coast mini chain offering sushi burritos (purists be damned), will open its first East Coast location in NYC later this year.

STK Orlando has opened its doors, following the March opening of the Miami outpost. The ONE Group has more in store for 2016 with STK openings planned for Austin, Dallas, Denver, Ibiza, San Diego, and Toronto. Plans for 2017 include Boston and Edinburgh.

Togo’s brings its brand of sandwiches to Washington state with the first location opening its doors on June 18.

Urban Plates, a California concept billed as providing wholesome, affordable, from scratch meals (in an updated cafeteria setting) opened its eighth location in Pasadena. The chainlet has three more locations under construction with openings scheduled through summer and early autumn.


Green Initiatives

Starbucks’s has closed a $500 million bond offering. The company will used the funds raised from the sale to support sustainable coffee-growing practices.