Personnel Updates

Barteca brought in Sabato Sagaria to serve as President of the Bartaco chain.

Blaze Pizza has a new Chief Marketing Officer, Shivram Vaideeswaran.

Bravo Brio named Diane Reed as its new CFO.

Captain D’s promoted Summer Sims to Director of Operations for Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

Centerplate Inc. named Carmen Callo to the newly created position of VP and Executive Chef.

Chipotle brought in Richard Blais to head up its Tasty Made concept.

Corner Bakery Café named Donna Josephson as its new Chief Marketing Officer.

Dunkin’ Brands Group appointed Katy Latimer as VP of Culinary Innovation.

Fiesta Restaurant Group hired Tony Dinkins as its new Senior VP Human Resources.

Freddy’s LLC named co-founder Randy Simon as its new CEO.

Granite City Food & Brewery introduced RJ Nab as its new VP and Brewmaster.

International Dairy Queen CEO John Gainor will step down at the end of the year. Current COO Troy Bader will take over the position.

International Dairy Queen promoted Maria Hokanson to Exec VP of Marketing.

Lettuce Entertain You promoted RJ Melman, son of founder Richard Melman, to President. Former President and CEO Kevin Brown stays on as CEO.

Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip named Rudy Frederico its new VP of Franchise Development.

Not Your Average Joes appointed Peter D’Amelio as President and COO.

Russo’s Restaurants appointed Enzo Lavecchia as Corporate Chef.

Subway promoted Carissa Ganelli to Chief Digital Officer.

Tender Greens brought in Denyelle Bruno as its new President, replacing co-founder David Dressler who becomes Chief People Officer.

TooJay’s brought in Maxwell Piet to serve as its new CEO. Outgoing CEO Christopher Artinian remains on the board.

Tropical Smoothie Café appointed half of Atlanta to its executive leadership team, bringing in Rob Collins as Chief Marketing Officer, Pete Ward as General Counsel, Paul Marsden as CFO, Jaime Denney as Senior VP of Operations and Cheryl Fletcher as VP of Franchise Development.

Umami Burger has a new head, as Daniel del Olmo was named CEO of parent Disruptive Restaurant Group.

Wendy’s Chief People Officer Scott Weisberg will leave the company in the first quarter of 2018 and be replaced by current VP of Human Resources Coley O’Brien.

Zoe’s Kitchen COO Jeremy Hartley will leave the company on 10/23/17.


Industry Insight

Buffalo Wild Wings will roll out its smaller format store currently testing Minnesota in 2018.

Chick-Fil-A will open a five-story, 12,000 square foot location in New York’s Financial District, the largest Chick-Fil-A the company has ever built.

Dunkin’ Brands Group completed a deal with Amtrak that puts Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on board all Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains as the sole supplier of coffee.

Fatburger parent company Fat Brands looks to raise $24 million in this month’s IPO.

Freshii Inc. closed all 18 locations inside Target stores. The company also announced that it was lowering restaurant opening projections for the year from 150-160 to 90-95. Its freshly minted stock tanked upon the announcement. Longer term store-count projections were also lowered from a goal of 810-840 by 2019 to 730-760.

Golden Corral has installed smokers in all of its restaurants.

KFC announced that the Colonel will be a playable character in WWE2K18. The Puppers Cluckers Chicken has yet to respond.

Melt Shop announced that it will begin franchising.

Pie Five is introducing delivery service to all of its stores to stem the decline of same store sales.

Pieology brought in Kevin Durant to guard LeBron James. Durant’s company bought a piece of Pieology and agreed to acquire and/or open franchise locations.

Potbelly named dissident investor Joseph Boehm to its board in the hopes of calming him down.

Urbane Café received an investment from Panda Restaurant Group founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng.


Financial Focus

RAVE Restaurant Group released its FYE 6/25/17 results, and as expected, the results weren’t good. Net losses increased to $12.5 million with Pizza Inn same store sales flat and Pie Five same stores sales off by 16%.


Mergers and Acquisitions

Gold Star Chili Inc. acquired fellow Cincinnati-based concept Tom+Chee.

KPB Foods acquired 78 more KFC locations, pushing its total past 500 stores.

Pret a Manger has been the subject of recent reports claiming Jollibee Foods Corp (Philippines) is considering a $1 billion offer to acquire the company.

Ruby Tuesday’s was purchased for $335 million by NRD Capital, which also owns Frisch’s Big Boy. 

Uncle Julio’s was acquired by private equity L Catterton.

Vitaligent LLC, the largest Jamba Juice franchisee, purchased 21 locations from another franchisee, bringing its total store count to 100.


Real Estate

Al Biernat’s steakhouse opened a second location this week north of the Galleria in Dallas.

America’s Dog & Burger, a small Chicago chain, will open its fifth location next summer and has begun franchising.

Barteca Restaurant Group has plans to open six new Bartaco locations next year, along with three new locations for its Barcelona Wine Bar concept.

Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar will open in Las Vegas in 2018.

Bubba’s 33 will add four new locations before the end of 2017.

Checkers & Rally’s expect to reach their 2017 goal of 65 new restaurant openings.

Hurricane Grill & Wings is ready to pull the trigger on expanding its fast-casual Hurricane BTW concept. The company plans to open 15 units in the next year, primarily in Florida.

MVP Sonic Group plans to build 5 new Sonic locations a year throughout Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, including its 101st location scheduled to open soon in Florida.

Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip recently opened its first Vancouver location, the second for Canada.

Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar will open three more restaurants in North Carolina before the end of the year and expand into Tennessee in early 2018.

Sonic announced that it will open 70 to 80 new units in 2018.

Twin Peaks will open a Detroit-area location in December.

Vitaligent LLC, the largest Jamba Juice franchisee, has agreed to open a dozen new locations in the Seattle market in the next five years.