Personnel Updates

ARC Group Inc. (Dick’s Wings & Grill) appointed Seenu Kasturi as its new President and CFO.

Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar brought Vince Runco onboard as VP of Operations.

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop named David Bloom as its Chief Development Officer.

Captain D’s announced that Bob Kraut joined the company as its new Chief Marketing Officer. The company also announced promotions for Janet Duckham to Chief Supply Chain Officer and Nancy Ward to VP of Training.

Church’s Chicken named Pete Servold Exec VP of U.S. Operations.

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group created three new leadership positions. Ray Risley was promoted to President of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, and Scott C. Smith was named President of Sullivan’s Steakhouse. The new brand president for Del Frisco’s Grille has yet to be named.

Fazoli’s hired David Hasler as its new CFO, promoted Tracy Haskins to VP of Finance, and brought back Spencer Houlihan to serve as VP of Financial Planning and Analysis.

First Watch brought in Laura Sorensen as its new Chief People Officer, Eric Hartman as its new Chief Development Officer and Lilah Taha-Rippett as its new VP of Purchasing.

Granite City Food & Brewery Ltd. promoted Letha Kunshier to VP Human Resources.

Juice It Up! hired John Bifone as VP Operations.

Papa John’s named Mike Nettles as its new Chief Digital and Information Officer.

Rita’s Franchise Company CEO Jeff Moody stepped down. Board member Mike Lorelli is serving as Interim CEO.

Rock & Brews hired Michael Sullivan as its new CEO.

sbe Entertainment Group hired Marcy Miles as Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for the Americas, Europe and Middle East.

Sonic Corp. named Christina Bell Vaughan President of Sonic Restaurants, Inc., the subsidiary that owns/operates its restaurants. Later, it announced that Todd Smith, President and Chief Marketing Officer, will resign on March 9.

TGI Friday’s named Jerry Comstock as President and COO and Stephanie Perdue as Chief Marketing Officer.


Financial Focus

Arby’s reported US systemwide same-store sales growth of 3.6% in 2016.

Buffalo Wild Wings revenue increased 9.6% to $2 billion in 2016 (FYE 12.25.16), but the real story lies in same-store sales, which fell  2.4% at company-owned restaurants and 2.7% at franchised locations. On the earnings call, executives stated that they will look to franchise approximately 10% of company-owned stores, about 60 restaurants.

Chipotle Mexican Grill earnings release for the fiscal year ending 12.31.16 was scary – revenue down 13.3% to $3.9 billion, same-stores sales down 20.4% and net income down 95% to $22.9 million.

Dunkin’ Brands reported systemwide sales up 6.6% to $10.8 billion for the fiscal year that ended 12.31.16. International comps were down year-over-year, but US Baskin-Robins same-store sales were up 0.7% and US Dunkin’ Donuts comps were up 1.6%.

Panera Bread Company closed its fiscal year (FYE 12.27.16) with net revenue growth of 4.2% and same-bakery sales up 2.4% systemwide.

Restaurant Brands International recorded a solid year ending 12.31.16. Total revenue was up 2.3% to $4.15 billion. Tim Hortons same-store sales increased 2.5%. Burger King comparable sales increased 2.3%.

YUM! Brands (FYE 12.31.16), fresh off the spinoff of YUM! China in October 2016, reported worldwide system sales growth of 5% and total restaurant openings of 2,316. KFC US systemwide sales were up 4%, Pizza Hut was up 1% and Taco Bell us up 6%.


Industry Insight

Bravo Brio Restaurant Group Inc. is pursuing “strategic alternatives”, which could lead to a sale.

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. plans to open 30 new BWW restaurants in the US in 2017 along with 15 or so new R Taco locations.

CEC Entertainment Inc. may look to take Chuck E. Cheese’s and Peter Piper’s Pizza public in 2017 according to reports.

Day Star Restaurant Group shuttered more than half of its remaining Texas Land & Cattle and Lone Star Steakhouse restaurants, leaving 31 total stores.

Dunkin’ Brands expects to add 385 new Dunkin’ Donuts and 10 new Baskin-Robins locations in the US in 2017. Internationally, it expects to add 200 stores across both brands.

Hooters Management Corp, a franchisee of HOA Restaurant Group, is opening a fast-casual concept, Hoots, this month in Cicero, IL that will serve Hooters fare minus the whole waitress thing.

The Hummus and Pita Co. is partnering with Fransmart to expand the concept nationally.

Noodles & Company will close 55 underperforming stores in the first half of the year and slow the rate of new-store openings to 10 to 15 for 2017.

Panera plans to open 70 to 80 new units in 2017. The company also plans to expand delivery to 30% to 40% of its stores.

Pie Five Pizza is struggling. Parent RAVE Restaurant Group reported that second-quarter same-store sales for the concept fell by more than 17% compared to the previous year’s second quarter.

Restaurant Brands International, according to industry reports, has approached Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen to discuss buying the chain.

Ruby Tuesday brought back the salad bar with the systemwide introduction of its new Garden Bar.

Slim Chickens opened its 50th store.

Starbucks opened 649 stores worldwide in its first quarter ending 1.1.17, and reiterated its intention to open 2,100 units worldwide for the year.

Tropical Smoothie Café plans to open 100 new units in 2017.


Mergers and Acquisitions

ARC Group Inc. (Dick’s Wings & Grill) intends to acquire Yobe Frozen Yogurt.

Bob Evans Farms, Inc. agreed to sell its Bob Evans Restaurants business to private equity Golden Gate Capital. The deal is expected to close in April.

Meritage Hospitality Group announced that it entered into agreements to purchase 69 Wendy’s stores. The three agreements are expected to close in the first half of the year.


Real Estate

Big Whiskeys Concepts (St. Louis) will open a new restaurant in Bentonville, AR this month and one in Lee’s Summit, MO in May. The company also purchased two recently-closed Ruby Tuesday’s stores in Missouri that it will convert into Big Whiskeys locations.

Bruxie a small fast-casual chicken-and-waffle sandwich chain will open its new prototype store in Irvine, CA in April.

Burger Boss, an up-and-coming Riverside, CA concept will open Newport Beach and Tustin, CA locations in the first quarter of the year.

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc. plans 30 new locations for the greater Houston market in 2017.

Cowboy Chicken opened its first restaurant in Oklahoma.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. will focus on markets in Alabama, Florida and Tennessee for expansion of its Holler & Dash concept this year.

Dat Dog will expand beyond New Orleans this year with locations in Lafayette, LA and Hattiesburg, MS.

Famous Toastery has expanded into Virginia, its fourth state, as it begins building out along the East Coast. A Long Island, NY location is in the early building phase.

Freddy’s LLC plans to open 70 new restaurants and enter three new states – Wyoming, Maryland and Mississippi.

Fuddruckers opened a second Canadian location in Saskatchewan.

Grabbagreen opened its first California location.

In-N-Out Burger is eyeing the Houston market for expansion in Texas.

Legendary Restaurant Brands plans to open four Bennigan’s locations in 2017 (California, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas) and a Bennigan’s on the Fly in Las Vegas.

MOD Pizza opened its 200th restaurant in Frederick, MD.

RAVE Restaurant Group opened the 100th Pie Five Pizza location (Independence, MO).

The Halal Guys opened its first Georgia (Atlanta) location.