Shawn Kuhlman as director of sales for Canada and Latin America
T&S Brass and Bronze Works, a leading international manufacturer of innovative foodservice and commercial plumbing products, has hired Shawn Kuhlman as director of sales for Canada and Latin America. Kuhlman will focus on supporting T&S customers in Canada and Latin American nations, as well as expanding the T&S network and developing new markets throughout those regions. “With a long history in the foodservice industry, Shawn will be a knowledgeable resource for current and future customers,” said Ken Gallagher, T&S vice president of global sales. “His international expertise and keen business acumen will help lead the way as T&S continues to expand its global presence.” Kuhlman comes to T&S Brass with more than 25 years’ experience in sales, including more than 15 in international sales within the foodservice industry. He is a NAFEM Certified Foodservice Professional and holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Iowa State University. He also completed a Business in Latin America program at El Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico and speaks fluent Spanish. – Source: T&S Brass and Bronze Works.
Middleby Completes Acquisition of CVP Systems
The Middleby Corporation announced the acquisition of CVP Systems, a leading manufacturer of high-speed packaging systems for the meat processing industry. The company is based in Downers Grove, Ill., and has approximately $20 million in annual revenues. “CVP Systems is a world leader in Modified Atmosphere Packaging, a highly innovative packaging technology that extends the shelf life of food through removing air and introducing a more beneficial environment during packaging. The addition of CVP further deepens the capabilities of our food processing group with a highly complementary technology to our product portfolio,” said Selim A. Bassoul, Chairman and CEO of The Middleby Corporation. “With this acquisition we add a highly respected brand and continue to strengthen the portfolio of comprehensive solutions that we offer our customers in the food processing industry.” – Source: THE MIDDLEBY CORPORATION
Jacksonville, Fla., restaurant offers chain’s first breakfast menu in U.S.
Firehouse of America LLC debuted a non-traditional Firehouse Subs restaurant on July 1, in the Jacksonville International Airport in Florida, becoming the chain’s first domestic location to serve breakfast. The restaurant is operated by Bethesda, Md.-based concessionaire HMSHost and offers such fare as pastrami, egg and cheese sandwiches and instant oatmeal. “We’ve done a couple of one-off locations like arenas in the past, but this is the first one that I would say is a long-term engagement,” Firehouse CEO Don Fox told Nation’s Restaurant News on Wednesday. “We hope this may be the first of many.” The Jacksonville, Fla.-based brand, which has 1,084 restaurants in 44 states, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, may move more aggressively into non-traditional airport, college, military and stadium venues, he said. The new airport unit is located in a secured-area food court. Two years ago, Firehouse Subs had a brief concessions presence at the San Diego Padre’s Petco Park, Fox said, but discontinued it after one year. “A lot of it is having the right space, where the economics work well,” he said. “And a lot of it has to do with brand exposure, which might be more important for a brand at an earlier stage.” In Puerto Rico, where Firehouse Subs’ 12 units are operated by a Burger King franchisee, all of the restaurants serve a popular breakfast menu, but Fox said the operator had experience with breakfast in the company’s other holdings. The U.S. breakfast menu debut is narrower, with no pastries, for example, he said. The menu includes egg and cheese; ham, egg and cheese; bacon, egg and cheese; and steak, egg and cheese sandwiches, as well as a popular pastrami, egg and cheese sandwich, Fox said. Business over the first weekend was strong, he added. “We’re Jacksonville’s hometown restaurant, so the airport workers were especially excited about our arrival there,” Fox said. The airport unit shares a common seating area with other food-court restaurants, but Firehouse Subs was able to keep branding components, such as signage and localized murals, in the design. The kitchen is smaller than at traditional locations, about 80–90 percent of the space of a regular site, Fox said. “When all you have is the counter frontage, you have to be a little more creative,” he said. The brand elements included brick and firehouse imagery, as well as a number of grab-and-go items for travelers. The limited-service sandwich chain does not have fryers or grills in its restaurants, so it had to be creative in the menu preparation, Fox said. “The steamers that we use for heating our sandwiches can be multi-tasked,” he said. “We cross-utilize them with inserts to cook eggs.” Expansion of the breakfast menu will be judicious, Fox said. “The key thing for breakfast is that it is very much convenience oriented,” he said. “We don’t have drive-thrus, so we’d be handicapped on the convenience side.” The new airport unit is also a homecoming of sorts for Firehouse Subs’ co-founding brothers Robin and Chris Sorensen. “As Jacksonville natives and former firefighters with Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting at Jacksonville International Airport, my brother Chris and I are eager to serve guests at our hometown airport,” Robin Sorenson said in a statement. – Source: NRN.
It’s a big-time Murray Family affair, and it’s headed to Rosemont
The Murray Bros. — as in Bill, Brian-Doyle, Ed, Johnny, Joel and Andy — announced that their family-owned Caddyshack Restaurant will soon occupy leased space at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (5440 N. River Rd.) in Rosemont. The 8,000-square-foot eatery is slated to open in December, and will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week. The original Caddyshack Restaurant, named for the iconic 1980 movie that starred Bill Murray as a dedicated groundskeeper at a posh country club who is taunted by a menacing gopher, opened in 2001 in Florida. According to today’s announcement, “The space plan is open with an oblong shaped bar, and LCDs featuring all the latest sporting events can be seen from every seat, providing a solution to Rosemont’s missing sports bar experience. It will have a retail area like the St. Augustine store, a semi-private dining area for events and even a 350-square-foot Golf Simulation Experience.” The menu at other Caddyshack locations boasts a selection of comfort food including burgers, ribs, nachos, fish and chips and chicken dishes, as well as salads and decadent desserts.When asked about the genesis of the restaurants, “It was more my idea than [that of his siblings],” said Andy Murray, reached by phone in Florida on Wednesday. Andy Murray is a chef by trade, having “trained under French guys in New York.” His earliest training involved cooking at a local Wilmette eatery, near his family home. “I ended up going to New York to go to the Culinary Institute [of America] but then I got in with these French guys who said “we will teach you everything you want to know!,”Murray said, affecting a comical French accent. Opening a second location in Chicago was a logical choice, Murray said. “We’ve been thinking about the Chicago metro area for a while. So when this Rosemont site cam up, it was perfect. I miss Chicago terribly. [He currently lives in Florida]. I want to be back there [he and his brother Joel plan to move back to Chicago in the near future.] My brothers and sisters come in and out of there all the time. So this [location] will be nice. All we have to do is roll off the airplane and we’re at the restaurant.” Murray said the menu is all about comfort food, and “stuff we grew up with.” “It’s not fine dining, but it’s gonna be consistently good. You’ll go away happy and full. … I grew up eating everything. My eight brothers and sisters and I ate everything and anything my mom cooked. … [The restaurant’s] basically an extension of my living room.” The sports-themed restaurant will be similar to the Florida location, with one exception: more TVs. “Chicago is much more of a sports town than down here in Florida. This is the home of college football.” The venue’s golf simulator area will allow guests to “get a foursome together and have a round of golf on different courses around the world,” Murray said. “It’s pretty cool.” He also revealed that the best golfer among the brothers “used to be Edward. But now it’s probably Billy, then Joel, then me.” In addition to his highly touted corn chowder, when it comes to his signature dish (not on the menu, alas), Murray said, “I do a veal scallopini that’s great.” – Source: The Chicago Sun-Times.
CKE Restaurants Bolsters Best Assets with New People, Development and Technology Leaders Joining Executive Team
CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s®, announced two additional strategic appointments and a promotion to its growing executive leadership team. The appointments follow announcements of the company’s new Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operating Officer last month. As part of an effort to redefine the customer experience in the QSR category through quality food, people and innovative technologies that create amazing food experiences, CKE is reinvesting in what made its restaurants famous around the world with the announcements of Joanna Shepard joining the company as Chief People Officer, Stephen Carvelli as Chief Information Officer, and Jim Sullivan’s promotion to Chief Development Officer. “It’s no secret that the people working in Carl’s, Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants around the globe have powered both brands’ success over the last 50 years – whether they are hand-breading tenders, baking biscuits fresh daily, or running great restaurants,” said Jason Marker, CKE CEO. “The additions of Joanna and Stephen, along with Jim’s promotion, will ensure that our business’s future growth will be powered by what got CKE here in the first place. We are excited that the culture, brand and future of CKE attracted such impressive and diverse talent.” Shepard brings more than 20 years’ experience from Gilbarco Inc. in Greensboro, N.C. where she led HR for the company’s global functions. Prior to her time with Gilbarco Inc., Shepard’s career has been anchored in the food industry, leading organizational development and multi-faceted HR teams for Pizza Hut and A&W/Long John Silver’s. During her time at Pizza Hut, Shepard worked closely with franchise owners, operators and HR leaders focused on improving talent acquisition and leadership development for restaurant general managers and multi-unit leaders. “I’m grateful to join such an inspiring leadership team and company that prioritizes its people as much as CKE does,” Shepard said. “I look forward to the opportunity of helping to build a better guest experience through the people that work in and outside of our restaurants.” Carvelli’s technology leadership experience over the last 20 years includes celebrated innovators of the customer and guest experience through technology. Carvelli previously served as the Chief Technology Officer of Lowe’s Companies, Inc., where he led digital transformation, enterprise architecture, operations and development. Before joining Lowe’s, Stephen held progressive technology leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies including American Eagle Outfitters, Chico’s FAS, OfficeMax, and The Walt Disney Company. “I’ve seen firsthand over the course of my career that great guest experiences are engineered by people and technology – and not one at the expense of the other,” said Carvelli. “CKE Restaurants became a global phenomenon thanks primarily to its people and quality offerings, so my job will begin with providing our team members and customers with the right tools to reimagine our restaurant experience and continue to deliver our classic American fare in new and innovative ways.” In addition to these new leadership appointments, Jim Sullivan, a member of the executive leadership team, has been promoted to Chief Development Officer. Sullivan’s promotion is highlighted by his successful leadership of CKE’s domestic restaurant footprint expansion in both core and high growth markets, which has led the entire QSR category in net new unit growth in the segment for the last two years. In his expanded role Jim will continue to spearhead the company’s growth agenda, focusing on domestic real estate development activities for the portfolio. These two hires and promotion mark the sixth additions to the CKE executive leadership team in less than 90 days, underscoring CKE’s commitment to ensuring the company has the right team in place to redefine its iconic brands, as well as support domestic and international growth. The diverse backgrounds and experiences of this team will help drive forth an enhanced strategy focused on operational excellence, franchisee optimization, employee engagement, menu innovation and customer-centricity. – Source: CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.
Middleby Buys Swedish Equipment Group Sveba Dahlen
The Middleby Corporation announced the acquisition of the Sveba Dahlen Group. The company, headquartered in Sweden, develops and manufactures ovens and baking equipment for the commercial foodservice and industrial baking industries. The company markets its products under three leading brands, Sveba Dahlen, Glimek, and Bear Varimixer. The combined group has approximately $60 million in annual sales. “This acquisition adds several highly-respected, industry-leading, brands to our portfolio. Sveba Dahlen is a leader in bakery ovens for restaurant, hotel, retail and institutional customers, Glimek is a leader in high capacity bakery systems for industrial bakeries, and Bear Varimixer is recognized as one of the most reputable brands of mixer equipment worldwide,” said Selim A. Bassoul, Chairman and CEO of the Middleby Corporation. “This acquisition significantly strengthens Middleby’s position in the bakery category and provides for increased growth opportunities in the retail market. Additionally, the acquired business is well-positioned to benefit from the continuing trend of on-premise baking in the commercial foodservice industry. We anticipate that the combination will provide for new growth opportunities for the Sveba Dahlen Group by leveraging Middleby’s existing customer relationships and international sales network. We also are excited about opportunities to accelerate new product development through sharing of technologies and innovations with our existing businesses.” – Source: THE MIDDLEBY CORPORATION.
AlphaPoint Technology to Acquire San Diego Based Home Bistro Inc.
AlphaPoint Technology, Inc. announced it has entered into a Letter of Intent to acquire Home Bistro, Inc., a San Diego-based online home meal delivery company. The letter of Intent is non-binding and may be terminated by either party at any time. The transaction is subject to completion of due diligence review and customary closing conditions, and is anticipated to close on or about September 15, 2017. Since 2014, Home Bistro has provided high quality, direct-to-consumer gourmet home meal replacement plans and health programs. The Company is uniquely positioned to take advantage of a market opportunity generated by the consumer’s growing acceptance and demand for products acquired online and delivered to their home. There is momentum in certain aspects of the prepared meal industry in the form of meal kit delivery with services such as Blue Apron, that delivers unprepared groceries delivered in a box with a recipe card, and a variety of restaurant delivery services (such as Grubhub, which arranges for the delivery of restaurant meals – at premium prices). This sector has been driven by a commodity that consumers are losing at greater and greater levels due to technological advances – time. While meal delivery kits do save a trip to the grocery store, the consumer is still saddled with the approximately ninety minutes of time required to store and then prepare (washing, slicing, dicing, cooking, combining) ingredients before they can enjoy a meal. Home Bistro provides time-starved consumers with guilt-free, restaurant quality meals that are great tasting and good for you. Our Executive Chef assures that we source only high quality, natural ingredients that are perfectly prepared and delivered to your door. Simply Heat, Plate and Enjoy. Customers can choose from a variety of meal packages or order individual entrees to their taste. Source: AlphaPoint Technology, Inc./Home Bistro, Inc.
Four Foods Group Continues Roll with Acquisition of Mo’Bettahs Hawaiian Style Restaurants
Four Foods Group (FFG), a rapidly growing restaurant development, investment, and management company, has acquired a majority stake of Mo’Bettahs, a six-unit Hawaiian-style restaurant chain. The all-cash acquisition closed on July 1, 2017. Mo’Bettahs was founded in Bountiful, Utah, nearly a decade ago by Kimo and Kalani Mack. The popular eateries have achieved steady growth with authentic Hawaiian-style food and cultural offerings. The Macks, who deliver the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of their Hawaiian homeland, will continue to lead Mo’Bettahs and their future expansion strategy. “I am honored to enter this new partnership with people who share our business values and who care about their employees and treat them as ohana (family),” said Andrew K. Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Four Foods Group. “As FFG continues to expand our concepts throughout the United States, we look to partner with quality people. Kimo and Kalani are talented leaders who have built a strong organization by serving customers the unique Hawaiian experience they know so well.” Smith was impressed with how the Mack brothers work to foster the vision of a bright future for the Mo’Bettahs family of employees. The Macks are known for creating an atmosphere in each store so patrons feel as if they have stepped off a plane in Oahu, Hawaii, and walked into their home. “This is a lifestyle we want to share with all our customers; it is a place where they are comfortable and at peace. Loyalty is most important to us,” said Co-Founder Kimo Mack. “We strive for actions with pono, which means striving to do what is right in all we do. Our partnership with FFG will help us spread our Hawaiian lifestyle and culture to many more people.” “We cannot wait for what Four Foods Group has in store for us. Everyone has been so kind while also getting down to business and offering what we need. I am excited to work with the caliber of talent that exists at FFG,” said Co-Founder Kalani Mack. Four Foods Group has a proven track record of implementing their innovative partnership model to ensure growth in all aspects of the company and its partnering businesses. This acquisition is an important milestone, allowing Four Foods Group to cross the threshold of 100 restaurants across the U.S. The company now has 105 total restaurants under management and is growing two to five new units a month across their portfolio of brands. Four Foods Group has been on an explosive growth run over the past five years and is now expected to generate more than $160 million in annual revenues. CEO Andrew K. Smith was recently recognized as an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the company’s efforts. “Kimo and Kalani Mack have accomplished one of the most difficult things to do in the restaurant business: they created and launched a brand and have grown it from one to six stores. That is incredibly hard and rare in this business. We are excited to extend this effort and expect to add 50 to 75 Mo’Bettahs units across the United States in the next three to five years,” Smith continued. – Source: Four Foods Group.
Four Corners Property Trust, Inc. announced Board of Directors member
Four Corners Property Trust, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has elected Charles Jemley as a director of the Company, effective June 28, 2017. Mr. Jemley has also been appointed to the Audit Committee. As a result of such appointment, the Board now consists of six directors, five of whom are deemed independent directors. Charles Jemley is a Senior Vice President at Starbucks (NYSE:SBUX) where he currently leads finance for a number of global functions. Mr. Jemley joined Starbucks in February 2006 as part of the original leadership team based in Shanghai, China charged with growing the China market shortly after Starbucks began raising its China equity positions. Since returning to the United States in 2008, Mr. Jemley has held a number of senior finance positions, the vast majority of which involved scaling Starbucks international business, including leading its international store development program in 2015. Prior to joining Starbucks, he had a 16-year career with Yum! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell). At Yum, his responsibilities included leading the market planning function from 1998 through 2000 and US real estate and development for the KFC brand in 2001 and 2002. Mr. Jemley received his B.A. in accounting from the University of Louisville and holds an MBA from the University of Washington. He is a member of the University of Washington’s Global Business Advisory Board. “After a lengthy search process that resulted in our speaking with several highly-qualified candidates, we are excited to welcome Charles Jemley to our Board of Directors and look forward to benefiting from his nearly 30 years of branded restaurant experience; particularly his thought leadership on brand positioning and site selection, both of which will provide great insight into our going forward acquisition strategy,” said John Moody, Chairman of the FCPT Board of Directors. “I am energized by the growth opportunity presented by FCPT’s business and I look forward to working closely with my new fellow Directors on the Board,” said Mr. Jemley. – Source: Four Corners Property Trust, Inc.
The James Beard Foundation Announces Susan Ungaro Will Step Down as President at the End of 2017; National Search for Next Leader to be Launched
The James Beard Foundation announced that Susan Ungaro will step down as president of the James Beard Foundation. Ungaro will continue to serve in her role as president of the Foundation until December 31, 2017, while the Board conducts a national search for a new leader. During her 11 years of unparalleled success for the Foundation, Ungaro was a constant champion of the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. Under her leadership, the Foundation enjoyed national and global recognition, initiated a host of thought leadership initiatives and grew substantially to educate and inspire countless members of the culinary community. Her many accomplishments include expanding the renowned James Beard Awards and moving it successfully to Lincoln Center in NYC and then to Chicago. She also spearheaded the launch of an annual JBF Food Conference, fostering dialogue and action to improve our nation’s food system, and created the JBF Leadership Awards, which recognize visionaries in business, government, and education responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food system. Ungaro has also been tireless in highlighting the impact of the organization, promoting diversity in the restaurant industry and reinforcing its position as a change agent in the culinary field. This includes the creation of the JBF’s Women’s Leadership Programs: the inaugural Women in Culinary Leadership (WCL) program and the Women in Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program, launching in September at Babson College. “Susan ushered in an era of amazing growth and success for the Foundation and furthered its mission in the U.S. and around the world. She helped place the Foundation at the forefront of the culinary conversation and advocated for its wide-reaching initiatives. Susan’s presence will be missed by her colleagues and friends, but we look forward to Susan’s continued involvement in the future of the Foundation,” said Fred Seegal, newly named JBF Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Emily Luchetti, outgoing Board Chair. “It has been a special privilege to serve as president of the James Beard Foundation for over a decade,” said Ungaro. “I believe the time is right for me to start my next adventure helping other nonprofits making a difference in people’s lives. It has been a joy and honor to work with the talented and dedicated Foundation staff and Board of Trustees. I look forward to working closely with the board and staff during this transition period. I remain passionately committed to supporting the James Beard Foundation in the years to come and staying connected to the extraordinary culinary community of chefs, restaurateurs, food media and thought leaders, who welcomed me into their world 11 years ago.” Throughout her career at the Foundation and as editor-in-chief of Family Circle magazine, Ungaro has served on the boards of other nonprofits, including HELP USA, The Marrow Foundation and The Brazelton Foundation. She also serves on the advisory councils of the Culinary Council of Food Bank for New York City, the National Advisory Board of C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program), and the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Safe and Healthy New York Foods. – Source: The James Beard Foundation.
Smoothie King Names New COO, CMO
Smoothie King Franchises Inc. has named Dan Harmon chief operating officer and Jennifer Herskind chief marketing officer, the company said. Harmon replaces Tom O’Keefe, who is retiring. The chief marketing officer role is a newly created position. Harmon will oversee operations and training at company-owned and franchised locations when he starts as COO in the first week of August. He was most recently senior vice president of operations, learning and development at Papa Murphy’s International. He has also held executive positions at McDonald’s, Blockbuster and Potbelly Sandwich Works. Herskind will be responsible for marketing and consumer research and development when she starts as CMO in mid-July. Most recently, she oversaw the nine-member marketing team for Gold’s Gym. Her previous experience includes roles at Mail Boxes Etc., Pizza Hut, Nestle Waters and Dave & Buster’s. “We are excited to bring this wealth of talent and experience to our growing company, and I look forward to the impact Dan and Jennifer will have as we build our brand’s momentum,” Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim said in a press release. “Both bring a combination of unique elements to Smoothie King that fit the mission and vision of the company to promote healthy lifestyles. Their backgrounds are perfect fits for where the brand is today and where it’s headed.” Smoothie King, a privately held company, said same-store sales rose 9.1 percent in 2016. It signed 111 franchise and development agreements last year. “Smoothie King has been able to tap into the exponentially increasing demand for quick and convenient nutritional options that support a variety of healthy lifestyles,” Harmon said. “There is tremendous opportunity for continued growth in the marketplace, and I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to the company in order to help make franchisees more successful and further the goals of the company as we open in new areas.” Herskind said: “I have always been drawn to entrepreneurs with a passion for the mission of their brand, and I found that with Smoothie King and the leadership of Wan Kim. Fitness and wellness are important to me, and were the cornerstone of my work while at Gold’s Gym. That same motivation is fueling the expansion at Smoothie King, similar to what I’ve seen at other successful franchise concepts in growth mode. I am thrilled to join the team and eater to play a role in the company’s continued success.” New Orleans-based Smoothie King has 900 units. – Source: NRN.
Papa John’s Promotes Facebook Orders
Sometimes, you might need a break from looking at cute kittens and other people’s kids on Facebook. Papa John’s International Inc. is hoping you’ll go to its Facebook page and order a pizza. The Louisville-based company has launched an “instant experience” for Facebook, giving you two options to order through the app: either through the Papa John’s page or through the Timeline’s “Order Food” option. (Papa John’s said in a news release that the hamburger option for “Order Food” might be changed to a pizza slice.) Noting that Facebook has 2 billion active monthly users, Papa John’s says it is the first national pizza brand to offer ordering through the site. It’s also offering a 25 percent discount for Facebook orders — use the promo code FBIX. Papa John’s has embraced the digital world for years. It says it was the first national company to offer digital ordering at all of its U.S. delivery restaurants (2001), the first to offer system-wide mobile ordering with SMS text (2007) and the first to launch a custom Apple TV ordering app. – Source: Louisville Business First.
Hotels to Deliver “Luxury Services” to Guests
Technology is changing the way hotels deliver services to guests, especially in the luxury segment. For food and beverage programs technology is raising the bar for both anticipating guests’ needs and delivering on what they want in new ways. “Within the luxury segment in hospitality, artificial intelligence and (Internet of Things) technologies can be used to improve the guest experience by empowering staff to anticipate and respond to each guest’s need in a personalized way,” said Matt Oberdorfer, Experience Engine vice president of product, in an interview with SmartBrief. “For example when a guest is heading back to his/her room after a tennis game, it can be automatically detected and communicated to the concierge to arrange for cold drinks without the guest having to place a request.” One way hotel food and beverage programs are staying ahead of the game when it comes to technology is via partnerships. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, for example, has partnered with India’s online reservation service Dineout, giving people the ability to use the Dineout platform for making reservations across any of the group’s 140 properties. “Dineout’s technology exposes customers to more brand experiences through their devices and social media, while helping our hotels and their F&B outlets achieve greater competitive advantage,” said Carlson Rezidor’s Sandy Russell, as quoted in the Economic Times. Hotels themselves are also seeking to make the most of technology, with major brands such as Marriott International relying heavily on its mobile app to both reach and respond to guests. Guests’ use of mobile devices to communicate with Marriott has quadrupled in recent years, Marriott’s senior vice-president for digital, George Corbin, told the Straits Times. Marriott was among the first major chains to launch its own mobile app and since then the company has continued to add features and capabilities including the ability to contact hotel staff, check-in, and even use a smartphone as a room key. “Two of the biggest emerging trends are personalization and conversational guidance based on machine learning and artificial intelligence,” added Experience Engine’s Oberdorfer. “With these technologies a luxury hotel can truly anticipate what a guest wants, even before they are aware of it themselves. Using ML and AI to detect behavioral patterns, to anticipate needs based on previous behavior, it is possible to facilitate room customizations, personalized check-ins, food order and delivery time and even a limo ready at checkout time, etc. all without using valuable hotel resources.” Hotel food and beverage programs have help when it comes to keeping pace with changing technologies as companies such as Wi-Q Technologies and others create new tools specifically for the hotel food and beverage segment. Wi-Q recently launched a cloud-based application for guest services requests called Mi-Room. Guests do not have to download the app, but instead can access it from any internet-enabled device. “Following the launch of Wi-Q, our cloud-based ordering system that has been implemented in restaurants worldwide, a London hotel group expressed a need for our technology to enhance the guest room services of their hotels,” said Wi-Q Technologies’ Graham Cornhill in a Paymnts.com article. “Through targeted research, it quickly became apparent that they weren’t alone, so we started developing software specifically for that purpose.” – Source: SmartBrief.
San Francisco-Based Restaurant Company Acquires KC Area Panera Bread Locations
Pan American Group LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Flynn Restaurant Group LP, has acquired 34 Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe locations in Kansas and Missouri from Wichita-based Original Bread Inc. The locations include those in the metro area, Lawrence and Topeka. The purchase price was not disclosed. Pan American Group, which is based in San Francisco, will now be the second-largest Panera Bread franchisee, increasing its unit count from 96 locations to 130. Original Bread Inc. was founded in 1993 by Randy Simon, Howard Wilkins, Art Anast and Mark Babich. It was the first franchisee of St. Louis Bread, the predecessor to Panera Bread, when it opened a location in Overland Park, then the 19th for the chain, in 1994. It later became one of the largest Panera Bread franchisees with more than 1,300 employees at area restaurants, as well as Panera locations in Manhattan, Wichita, St. Joseph and Sedalia. In a statement, Simon, now president and CEO of Original Bread, said: “Growing with Panera over the last 24 years has been an experience for which I will always be grateful…. Our team is confident that Flynn Restaurant Group will carry on our standards of excellence in service and our preeminence in community involvement. Their leadership role in the restaurant industry will allow them to fully implement all the new initiatives which Panera has slated for national roll-out.” The sale of the company was prompted by health issues and the subsequent passing of Wilkins late last year. Wilkins was an early Pizza Hut franchisee and former U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands under President George H.W. Bush. For more than four decades, Wilkins and Simon partnered in various businesses. In 2002, Simon co-founded Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers with his brother Bill Simon and friend Scott Redler, and Wilkins was an early investor. Simon plans to continue to grow the Freddy’s brand, which currently includes 266 locations operating in 30 states with commitments to grow to 500 restaurants by 2020. Flynn Restaurant Group LP is one of the largest restaurant franchise operators. Its subsidiary Apple American Group LLC is the largest Applebee’s franchisee with 447 restaurants, and its subsidiary Bell American Group is the third largest Taco Bell franchisee with 274 locations. Overall Flynn Restaurant Group owns and operates 881 restaurants in 30 states, generating $1.9 billion in sales and employing about 42,000 people. In a statement, Greg Flynn, founder, chairman and CEO of Flynn Restaurant Group, said: “Randy and his partners have built a tremendous business, and we look forward to continuing to deliver the exceptional Panera experiences that Original Bread has provided its guests in Kansas and Missouri for the past 23 years.” – Source: The Kansas City Star/NRN.
Seasoned QSR and Hospitality Executive to Bring Experience to Iconic Brand
The Krystal Company announced that it has appointed Catherine Jefferson as Chief People Officer, effective immediately. Most recently with Popeyes, Jefferson brings over 20 years of experience to her new role at Krystal. “We are very fortunate to be able to bring someone of Catherine’s caliber to our executive leadership team,” said Omar Janjua, Chief Executive Officer for The Krystal Company. “Catherine’s results at Popeyes and leadership contributions to organizations, like the School of Hospitality at Georgia State University, showcase why we’re so excited to have her join us.” As Chief People Officer, Jefferson will be responsible for integrating Krystal’s core values into all aspects of the system’s day-to-day business. She will also lead all human resource functions, talent development, and culture support for The Krystal Company, serving more than 240 company-operated restaurants and 6,000 employees. Jefferson is a veteran of the quick-service restaurant (QSR) and hospitality industries with experience in human resources and talent development for such organizations as Hilton Hotels Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, where she most recently served as Vice President, People Services. “I’m thrilled to be joining such a talented team and look forward to the continued enhancement of The Krystal Company’s reputation as a place where superstars want to come and thrive,” said Jefferson. “My top priority is ensuring that we create an environment where existing and new team members can be successful and that this great brand can continue to be successful for another 85 years.” Jefferson holds a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management from Morris Brown College. She also was a 2014 graduate of Leadership Atlanta. – Source: The Krystal Company.
Sarah Spiegel is Caribou Coffee’s new CEO
The nation’s second largest retail coffee chain has a new leader at the top. Caribou Coffee confirmed that Sarah Spiegel quietly took over as chief executive of the Brooklyn Center-based chain this month. Spiegel was previously president of U.S. retail and chief operating officer. Before that, she was a brand president of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group. Spiegel is now CEO of both Caribou and Lakewood, Colo.-based Einstein Bros. Bagels, according to her LinkedIn page. A spokesperson for Caribou said Spiegel will split her time between the Twin Cities and the Denver area. Both companies are owned by European firm JAB Holding Co., which also is the parent of Peet’s Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain, Krispy Kreme and one of its most recent acquisitions, Panera Bread Co. Spiegel is filling positions previously held by Mike Tattersfield, who had been Caribou’s CEO since 2008 and helped get it back on track. He became CEO of struggling North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme, and until recently was apparently CEO of all three brands. Tattersfield will continue as board chairman of Caribou and Einstein. As part of the flurry of leadership changes, Caribou also has selected John Butcher, a former Target merchandising executive, to be its president. He joined the company last month and now oversees marketing, product development and retail operations. Caribou has more than 600 company-owned and franchised locations around the world. It also sells its coffee and related products in thousands of grocery stores. In the past two years, it has opened new stores co-branded with Einstein called “Coffee & Bagels.” It now has more than a dozen such locations around the Twin Cities. Caribou employs about 250 people at its headquarters in Brooklyn Center. – Source: The Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul.
CKE Makes More Executive Changes
CKE Restaurant Holdings Inc., this week named Joanna Shepard the company’s chief people officer and Stephen Carvelli as chief information officer, continuing an overhaul of the quick-service operator’s executive team. The company also promoted Jim Sullivan (left) to chief development officer. The changes come just weeks after the owner of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. named a new chief marketing officer, chief operations officer and chief legal officer. The changes follow the company’s appointment of Jason Marker as CEO, succeeding longtime chief executive Andy Puzder. “The additions of Joanna and Stephen, along with Jim’s promotion, will ensure that our business’s future growth will be powered by what got CKE here in the first place,” Marker said in a statement. “We are excited that the culture, brand and future of CKE attracted such impressive and diverse talent.” Shepard (left) comes to CKE from Gilbarco Inc., in Greensboro, N.C., where she led human resources. She also worked for years in the food industry, leading organizational development and human resources teams for Pizza Hut and A&W/Long John Silver’s. Carvelli (right) had been the chief technology officer at Lowe’s Companies Inc., and previously worked with American Eagle Outfitters, Chico’s FAS, OfficeMax and the Walt Disney Company. Sullivan, meanwhile, was cited for his ability to lead CKE’s domestic expansion. He will continue to spearhead CKE’s growth agenda, focusing on domestic real estate development efforts. CKE’s chains have more than 3,800 franchised and company-operated locations in 44 states and 41 countries. – Source: NRN
Chile Opening Positions Pizza Chain in 6 Out of 7 Continents
Little Caesars Pizza®, the world’s third-largest pizza chain* and voted ‘Best Value in America’**, is taking another step in its continued international expansion with the opening of its first-ever South American restaurant located in Santiago, Chile. Their grand opening on June 15 continues the brand’s rapid growth in Latin America, including stores in Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama. With increasing demand for takeaway in Chile, Little Caesars and its area franchisee, Premier Caesars Chile SpA, plan to seize the growth opportunity for the company’s HOT-N- READY® model with plans for an additional 30 locations in that country. HOT-N- READY® means pizza hot out of the oven and ready when customers are. No need to call ahead, no need to wait and no limit! With Little Caesars HOT-N- READY pizza, customers get the convenience of going in and out in 30 seconds or less. In addition to convenience, Little Caesars Pizza is known for its affordability, and was named the Best Value in America of all U.S. fast food and pizza restaurant chains for the past ten years.** The new Santiago restaurant will offer a large HOT-N- READY classic pepperoni or cheese pizza for just 5,000 Chilean Pesos. “Customers crave value, but value goes well beyond just price,” said Little Caesars Pizza Senior Vice President of International, Paula Vissing. “At Little Caesars Pizza, we see value as the relationship between price, quality, taste, and convenience. Our menu is designed to satisfy those hunting for a great deal and great quality food.” With the opening of the Santiago location, Little Caesars Pizza will operate restaurants in 6 out of 7 continents –North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa. Along the way, the company has consistently seen great demand for its value, convenience, and quality. “As we’ve grown throughout the world we’ve seen that the factors that have contributed to Little Caesars’ growth in the U.S. – our fresh, never frozen pizza, and unparalleled value and convenience –continue to please a new set of customers internationally,” said Vissing. “Our HOT-N-READY model is unique among quick service restaurants and we’re excited to be able to introduce it to new markets in South America and around the world.” Grand opening celebrations for the Santiago restaurant took place on June 15th and included a variety of fun games and giveaways, as well as HOT-N-READY pizza from Little Caesars for nearby university students and local residents. *Third largest pizza chain in the world – based on net number of stores in 2016. **Highest-Rated Chain, Value for the Money based on a nationwide survey of national quick-service restaurant consumers conducted by Sandelman & Associates 2007 – 2016. – Source: Little Caesars Pizza.
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