Personnel Updates

Applebee’s named Stephen Bulgarelli VP and Chief Culinary Officer.

Arby’s Restaurant Group promoted Rob Lynch to President and promoted Jim Taylor to Chief Marketing Officer.

Bloomin’ Brands appointed Beth Scott as President of Fleming’s. Scott replaces the retiring Skip Fox.

Bravo Brio Restaurant Group CFO James O’Connor resigned.

Brinker International promoted Joseph Taylor to CFO.

Brioche Doree now has a President for US operations. Le Duff America Inc. appointed Julie Hauser-Blanner to the post ahead of a rollout of the French bakery and café concept in the US.

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group promoted Brandon Coleman to President of its Grille brand. Coleman takes over for Sarah McAloon who left the company.

DineEquity’s President for International, Daniel del Olmo, resigned.

Dunkin’ Donuts named Tony Weisman as its new US Chief Marketing Officer.

Fresh Brothers named Houman Iskandani as its new COO.

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. (Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes) hired John Haywood as its new CEO.

Global Franchise Group named Jeremy Roy Exec VP of Hot Dog on a Stick.

The Krystal Company appointed Michael Wood as Chief Real Estate Officer.

MOD Pizza named Tracy Cioffi as Chief Marketing Officer.

MOOYAH brought in Mike Sebazco as VP of Operations.

On The Border Mexican Grill hired Tom Pennison as the company’s new CFO.

Papa Murphy’s named CFO Mark Hutchens as its new COO. The company will begin the search for a new CFO.

Real Mex Restaurants named Judd Tirnauer CFO.

Starbucks announced that Rosalind Brewer, formerly Sam’s Club CEO, will join the company as its new COO and Group President on October 2. For those scoring at home, Brewer will be the 2nd in command at Starbucks.


Industry Insight

Black Bear Diner opened its 100th restaurant.

Chili’s cut back its number of menu items by 40% to focus on ribs, burgers and fajitas.

Golden Coral unveiled a new, contemporary store design with the opening of a remodel in Greensboro, NC. The company stated that it will incorporate elements of the design into 15 new buildings next year, along with 4 remodels.

Luna Grill received an equity investment intended to spur expansion.

Ruby Tuesday executives announced that the company is nearing the end of its strategic review.

Ruggles Green, a small Houston-based fast-casual chain, is rebranding as Bellagreen.

Starbucks was sued by Simon Property Group over its closure of Teavana stores in its mall properties. In response, Starbucks agreed to delay closure of at least 78 locations.

Wahlburgers signed a deal with Hy-Vee that will see the supermarket chain become Wahlburgers’ largest franchisee, with 26 units projected to open. Hy-Vee will also serve Whalburgers’ products in its 80+ instore Market Grilles.

Yogurtland began testing soft-serve ice cream at all 296 locations.

Zoe’s Kitchen plans to open 25 to 30 new locations in 2018 down from the 38 to 40 the company expects to open this year.


Mergers and Acquisitions

Blue Bottle Coffee was acquired by Nestle. The acquisition will grow Blue Bottle and provide Nestle (Nescafe and Nespresso) with a point of entry into the high-end coffee market.

Bruegger’s Bagels (parent company Le Duff America) will be sold to Caribou Coffee and parent company JAB Holding Co. The deal is expected to close by the end of September.

Café Rio has a new private equity owner, Freeman Spogli & Co, which sold its First Watch holding this past summer.

Global Franchise Group acquired Round Table Pizza.

La Madeleine (and parent company Le Duff America) which previously announced plans to sell its corporate-owned locations, sold 26 of its stores to a company led by Amin Dhanani (HZ LM Casual Foods), a principal in the Dhanani Group, best known for its Burger King holdings.

Fatburger parent company Fat Brands has entered into an agreement to acquire Homestyle Dining LLC and its two chains, Ponderosa and Bonanza.


Real Estate

The Capital Grille opened a new location in the greater St. Louis area.

Capriotti’s plans to expand in the mid-Atlantic area and seeks franchise partners for 15 new restaurants in Philadelphia, 20 in Washington DC and 15 in Baltimore.

FOCUS Brands opened its 600th international location for two of its brands, Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh opened at Minnesota State University, its first restaurant in Minnesota.

Mamoun’s Falafel of NYC has started a franchise program. The first franchised location will open in Dallas in the coming months.

Pei Wei will move its headquarters to Irving, Texas by the end of the year as it prepares for a spinoff from its parent company, P.F. Chang’s.

Pollo Tropical closed its final 6 Texas restaurants.

Truluck’s Seafood, Steak & Crab House will open a 12th location in DC.

Tupelo Honey opened its first restaurant in Texas (Frisco). Earlier in the year, the company opened its first Colorado location.