Sysco Acquisition Expands Online Ordering for its Customers

Sysco Corporation announced it has acquired Supplies on the Fly, an innovative e-commerce platform providing restaurant supplies and equipment exclusively to Sysco customers. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed. Headquartered in Kennesaw, Ga., Supplies on the Fly allows Sysco customers to place orders for more than 170,000 products online or by telephone via an e-commerce platform that is fully integrated with Sysco’s business information systems. In 2009, Sysco entered into an agreement with Instawares Holding, LLC, the owner of Supplies on the Fly, to develop Sysco also secured an option to purchase all of the equity interests of Supplies on the Fly, which it has now exercised. “We are very excited to welcome our partners from Supplies on the Fly into the Sysco family of companies and we look forward to maximizing this opportunity to drive new growth in the $10 billion restaurant supplies and equipment segment,” said Bill Day, Sysco’s executive vice president of merchandising and Sysco business services. “With annual revenue of approximately $105 million, Supplies on the Fly has delivered consistent and impressive sales growth over the past three years, significantly outpacing category growth in supplies and equipment over the same period.” Craig Callaway, chief executive officer, will continue to manage Supplies on the Fly, reporting to Day. Sysco expects to retain all current employees of Supplies on the Fly and continue business as usual under the leadership of Callaway and his team. – Source: Globe Newswire.

Bettcher Industries Hires New Area Sales Manager

Gregg Nolff has joined Bettcher Industries as their new Area Sales Manager-West Region in the Food Service Equipment group.  Gregg brings over 30 plus years of broad experience in the Food Service Equipment market, primarily in the areas of equipment sales, sales management, and distributor management. In his new role with Bettcher, Gregg will be responsible for direct sales of all Bettcher Foodservice Equipment to operators and authorized channel partners within the foodservice industry.   Additionally, Gregg’s focus will be to identify, recommend, train and manage all aspects of Bettcher’s distributor channel partner relationships in the western region of the United States and Canada.  Gregg reports to Denny Romer, Director of Sales-Food Service. Gregg comes to Bettcher Industries from Allied Bakery & Foodservice Equipment, where he held the position of Foodservice Equipment Manager.   Prior to that he spent over 20 years with Henny Penny Corporation initially as a Regional Sales Manager then later as their Strategic Accounts Manager, where he was responsible for national accounts including KFC International, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Burger King, Popeye’s and others. Gregg studied business at Fullerton College in Fullerton, California, and is a resident of Costa Mesa, California.  – Source: Bettcher Industries.

TriMark Acquires San Diego Restaurant Equipment Distributor

TriMark USA LLC, a provider of design services, equipment and supplies to the food service industry, has acquired R.W. Smith & Co. in San Diego, a restaurant equipment and supplies distributor. The acquisition was announced by TriMark President and CEO Jerry Hyman. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hyman said he is pleased to welcome R.W. Smith & Co. to the company, and noted it is the company’s second acquisition in less than 30 days. According to the trade publication, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine, TriMark, with 13 divisions, leads the nation in sales among the top 100 food service equipment and supplies dealers at $1.2 billion. R.W. Smith was 18th on the list with $101.9 million. The other recent acquisition, Landover, Md.-based Adams-Burch Inc., another food service equipment and supplies distributor, ranked 50th on the FE&S list with revenue of $29.3 million. It also was acquired for an undisclosed price, according to a company spokesman. “Our second acquisition in less than 30 days compliments TriMark’s presence in Southern California, extends our distribution into the San Diego and Los Angeles markets and adds depth in Texas, Florida and Arizona,” Hyman said in a statement. R.W. Smith & Co. President Allan Keck called it a “great day for our company and especially our customers.” “Joining TriMark offers us the opportunity to expand our products and services while continuing to give our customers the personalized service they have grown to expect. It also gives our employees new opportunities to grow with TriMark’s national footprint,” Keck said. Keck will continue to serve as president of TriMark R.W. Smith. Patrick Maness, TriMark’s corporate director of marketing, said TriMark has added 170 employees from Adams-Burch and 223 employees from R.W. Smith. With the acquisition of TriMark R.W. Smith, he said the company has approximately 2,343 employees. He said no changes in personnel are planned. “Both divisions fill a gap,” Maness said Friday. “It’s business as usual.” – Source: TriMark USA LLC.

Starbucks Partners with Italian Bakery

Starbucks Corp. has partnered with Princi, a high-end Italian bakery and cafe founded by Rocco Princi in 1986. As part of its investment, Starbucks will focus on developing and operating new Princi locations outside of Italy, as well as offering Princi’s baked foods in its new specialty coffee shops, including the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Rooms in Shanghai and New York. The Shanghai and New York Roastery locations are on track to open in 2017 and 2018, respectively. “We have never baked in our stores in 45 years,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks. “But all of that will change with the creation of this unique partnership. Rocco and his team at Princi possess a passion for handcrafted food and artisanal baked goods that mirrors how I feel about our coffee. The attention to detail, the care invested in selecting the ingredients and the artistry of preparation are second only to the service Rocco offers customers inside his Princi stores. I can think of no better pairing for our most premium coffee experience and am excited by the possibilities we envision in Princi food elevating every daypart — breakfast, lunch and dinner — in Starbucks Roasteries and Reserve Stores.” Princi locations are known for their twenty four hours of operation, offering customers everything from light breakfast to dinners from an “always-on” beechwood-fired oven. Princi’s products include croissants, baked cakes, pizzas, sandwiches and lasagna.  “As a young man, I dreamed of the opportunity to bring traditional Italian baking to customers in my country but when I opened our location in London, I realized how much we could also offer an international clientele,” said Mr. Princi, founder of Princi Restaurant. “I have long admired Starbucks, the values Howard has imbedded into his organization and we are honored to be a part of bringing to life an entirely new retail environment with the Roasteries.” In addition to the expansion of standalone Princi specialty stores and inclusion of fresh baking in Starbucks Roasteries, the company will partner with Mr. Princi to bring a premium food experience to its new Reserve-only stores starting in 2017. Starbucks plans to open the first U.S. Princi store next year in Seattle. Starbucks has sought to increase its revenue from food for a number of years. In 2012, the company acquired Bay Bread L.L.C. for $100 million, a move that allowed Starbucks to sell La Boulange baked foods in its coffee shops. In June 2015, Starbucks closed all 23 La Boulange retail bakeries and the two manufacturing plants that supported the retail locations. The company said that based on its evaluation the La Boulange operations were not sustainable to the company’s long-term growth. La Boulange branded food products are still sold in Starbucks retail locations, though. Since the acquisition of La Boulange, Starbucks has reinvented its food portfolio at more than 14,000 stores in the United States and Canada, and will continue to bring customers authentic French homemade specialties. Currently, Starbucks has nearly 24,000 stores worldwide and offers Reserve coffee in nearly 2,000 locations in 30 countries. – Source:

New CFO Prepares Marco’s Pizza to Double in Size

Growing from 700 to 1,500 stores is no small feat. It requires more sophisticated systems, technology, financing and, above all, a culture of accountability to drive continued results and profitability. Marco’s Pizza kept all that in mind in appointing Buddy Solomon as Chief Financial Officer. As the 700-plus unit pizza franchise continues to open an average of one new store every third day, company executives handpicked Solomon to shepherd this next phase of growth. With more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant, media and technology industries, Solomon has held key finance and accounting roles at growing and prestigious brands such as Arby’s, Cox Newspapers and Cox Auto Trader. Leveraging the skills and lessons gleaned from a decades-long career, Solomon proved to be the right person at the right time to take Marco’s Pizza to new heights as it joins the ranks of the pizza industry’s top players. “As we approach doubling in size, we remain laser-focused on striving to be the pizza brand of choice, employer of choice and partner of choice,” said Bryon Stephens, president of Marco’s Pizza. “Reaching the next echelon requires a renewed approach. Buddy brings leadership strategies that are rooted in Marco’s Cultural Beliefs, while driven to increase the profitability of our franchise community.” Because of his focus on building a strong corporate culture of accountability and firm belief that the right employee mindset is paramount to growth, Solomon doesn’t fit the typical CFO stereotype of the “just the numbers guy.” Honing in on Marco’s desire to be the employer of choice, he brings a new perspective from larger companies that have positive and thriving cultures that lend to their ongoing success. Already, during his short tenure at Marco’s, he has implemented some compensation and benefits changes that he knows from experience generate higher engagement levels and more satisfied employees. Solomon plans to help prepare Marco’s to compete against larger pizza chains, and ensure that the corporate finance, accounting and IT infrastructure is structured to do so. “By engaging employees through a culture of accountability, companies can create systems at the speed needed to get desired team results,” Solomon noted. “As Marco’s Pizza continues to grow its footprint at an accelerated rate, the infrastructure must keep up to support this rapid growth. I will put my energies into strengthening the framework that the brand can grow around, including everything from technology to financing sources to human talent.” As the only national franchise chain founded by a native Italian, Marco’s Pizza has carved out a niche in the industry as the expert in authentic Italian pizza, known for its fresh never-frozen dough made daily on site, a proprietary cheese blend that is fresh never-frozen and a secret pizza sauce recipe. – Source: Marco’s Pizza.

Barteca Restaurant Group’ Andy Pforzheimer Named EY Entrepreneur of The Year

EY announced that Andy Pforzheimer, CEO and Co-Founder of Barteca Restaurant Group, received the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Award in New York. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the EY Entrepreneur of The Year Award program. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Pforzheimer was selected by an independent panel of judges, and the award was presented at a special gala event at the Marriott Marquis on June 22. Pforzheimer is responsible for overseeing overall growth and execution of Barteca Restaurant Group’s two concepts, Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant and bartaco. “It’s a bit overwhelming. I feel honored to receive such a prestigious award and very lucky to be recognized in the company of such exceptional leaders and entrepreneurs,” Pforzheimer says. Since 1986, EY has honored entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, spirit of innovation and discipline have propelled their companies’ success, invigorated their industries, and benefited their communities. Now in its 30th year, the program has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, Robert Unanue of Goya Foods, and Mindy Grossman of HSN. Recent U.S. national winners include Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn; Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani; and 2015 winners Andreas Bechtolsheim and Jayshree Ullal of Arista Networks. As a New York award winner, Pforzheimer is now eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur of The Year 2016 national program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 19. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. The U.S. Entrepreneur of The Year Overall Award winner then moves on to compete for the World Entrepreneur of The Year Award in Monaco, June 2017. – Source:

Wendy’s Hack Affects over 1,000 Restaurants

The Wendy’s Co. on Thursday acknowledged that an October 2015 attack on point-of-sale systems at franchisee-owned locations is far more widespread than initially reported, affecting 1,025 locations overall. The Dublin, Ohio-based burger chain said that malware installed on terminals in several states targeted customers’ payment card data, including their name, debit or credit card number, expiration date, cardholder verification value and service code. The list of affected restaurants, to be posted on the company’s site, was not yet available. “We sincerely apologize to anyone who has been inconvenienced as a result of these highly sophisticated, criminal cyberattacks,” Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor wrote in a letter to customers. “We have conducted a rigorous investigation to understand what has happened and we are committed to protecting our customers and keeping you informed.” The 1,000 restaurants represent less than one in five domestic Wendy’s locations — there are 5,144 franchise-operated domestic units, plus another 582 company-owned locations. Wendy’s described the security breach as a pair of attacks. The first, according to the company, started at some franchisee locations in late fall, was first reported in January and affected less than 300 locations. But in June the company said that, during its investigation, it discovered a second malware attack, similar to the first, which affected many more than 300 locations. The 1,000 number is the first quantification of the restaurants affected by the dual attacks. Wendy’s is offering one year of fraud consultation and identity restoration services to customers who used a payment card at a potentially affected restaurant during the time it might have been affected. “In a world where malicious cyberattacks have unfortunately become all too common for merchants, we are doing what is necessary to protect our customers,” Penegor wrote. “We will continue to work diligently with our investigative team to apply what we have learned from these incidents and further strengthen our data security measures.” Wendy’s believes that criminals gained access to point of sale terminals by gaining remote access to the system by using compromised credentials from third party service providers. That gave the criminals’ access to the central system, enabling them to place malware onto the terminals that read the credit card information. The company says the attack has only affected franchisee outlets and not the 582 company locations. That’s important because Wendy’s is shifting to a single point-of-sale system, called Aloha, that’s installed at company-owned units. Wendy’s said it worked with investigators to disable the malware. – Source: NRN.

Jamba Juice Announces 20 Store Michigan Expansion Plan

Jamba Juice announced that as part of its ongoing east coast expansion it has entered a development agreement that will yield twenty (20) new locations in the greater Detroit market. The agreement was reached with Kevin Denha and Omar Ammori, industry franchising leaders and includes an accelerated growth plan over the first 3 years of the 8-year deal. Mr. Ammori, a former Fuddruckers franchisee and a co-founder of Wireless Vision, owns and operates 260 T-Mobile stores across 15 U.S. states. Mr. Denha has expansive real estate holdings and is also a co-founder of Wireless Vision. Both are highly respected in the industry and bring a wealth of experience to Jamba. “We’re thrilled to partner with Kevin and Omar as we continue to expand our great brand across the U.S.,” said Dave Pace, CEO and president, Jamba Juice. “Kevin and Omar are world-class franchisees who bring a high level of franchise and operating expertise; more importantly, we are aligned in our commitment to simplify and inspire healthy living with our brand and our Company. They are a welcome addition to the Jamba franchise community.” Per the terms of the Agreement, Mr. Denha and Mr. Ammori plan to open five (5) locations in Meijer stores in Metro Detroit, and an additional three (3) traditional Jamba stores by the end of 2017. – Source: Jamba, Inc.

New CMO Pours on the Flavor at “Ultimate-Unchain” Bar Louie

It’s been just a few short months, but new Bar Louie CMO Stephanie Hoppe has already spiked the sales – and the burgers – at the growing neighborhood bar & eatery. Along with her expertise in driving customer engagement with strategic approaches to social, mobile and traditional marketing, Hoppe applied her passion and experience in menu innovation to develop a new Spiked Bulleit® Bourbon Burger served with a shot-glass of spiked house-made BBQ sauce. Available only to those 21 and over through the end of August, the burger has already been a huge hit at each of the 114 locations around the country. Before joining Bar Louie, Hoppe most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer for LYFE Kitchen, where she was charged with leading all branding, marketing, public relations, supply chain and food and beverage innovation efforts. She also served as Vice President of Menu Innovation and Implementation at Red Robin, Vice President of Marketing and Culinary at Lone Star Texas Land and Cattle Steakhouse and Senior Director of Marketing at 7-Eleven, where she helped launch the popular Slurpee® Facebook page that garnered more than 2 million followers. “When I lived in Chicago, I was a regular at my neighborhood Bar Louie. I went there at least once a week,” Hoppe said. “Throughout my career, I’ve always loved the bar segment and the innovation side of the hospitality industry, so the opportunity to join Bar Louie played into everything I’m passionate about,” noted Hoppe, who serves on the Flavors Advisory Board. As Bar Louie recently geared up growth through both franchising and corporate locations, Hoppe’s main objective is to bolster overall brand awareness and engagement both nationally and at the hyper-local level. With formal awareness studies and focus groups in process, Hoppe is travelling around the country to various Bar Louie locations, having open conversations with guests in an effort to create programs that will resonate long-term. Bar Louie CEO John Neitzel said recruiting Hoppe was a big win for the brand. “Stephanie has a proven track record of success with each of the brands she has worked with,” Neitzel said. “As we open new franchise and corporate locations, Stephanie will be growing our awareness not only through relevant marketing strategies, but also developing food and beverage innovations that are on trend and spot-on with our customer base.” Founded in Chicago’s River North neighborhood in 1991, Bar Louie emerged from local restaurants and sandwich shops opened by its founders, Ted Kasmir and Roger Greenfield. When Bar Louie was first established, its two founders set out with a goal to continue the tradition of these shops while also giving local residents dining and beverage options for each part of the day. The “Louie” sandwich was a staple of the early restaurants and is still served at Bar Louie establishments across the country. In 2010 Bar Louie was purchased by Sun Capital, helping the brand to build infrastructure to grow in new neighborhoods. – Source: Bar Louie.

McAlister’s Names Rick Altizer President

Focus Brands Inc. has named Rick Altizer as president of its McAlister’s Deli division, the company said. Altizer, most recently the co-founder of the Falls Church, Va.-based Rightwell Growth business consultancy, succeeds Carin Stutz, who left as McAlister’s president in April to oin Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. “Rick is an accomplished executive who has a strong track record for leading high-performance teams and transforming businesses into high-growth franchises,” said Paul Damico, president of Focus North America. “He will draw on his extensive experience in the franchise business to continue to drive McAlister’s innovation and success.” Prior to joining the Alpharetta, Ga.-based McAlister’s, Altizer worked in a variety of marketing and operations roles, including at McDonald’s Corp. and as CEO of Elevation Burger. “I am very pleased to have this opportunity to lead McAlister’s to its next stage of growth and success,” said Altizer in a statement. In addition to foodservice companies, Altizer also worked with Midas International, Jiffy Lube International and Shell Oil. McAlister’s Deli has more then 360 restaurants in 28 states. Focus Brands Inc.’s affiliate brands include Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon and Moe’s Southwest Grill as well as Seattle’s Best Coffee on some military bases and in international markets. – Source: NRN.

BAB Systems, Inc. Announces New Big Apple Bagels® Now Open

BAB Systems, Inc., the franchising subsidiary of BAB, Inc., Deerfield, IL – announced the opening of its newest Big Apple Bagels, located at 3040 Castro Valley Boulevard, in Castro Valley, California. This announcement should be good news to Castro Valley Big Apple Bagels customers. The new store, which was under construction for many months, is a relocation of BAB’s former Castro Valley store, and is only one-minute away and around the corner from the original site. Big Apple Bagels® has amassed loyal customers nationwide for its fresh bagels and its unique My Favorite Muffin® cake-like muffins. No longer just a breakfast destination, the menu at the cozy and comfortable bakery café also includes house-made cream cheese spreads, a broad assortment of breakfast and lunch sandwiches and a catering program for business and residential customers. BAB, Inc. franchises and licenses Big Apple Bagels®, My Favorite Muffin®, SweetDuet® frozen yogurt and Brewster’s® Coffee. – Source: BAB Systems, Inc.

NPC International, Inc. Announces Agreement to Acquire 39 Wendy’s Units from the Wendy’s Company

NPC announced that it had entered into an agreement with a subsidiary of The Wendy’s Company to acquire 35 Wendy’s restaurants for $29.2 million, plus amounts for working capital. NPC also agreed to acquire four restaurants recently constructed by Wendy’s for a cost of $7.4 million, thereby increasing the number of restaurants to be acquired to 39. As part of the transaction, NPC plans to remodel certain acquired and existing restaurants in Wendy’s new Image Activation format. The acquisition is part of The Wendy’s Company’s System Optimization initiative intended to reduce company-operated restaurant ownership to approximately five percent of the total system. This acquisition will be funded primarily with available cash on hand. The restaurants will be owned and operated by NPC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, NPC Quality Burgers, Inc., which also entered into the asset purchase agreement to acquire the restaurants. The units to be acquired are located in the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area. According to information provided to NPC, 35 of the units to be acquired by NPC generated approximately $59 million in net product sales during the 52 weeks ended January 3, 2016. NPC expects the closing to occur in late July 2016, subject to customary closing conditions. Jim Schwartz, Chairman and CEO of NPC International, Inc., said, “We are excited to participate in Wendy’s system optimization initiative and further our growth in the Wendy’s system. This highly coveted market will leverage our existing Wendy’s infrastructure and is contiguous with our current Winston-Salem and Greensboro Wendy’s operations. This acquisition will be our fifth acquisition in the Wendy’s system since 2013 and will increase our holdings to 183 restaurants with revenues exceeding $260 million, or approximately 22% of our total consolidated revenues.” NPC International, Inc. is the world’s largest Pizza Hut franchisee and currently operates 1,233 Pizza Hut restaurants and delivery units in 28 states and 144 Wendy’s units in 5 states. – Source: NPC International, Inc.

Ecolab Makes Binding Offer to Acquire Anios – A Leading European Healthcare and Hygiene Business

Ecolab Inc. has made a binding offer to acquire Laboratoires Anios from co-owners Bertrand and Thierry Letartre and private investment company Ardian. Anios is a leading European manufacturer and marketer of hygiene and disinfection products for the healthcare, food service, and food and beverage processing industries. Based in Lille, France, Anios has a presence in more than 85 countries and employs approximately 700 people worldwide. Sales were approximately €220 million ($245 million) in 2015. The transaction is structured as a binding offer with exclusivity protection to allow the sellers to consult with their French works councils prior to entering into the definitive purchase agreement. Once the definitive agreement is executed, the transaction would remain subject to clearance by applicable regulatory and competition authorities prior to closing. The transaction is expected to close in late 2016, subject to satisfaction of such contingencies. No other details were announced. Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Ecolab chairman and chief executive officer, commented, saying, “Ecolab is committed to being the global leader in providing hospitals and healthcare operators with effective and innovative solutions for infection prevention and hygiene. We are excited to join forces with Anios because of our shared passion for this mission. Their innovative product line expands the solutions we can offer while also providing a complementary geographic footprint. Its presence in the food and beverage processing and foodservice markets also complements ours. We are pleased that CEO Bertrand Letartre and Managing Director Thierry Letartre have agreed to remain with our combined organization providing continued leadership of the acquired business.” Bertrand Letartre and Thierry Letartre commented, saying, “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Ecolab. The strength of the Anios brand combined with Ecolab’s global footprint and leadership positions will help accelerate the growth of our business. It will also create new and exciting career opportunities for our employees and bring innovative solutions to our customers.” – Source: About Ecolab.

Hard Rock International Names Duana Klein Vice President of Licensing at Hard Rock International

Hard Rock International, one of the world’s most recognizable and iconic brands, today announced that Duana Klein has been appointed Vice President of Licensing for Hard Rock International. In this newly created role, Klein will oversee the company’s global licensing initiatives outside of the Rock Shop. “Klein’s expertise in global brand licensing and management will help us meet our goal of increasing retail partnerships outside of our Rock Shop locations to maximize our brand presence,” said John Galloway, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Hard Rock International. “Klein will be instrumental in expanding the availability of key merchandise products across all company disciplines, and we look forward to her leadership and enthusiasm as we continue to grow our brand.” Klein brings more than 20 years of experience in brand marketing, product development and licensing with both manufacturers and retailers. Most recently, Klein served as Executive Director for MGM Resorts International. Previous positions include Director of Private Brands/Licensing for Meijer, as well as licensing leadership roles with retailers such as Home Depot and CVS. – Source: Hard Rock International.

Bridg Assists Papa Murphy’s with Precision Marketing

Bridg, the first marketing software company to provide customer specific marketing through big data and never before seen business intelligence to restaurant brands, announced it is working with Papa Murphy’s to help drive the company’s precision marketing efforts.  “Customers today expect personalized marketing messages and offers and we’re excited to be working with Papa Murphy’s to help the company develop stronger relationships with its guests,” said Amit Jain, founder and CEO of Bridg. “Through the Bridg platform, we are able to help companies communicate with their customers outside the walls of their stores by offering thoughtful, tailored, marketing messages that help strengthen the relationship and encourage return visits. Papa Murphy’s is known for offering fresh pizza and an unparalleled customer experience and we are excited to deliver precision marketing that is on-par with Papa Murphy’s high standards.” Bridg assists companies in unlocking the data that lives in their current point-of sale (POS) systems, loyalty programs, online ordering systems. With Bridg, companies are finally able to identify and segment their customers and leverage behaviors such as visit frequency and spend per visit to develop targeted messaging that improves loyalty and transforms business results in weeks, not months or years. The company provides a deep analysis of individual customer purchasing behavior in order to create effective, real-time marketing campaigns that drive frequency, retain current customers and bring back lapsed customers. “At Papa Murphy’s, we take pride in getting to know our customers, providing them with great service, learning their preferences and creating customized pizza to fit their needs,” said Jayson Tipp, Chief Development Officer and SVP, Technology at Papa Murphy’s. “We’re thrilled to be working with Bridg to extend that relationship beyond our four walls and provide an enhanced customer experience. We believe technology is a gateway to growth and we’re pleased to leverage Bridg’s technology to provide our customers with tailored offers at the right time to further our mission of helping solve the dinnertime dilemma for busy moms and dads.” Bridg integrates seamlessly with companies’ current systems, typically through a process that requires only a few hours from the chain’s IT staff. – Source: Bridg.

Electrolux Acquires Wine Cabinet Company in Asia Pacific

Electrolux announced it has agreed to acquire Vintec, an Australia and Singapore-based company which supplies a wide range of climate-controlled wine cabinets throughout the Asia Pacific region. With annual sales of more than AUD 22 million (approx. SEK 139 million), Vintec sells products under the market leading brands Vintec and Transtherm for both residential and professional customers. About two thirds of sales are in Australia, where Vintec also engages over 9,000 consumers through the Vintec Club. This membership club focuses on enhancing the ownership experience through wine appreciation events, accessory offers and wine recommendations. “We see a strong growth potential for these products in Asia, as wine consumption is increasing and penetration of wine cabinets is still at a low level,” said Kenneth Ng, Head of Electrolux Major Appliances Asia Pacific. “Vintec has a good strategic fit with our major appliances business and further strengthens Electrolux focus on delivering great taste experiences to consumers.” Vintec was founded in 1998 and has a leading position in Australia and other core markets in Asia. The company offers freestanding and integrated models ranging from compact 30-bottle cabinets – suiting most domestic kitchens – to 4,000-bottle walk-in wine cellars. The transaction is expected to close in Q3, 2016. – Source: Electrolux.

Darden Supply Chain Exec Joins SpenDifference

Veteran foodservice executive James B. Thomas has been named vice president of distribution and supply management for SpenDifference, another step in the company’s strategy to offer restaurant chains a comprehensive set of supply chain solutions. Thomas has extensive experience in purchasing, distribution and logistics, which have grown more complex in recent years, according to Maryanne Rose, SpenDifference president and CEO. “Maximum supply chain savings and efficiency require special expertise in these areas,” she said. “Jim brings us an especially strong background in distribution and logistics, along with deep industry relationships and a great reputation, which will be very helpful as we expand this area of our business.” His hiring is part of the company’s strategy to provide a complete end-to-end, outsourced supply chain option. “Effective supply chain management requires collaboration that benefits restaurant chains, as well as manufacturers, distributors and other trading partners,” Thomas said. “The SpenDifference culture is centered on building long-term relationships, and I am simply thrilled for the opportunity to help clients navigate ever-increasing industry complexity while building a leading distribution and logistics practice.” Most recently, Thomas was senior vice president of supply management and purchasing for Darden Restaurants Inc., where he created a progressive logistics and distribution program that resulted in performance improvements in safety, service, quality and growth. The supply chain transformation he directed markedly reduced infrastructure costs for Darden through improved supply and demand management. Before his 15-year tenure at Darden, Thomas led continuous improvements in each step of the supply chain for Oberweis Dairy Inc. and improved the distribution system and broker network for McCain Foods Inc. He also is active in the Supply Chain Leaders in Action forum and the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative. – Source: SpenDifference.

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. Added to Russell 3000® Index

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. announced that its stock has been added to the Russell 3000® Index, effective after the US market opens today, June 27, 2016. Annual reconstitution of the Russell US indexes captures the 4,000 largest US stocks as of the end of May, ranking them by total market capitalization. Membership in the US all-cap Russell 3000® Index, which remains in place for one year, means automatic inclusion in the large-cap Russell 1000® Index or small-cap Russell 2000® Index as well as the appropriate growth and value style indexes. FTSE Russell determines membership for its Russell indexes by objective, market-capitalization rankings and style attributes. Steve Brake, the Company’s Chief Financial Officer commented, “We are very pleased to become a member of the Russell Indexes. Being added to these Indexes should help to increase our visibility in the investment community and expand our investor base.” Indexes provided by FTSE Russell, a leading global index provider, are widely used by investment managers and institutional investors for index funds and as benchmarks for active investment strategies. Approximately $6 trillion in assets are benchmarked against the Russell US indexes. – Source: Del Taco Restaurants, Inc.

Taco Bell Goes ‘All In’ on New Las Vegas Location

Taco Bell is taking a gamble on Las Vegas. The Mexican chain revealed that it’s going “all-in” this fall and opening a flagship restaurant in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. The two-story, 24-hour Taco Bell Cantina will take inspiration from Vegas in its design and decor and will serve alcohol, including beer and “Twisted Freezes” — frozen beverages with either vodka, rum or tequila. Tapas-style menu items exclusive to Taco Bell’s Cantina restaurants will also be served. “Expansion into urban markets is a key focus for us both this year and over the course of the next several years,” Brian Niccol, CEO at Taco Bell, said in a statement. “When we talked about where to establish a flagship store, it didn’t take long to realize that having a presence in the heart of Vegas would undoubtedly create a unique, distinctive and fun destination and experience for Taco Bell fans.” Taco Bell introduced four new store designs back in May in hopes of attracting diners to a sleeker, more modernized dining experience. While the Mexican chain has steady lunchtime traffic, the brand has branched out to stake its claim in the breakfast and midnight snack categories. However, Taco Bell has yet to make its mark on dinnertime. “We hope that we see a renewed interest in actually using it as a place to go out to dinner [versus] picking up convenience and food to go home,” Deborah Brand, vice president of development and design at Taco Bell, told USA Today back in May. Taco Bell’s new Las Vegas location appears to be designed to attract diners to stay, as it features community seating and an outdoor patio in addition to the serving of alcohol. – Source: CNBC.

Bloomin’ Brands Sells Korea Business

Bloomin’ Brands has sold its Korea business in a refranchising deal for $49.4 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The buyer and other details of the sale are unknown. But the filing said that the market will be operated like a franchise once the deal is closed in the Tampa-based company’s fiscal third quarter later this year. Bloomin’ said it would take an impairment charge of $9 million to $13 million in the current quarter related to the deal. Bloomin’ Brands operates 74 Outback Steakhouse locations in South Korea. Yet it had operated many more — the company closed 36 locations there in late 2014 and early 2015 after sales declined in the country. Company executives had indicated that its efforts in South Korea had been working. Same-store sales increased 6 percent in the third quarter last year, for instance, but quickly decelerated to flat in the fourth quarter. Same-store sales fell 5.6 percent in the first quarter ended March 27 this year. “It’s a very, very challenged market,” CFO Dave Deno said on the company’s first quarter earnings call in April. Bloomin’ did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomin’ is hardly the only major U.S. restaurant company rethinking operations in Asia amid weakness there in recent years. Yum! Brands, the operator of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, is spinning off its mostly company-operated China business, which will operate like a franchisee of the mostly franchised Yum. McDonald’s Corp., meanwhile, wants to sell its operations in many Asia markets as part of a broader refranchising strategy. Korea is among them. Bloomin’ Brands operates or franchises more than 1,500 casual dining restaurants, including Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar. – Source: NRN.

NYC Restaurant Owners Praise Law Allowing Dogs at Outdoor Cafes

It’s the dog days of summer — and restaurant owners couldn’t be happier. The recently passed state law that allows New Yorkers to bring their pups to outdoor cafes has been a boon for business, many restaurant owners told the Daily News. “It’s great,” said Justin Sievers, 32, the general manager of Bar Primi in the East Village. “It’s totally in line with what our society is into. As the popularity of dogs grows, why shouldn’t they be allowed to join their owners?” His restaurant celebrated the change in the law by offering canine-accompanied diners special dog bowls engraved with “Drinkin’ on the Bow-wow-ry.” The new law — which the state Legislature enacted earlier this year — allows dogs in outdoor eateries as long as there is no food prep in the cafe. Previously, some cafes skirted the law by allowing dogs on the sidewalks next to tables, which meant they were technically outside the restaurant. Now, they can be anywhere in a cafe, as long as they are leashed or in a carrier. Dogs are still not allowed indoors at restaurants. The city Health Department had fought against the law before it passed over sanitary concerns, and had initially wanted eateries to check that dogs were licensed and had rabies shots. Officials dropped those rules for less stringent guidelines — like signs telling owners their pooches must be licensed — and now say they have had no complaints or problems with the new bill. “The Health Department adopted common-sense rules agreeable to restaurant and dog owners that also placed a priority on public health,” a department spokesman said. Restaurant managers haven’t reported any animal-like behavior from their furry guests, either. “As a dog owner you know how your dog behaves in public,” said Kara Olsen, who works in guest relations at the restaurant Gemma at the Bowery Hotel. As for sanitary concerns, she said, “They’re not eating off the plates.”  Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the doggie dining law, said she has received a lot of positive feedback. She has, however, heard from dog owners who want the rules to go one step further and allow critters inside restaurants. “Since I’ve passed this law, I’ve heard from so many people who have been to Europe, particularly France, where (animals) can sit at the table,” said Rosenthal. That’s not happening, she said. – Source: Daily News, New York.

Could Rave Be Taken Private?

The wave of restaurant initial-public offerings is clearly over. A year has passed with not a single new chain having gone public. Now, with stocks stagnating, take-private deals seem more likely. Here’s one candidate: Rave Restaurant Group. The Plano, Tex.-based operator of Pie Five and Pizza Inn is the subject of periodic rumors of a take-private deal. It makes sense: Pie Five is a legitimate, high-growth fast-casual pizza chain. And the company’s stock price has fallen so much that it has an enterprise value of just $40 million — certainly low enough to make it a relatively easy acquisition target for a number of investors. Weakness among restaurant stocks seems to have dried the market for industry initial-public offerings, while making take-private deals more likely because stocks have gotten cheaper. Rave has an interesting history. For most of its 58-year history, it was known as Pizza Inn, which first opened in 1958, became a buffet chain in 1969 and went public in 1993. It spent the next 20 years in penny stock purgatory, never trading above $6 per share, and rarely above $4 — until 2013. That was two years after the company created Pie Five, an outgrowth of an express unit that Pizza Inn wanted to create. Pie Five would be one of the first in a new generation of fast-casual pizza concepts that promised quickly made, individual pizzas and inspired silly comparisons to Chipotle. In 2011, the stock spiked from $2.30 to more than $6 a share in November, but then fell back under $3 the next year. Investors rediscovered the company in 2013, however, and the stock would gradually increase before skyrocketing in 2015 to more than $15 a share by that March. Between March 2013 and March 2015, Rave’s stock increased four-fold, the type of increase penny stock investors dream about. But then, a series of disappointing earnings reports and the company’s lack of profits — it reported a net loss of $6.6 million in the first nine months of the year and has negative EBITDA — led to a steep decline. The stock closed Thursday at $3.85 a share. Nearly all of those gains from that remarkable, two-year stretch were erased. It is in danger of returning to that penny stock purgatory. The difference this time is that the company has Pie Five. And it would probably be better off away from the limelight of Wall Street, where the company can focus on the chain’s growth in its bid to become one of the major players in the fast-casual pizza sector. That said, there are some concerns. The sector has already started to consolidate, and even some executives that had been boosters of the business are predicting its ultimate downfall. Pie Five’s own same-store sales fell 4 percent in the most recent quarter, the second straight decline. The chain also closed three locations in the quarter ended March 27, which is not a good sign for a growth concept. Still, Pie Five isn’t far removed from double-digit same-store sales growth. It’s also adding locations at a rapid clip. It had 85 locations as of March 27, more than double what it had a year ago. It has development agreements for many more, promising to continue that growth into the future. And despite concerns about consolidation and too many concepts, there’s plenty of evidence that fast-casual pizza has legs. – Source: NRN.

Buffalo Wild Wings Launches Fast Break Lunch Guarantee

Most Americans have only 30 to 40 minutes for lunch from the time they arrive to the time they leave, according to research from Buffalo Wild Wings. So the Minneapolis-based restaurant chain announced the B-Dubs Fast Break lunch guarantee, which offers a free meal and soda drink if the food isn’t delivered within 15 minutes of ordering. “We want to prove to our guests that they can get the Buffalo Wild Wings experience they have come to know and love within the limited time they have for a traditional lunch break,” said Todd Kronebusch, vice president of food and beverage for Buffalo Wild Wings. The offer runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays for parties of six or fewer. Servers will start a timer when they leave the table with the order and pick it up when food is delivered. Select items are part of the guarantee, including seven entrees (like the Southwest Philly sandwich, Street Tacos, Chicken Buffalito, and Honey BBQ Chicken Salad) and seven sides (like soup, fries, salads). Customers can also choose snack and small portion sizes of boneless chicken wings with fries. Buffalo Wild Wings began testing the concept in April in select markets. Guarantees are proliferating as consumers raise expectations about faster food. Pizza Hut and Chipotle have also experimented with precise times for food delivery either in-house or for pickup. Locally, the Minneapolis-based Bite Squad restaurant delivery service allows customers to track an order and the driver all the way to their location. Buffalo Wild Wings has 900 U.S. restaurants and 1,190 worldwide, with sales exceeding $1.5 billion. It has 17 locations in the Twin Cities. – Source: Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.



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