The Legacy Companies Announces Acquisition of Legion Industries

The Legacy Companies announced that it has completed the acquisition of Legion Industries, based in Waynesboro, GA.   This is the third acquisition that the Company has made this year. In June, it bought out EdgeCraft; in July, it bought out Orien. Neal Asbury, CEO of The Legacy Companies, said, “This move reflects The Legacy Companies’ ability to seize opportunities when they occur, especially of those that match our strategy to expand our USA based manufacturing operations and to build our portfolio of Legacy brands.  After all, there are few brands like Legion with a distinguished history successfully spanning three centuries.” Legion Industries was originally founded in 1897 as the Joseph Heinrich Corporation (Jos. Heinrichs Corp.) of New York City.  The company originally sold quality silver products to leading hotels, restaurants, institutions, railroads, and steamship lines.  In 1937, Legion Utensils Co. bought the company and subsequently became a leader in the production of deep drawn stainless steel products for the commercial food service industry. Modern production techniques were applied to the manufacturing of classic European cooking items for the expanding American market. The Company introduced the Insulated Braising Pan into the United States in 1961 and pioneered the development of bi-metal cookware production, and the plating of silver, brass and copper on stainless steel. Today, Legion Industries continues to manufacture the highest quality deep drawn stainless steel products with an extensive line of Insulated Direct and Self-contained Steam Jacketed Kettles; Insulated Combi-Pan® Tilting Skillet and Insulated Skittle® Cookers which is Legion’s multipurpose cooker functioning as a steamer, skillet, braising pan, griddle, deep fryer, combination oven, and even as a holding cabinet.   In addition, Legion makes handcrafted Chafers and Buffetware and manufactures both CopperWare and InductoWare® Cookware. “Legion is an established company with many products originally pioneered by a great man, Joseph Heinrichs, and we have been honored to continue his legacy,” said Chuck Brown, CEO of Legion Industries. “With the support and business acumen of The Legacy Companies, we are eager to have Legion progress to the next level.” – Source: The Legacy Companies.

The Legacy Companies Announces Acquisition of Orien Commercial Equipment Company

The Legacy Companies announced that it has completed the acquisition of Qingdao Orien Commercial Equipment Co., a leading developer and manufacturer of ice machines and refrigeration equipment. Qingdao Orien has over 150 employees based in Qingdao, China and exports products to countries around the globe. “Orien is one of the most notable ice machine and refrigeration manufacturing facilities in China with significant scale opportunities,” said Neal Asbury, CEO of The Legacy Companies.  “Orien brings The Legacy Companies strong R&D, quality and manufacturing operations; an exceptional quality control team; and sustainable advantages that will allow us to offer more options to our customers in the fast-growing ice machine and refrigeration segments.  This is a great complement to our made in the USA Kold-Draft line of ice machines.” He went on to add “With Orien we also get an extensive sales and service network in China for delivering a multitude of Legacy products produced in the United States to the fast growing China market.” Established in September 1999, Qingdao Orien Commercial Equipment Co., Ltd. was founded by a newly-emerged high-tech enterprise of the group Qingdao AUCMA Group Commercial Appliance Factory. The successful endeavor led Orien to become one of the first Chinese ice maker manufacturers exporting to the United States. Today, Orien has grown to become a premier OEM Chinese manufacturer of high quality commercial and household ice makers and ice merchandisers.  The commercial ice machine product line includes self-contained ice makers with internal ice storage bins as well as modular ice maker heads.  Orien’s commercial ice makers have daily ice making capacities up to 2,000lbs and household ice makers range in daily capacity from 25lbs up to 130lbs.  In addition to its core product line, Orien produces wine coolers, beverage centers and refrigerators for both indoor use and outdoor applications like outdoor kitchens, barbecue setups, and entertaining areas. “Orien has prided itself on producing exceptional quality products from the beginning,” said Jinfu Zhang, General Manager of Orien.  “By incorporating our products and manufacturing capabilities with The Legacy Companies, we are confident and excited about the future.” – Source: The Legacy Companies.

Starbucks Realigns Senior Leadership Team

Starbucks Corp. on Monday realigned its senior leadership team to allow chairman and CEO Howard Schultz to focus more on the coffeehouse chain’s next wave of global growth. In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said Cliff Burrows, currently group president, U.S. and Americas, will assume the new role of group president, Siren Retail, effective Sept. 1. In his new position, Burrows will have global responsibility for the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room concept, as well as Starbucks Reserve-only stores, both of which offer micro-lot coffees, specialty brewing techniques and a more elevated customer experience. Burrows will also lead Starbucks’ planned expansion of the standalone Princi bakery café brand, as well as the integration of Princi baked goods into Reserve units. Starbucks announced its investment in the Milan-based boutique bakery concept earlier this month. The Teavana retail business will also come under Burrows, who will continue to report directly to Schultz. John Culver, meanwhile, will shift from his current role as group president, China/Asia Pacific, or CAP, channel development and emerging brands to take on the role of group president, Starbucks global retail, with responsibility for the brand’s retail sales around the world. Culver, who will continue to report to Starbucks chief operating officer Kevin Johnson, will oversee the Europe, Middle East and African, or EMEA, region, as well as CAP and the Americas. Several other senior leaders will now report directly to Johnson, the company said. They include Scott Maw, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Lucy Helm, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary; Michael Conway, president, global channel development and other senior leaders within the company’s supply chain, technology, human resources and marketing divisions. The move is designed to allow Schultz to increase his focus on global strategy, store development and design, the company said. The chain ended its third quarter on June 26 with 24,395 units in 74 countries. This fiscal year, the company expects to add 1,900 net new openings, rising from 1,800 projected previously, including 750 in the Americas, 900 in China/Asia Pacific, and 250 in the EMEA region. Starbucks’ global same-store sales growth of 4 percent in the June 26-ended third quarter fell short of expectations, but Schultz said last week the quarter was an anomaly and that trends would improve later this year and into next year. – Source: NRN.

Cheryl Henry Named President and COO of Ruth’s Hospitality Group

The Board of Directors of Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. announced that it has promoted Cheryl J. Henry to president and chief operating officer for RHGI, effective July 20. A nine-year veteran of the company, Henry will continue her close working partnership with Michael O’Donnell, who will continue to lead the organization as chief executive officer and chairman. In addition to culinary, beverage, brand marketing and real estate development, Henry’s expanded responsibilities will include oversight of human resources, IT and day-to-day operations, including working with Kevin Toomy—an eight-year veteran of Ruth’s Chris Steak House (RCSH) and the steak house’s chief of operations. “I am very pleased to announce Cheryl’s promotion, and have enjoyed the honor of working closely with her over the past eight years,” O’Donnell says. “In every challenge Cheryl has undertaken, she’s created great success and demonstrated the leadership skills essential to her new and expanded role. I look forward to continuing my work with Cheryl, our outstanding and long-tenured leadership team, as well as our franchise community, as we continue to grow the brand of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. This is Henry’s third promotion since joining the company in 2007, most recently serving as chief branding officer and senior vice president since August 2011.“Our franchise community has long appreciated the leadership team’s steady hand and keen eye for creating opportunities to advance our brand. This includes our market position and the unmatched hospitality and service that keeps our guests coming back meal after meal, celebration after celebration, and generation after generation,” adds Nancy Oswald, co-owner/franchisee of the company’s largest franchise group. “We are thrilled that the board has recognized Cheryl’s outstanding leadership and commitment to the brand and advanced her into the President role. I look forward to continuing our partnership and am confident that our founder, Ruth Fertel, would applaud this move.” O’Donnell concludes, “Our company remains committed to a total shareholder return strategy that prioritizes growing our restaurant base, carrying moderate debt and returning excess capital to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. I strongly believe that our entire management team including myself, Cheryl, Kevin Toomy, along with our CFO Arne Haak, and CIO Susan Mirdamadi, will ensure that the company delivers on this strategy in the years to come.” Immediately before joining the RHGI team, Henry was chief of staff for the mayor of Orlando where she was instrumental in the development of $1.2 billion in downtown entertainment venues, including a state-of-the-art performing arts center and new arena. – Source:

Costa Vida Signs 14 Deals for New Locations

Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill, a Utah-based fast-casual franchise focusing on redefining Mexican cuisine, is entering the remaining quarters of 2016 with impressive growth marks and new initiatives. Cementing itself as a leader in the Mexican fast-casual sector, the franchise closed out the first half of the year with 14 signed franchise agreements. On track to award 30 locations by year-end, Costa Vida projects a minimum of 20 units opening throughout 2016, bringing the brand to almost 100 open locations. Additionally, Costa Vida is now offering all burritos smothered at no extra charge. Beginning July 13, all burritos ordered will be served smothered in cheese and the guests’ choice of roasted green chile sauce, tomatillo cilantro sauce, or red enchilada sauce, unless requested otherwise. To continue making healthy eating affordable, convenient, and delicious for consumers, Costa Vida will also be debuting improved menu boards and pricing in the beginning of Q4. Straying from the traditional menu prototype, Costa Vida’s updated menu boards will provide guests with complete autonomy over what they’re eating. Structured to pay-per-protein, the menu begins with a list of entrées such as burrito, taco, salad, etc. and guides consumers to customize and create their meal by choosing a protein, toppings, salsa/sauce, etc. Further, by no longer charging for add-ons such as cheese, sour cream, and more, guests can expect a lower-priced, but still same high-quality experience. “The combination of our smothered burrito and new menu really differentiate us in the fast-casual space and help us provide a first-class experience unique to Costa Vida,” says Sean Collins, CEO of Costa Vida. “Our new menus also deliver complete transparency to what our consumers are eating and putting in their bodies. Our goal is to promote and encourage healthy lifestyles, and these initiatives are the next building blocks to reach our goal.” Known for its menu of fresh ingredients for cuisine inspired by coastal Mexico, Costa Vida prides itself on clean eating through the use of only the natural, fresh, and whole ingredients. – Source:

Bread Shortage Forces McDonald’s to Ditch Big Macs in Venezuela

McDonald’s Corp.’s largest franchisee has had to stop selling the Big Mac in Venezuela as it can’t source the bread it needs to make the famous sandwich. Buenos Aires-based Arcos Dorados Holdings, which operates more than 2,000 McDonald’s restaurants throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, said Thursday that the problem was temporary and that other menu options were available. “McDonald’s Venezuela is working to resolve this temporary situation,” Daniel Schleiniger, a spokesman for Arcos Dorados, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Together with our supplier, we are evaluating the best options that will allow us to continue serving high quality food to our customers.” Shortages of everything from rice to toilet paper have worsened over the past several months in Venezuela, with reports of looting and protests on the rise. Venezuela’s economy will contract 10 percent in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund, with inflation accelerating to around 700 percent. – Source: The Chicago Tribune.

NPC International, Inc. Announces Closing of Acquisition of 39 Wendy’s Units from the Wendy’s Company

NPC International, Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of 39 Wendy’s restaurants in the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area, including four restaurants that were recently constructed by Wendy’s for $35.6 million, plus amounts for working capital. As part of the transaction, NPC plans to remodel certain acquired and existing restaurants in Wendy’s new Image Activation format. This acquisition was completed with a subsidiary of The Wendy’s Company and is part of the Wendy’s System Optimization initiative to reduce company-operated restaurant ownership to approximately five percent of the total system. This acquisition was funded with available cash on hand. The restaurants will be operated by NPC’s wholly-owned subsidiary; NPC Quality Burgers, Inc. NPC International, Inc. is the world’s largest Pizza Hut franchisee and currently operates 1,232 Pizza Hut restaurants and delivery units in 28 states and 184 Wendy’s units in 5 states. – Source: NPC International, Inc.

Peter Chang is Opening an Ambitious Fine-Dining Restaurant in Bethesda

Chinese master chef Peter Chang has abandoned plans to open a fine-dining restaurant in the Navy Yard and has instead signed a lease for an 8,000-square-foot space for a similar project in Bethesda. Gen Lee, Chang’s long-time business partner, says the change boiled down to location and economics. “This one is a much better location and much [more] affordable price,” said Lee via telephone. “It’s a reasonable price. We were looking for a total of 8,000 square feet.” “This place gave us a lot of allowance” money for the expected $1 million-plus build-out, Lee added. “They really want us there.” Chang will open on the ground floor of the LEED-certified 4500 East-West Highway Building. Qijian by Peter Chang will be the first restaurant wholly owned by the chef, Lee said. His other restaurants all have partners, including Lee, who’s serving as a consultant with Qijian. The goal of Qijian (Mandarin for “flagship”) is to elevate Chang’s cooking to fine-dining status, while stripping away any fusion that has crept into the chef’s food. The restaurant will likely be divided into a 5,000-square-foot main dining room and kitchen as well as a smaller, 2,000-square-foot space. The larger room will offer an a la carte menu dedicated to more upscale interpretations — think: high-quality ingredients and more refined platings — of the fare found at Chang’s current restaurants. The smaller space is expected to include a tasting-menu experience, one Lee compares to José Andrés’s Minibar, where the James Beard Award-nominated Chang will roll out a highly refined series of Sichuan and other provincial dishes. “Just to show off,” Lee said with a laugh. Both dining rooms, however, will not tone down the dishes for the D.C. market. “I tell Peter, “We make a good living now. We really got to think about real, authentic Chinese food to go along with the fusion’,” Lee said. “We’re going to pull back again to real, real, real grandma’s cooking.” The split concept, Lee said, should prevent Qijian from suffering the indignity of Secret Chopsticks: Chinese chef Robin Li’s restaurant, which featured only pricey tasting menus, closed after a tumultuous three-month run in Rosslyn. Qijian is expected to open in April, Lee said. Aside from the two dining concepts under one roof, the restaurant will also feature an expansive craft bar program, a relative rarity in the world of Chinese cuisine. Once Qijian opens, you can expect Peter Chang, the chef once famous for his peripatetic ways, to settle down in the D.C. suburb. – Source: The Washington Post.

Buffalo Wings & Rings on Pace for Another Record-Breaking Year

Buffalo Wings & Rings, a fast-growing, club-level sports restaurant franchise with 70 units globally, is poised to achieve record-breaking growth for the ninth consecutive year. The brand is off to a solid start in the first half of 2016—in the second quarter alone, Buffalo Wings & Rings added to its ever growing network by opening two new franchise units in Aberdeen, South Dakota and Brownsville, Texas, and signed an additional five franchise agreements that will open up 10 locations for business. The brand also saw its average unit sales increase 2.9 percent, with year-to-date system sales up 11.4 percent. “By offering a chef-inspired menu and elevated sports atmosphere, Buffalo Wings & Rings’ growth potential is unlimited,” says Nader Masadeh, Buffalo Wings & Rings’ CEO. “There isn’t another sports restaurant brand that comes close to matching our store experience, food quality and service. We’ve proven that our model works, and as our successful second quarter suggests, we’re going to continue to expand at impressive rates.” To fuel its growth, Buffalo Wings & Rings has also continued to encourage multi-unit development, and provides unparalleled support and training for its network of hard-working and passionate franchisees. “We’ve shown time and time again that when our model is matched with the right real estate, the right franchisee and the right community, it’s a recipe for success,” adds Philip Schram, chief development officer for Buffalo Wings & Rings. “Our rapid expansion is also possible because of our local franchise owners. They all share our passion for Buffalo Wings & Rings, and it’s their unwavering dedication to the brand’s franchise system that allows us to continue to open up in new markets.” That shared commitment to the brand’s mission and success was evident at Buffalo Wings & Rings’ annual convention. Hundreds of corporate team members and franchisees came together in Charleston, South Carolina in June to celebrate the brand’s successes, discuss best industry practices and brainstorm ways to continue driving Buffalo Wings & Rings’ expansion efforts forward. At the center of those efforts is the brand’s commitment to keeping things fresh, starting with its menu. This spring, Buffalo Wings & Rings introduced two limited time offers. From February 10 to March 24, the brand offered guests a variety of meatless choices, including a Shrimp Flatbread, Fish & (Pickle) Chips Sandwich, Bella-Mac Grilled Cheese, and Old Bay Shrimp Basket. From May 1 until June 25, The “Clash of the Classics” LTO included three distinct wings and rings combinations, each with its own unique flavor and spice. Offerings included the Santa Fe Scuffle, with jalapeno garlic medium wings, southwest onion rings, queso dipping sauce and salsa; the Royal Ruckus, with buffalo hot wings, curried onion rings and a scallion cream dipping sauce; and the Zing of the Ring, with lemon-pepper wings, Sriracha-infused onion rings and a ranch dipping sauce. “We’re constantly working to launch new, creative recipes that complement our regular menu and get our guests excited. The two limited time offers we’ve launched so far this year have elevated our food offerings and allowed us to continue learning what flavor profiles and menu items resonate with our guests,” says Buffalo Wings & Rings’ research and development chef Elliot Jablonsky. Buffalo Wings & Rings has cemented itself as a go-to option for families and fans looking to watch the big game. The demand for this kind of sports restaurant is on the rise—families and friends are increasingly interested in dining out at restaurants that serve quality food made from fresh, never frozen ingredients and chef-inspired recipes. The brand’s consistent revenue growth is indicative that Buffalo Wings & Rings is capitalizing on that heightened demand. Approaching the second half of 2016, Buffalo Wings & Rings will pave the way for continued growth, with the brand set to open its first restaurants in both Tennessee and Kansas. But its long-term expansion goals are much broader—in the next five years, the brand plans to add 14 more corporate locations and another 50 franchise units to its network. “Buffalo Wings & Rings’ second quarter growth is a sign of what’s to come—2016 is on pace to be another strong year for us, both financially and from a development perspective,” Masadeh says. “We’re excited about the opportunity to open our doors in new communities and grow our brand in the months and years to come.” – Source:

Performance Food Group Company Appoints Meredith Adler to Board of Directors

Performance Food Group Company announced that it has appointed Meredith Adler as an independent director to serve on its Board of Directors effective as of September 20, 2016. Ms. Adler served as a Managing Director and Senior Equity Analyst at Barclays Capital, and at Lehman Brothers prior to its acquisition by Barclays, from 1996 until her retirement in July 2016. At Barclays, Ms. Adler followed a wide range of consumer-oriented companies, including foodservice distributors, food and drug retailers, discounters, and healthy-living retailers. “Meredith’s deep knowledge of the foodservice industry and significant experience in financial matters will add a valuable perspective to our Board of Directors,” said Douglas M. Steenland, PFG’s Chairman of the Board. “We are excited to welcome Meredith to the Board and look forward to working closely with her.” – Source: Performance Food Group Company.

Jamba Juice Appoints Rachel Phillips-Luther as Chief Marketing Officer

Jamba, Inc. announced that Rachel Phillips-Luther will join Jamba Juice® as Chief Marketing Officer, effective August 9. Ms. Phillips-Luther will report to President and CEO Dave Pace and will be based in the Jamba Support Center when it relocates to Frisco, Texas. Ms. Phillips-Luther brings a deep understanding of the restaurant industry and a history of energizing brands. She most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer with Zoës Kitchen, where she led the comprehensive repositioning of the brand and contributed to their successful IPO, which was a top performing Consumer IPO of 2014. Her understanding of the consumer and ability to leverage content to elevate emotional equity of both the team and guest contributed to her success in the role. Prior to her role at Zoës, she served as Vice President of Marketing with FHRG, Inc. and Vice President of Marketing and Brand Innovation with Kona Grill. Ms. Phillips-Luther previously held leadership roles at ROMACORP and Sambuca Restaurants. “I am delighted to have Rachel join the Jamba team,” said Dave Pace, President and CEO, Jamba Juice. “Rachel brings tremendous energy and an instinctive understanding of the consumer. Coupled with a strong history of success in developing brand strategy and innovation, Rachel has proven her ability to shape brand architecture and develop consumer campaigns that consistently deliver impressive financial results. Additionally, she has a reputation of developing dynamic teams, which will play a critical role as we complete our transition to Texas and expand the marketing discipline at Jamba.” – Source: Jamba, Inc.

‘Restaurant Week’ Sales Uptick Averages 23 Percent

Restaurants can see a revenue boost of about 23 percent on average during Restaurant Week promotions, according to a recent data analysis by technology-solution firm CAKE. July is typically the month for summer Restaurant Weeks, when participating eateries offer special prix fixe deals to boost traffic. The big question, however, is whether such promotions actually work in driving sales. According to CAKE, a startup by Sysco that focuses on restaurant technology, data from a relatively small sample of about 30 restaurants indicates that Restaurant Week promotions can be beneficial, both in boosting sales and average tickets. Comparing data from restaurants during Restaurant Week and the week after, CAKE found that revenues rose about 23 percent during the promotion, and transactions increased 18 percent. And, even though Restaurant Week typically includes discounted deals, guests tend to spend more. The average check per person for participating restaurants was $43.35, compared with $39.74 the week after. Restaurants participating in the promotion found revenue from credit card payments was 25 percent higher during Restaurant Week, while revenue from cash payments was only 13 percent higher. There was also a 21-percent increase in overall credit card transactions during Restaurant Week, but only a 5-percent increase in cash transactions, CAKE found. Comparable restaurants that did not participate in Restaurant Week also saw some benefit, but less so. Nonparticipating restaurants saw revenues up about 4 percent during the promotion in their area, compared with the week after. Transactions were up 7 percent. Servers also benefitted, CAKE noted. On average, tips were about 22-percent higher during Restaurant Week for participating restaurants. Nonparticipating restaurants, however, saw a decline of about 4 percent in tips during the promotion week. Restaurant consultant Jerry Prendergast in Los Angeles agrees that participating in a Restaurant Week can be a good thing, but only for restaurant operators that “have a purpose.” Prendergast recommends that restaurants connect as much as they can with Restaurant Week guests, whether it’s a captured email, encouraging a “like” on Facebook or a Twitter follow. “You need to get something out of it,” he says. Prendergast also recommends that restaurants design a Restaurant Week dish that truly represents the typical menu, even if slightly different in format. “You don’t want them to come back next week and find a completely different restaurant,” he explains. Dan Bejmuk, founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Dreambox Creations, based in Los Angeles, agrees, saying the Restaurant Week format allows operators to put their best foot forward, both in engineering dishes that maximize cost efficiencies, but also ensuring that the menu presented can be executed consistently. “Make dishes as shareable as possible,” adds Bejmuk, whose firm is a sponsor of Dine Out Long Beach, a Restaurant Week event. One of the biggest benefits of Restaurant Weeks is the “inherent virality,” with potential for traffic on all social media platforms, Bejmuk says. “There’s an event mentality to Restaurant Weeks,” he explains. “Instead of people just going out to dinner, they feel they’re participating in more of an event.” – Source: Restaurant Hospitality.

Zoës Kitchen Initiates Search for New Chief Marketing Officer

Zoe’s Kitchen, Inc. announced that it has initiated a search for a new Chief Marketing Officer to replace Rachel Phillips-Luther, who has resigned to pursue other opportunities, effective August 4, 2016.  “Zoës Kitchen has developed deep connections with our guests through our positioning as a Mediterranean lifestyle brand. With a growing following and an expanding footprint, we are excited to search for a new CMO with the capabilities and experience to take us to the next level,” said Kevin Miles, President and CEO of Zoës Kitchen. “We greatly appreciate Rachel’s dedication over the past several years in helping us build an industry leading brand and wish her all the best.” – Source: Zoës Kitchen.

Experienced Marketing Maven Joins Naf Naf Grill’s Executive Team

America’s favorite Middle Eastern fast-casual restaurant brand continues to expand, announcing the appointment of Stacey Snyder Murray as the new Vice President of Branding. The addition to the executive team comes as the company is on the verge of major growth and expansion. By early 2017, the company will have a presence in six states and more than 30 locations. Murray brings more than 15 years of brand-building experience to Naf Naf Grill, most recently as Director of Global Brands at Hyatt Hotels Corporation where she was responsible for driving the marketing strategy and customer experience for the Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt brands. She started her career with Hyatt in 2006 as an advertising manager and rose quickly through the ranks, holding a variety of marketing leadership positions during her 10-year tenure. Murray has also been recognized among the top marketing professionals in the country, recently appearing on the ‘40 under 40’ list by Brand Innovators, a professional organization of brand marketers. She began her career at Leo Burnett Worldwide in Chicago. “We are very excited to add someone of Stacey’s stature to the Naf Naf team,” said co-CEO David Sloan. “She brings with her so much knowledge of brands and marketing strategies, and that experience is what we are going to lean on as we continue to grow at a rapid pace.” Murray’s primary focus as the new Vice President of Branding is to develop and lead the brand strategy and execution across the customer experience. “I am thrilled to join the talented Naf Naf Grill team and to have the opportunity to continue crafting and sharing memorable brand experiences across platforms,” Murray said. “This brand has so much potential and I look forward to contributing to the company’s growth.” The addition of Murray comes at a crucial point in the company’s history. Naf Naf Grill has been experiencing growth at an exponential pace and has plans to expand in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. – Source: Naf Naf Grill.

US Foods Announces Changes to Board of Directors

US Foods Holding Corp. announced today that Timothy R. McLevish has resigned effective immediately from his position on the Board of Directors after it was announced that he will become the Executive Chairman of Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. upon the completion of its planned spinoff. Because Lamb Weston is a significant supplier to US Foods, McLevish would no longer qualify as an independent director. The company also announced the election of two new members of the Board of Directors: David Tehle retired in 2015 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Dollar General Corporation, a role he had held since 2004. Prior to Dollar General, he was Chief Financial Officer of Haggar Corporation. He is currently on the Board of Directors for Genesco and serves on the Board of Directors of Jack in the Box as an Audit Committee member and Finance Committee chair. David will serve as the new chairman of the Audit Committee for US Foods. Court Carruthers spent 13 years in senior leadership roles at W. W. Grainger, Inc., most recently as Group President, Americas, where he was responsible for the company’s operations in the Americas, as well as eCommerce and technology innovation globally. He is currently a director and audit committee member of Ryerson Holding Corporation and serves on the board of multiple private companies, including Follett Corporation. Court is a CPA, CMA (Canada). “We wish Tim all of the best in his new endeavor,” said Pietro Satriano, President and Chief Executive Officer of US Foods. “I’m pleased to welcome David and Court to the Board. Both bring public company and audit experience, as well as a wealth of business and finance expertise.” – Source: US Foods.

With New Flavors, Dunkin’ Donuts Again Targets China, After Two Failed Attempts

Just try to find a sticky table at this outpost of Boston’s workingman coffee chain, tucked between a spa and an organic health food store in the city’s northeastern suburbs. Luxury cars fill the complex’s parking lot. Inside, fresh coffee scents the air, and a friendly employee directs customers to a self-service rack of glistening doughnuts. This is not the Dunkin’ Donuts that America runs on. But the Canton, Mass., company is betting China will. The spotless Beijing venue represents the first of more than 1,400 stores the company aspires to open in China over two decades. This tea-devoted country is fast developing a taste for coffee, and Dunkin’ aims to entice an increasingly discerning, well-heeled consumer with stores that convey more hang-out than pit-stop. “We’ve worked hard to make it more of a coffee-shop feel and less of a doughnut-shop feel, said George McAllan, Dunkin’ Brands Group’s international vice president, nursing a dark roast on a July visit. “We want to encourage people to sit and visit.” In its largest development deal ever, Dunkin’ Brands last year announced a franchise agreement with Philippine fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. and Jasmine Asset Holding, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong and Singapore investment firm RRJ Capital. The two invested $300 million in a joint venture named Golden Cup that will open Dunkin’ stores from China’s tropical southern coast to its far north. The doughnut chain is also working with two smaller franchisees in the eastern cities of Shenyang and Shanghai, where a two-level store looks out at an ancient Buddhist temple. Its plans are as risky as they are ambitious. Averse to breakfast sweets, Chinese consumers didn’t take to two previous efforts Dunkin’ launched in the world’s most populous country. But business opportunities are exploding as China’s prosperity fuels an expanding consumer market. “With the middle class growing as fast as it is here, it’s a highly aspirational place to go,” McAllan said. Dunkin’ first tried to break into China in 1994, anticipating delight in an American novelty. The company took a Chinese name that roughly translates to Dang Ken Sweet Sweet Ring and promoted the brand by handing out doughnuts at the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square, the symbolic center of the nation. It didn’t work. Chinese knew little about the coffee chain and disliked the sugary-sweet taste of a glazed doughnut. By the late 1990s, Dunkin’s franchises had pulled out. “They were kind of stale and even worse because there was no volume,” said Michael Wester, a Newton native in Beijing who runs a publishing company. “There would be one rack with a lonely-looking doughnut.” Dunkin’ tried again in 2008, with a new partner. Food developers lowered sugar levels and shipped products for taste testing. The company anticipated 100 outlets within a decade. A few years later, Dunkin’ switched the franchisee. The 2008 reentry “was a disaster,” said Benjamin Cavender, principal at Shanghai-based China Market Research Group. Chinese weren’t looking for a no-frills doughnut chain, he said. They wanted sophistication. “People have traveled to the US and are aware of the brand, but it doesn’t confer status,” Cavender said. “They are a breakfast and dessert play. And the dessert segment here is hyper-competitive and the breakfast is difficult because people tend to be traditional in what they eat.” Dunkin’ struggled to find the same acceptance as it did in South Korea, a coffee-loving nation that is now its largest international market. The company and its franchisee, Golden Cup, needed a new recipe. The new stores have logos that highlight Boston ties. A canopy over the counter resembles a Cape Cod cottage. Outlets feature New England-style windows and hold free doughnut days. Country music recently played at a shop near the Beijing airport while a young man sat in a maroon armchair and pounded his laptop. Not everything would look familiar to Bostonians. The doughnut rack included one topped with chili oil, another dusted with slivers of dried pork, and one with seaweed, a little more than $1 each. The menu priced a small latte at around $3.50, or $2 less than at Starbucks. “I heard from the movies that usually cops eat these,” said Zou Yufei, a 26-year-old marketing manager with black-rimmed glasses, who swung by a store. He looked at his chocolate-covered doughnut and then over at his friend, Zhao Rui, a 26-year-old flight attendant. She grimaced. “Too much sugar,” she said. International sales are still a fraction of sales for Dunkin’ Brands, which also runs the ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins. About 76 percent of revenue comes from the US-based Dunkin’ Donuts. But the company’s long-term growth will be determined by overseas markets, and China is the biggest, with nearly 1.4 billion people. Coffee consumption in China has nearly tripled in the past four years, according to the US Department of Agriculture. And yet the country still lacks a prolific coffee culture. Customers often opt for frothy milk drinks, and coffee shops are rarely open before 9 a.m. Dunkin’, which counts more than 11,000 restaurants worldwide, declined to specify the chain’s investment. But it advises Golden Cup on key aspects such as menu and location. Beijing will have six outlets by the end of July and continue to unveil bakery items. A Dunkin’ banner in Beijing’s financial district declares a future spot, next to a Starbucks. The Seattle coffee giant believes China could become its biggest market. Starbucks already has more than 2,000 outlets in China and plans to add 500 annually for the next five years. Dunkin’ is also competing against a new crop of independent coffee shops with obsessive baristas and in-house roasting machines. Not all nostalgia for the brand is lost here, though. Qun Ning, a 54-year-old dentist, associated the chain with a trip he took to the United States 17 years ago. When Qun noticed the new store, he grabbed a box of chocolate doughnuts and chronicled the visit with a photo. “Today is a lucky day,” he said. – Source: The Boston Globe.

Yogurtland Adds Development and Marketing Executives to Management Team

Yogurtland announces the addition of two new executive team members that will strengthen the company’s franchising, operations and marketing departments. Joining Yogurtland are John Wayne Carlson who has been named Vice President of Development and Chad Bailey who serves as Senior Director of Marketing.  “We’re eager to welcome John and Chad to Yogurtland during this exhilarating time of expansion and growth,” said Phillip Chang, Yogurtland founder and CEO. “They both have the extensive backgrounds needed to build on our growth trajectory and will make valuable contributions to our creativity and success.” With his keen understanding of the marketplace and consumer needs, John Wayne Carlson will be responsible for the continued growth of Yogurtland’s franchise system. He will grow the company’s domestic franchise system and expand Yogurtland’s international and non- traditional footprints. Carlson is a seasoned franchise executive who has held a variety of development and operations positions with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® and Dunkin’ Brands®. Chad Bailey is an accomplished senior-level marketing and branding executive and as Yogurtland’s new head of marketing and research and development will be accountable for the creation and implementation of innovative strategies to bring the brand to new customers. Bailey has more than a decade of experience in marketing and branding including developing and launching new products, creating effective loyalty programs and crafting traditional and digital advertising. He was most recently the Chief Marketing Officer of Robeks Juice and is a member of the Marketing Executive Group of the National Restaurant Association. – Source: The Yogurtland Difference.

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Completes the Acquisition of Four BURGER KING® Restaurants in Michigan

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. announced that on July 14, 2016 it completed the acquisition of four BURGER KING® restaurants in the Detroit, Michigan area. Carrols is the largest BURGER KING® franchisee in the United States and has operated BURGER KING® restaurants since 1976. The Company has purchased 22 restaurants to date in 2016 and currently operates a total of 727 BURGER KING® restaurants in 16 states, including 54 restaurants in Michigan. – Source: Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc.

Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery Appoints New CEO, COO in Strategic Staff Update

Tilted Kilt Pub, a sports Pub where “A Cold Beer Never Looked So Good”® pays homage to the old public houses of America, England, Scotland and Ireland by combining classic Celtic décor, announced it has shifted two veteran employees into new C-Level positions on the executive team. Eddie Goitia, former CFO and Logan Reves, former Vice President of Operations at Tilted Kilt will be stepping into new roles as CEO and COO, respectively. As he steps into his new role as CEO, Goitia will take responsibility of the day-to-day operations of the company. Ron Lynch will remain in the role of president and act as a chairman of the company guiding the leadership team and overall strategy of the brand. Reves will directly oversee the marketing, operations and training departments in his new position as COO as well as the strategic menu development for the brand. With several years of experience at Tilted Kilt and decades of experience in the restaurant industry between the two, Goitia and Reves will lead the new wave of leadership and initiative for the growing brand. “Eddie and Logan are two exemplary additions to the Tilted Kilt executive team. With an inside knowledge of the restaurant industry and the Tilted Kilt brand, there is no better choice to help usher the brand into its next phase of growth,” said Ron Lynch, president and chairman of Tilted Kilt. “Not only has the pair proven themselves time and again in their success and years with the company, but they’ve emerged as true leaders.” With more than 95 locations open across the United States and Canada, the Tilted Kilt continues to flourish and grow as people seek more convenient, casual dining options with a unique ambiance, innovative menu options and unbeatable hospitality. From start to finish, guests keep coming back because they feel part of the production. With the entertainment restaurant industry on the rise, Tilted Kilt aims to open 10 additional pubs in 2016. “As Tilted Kilt continues to solidify its position as a leader in the restaurant industry, it is finding new and unique ways to innovate in every aspect – from menu items to store design. The brand is continuing to grow, despite shifts in the restaurant industry,” said Lynch. “The new leadership will be a refining force for the company as it continues to pass milestone.” – Source: Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery.

Long John Silver’s Names New Senior Director of Development & Real Estate

Long John Silver’s recently appointed Leigh Ann VanDam as Senior Director of Development and Real Estate. VanDam has extensive experience in global brand development in the retail food industry. She joined the Long John Silver’s team early this summer and reports to Brian Unger, Chief Operating Officer. In this role, VanDam will play a key role in domestic and international development strategies for the company.  “Long John Silver’s is an iconic American brand and we are tasked with continuing the great traditions as well as sustaining growth,” said Unger. “Leigh Ann will play an important part in the growth of this brand.” Previously, VanDam worked for Taco Bell Corp. and Yum! Brands. Over the course of a decade, she served as an Associate Design Architect, Remodel Architect and finally Brand Architect. – Source: Long John Silver’s.

Noodles & Company CEO Kevin Reddy Steps Down

Noodles & Company chairman and CEO Kevin Reddy is stepping down, effective immediately, the company. Reddy, who has helmed the Broomfield, Colo.-based fast-casual chain since 2006, is also stepping down as a member of the board of directors. Dave Boennighausen, the company’s chief financial officer, has been appointed interim CEO, and Robert Hartnett, who most recently was CEO of Houlihan’s Restaurants Inc., has been named chairman of the board.  A search for a permanent CEO is underway, the company said. “After many years with this great company, I have decided that it is the right time in my career to pursue new personal and financial opportunities,” said Reddy in a statement. “I am honored to have worked with a remarkable team that has successfully positioned Noodles & Company as a unique brand and achieved significant growth to bring the concept to over 60 million guests around the country. I am looking forward to finding that elusive balance we all seek between personal goals and dreams and the right business opportunities that make them possible.” Reddy joined Noodles & Company in April 2005 and was named CEO in May 2006. He was named chairman in 2008. Noodles held a successful initial public offering in 2013, with many making comparisons with then high-flying Chipotle Mexican Grill, where Reddy served as chief operating officer before making the jump to the fast-casual pasta chain. More recently, however, Noodles has struggled to get traction as the chain attempted to rework its brand positioning with its globally flavored, made-from-scratch menu. For the second quarter ended June 28, the company said same-store sales are expected to be down 0.9 percent at company-owned units, and down 2.1 percent at franchised restaurants, for a system-wide decrease of 1 percent, according to preliminary results. Revenues are expected to be about $121 million for the quarter, up from $115.2 million a year ago. The more than 500-unit chain is scheduled to release earnings on Aug. 4. Scott Dahnke, Noodles lead independent director, said in a statement that Reddy dedicated himself to growing the chain from about 100 units to more than 500 restaurants over the past decade. “We appreciate Kevin’s many years of leadership, his unwavering commitment to providing a high-quality guest experience and his contributions to the company’s success,” he said. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.” – Source: NRN.

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