Personnel Updates

Black Angus Steakhouse named Liz Geavaras to the newly created position of Chief Marketing Officer.

Black Bear Diner brought Anita Adams (formerly of American Blue Ribbon Holdings) onboard as CFO. She replaces Robin Yoshimura who was named Chief Franchise Officer.

Brinker International promoted Steve Provost from President at Maggiano’s to Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Chili’s. Genifer Gray (promoted to COO at Maggiano’s) and Larry Konecny (promoted to Chief Concept Officer at Maggiano’s) will lead Maggiano’s during Provost’s transition.

Brinker International CFO Tom Edwards resigned. VP of Corporate Affairs Joe Taylor will serve as CFO in the interim.

CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. named Jason Marker as its new CEO.

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. CFO Paul Carbone will resign effective April 21. Kate Japson, VP of Finance, will take over on an interim basis.

ESquared Hospitality has cut ties with Chloe Coscarelli, namesake co-founder of the By Chloe concept.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar named Mark Adair to the newly created position of VP of Food and Beverage.

Ignite Restaurant Group named Jonathan Tibus as CEO to succeed Robert Merritt who stays onboard as a consultant. The company also added “Chief Administrative Officer” to CFO Brad Leist’s list of titles and promoted its General Counsel, Steve Metzger, to Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary.

Jack in the Box promoted Carol DiRaimo to Chief Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Officer.

Jamba, Inc. named former Starbucks executive Joe Thornton as its new COO.

Lawry’s Restaurants hired Anthony Endy as Executive Chef of its Five Crowns and SideDoor restaurants.

Logan’s Roadhouse Inc. brought in Bill Streitberger as its new Chief People Officer.

Long John Silvers named Angela Sanders its new Chief Marketing Officer.

Marco’s Pizza named Steve Seyferth Chief Marketing Officer.

McDonald’s named Morgan Flatley US Chief Marketing Officer (replacing Deborah Wahl), Farhan Siddiqi as US VP of Digital (replacing Julia Vander Ploeg) and Linda VanGosen as VP of Menu Development in the US (replacing Lance Richards).

Ruby Tuesday Inc. named Jim Hyatt (formerly of Church’s Chicken) as its new President and CEO.

Überrito, a small fast-casual Mexican chain out of Houston, named Peter Ortiz as its new Chief Development Officer.

Villa Restaurant Group promoted Andrew Steinberg to the newly created position of COO.

Yum! Brands promoted Kevin Hochman to President and Chief Concept Officer for KFC US.


Financial Focus

CEC Entertainment announced FYE 1.1.17 total sales of $929 million with same-store sales up 2.8%.

Fogo de Chao reported FYE 1.1.17 revenue of $288.3 million, up 6.1%, with same-store sales off by 0.6%.


Industry Insight

Cava Group Inc. (Cava Grill) received $30 million in funding from existing partners to grow the business.

Dig Inn raised another $30 million in funds. Plans include 13 to 15 openings in New York and Massachusetts by 2019 and expansion into a third state next year.

Domino’s opened its 14,000th store. Store #14,000 is in Malaysia.

Flagship Restaurant Group, a Nebraska-based multi-concept operator, will open four new Blue Sushi Sake Grill restaurants in 2017 and a new Pacific-Rim concept, Anthem, in Austin in September.

Fogo de Chao will open at least three new restaurants in 2017.

Fox Restaurant Concepts debuted its newest concept Dough Bird Pizza & Rotisserie in Phoenix.

Gosh Enterprises (Charley’s Grilled Subs) bought the leases for 15 of Chipotle’s closed ShopHouse locations (Chicago, DC and LA) and will convert them to the company’s Bibibop Asian Grill concept by the end of summer.

GPS Hospitality will remodel 45 of its Burger King locations in 2017 and open 15 new stores.

The Halal Guys have hooked up with Paytronix Systems, Inc. to power their franchise-wide loyalty program.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar Inc. will open six to eight new locations in 2017.

Ignite Restaurant Group was delisted by NASDAQ. The company is pursuing a sale of its Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap chains.

Legal Sea Foods is getting in on the poke trend this spring when fast-casual Legal Fish Bowl opens in the Legal Sea Foods space in Cambridge, MA.

Modern Market could add 10 to 12 new restaurants in the next 12 months.

Teriyaki Madness will add 20+ stores this year in an attempt to grow its footprint to 70 locations.

Tropical Smoothie Café opened 30 new locations in the first quarter.


Mergers and Acquisitions

Checkers and Rally’s have a new owner, Oak Hill Capital, which paid $525 million for the chains.

Darden Restaurants Inc. has agreed to acquire Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen from its private-equity owners for $780 million in an all-cash deal that is expected to close by the end of May.

Four Foods Groups (Utah) purchased 48 Little Caesers in Alabama and Louisiana.

Panera Bread has entered into an agreement to be acquired by JAB Holdings for $7.5 billion in a deal expected to close in Q3.

Revelator Coffee Company (Birmingham, AL) acquired Atlanta’s Octane Coffee. The Octane locations will be converted to the Revelator brand in the next 12 months.

sbe Entertainment Group LLC is in talks to merge with Hakkasan Group.


Real Estate

Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant from Lubbock-based Food Concepts International LLP entered the Houston market.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza opened its first Rhode Island (Cranston) location.

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop opened its first Indiana location (Castleton).

Cava Grill will open six new NYC restaurants this year and expand into three new markets, including Boston, in 2018.

Chicken Salad Chick opened its first Mississippi location in Oxford.

Dog Haus plans to open 40 new stores in 2017 and 80 in 2018.

Dr Smood, an organic boutique café chain based out of Miami (owned by the co-founder of the Pandora jewelry company) opened its first NYC location. For 2017, an additional Miami location along with four more NYC stores are planned.

East Hampton Sandwich Co., a small Dallas-based concept, will open two stores this summer while it also explores locations in Houston, which would be the company’s second market.

FUSIAN, an Ohio fast-casual sushi chain, has plans to open stores in Toledo and Cleveland.

Goodfellas Pizzeria, a Kentucky-based chainlet, opened its first Indiana location in Indianapolis.

Grabbagreen opened its first restaurant in Minnesota.

The Greene Turtle opened its first Pennsylvania location, a franchised unit in North Wales.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria will open its first Wisconsin location this summer in Milwaukee.

HipCityVeg (a Philadelphia-based chainlet) will open two to four new locations this year.

Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop, a Seattle-based fast-casual, opened its first stores in California (San Francisco Bay area).

La Madeleine will refranchise 38 company-owned stores in the Atlanta, Austin, Houston and Washington D.C. markets along with the stores in Louisiana to spur growth.

Larkburger (Colorado) will expand to Kansas City in 2017 and add a total of five stores in 2018.

Luna Grill will open 15 to 18 new stores in 2017. The company is looking at Arizona, Colorado, and the Southeast as areas of expansion beyond its home state of California and Texas.

MOOYAH Burgers will concentrate much of its 2017 development efforts in Virginia and DC.

Pie Five closed seven Chicago and two Minnesota locations (all company owned). The company, though, plans to open 40 units throughout the US in 2017.

Salt & Straw, a Portland-based boutique ice-cream shop with stores in Portland and LA, will expand into the San Francisco market this summer.

SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza will open a restaurant in Kansas City and Omaha by Q4 of this year.

Tarka Indian Kitchen, an Austin-based Indian fast casual, will expand to Houston this year with two locations.

Teriyaki Madness franchisees opened the concept’s first New York and Montana locations. New stores are expected in Miami and Ft. Myers, FL; Plano, TX; Charlotte, NC and Florence, SC in the coming months.

The Cheesecake Factory is headed to Canada. The company will open its first Canadian store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall this fall. A total of five locations are projected for the greater Toronto area.

Wahlburgers will open two locations in New Orleans this summer.