To Our Valued Subscribers,

With the NHL (Congratulations Penguins’) and NBA (Congratulations Golden State) seasons now completed, the sporting world now turn its attention to America’s past time, baseball. My World Series Champion Cubs (yes, I will use this until they are no longer World Series Champions, it only took 108 years!!) are only 1 game back of leading their division so the standings watch in Chicago has begun in earnest. At least on the North side!!  Go Cubs Go!!

Summer officially begins next week; however, our industry has been heating up since a few weeks prior to the “Big Show” here in Chicago. Along with industry numbers on the rise in most segments, opportunities for clients and candidates has also been smoldering. If you have not visited our newly upgraded website ( ) recently, I urge you to peruse the site NOW. Clients and candidates alike will be able to view positions available and qualifications of candidates looking to assist your company in reaching your 2017 and beyond goals. It is well worth you and your staffs’ time to see how much useful industry information and industry opportunities is available with just a click of the mouse. It will be well worth the click!!

Also worth your effort, is the information in this edition of American Recruiters Global Foodservice News. Besides a recap of news after the show, it offers key insights into the trends and changes shaping our industry for the rest of the year and beyond. Again, well worth the read! I hope you all have a great start to the summer season and get a chance to relax and recharge your batteries to attack the final six months of 2017. Be safe and have a great start to the summer!! Oh Yeah, Go Cubs!!


Craig Wilson


American Recruiters

McDonald’s to Hire More U.S. Workers this Summer, Some via Snapchat

McDonald’s said it will hire more U.S. workers this summer to staff french fry stations and cash registers, and it will bring in a new way to apply in an effort to draw in more young applicants. The world’s largest burger chain said the company and its franchisees will hire about 250,000 people across its more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants for what is usually one of its busiest seasons of the year. That hiring figure accounts for typically high turnover. McDonald’s will offer applications through Snapchat, the social media platform that allows users to post pictures or videos in 10-second snippets. The chain started accepting “Snaplications” in Australia last month, allowing potential employees to make video submissions with a special filter that shows them wearing a McDonald’s uniform. The video audition can then be submitted to McDonald’s Snapchat account. After that, McDonald’s will send back a link to the application and digital careers page. “We thought Snaplications was a great way to allow us to meet job seekers where they are — their phones,” said Jez Langhorn, McDonald’s USA’s senior director of human resources. McDonald’s said allowing applications through Snapchat will aid hiring efforts because many of its applicants are between the ages of 16 and 24. It will direct marketing about the application process to select Snapchat users nationwide. The company also is using other platforms like Spotify and Hulu to reach potential job seekers. McDonald’s, which like the rest of the fast-food industry grapples with high employee turnover, has about 375,000 employees worldwide at any given time. A spokeswoman declined to give McDonald’s turnover rate.  – Source: The Chicago Tribune.

Whopper and Timbits Don’t Mesh, Says Burger King Chief

Restaurant Brands International Inc. — the fast-food empire that owns Burger King, Tim Hortons and now Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen — plans to keep the divisions separate, with no mixing of menu items. Despite Restaurants Brands’ reputation for scooping up businesses and squeezing costs, it doesn’t see product synergies between the chains, said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Schwartz. “Everything isn’t about synergy,” the 36-year-old said in an interview. “These are iconic brands — it doesn’t make sense to mix and match products. The approach is a break from how other fast-food conglomerates have been run over the years. Yum! Brands Inc. tried melding Taco Bells and KFCs, while Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. put Baskin-Robbins inside its doughnut shops. It also belies the broader philosophy of 3G Capital, the private equity firm that created Restaurant Brands and is famous for streamlining operations. The company most recently acquired Popeyes, a fried-chicken chain that competes with KFC. But products from that business won’t be migrating over to Burger King, even though it serves chicken as well. Instead, Restaurant Brands is focused on building up sales of each division and sharing talent across the company, Schwartz said. The separation also applies to marketing. Burger King’s brash advertising strategies, which include sending its King mascot to high-profile sporting events and tricking Google Home devices into reading a description of the Whopper, aren’t well-suited to Tim Hortons’ less aggressive Canadian identity, he said. ‘Aggressive Meritocracy.’ Schwartz got his start working for 3G in 2005 after co-founder Alex Behring moved to New York to build the firm’s U.S. operations. Schwartz, a former M&A analyst at Credit Suisse, was tasked with finding an American consumer brand that 3G could buy. The aim was to boost profit by applying 3G’s “aggressive meritocracy culture.” Schwartz looked at 100 companies and settled on Burger King because the “brand was bigger than the business,” he said. He joined the burger chain as chief financial officer in 2012 and took over as CEO about a year later. When it acquired Tim Hortons in 2014, the company moved its corporate headquarters to Canada and renamed itself Restaurant Brands. Over the last year, shares of the company have surged 35 percent, more than double the gain in the S&P 500 index. The stock slipped as much as 1.1 percent to $56.82 Monday in New York. Schwartz thinks the penny-pinching reputation of Restaurant Brands and 3G — best known for using a technique called zero-based budgeting — is overblown. The fast-food company, which completed its roughly $1.8 billion acquisition of Popeyes in March, is more focused on sales growth and expanding around the world, he said. “Costs grow, so you have to be disciplined, but we spend 90 percent of our time on growth,” he said. “Having that ownership mentality has allowed us to make big, bold bets.” – Source: Bloomberg Markets.

Plant-Based Pizza and Ice Cream Spot Virtuous Pie Opens Saturday

“We’re not here to imitate. We’re here to create our own style of pizza,” says Jim Vesal, the executive chef of Vancouver, B.C.-based Virtuous Pie. Founded in 2015, Virtuous Pie will open its first location in Portland (and second location overall) this Saturday, June 10, at 1126 SE Division St. The honed menu (see below) features around eight plant-based pizzas as well as eight flavors of vegan ice cream. Although Virtuous Pie will accommodate build-your-own pizzas, Vesal says his signature pies are more like composed dishes, and it’s about “transforming vegetables to build flavor,” when you aren’t working with meat or dairy. The restaurant isn’t afraid to hit the junk-food angle, such as the “Stranger Wings,” with Buffalo cauliflower, fried shallots, a planted-based “blue cheese,” scallion, and bianca, a creamy, cashew-based sauce. Virtuous Pie offers on-tap wines, beers, ciders, cold brew, kombucha, and more, having teamed up with local breweries, wineries, and other producers. The house-made ice creams are served in scoops, waffle cones, sundaes, affogatos, and ice cream sandwiches, as well as by the pint. In the mornings, thanks to a partnership with Heart Coffee Roasters, Virtuous Pie will have a coffeehouse vibe, serving coffees made on a gleaming Modbar brewing system in the morning, with house-made nut- and hemp-based milks, as well as pastries. While the entire restaurant furnishes plant-based food and drink, Virtuous Pie caters to a wider variety of dietary restrictions and decisions: Pizza can be made gluten-free, and ice creams come in both coconut-cashew and plain coconut bases to offer something for those with nut allergies. – Source: Eater – Portland, Oregon.

Gaylord Industries Adds Brad Reifschneider to Sales Team

Gaylord Industries hired Brad Reifschneider as its regional sales manager, Northeast. His responsibilities include regional sales and business development along the East Coast. Reifschneider’s background includes foodservice equipment and sales experience with such manufacturers as Doyon & Nu-Vu Bakery Equipment, Redco Foodservice Equipment, and Unilever Foodsolutions. – Source: Foodservice Equipment and Supplies.

Restaurants Build Empires with Brand Licensing

Jane is a mother of three. She’s responsible for grocery shopping in her household. Since it’s Taco Tuesday, her shopping cart practically rolls itself into aisle seven — the Mexican aisle. Unfortunately, her main choices have been the same for years: Old El Paso and Ortego. The food is good, but uninspiring. On one hand, most restaurant chains may see this situation and ask, “How do we get Jane into our restaurants?” But some chains see this situation and ask, “How do we get our restaurants in front of Jane?” The smart guys recognize that Jane isn’t coming to them — they need to go to her. They recognize that the supermarket is where Jane spends her time. It’s convenient, her favorite cashier always accepts her coupons and she knows the floor plan by heart. Now consider Sally. Sally also likes Mexican food; her favorite is Qdoba, where she lunches once a week. From her perspective, that makes her a loyalist. But from Qdoba’s perspective, out of 21 possible meals a week, she’s eating only one here. Some restaurants in Qdoba’s situation would ask themselves, “How do we get Sally into our restaurant more often?” But others embrace a larger view. They ask, “How do we get our food in front of Sally more often?” In other words, how do we capture a greater share of her stomach, regardless of where she’s eating? If there’s one lesson I’ve learned over the years, it’s this: Brands that diversify their touchpoints do better than brands that limit themselves to a single source of cash. Specifically, by putting your food in front of consumers where they are, rather than where you want them to be, you can multiply market share and boost profits, without the hassle of creating a new customer or splurging on R&D. Here are three restaurant chains that are expanding their share of stomach this way — and expanding their own wallets in the process. TGI Fridays: The pioneer. TGI Fridays is a defining casual-dining chain known as much for its loaded potato skins as its red-striped canopies. The chain attracts single 20-somethings like a red convertible attracts a middle-aged man. But down the street, at the grocery store that sells TGI Fridays branded products, you’ll observe a different demographic. Here, you’ll find 35- to 45-year-old married mothers (there’s Jane) pushing shopping carts down the aisles. Small wonder, then, that licensing has become a major driver of TGI Fridays’ growth. With the help of an outside agency, the company exploits three of the five lines of licensing (core menu items, “inspired by” menu items and derivative menu items). As a result, TGI Fridays has created $400 million in annual retail sales in the past six years. California Pizza Kitchen: The steady cash cow. Similarly, California Pizza Kitchen, or CPK, has also seen the licensing light. Over the past 20 years, the restaurant has captured almost 13 percent of the entire retail frozen-pizza category. Whether you want a gluten-free or thin-crust pie, Thai or Jamaican, even the choosiest connoisseur can find something among CPK’s 20 SKUs. Licensed products have been so critical to CPK’s success that they are a key ingredient in the company’s transformation from a Southern California franchise to an international comfort food. As usual, the proof is in the spreadsheets: Today, CPK serves pizza and pasta to customers in 32 states and 13 countries. For its licensees (first Kraft, now Nestlé), the chain’s licensing arm isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a cash cow that’s been milked to the tune of $150 million in annual retail sales. Dunkin’ Donuts: The old dog learning new tricks. You’ve heard that “America runs on Dunkin’,” right? Well, once upon a time, Dunkin’ Donuts was MIA in the South and West. Then it discovered licensed products, and the rest is reflected in the company’s earnings reports. For coffeeholics who patronize Dunkin’ Donuts daily, the company discovered that it could sell these folks their fix even when they weren’t in the chain’s outlets. Thus was born the Dunkin’ section in the coffee aisle at your local supermarket. This program proved to be so successful that it was later extended to coffee creamer, ready-to-drink iced coffee and Keurig K-Cups, which are also for sale inside the chain’s locations. Diversification has enabled Dunkin’ Donuts to grow not only unit count, but profit. Last year, the chain reported a 1.6-percent bump in same-store sales. When you have 5,000 locations, that kind of growth is enviable. Empire building. You may have heard that packaged-food giants are losing market share. What you likely haven’t heard is that restaurant chains are picking up the slack. From California Pizza Kitchen to Chili’s, from Panda Express to P.F. Chang’s, and from TGI Fridays to Tony Roma’s, restaurant chains are experiencing a slight renaissance. That’s not an accident. It’s because these restaurants have embraced retail. They ignored conventional wisdom and studied the data. They didn’t showboat, and they didn’t become gluttons. They just quietly built empires while no one was looking. – Source: NRN.

Restaurant operator Brinker International Inc. is selling more than burgers and tacos

The Dallas-based company that owns Chili’s Grill & Bar is hunting a buyer for its longtime headquarters. Brinker announced earlier this year that it’s moving its head office to the new Cypress Waters development near Belt Line Road and LBJ Freeway. So it’s hunting a buyer for its old digs on Hillcrest Road at LBJ. The 110,000-square-foot office complex sits on 7.5 acres along a creek. Cushman & Wakefield of Texas has been hired to peddle the office campus at 6820 LBJ Freeway. “Since the LBJ Express has been completed, property values in the area have dramatically increased,” C&W’s Maureen Kelly Cooper said in a statement. “The corridor between Hillcrest Road and the Dallas North Tollway is seeing a burst of activity.” Brinker’s old HQ was built in 1983. The restaurant firm will occupy the property until it moves to its new Cypress Waters building in early 2019. Along with Chili’s, Brinker owns the Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant chain. Brinker is moving into a new 216,300-spuare-foot-office building is at developer Billingsley Co.’s Cypress Waters. Brinker International’s current headquarters is at the southwest corner of LBJ Freeway and Hillcrest Road in North Dallas. – Source: Brinker International’s.

Coca-Cola Pledges Record $1.5M to NRAEF

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation received a record-breaking pledge of $1.5 million from the Coca-Cola Co. that will support the foundation’s efforts to attract, empower and advance the next generation of our industry’s workforce. The donation is the largest contribution in the NRAEF’s history. Rob Gifford, the NRAEF’s executive vice president cited the beverage company as a long-standing champion of our Foundation and a leader in creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds. “This significant contribution and Coca-Cola’s active involvement in the foundation’s work are a testament to its commitment to the future of the industry and our mission to feed dreams and build futures,” he said. Roy Jackson, Coca-Cola’s senior vice president of business development and industry affairs, called our foundation an incubator for the foodservice industry. ““We are excited to increase our level of support and partner with the Foundation on preparing and developing the next generation of talent for rewarding jobs and careers in this dynamic industry,” he said. The 30-year-old NRAEF focuses on the education, training and development of our industry’s future leaders and employees. – Source: The National Restaurant Association.

Owner of Joe’s Crab Shack Chain Files for Bankruptcy

The owner of the Joe’s Crab Shack casual dining chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid falling sales, and plans to sell the company for at least $50 million to a private equity firm, according to a court filing. Ignite Restaurant Group Inc., which also owns the Brick House Tavern + Tap chain, has been closing weaker locations and began to pursue a sale of the business last year, according to court documents. However, as operations continued to worsen through early 2017, interested bidders withdrew their proposals and Ignite began to consider bankruptcy, according to a court filing by Jonathan Tibus, the company’s acting chief executive officer. Ignite filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston a proposal to sell its assets to Kelly Investment Group, a private equity firm. Other interested buyers will be invited to challenge the Kelly bid at a court-supervised auction, according to court documents. A spokesman for Ignite did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Ignite owns 112 Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants and 25 Brick House locations, according to court documents. The Crab Shack chain was founded in Houston in 1991 and Brick House was launched in 2008. The company has a $30 million revolving credit facility and a $165 million term loan, according to a court filing. Casual dining chains have struggled with changing tastes. Cosi Inc. and Roadhouse Holding, which owns the Logan’s Roadhouse chain, filed for bankruptcy last year. – Source: Reuters International.

Dave & Buster’s Remains Selective on Big-Box Sites

Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc., which plans to open a dozen new restaurants this fiscal year, is not seeing significant effect on lease terms amid the growing number of big-box retailers closing units, executives said this week. Dave & Buster’s continues to look for real estate that offers 25,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet, CEO Steve King said. The Dallas-based company will open its 100th unit, in McAllen, Texas, in a few weeks, he said. “We expect six large stores this year at approximately 40,000 square feet, two stores to be between 31,000 and 35,000 square feet, and the remaining four stores to be 30,000 square feet or less,” King said. With a significant number of department stores, such as Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Kmart and Sears, announcing unit closures this year amid a shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping, landlords are increasingly looking toward restaurants as tenants. “As developers continue to pivot toward more entertainment options, our position as a premier, sought-after entertainment and dining concept continues to strengthen,” King said, adding that the concept is well positioned to find the best sites for the brand’s demographics. Dave & Buster’s has five units under construction and a total of 23 signed leases, King said, which provides a growth pipeline into the first part of 2019. By the end of 2017, the company plans to have 104 restaurants open in 35 states and Puerto Rico. The churn in real estate, especially with large retailers closing stores, hasn’t deeply affected how Dave & Buster’s makes new-unit decisions, King said. “We pick the trade area that we want to go to first, and we can try to narrow it down to a relatively narrow target within the trade area and then optimize for whatever the best real estate deal is within that trade area,” he told analysts. “I think that we are continuing to see a lot of flow in terms of things that are being shown to us, from the fact that Sears, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Sports Authority, all these guys are putting space, if you will, on the market,” he said. “But they don’t always line up with where we want to go.” More than half, or 54, of Dave & Buster’s 99 units are older than five years, he said, which means the company’s lease portfolio contains an average price per square foot that is lower than currently found in the real estate market. Dave & Buster’s is also developing across a number of geographic areas. During the first quarter, the chain opened new locations in Carlsbad, Calif.; Columbia, S.C.; Overland Park, Kan.; and Tucson, Ariz. For the first quarter ended April 30, Dave & Buster’s income rose 37.3 percent, to $42.8 million, or 98 cents per share, from $31.2 million, or 72 cents per share, the previous year. Revenue increased 16.1 percent, to $304.1 million, from $262 million the previous year. Same-store sales rose 2.2 percent in the quarter, reflecting a comparative increase of 6.4 percent in amusements and declines of 2.2 percent in food and 4.2 percent in beverage. The declines in food and beverage comparisons appeared partly due to Dave & Buster’s “shift toward more family occasions,” said Andy Barish, an analyst with Jefferies LLC. – Source: NRN.

Consultants’ Roundtable

A trio of esteemed consultants engage in a wide-ranging discussion about the issues affecting the foodservice industry both today and in the future. Our panelists share their experiential knowledge to address such topics as consumer-driven trends affecting equipment specification, the evolving role of technology in foodservice design, maximizing labor through creative solutions and much more. Costel Coca, Design Principal, Webb Foodservice Design, Anaheim, Calif. The chief designer, strategist, and visionary for Webb Foodservice Design, Coca has been with Webb for 18 years. He leads each of the design studios at Webb, including strategic planning, health care, primary education, higher education, and corporate dining. Terry Pellegrino, Principal, Rippe Associates, Minneapolis. While working in foodservice management at Iowa State University, Pellegrino discovered she had an aptitude for creating floorplans and managing the flow of operations. She has spent the past 32 years with Rippe Associates planning commercial kitchens and dining facilities. Georgie Shockey, Principal, Ruck-Shockey Associates, The Woodlands, Texas. Shockey has built up an extensive knowledge base in all aspects of hospitality management during her 30 years of operational and project experience. Specialties include operational reviews, assessment studies, service integration, oversight reviews, implementation processes and RFP leadership. – Source: Foodservice Equipment and Supplies.

From Ronald McDonald to Drake, the fast food giant goes back to the future at secret company convention

A 50th McAnniversary. An 80th birthday. Record sales. A tasty new chicken sandwich. Even a goofy appearance by the world’s most famous clown. And somehow Drake manages to steal the show. McDonald’s Canada held a top secret company convention in Toronto last week, with 2,300 franchisees, restaurant managers and company brass — including ‘the founder’ George Cohon — celebrating the golden anniversary of the Golden Arches in Canada. Turns out the now-retired Cohon, who just turned 80, actually happens to have at least one famous rapper on his radar. He regaled the McFaithful in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre about a chance meeting he had with Drizzy at Sotto Sotto in Yorkville recently. “I said: ‘Drake, you’re famous dude.’ He said: ‘Well, you’re a famous dude,’ ” Cohon recalled with a chuckle. Then he says after he gave the rapper’s bodyguard a card to redeem for a free burger, “Drake asked if I had any more, so I gave him nine of the 10 cards I had,” he said. The anecdote befit the closed-door, two-day gathering of McDonald’s staff and suppliers at a time when the company wanted to give a respectful nod to its wildly successful 50-year history in Canada while making way for a new generation of more health conscious and tech savvy fast foodies. The Golden Arches isn’t the only restaurant chain that started out in Canada in the baby boomer era that is coming of age in the millennial generation. Boston Pizza and Pizza Pizza also hit 50 this year, while Tim Hortons hit the milestone in 2014 — then Burger King swallowed it the same year. KFC (previously Kentucky Fried Chicken) is 55 now in Canada. “These are all brands that started here in boomer times, and now they’re doing business with a whole new digital generation that wants antibiotic-free meat, food quality and all-day breakfast,” noted Robert Carter, executive director of food service at market research firm NPD Group. Appropriately, the theme of McDonald’s biennial conference this year was “constant evolution.” Of course, the past was resurrected given the anniversary. The conference kicked off with streamers and a singalong led by company mascot Ronald McDonald. Employees and executives had just watched one of McDonald’s early 1970s-era commercials featuring then unknown Anson Williams (Potsie on Happy Days) and John Amos (the dad on ’70s sitcom Good Times) dancing with mops and brooms in chorus line fashion to the original “You deserve a break today” jingle. The revved-up clown then urged the upbeat audience to sing new lyrics displayed on the giant stage screen to the old company standard: “Celebrate ourselves today, Raise a cup of McCafé, We’re McDonald’s, We’re McDonald’s!” The first McDonald’s in Canada was opened in Richmond, B.C. in 1967, marking the chain’s first foray outside the U.S. after 12 years of rapid growth south of the border under legendary franchising wizard Ray Kroc (the subject of the recent movie The Founder starring Michael Keaton.) The company quickly grew here too, becoming the largest restaurant chain in Canada by 1981. It launched its first drive-thru restaurant in Regina in 1977 and breakfast in 1976 — considered cutting edge at the time for the French fry- and burger-centric industry. Attracting the coveted millennial customer has proven tougher today for a fast food industry born and raised by boomers. Carter of NPD Group says young consumers are interested in healthier, fresh ingredients and are willing to pay more for a quality product. However, they also want to keep the “fast” in fast food because convenience is an issue in the non-stop digital world. McDonald’s has responded with faster ordering on in-store kiosks and has also added third ordering windows and double lanes at drive-thrus — which make up about 70 per cent of the business. They recently added greeters to usher guests through the process from the moment they walk in, along with table service. McDonald’s Canada has also pledged to remove antibiotics important to human medicine from its chicken offerings, including their popular Chicken McNuggets, by the end of 2018. Plus it has introduced more premium offerings at a higher price point and more customization at self-ordering kiosks, which have dozens of higher-end ingredients on offer, from crumbled blue cheese to sun-dried tomato pesto. But the Big Mac isn’t going anywhere. “We’ve stayed true to our roots but constantly evolved to meet the needs of our guests,” McDonald’s Canada chief executive John Betts explained. McDonald’s in the U.S. had really struggled a few years ago with a stale, unhealthy image and sliding sales, but has begun to bounce back with simple things such as toasting Big Mac buns and all-day breakfast. Canada has been a bright spot for the international chain, charting year-over-year sales growth over the last decade. Betts, who has presided over nine of those years, expects another record year in 2017. The conference didn’t have any Big Macs or fries on offer, so lunch was catered by the convention centre including seafood chowder, beef, chicken and vegetables. But the McCafé truck that travelled to various events such as the Toronto International Film Festival was set up on the convention floor, and samples of the chain’s fresh muffins and buttery croissants were available among the 80 vendors. Mayor McCheese ties ($13) and T-shirts ($10) were popular, and they also handed out free pens with the Hamburglar and Grimace on them, but those guys were nowhere in sight. Franchisees got to check out various store designs for new restaurants via virtual reality headsets. They were all brightly lit with a European café vibe with lots of wood and stone finishes. A restaurant in Richmond, B.C., was torn down and is getting a total rebuild with one of the new designs. The store is run by affable franchisee Joe Guzzo, who has worked for McDonald’s for 42 years and now runs a few restaurants in the area. “I have ketchup in my veins,” he joked. He said things at his employers “have changed a lot over the years but it’s better. We kept our foundation and core values. I love the McDonald’s history and what it stands for.” The convention also included a tribute to Cohon, who is renowned for his philanthropic work (Ronald McDonald House celebrates its 40th birthday this year, too). He also launched McDonald’s in the then-Soviet Union in 1990 and wrote about his adventures working in both countries in his book To Russia With Fries. Though the parent Des Plaines, Ill.-based burger behemoth doesn’t release financials for its subsidiary markets, Betts said that the first quarter of 2017 in Canada was strong, largely due to the introduction of all-day breakfast items here in February — and it was launched more than halfway through the three-month quarter. “It’s not about following other brands,” Betts noted. “We don’t sit back. We don’t accept the status quo. We drive forward with a relentless pursuit to beat yesterday,” he told the cheering McCrowd. When told it was a couple of his competitors 50th birthdays too, Betts replied: “I’ll have to send them a little card. They’ll get a kick out of that.” – Source: The Hamilton Spectator, Canada.

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Completes the Acquisition of 17 BURGER KING® Restaurants in Maryland

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. announced that on June 6, 2017, the Company completed the acquisition of Republic Foods, Inc. which operates 17 BURGER KING® restaurants in Maryland, specifically in the Baltimore and Washington markets. Daniel T. Accordino, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer said, “We are pleased to complete this transaction which we obtained through the exercise of our right of first refusal. We are excited since this acquisition provides a strategic entry point for us to further expand our presence in the mid-Atlantic region going forward. These restaurants, with average sales volumes of almost $2.0 million, are also significantly higher than our system average and should be highly accretive as we integrate them with our existing operations.” – Source: Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc.

Franchisee Association of Buffalo Wild Wings Reticent About New Management Direction Following Stockholder Vote

Franchise Business Services (FBS), the association representing Buffalo Wild Wings® franchisees expressed its reticence about potential new management direction following the outcome of the stockholder vote supporting Marcato Capital and its slate of three new board members for the Minneapolis-based casual dining restaurant group.  “Buffalo Wild Wings franchisees are focused on continuing the momentum of our brand’s leadership in the casual dining sector in many performance indicators,” said Wray Hutchinson, Chairman of the FBS Board of Directors and an owner of 39 Buffalo Wild Wings franchises himself. “We’re hopeful that, since stockholders were so engaged in a healthy debate about our management direction, we will see management decisions that align with our priorities. We’re looking for signals from the new board ensuring they share our focus on customer satisfaction and franchise profitability. If so, we’ll support new management direction.” Before the final vote was tallied today, longtime Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith announced she will retire by the end of the year. When the shareholder election results were announced, Marcato Capital, a San Francisco-based investment manager which manages funds that own approximately 9.9% of the outstanding common shares of BWLD, was successful in their suggested election of new board nominees Scott Bergren, Sam Rovit and Mick McGuire. Mr. Rovit was also on the Buffalo Wild Wings slate of proposed new board nominees. “Sally Smith did a wonderful job leading our organization since 1996 – helping to increase shareholder value 1700% since she took it public in 2003,” Hutchinson said. “The leadership, management and success of Sally Smith with the Buffalo Wild Wings brand is undeniable. We are interested in hearing from the new board, their strategies and willingness to partner with the franchise community in building upon the momentum and success delivered by Ms. Smith during her tenure at the helm of Buffalo Wild Wings. “We appreciate that the majority of owners of our stock recognize the value in supporting our successful brand,” Hutchinson said. “We look forward to sharpening our enterprise, continuing collaborative initiatives improving store profitability, customer loyalty, order and pay at the table, merchant acquirer and EMV compliance, reduction of remodel costs, launch of a system-wide food safety program, food innovation, online ordering and delivery services and cost reduction initiatives such as a collaborative purchasing co-op. We can only hope that the new board will bring energy and focus that are aligned with our goals and that we don’t get distracted by management-by-trial.” “Buffalo Wild Wings is a great brand and investment,” said Mark Jones, FBS Vice Chairman. “No matter how you analyze the data – same-store sales, average customer check, unit growth and volume – or the all-important popularity with and spending by the most populous generational segment, Millennials – we have long believed that Buffalo Wild Wings’ recipe for success was going in the right direction. We are looking forward to working with the entire board at Buffalo Wild Wings on their positive suggestions on enhancing our business and shareholder value.” – Source: Franchise Business Services (FBS).

The Cheesecake Factory Opens in Hackensack, New Jersey

The Cheesecake Factory®, known for its extensive menu, generous portions and legendary desserts, today announced the opening of its newest restaurant in The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, N.J. With more than 250 menu selections including nearly 50 lower calorie Skinny Licious® dishes and a “Super” Foods section – handmade, in-house with fresh ingredients – and more than 50 signature cheesecakes and desserts, The Cheesecake Factory’s opening provides exciting choices for shoppers and area residents. The restaurant is a relocation of The Cheesecake Factory’s former location on the west side of The Shops at Riverside. Featuring imported limestone floors and custom wood columns, hand painted murals and modern lighting, the new restaurant includes the distinctive and contemporary décor that is as creative and imaginative as The Cheesecake Factory’s extensive menu. The Cheesecake Factory is located at the south end of The Shops at Riverside at 390 Hackensack Ave., Suite 155, Hackensack, NJ 07601. – Source: The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated.

DEL TACO Names John D. Cappassola, Jr. as Chief Executive Officer

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. the second largest Mexican-American QSR chain by units in the United States, announced that President and Chief Brand Officer John D. Cappasola, Jr. has been named as Chief Executive Officer, to succeed Paul J.B. Murphy, III. Mr. Cappasola will also replace Mr. Murphy on the Company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Murphy will remain with the Company into July to ensure a seamless and orderly transition of leadership and responsibilities. As part of the planned succession, Mr. Murphy has notified the Company that he plans to relocate permanently to Denver, CO and will resign on July 7, 2017, at which time Mr. Cappasola will fully assume his new position as Chief Executive Officer and director. Mr. Cappasola joined Del Taco in a senior leadership role in 2008. He has been Del Taco’s President since January 2017 and Chief Brand Officer since February 2011. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, leading Del Taco’s efforts in brand strategy, operations, marketing, menu development, and culinary innovation. Paul J.B. Murphy, III has been Del Taco’s Chief Executive Officer since February 2009 and served as President from February 2009 through December 2016. Chairman of the Board Lawrence F. Levy commented, “John is a dynamic, people-oriented brand leader who understands strategy and driving business results. John was instrumental in the development of our successful Combined Solutions strategy that has established a solid foundation for the brand and produced some of the top results in the industry over the past 5 years. Game changing new product innovation, highly effective marketing campaigns and dramatic improvements in the guest experience are a direct result of John’s leadership across our organization. The entire Del Taco family looks forward to working with John in this natural evolution of his leadership role.” Levy added, “We thank Paul for his many contributions to Del Taco. Paul has developed a high-performing culture and an outstanding leadership team that is poised to continue delivering superior performance. We deeply appreciate Paul for his leadership and commitment to Del Taco and wish him all the best.” Chief Executive Officer Paul J.B. Murphy, III stated, “It has been my privilege and honor to be part of Del Taco for the past eight years, and I am confident in the strong team we have assembled to execute on the growing opportunity ahead of this beloved brand. John and I have been working together preparing for this transition and I can confidently say that the company could not ask for a better person to lead it into its next phase of growth. John will continue to be a driving force pushing the brand to evolve to meet ever-changing consumer needs and ensuring that our operations teams are set up to successfully deliver on that brand promise.” Incoming Chief Executive Officer John D. Cappasola, Jr. said, “I am excited to assume this new role which I feel is a once in a lifetime career opportunity. Del Taco is a unique company with a deep rooted culture and a great team of people who care about elevating this iconic brand and each other. Working side by side with Paul over the past several years has uniquely prepared me for this role and I am confident that our team is going to build upon what we have already accomplished and take Del Taco to new heights.” – Source: Del Taco Restaurants, Inc.

US Foods Agrees to Acquire F. Christiana

US Foods announced that it has agreed to acquire F. Christiana, a broadline distributor of food and food-related products concentrating on the important center-of-the-plate categories as well as dairy and dry goods. Family-owned for three generations, F. Christiana has nearly $100 million in annual sales and serves more than 1,800 independent restaurant, hotel, and independent deli/convenience store customers throughout Louisiana, southern Mississippi and parts of southern Alabama. “F. Christiana has an excellent reputation in the independent operator space,” said Keith Knight, south region president, US Foods. “When combined with their success in key strategic markets such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, this acquisition will further enhance our position with new and existing customers in Louisiana.” “We see many similarities between US Foods and F. Christiana, most important of which is the passion for bringing value to its customers to help them succeed,” said Nick Christiana, general manager, F. Christiana. “With the size and scale of US Foods, our customers will have increased access to new and innovative products and business solutions to help them continue to grow their businesses profitably.” F. Christiana will continue to operate under the F. Christiana name and will remain in the 70,000 square foot facility where it conducts business. The transaction is expected to close by mid-June. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. – Source: US Foods.
Executive Team Transition and Brand Transformation

Glenn Lunde has assumed the role of President at Togo’s Holdings, LLC, reporting directly to the Board of Directors, following the retirement of Togo’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tony Gioia. Lunde joined Togo’s as Chief Concept Officer in January as part of the succession planning process, and has been leading Togo’s brand transformation strategies, including the chain’s operating system and menu strategy. Under Lunde’s leadership, Togo’s is set to re-establish its 45-year leadership as the West Coast sandwich innovator with even higher quality ingredients, even larger portions, and even better customer service. “Togo’s has a passionate customer base that goes back over 45 years and they are the reason we have invested in the dramatic ingredient and portion improvements to create our best sandwich experience ever,” said Lunde. Togo’s also announced the addition of Nader Garschi to its executive leadership team as Chief Operating Officer. Garschi will oversee Company and Franchise locations, as well as Restaurant Services & Training, Operations Innovation, and New Restaurant Openings. Garschi has more than thirty years of restaurant management experience for outstanding brands, including Lyon’s Restaurants, Taco Bell, and Panda Restaurant Group. Also joining Togo’s executive leadership team, as Senior Vice President of Marketing, is Anna Nero. Nero, who previously served as Executive Director of Marketing at Panda Restaurant Group, brings extensive brand marketing experience from her tenure during Panda’s growth from 38 restaurants to over 1,300. She will be responsible for Brand Creative, Marketing Promotions, Culinary Innovation, and all Media Communications. – Source: Togo’s Eateries, LLC.

The BJ Beltram Transaction Represents the 13th Platform Investment in Trivest Fund V

Trivest Partners announces it has recapitalized B&J Food Service Equipment and Beltram Foodservice Group to create BJ Beltram, Inc. The BJ Beltram transaction represents the 13th platform investment in Trivest Fund V, a $415 million fund dedicated to investing in founder/family-owned businesses. BJ Beltram is the combination of two leading foodservice equipment (FSE) distributors: B&J Food Service Equipment, based in Kansas City, KS and Beltram Foodservice Group, based in Tampa, FL. BJ Beltram offers new and pre-owned commercial restaurant equipment, kitchen supplies, smallwares, furniture and design/project management services. The Company serves a diversified customer base primarily in the restaurant, lodging, education and healthcare industries. Both Companies have built exceptional reputations for customer service and satisfaction in their respective markets and the combination of the two will provide additional scale, allow for the cross-selling of value-added capabilities and enhance service efficiency. “The partnership with Trivest will allow B&J and Beltram to realize our growth plans,” said Robert Pickering, the Company’s CEO. “When Dan [Beltram] and I decided to join forces, Trivest’s culture and unique programs for founders made them the clear choice as a capital partner. Additionally, their 35 years of experience in investing in founder and family-owned businesses will be very useful as we target add-on acquisitions. We are excited about the partnership and this new chapter of growth for our company.” Jorge Gross, Partner at Trivest, commented, “We are very excited to be partnering with B&J and Beltram. This opportunity fits squarely within Trivest’s core strategy of investing in growing, founder-owned businesses. The combination of B&J and Beltram presents a unique opportunity for growth, both organically and through acquisition and we are looking forward to supporting the Company in achieving its goals while maintaining the extraordinary service levels our customers have come to expect.” – Source: Trivest Partners.
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