Corrie Byron has been appointed President of Franke Coffee Systems North America

Byron will be responsible for accelerating sales and growth of the Smyrna, Tenn.-based Franke Coffee Systems business in the U.S. and Canada. Byron will report to Thomas Patrick Meier, CEO of the global Coffee Systems Division headquartered in Aarburg, Switzerland. “Corrie will leverage her extensive background in the food and beverage industry to help Coffee Systems fulfill its goals in the Americas,” notes Meier. “She shares our vision of Franke as a ‘one-stop shop’ for hot beverage solutions, and will help drive expansion of a product range that provides high-quality and innovative machines for the industry’s most dynamic operators.” Byron most recently served as president of the Foodservice and International Business units of The Oneida Group. Previously, she spent nearly 20 years with Kerry Group, the ingredients, flavors and foodservice solutions company, most recently as its v.p./general manager, where she focused on designing organizational and strategic models. Franke Coffee Systems is part of the Franke Group, which produces diverse items such as consumer kitchen products, foodservice kitchen systems and equipment, and washroom fixtures. – Source: Foodservice Equipment Reports.

Antonio Bautista appointed Senior Vice President of Company Cafe Operations at Hard Rock International

Hard Rock International—owner of one of the world’s most-recognizable and iconic brands—has appointed Antonio Bautista as Senior Vice President of Company Cafe Operations. In this new role, Bautista, who has been with the company for more than 20 years, will lead the Cafe Operations team, including overseeing the brand’s Area Vice Presidents, Facilities team and Retail Operations. Bautista will report directly to President of Cafe Operations of Hard Rock International, Stephen Judge. “Antonio’s dedication and long-standing history with the brand, combined with his valuable experience in the franchise and development space make him the perfect executive to be at the forefront of the cafe business,” says Stephen Judge, President of Cafe Operations of Hard Rock International. “We look forward to seeing Antonio excel in this position to oversee all corporate cafe operations worldwide, and assist with the growth and expansion of the organization.” Bautista first joined Hard Rock International in 1994 and has continued his career growth within the company, from Restaurant Manager to General Manager at Hard Rock Cafe, to various roles within the Franchise Operations group, where he doubled the franchise portfolio and oversaw 70 new cafe openings. In his most recent position as Senior Vice President of Franchise Operations and Development, Bautista expanded the comprehensive, global development programs at franchise cafes in 74 countries. Internationally recognized as a world-class restaurant and hospitality brand, Hard Rock operates cafes across the world that are visited by more than 79 million guests each year. Its first cafe opened in London, England, and from there the brand has expanded to major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo, and exotic settings such as Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Malta. Hard Rock Cafe offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience with a commitment to serving fresh, high-quality ingredients. To satisfy the consumer’s ever-changing palate, Hard Rock continually updates its menu with limited-time offerings including burger pairings, innovative cocktails and more. – Source:

East China Joint Venture to Operate All Starbucks Stores in Mainland China

Starbucks to Acquire Remaining Shares of East China Joint Venture and Operate All Starbucks Stores in Mainland China; Acquisition Advances Company’s Long-term China Growth Agenda. Company announces agreements to acquire the remaining 50% of its East China JV and divest its 50% interest in its Taiwan JV; both transactions undertaken with long-term JV partners President Chain Store Corporation and Uni-President Enterprises Corporation. Company Reaffirms its Commitment to Operating 5,000 Stores in Mainland China by 2021. Starbucks Corporation announced entry into a definitive agreement to acquire the remaining 50% share of its East China business from long-term joint venture partners, Uni-President Enterprises Corporation and President Chain Store Corporation for approximately $1.3 billion in cash consideration in the largest single acquisition in the Company’s history. Starbucks will assume 100% ownership of approximately 1,300 Starbucks stores in Shanghai and Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, building on the Company’s ongoing investments in China, its fastest-growing market outside of the United States in terms of store count. Concurrently, UPEC and PCSC will acquire Starbucks 50% interest in President Starbucks Coffee Taiwan Limited (“Taiwan JV”) and assume 100% ownership of Starbucks operations in Taiwan for approximately $175 million. Founded in 1997, the Taiwan JV currently operates approximately 410 Starbucks stores in Taiwan. “Unifying the Starbucks business under a full company-operated structure in China reinforces our commitment to the market and is a firm demonstration of our confidence in the current local leadership team as we aim to grow from 2,800 to more than 5,000 stores by 2021,” said Kevin Johnson, president and ceo, Starbucks Coffee Company. “Similar to our decision in 2011 to fully license our Hong Kong and Macau market operations, we are pleased to transition our business in the Taiwan market to our long-time partners Uni-President Enterprises Corporation and President Chain Store Corporation, both highly-recognized local operators, as we continue to grow in Taiwan. This is a critical next-step as we advance our multifaceted China growth strategy for long-term profitable growth in Asia.” East China is a significant and strategic region for Starbucks in China, with Shanghai containing nearly 600 stores, the largest number of stores globally of any city where Starbucks has a presence. In December 2017, Shanghai will also be the first city outside of the United States to welcome the opening of the ultra-premium Starbucks Reserve™ Roastery. “This is the beginning of yet another exciting new chapter for Starbucks in China. Full ownership will give us the opportunity to fully leverage our robust business infrastructure to deliver an elevated coffee, in-store third place experience and digital innovation to our customers, and further strengthen the career development opportunities for our people,” said Belinda Wong, CEO, Starbucks China. “Our East China partners’ relentless pursuit of operational excellence and leadership has provided us a solid foundation to maximize the unprecedented growth opportunities ahead and we look forward to extending our world-class network of unique programs to support their personal and professional dreams.” “We’ve had a strong friendship with Starbucks for nearly 20 years, starting with the opening of the first store in Taiwan and then further extending our partnership with the opening of the first store in East China,” said Alex Lo, chairman, Uni-President Enterprises Corporation. “We are confident that our new ownership model and continued collaboration with Starbucks will enable us to be even more focused on delivering an elevated Starbucks Experience to our customers in the Taiwan market.” – Source: Starbucks Coffee Company.

Move follows departure of CEO Sally Smith in June

James Schmidt is retiring as COO of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. effective Aug. 14, according to an SEC filing on Thursday, continuing an overhaul of management staff amid upheaval in the company’s boardroom. Schmidt had been with the Minneapolis-based chicken wing chain since 2002, and was named COO in 2011. The role was a newly created position at the time.  His departure was announced with only a single line in a securities filing. Longtime CEO Sally Smith announced her retirement in June, the same day that activist investor Marcato Capital Management, which had called for her departure, won three seats to the chain’s board of directors. – Source: NRN.

FCPT Announces Acquisition of 2 Taco Bell Restaurant Properties for $3.4 million

Four Corners Property Trust, a real estate investment trust engaged in the ownership of high-quality, net-leased restaurant properties, is pleased to announce the acquisition of two properties leased to K-MAC Enterprises, LLC for $3.4 million. The properties are located in Indiana and occupied under individual triple-net leases with new 20-year terms, which were negotiated by FCPT prior to closing. Both sites are scheduled to be remodeled in the next 4 years, which will include decoupling from a combination KFC / Taco Bell to a single concept Taco Bell at one of the properties. KMAC is one of the largest YUM! Brands franchisees, with over 280 Taco Bell and KFC units across the Midwest and Southeast. The transaction was priced at a 6.5% going-in cash cap rate, pro forma for the amended terms of the lease. Bill Lenehan, CEO of FCPT, commented “We are pleased to announce another transaction demonstrating FCPT as an attractive landlord partner for restaurant operators. Our team’s ability to be nimble in lease negotiations resulted in a new long-term agreement with a strong credit tenant.” – Source: Four Corners Property Trust

Executive brings a deep background of financial and operating roles

Good Times Restaurants Inc., owner of Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard, a regional quick-service restaurant chain focused on fresh, high quality, all natural products, and of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, a full service, upscale concept, today announced the resignation of Jim Zielke as Chief Financial Officer and the hiring of Ryan Zink as its new Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Zielke’s resignation as Chief Financial Officer will take effect on July 31, 2017; however, Mr. Zielke will continue as an employee of the Company through August 31, 2017 to facilitate his successor’s transition into the role. Mr. Zielke submitted his formal resignation as a result of an ownership opportunity in a privately held restaurant company. The Company has had prior discussions with Mr. Zink, who worked extensively with Mr. Zielke while at F&H Acquisition Corp, and they will have approximately one month of working together for a transition prior to Mr. Zielke’s departure. Prior to his appointment as Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Zink, 38, was the Corporate Finance Director and Reporting Leader, and previously Operations Controller for INVISTA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc., positions he has held since March 2014. From January 2000 to March 2014, he served in various capacities with F&H Acquisition Corp., parent of the Fox and Hound, and Champps restaurant brands, including Senior Vice President of Finance, and Chief Operating Officer for its Champps concept. Prior to his service with F&H, Mr. Zink worked for KPMG, LLP. “We appreciate all of the hard work and contributions that Jim has made on behalf of the Company over the last two plus years and we wish him well in his new venture. Ryan came highly recommended, not only by Jim but by others that have worked with him inside and outside the restaurant industry for his intellect, work ethic, financial sophistication and experience. He brings the same great combination of internal financial skills and ability to communicate with the financial community as Jim, but also more experience in other roles managing a restaurant company in the public markets,” said Boyd Hoback, President & CEO. “He has extensive experience in the IT, marketing and operating arenas with considerable depth in financial planning, analysis and forecasting. We expect that Ryan will be able to continue to improve on our strong foundation of systems to support our significant expansion plans and help to improve our operating margins by working closely with our operations teams for both brands.” – Source: Good Times Restaurants Inc. (GTIM).

Purchase of The Thompson Company, Braunger Foods and Variety Foods To Expand Midwest Footprint

US Foods announced that it has agreed to acquire broadline distributors, The Thompson Company, Braunger Foods and Variety Foods, owned and operated by TOBA Inc. TOBA Inc. entered food distribution in 1995 with the purchase of The Thompson Company in Grand Island, Nebraska, and expanded with the 2002 acquisition of Braunger Foods located in Sioux City, Iowa, and Variety Foods in 2007, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. With more than $130 million in combined annual sales, the three companies serve independent restaurant, school, grocery and convenience store customers in seven states across the Midwest. “This acquisition allows us to expand further into the Midwest and positions us even closer to our customers,” said Russell Scott, Midwest president, US Foods. “We look forward to building on the expertise of the strong employee base at The Thompson Company, Braunger Foods and Variety Foods and welcoming them to US Foods.” US Foods will continue to operate all three locations and expects to welcome the combined employee base of approximately 250 team members to the company. – Source: US Foods.

Shelly Sun Joins Fast-Casual Sandwich Chain Leadership Team

Capriotti’s sandwich Shop, known for its award-winning, hand-crafted sandwiches, has brought on a team of high profile investors, led by franchising veteran Shelly Sun. Capriotti’s is most famous for its 40-year nightly tradition of slow-roasting whole, all-natural turkeys in-house and hand-shredding them each morning to feature in a variety of fan-favorite subs. This includes The Bobbie, the shop’s acclaimed best-seller, made with homemade turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo on a soft roll. Sun comes to Capriotti’s with an extensive background in franchising. In 2002 she founded BrightStar Care, a nearly $350 million, 300-unit premium healthcare staffing company providing the full continuum of care. Along with running BrightStar Care for the past 15 years, Sun was recently named Chairwoman of the International Franchise Association (IFA) Board of Directors (2017-2018). Sun is also a Certified Franchise Executive and was selected by the IFA as the 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year. Sun also authored her own book, Grow Smart, Risk Less – A Low-Capital Path to Multiplying Your Business through Franchising, in which she discusses her journey as an emerging franchisor through growth, lessons learned and game-changing ideas. “I was first drawn to Capriotti’s by their high-quality ingredients, unique flavor profiles and immense growth potential,” said Sun. “After meeting Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s, I was completely sold on the brand. Ashley demonstrates the leadership and resiliency necessary for success as a franchisor, and made me confident in my decision to invest in the brand.” Capriotti’s has over 100 fast-casual locations across the country and will open 15 new shops in 2017, with the goal of expanding the brand to 500 locations by 2025. “We’re thrilled to have Sun as an addition to the Capriotti’s team, as her experience is invaluable and comes at a pivotal time for the brand,” said David Bloom, Capriotti’s Chief Development Officer. “For years, Capriotti’s has been perfecting our model and products, and now, with the help of Sun and our other investors, we are ready to expand the reach of our brand with a strategic growth strategy.” – Source: Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop.

Powering Great Places to Work by Engaging and Training Employees

Alchemy Systems, the world’s largest training company for the food and retail sectors, has acquired Wisetail. Wisetail has gained wide acclaim for providing restaurants, retailers, and franchises a modern employee learning and engagement platform so that they can deliver a consistent guest experience and foster a great work environment. Wisetail customers include ShakeShack, BJs Restaurants, Jamba Juice, Einstein Bros. Bagels, The Cheesecake Factory, Bonobos, and SoulCycle. The Wisetail acquisition further accelerates Alchemy’s expansion in the restaurant and retail sectors. Together, Alchemy and Wisetail help companies train and engage more than 2.5 million employees at over 35,000 locations. “We are delighted to have the talented Wisetail team join the Alchemy family,” said Jeff Eastman, Alchemy CEO. “Both Alchemy and Wisetail share a passion to help companies build an inspired, engaged, and trained staff that can deliver great guest experiences every time.” “Gallup research reveals that 70 percent of U.S. employees are either unengaged or actively disengaged,” said Eric Chester, expert on culture and emerging workforce trends. “Wisetail has been very successful boosting engagement scores for restaurant and retail brands that are committed to continual employee training and development. They are a perfect fit with Alchemy!” Wisetail will operate as a unit of Alchemy and continue to grow its operations in Bozeman, Montana. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to expand our ability to power great places to work,” said Ali Knapp, Wisetail president. – Source: Alchemy Systems.

Winston Equipment Grant Awarded to the White Bear Lake Area Schools

Winston Foodservice has awarded its annual Winston Equipment Grant Award to the White Bear Lake Area Schools in Minnesota. This annual grant program was established in partnership with the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) to help deserving schools serve hot, nutritious meals to their students. Grant winners may choose any ten pieces of Winston’s CVap® equipment, WBL Area Schools selected ten CVap holding cabinets (models HMA018 and HA4522). The schools’ Student Nutrition Services Director, Bridget Lehn, is frank about the challenges her district faces, and making do with aging equipment, but optimistic about the effect new cabinets will have. “New equipment will increase meal participation due to the improved quality of food. Our current warmers are either scorching food or not keeping it warm enough. Some of the warmers are adding excess moisture or drying out product, all due to inconsistent heating or lack of insulation. Word of mouth moves quickly; the kids are very intuitive and will notice the improved food. When they tell their friends, participation goes up.” – Source: Winston Foodservice, a division of Winston Industries, LLC.

British consumer goods conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser to be acquired by McCormick & Co

McCormick & Co said it would buy the food business of British consumer goods conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser for $4.2 billion to expand its footprint in the attractive condiments category. McCormick expects the hot sauce category will continue to see robust growth and said it would integrate the business, RB Foods, into its consumer and industrial segments, and retain the top brand names like French’s, Frank’s RedHot and Cattlemen’s. The U.S. maker of spices and seasonings has been trying to expand its global presence. Last year it approached Premier Foods, the owner of British food brands like Mr. Kipling cakes and Oxo stock cubes. Premier rejected a twice-improved 65 pence-per-share takeover offer. With the deal, McCormick expects to achieve “meaningful accretion” to margins and adjusted earnings per share, excluding transaction and integration costs. It expects cost synergies of about $50 million, most of which by 2020. The combined entity’s 2017 pro forma net sales are expected to be about $5 billion, McCormick said. Reckitt said the deal was on a cash free, debt-free basis, and it would use the proceeds from the sale to reduce its debt. In April, Reckitt said it was reviewing strategic options for its small food business as it seeks to pay down debt following its planned $16.6 billion purchase of Mead Johnson. Earlier in February, it acquired baby formula maker Mead Johnson, in a surprise deal that gave it a new product line and boosted its business in developing markets. – Source: Reuters.

A group of Minneapolis restaurants will add 3 percent to every customers’ bill in an effort to offset the rising expense of providing health insurance to its employees.

Kim Bartmann, whose restaurants include Barbette, the Red Stag and the eclectic Bryant Lake Bowl, said Thursday that she is making the surcharge, which begins Friday, known to her customers, rather than “raising prices here and there” on various menu items. “Just as people are wanting transparency on where their seafood or beef or vegetables come from,” Bartmann said, “we’re hoping that transparency around this issue in our restaurants is appreciated and encourages people to patronize our locations.” She said she has spoken with many of her employees at the six restaurants, and “I haven’t gotten any negative feedback. I often get thanked [for offering health insurance]. … A lot of restaurants don’t offer insurance.” Along with Barbette, Red Stag and Bryant Lake Bowl, Bartmann is applying the surcharge at Pat’s Tap, Tiny Diner and The Bird. “Health insurance has been going up 20 to 30 percent a year for the last few years, and we can’t continue to sustain those increases,” Bartmann said. She has been offering health care coverage to her employees since 1993. Anyone working 25 or more hours can choose from four plans and also receive dental coverage. Staff members pay 30 percent of the premium, and management picks up the rest. Bartmann said “it’s probably true” that she is the first restaurant operator in the Twin Cities to create a customer surcharge for employee health insurance costs. “I’m probably the first person [in the industry] to try everything,” she said, noting her commitment to being environmentally conscious in how her restaurants operate and in supporting local organic farms through her business decisions. Patrons at Bartmann’s restaurants Thursday had generally favorable views about the surcharge. Norah Shapiro, an independent filmmaker with Flying Pieces Productions and a customer of The Bird in downtown Minneapolis, said she was in favor of it. “People need health insurance,” Shapiro said. “That’s not going to affect my consuming habits, and if anything, I would tend to frequent restaurants that were doing that.” Kellie Bronson, a producer and customer of Barbette in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood, said she supported the surcharge as well. “Totally all for that,” Bronson said. “That’s awesome.” Another Barbette customer, who asked not to be identified, said she supported the idea of raising costs to cover employee’s health insurance, but didn’t see why Burkmann preferred doing so through a surcharge. “Why wouldn’t she just increase her prices and pass the costs along that way?” she said. “I’m just curious.” She said it would be awkward for employees to keep explaining to customers that the surcharge on their bill was for their health care. “I would rather just have the food prices go up,” she said. The federal Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide a health insurance benefit, or pay penalties, if they employ a formula-based equivalent of 50 or more workers clocking 30-plus hours. While Dan McElroy, vice president of the Minnesota Restaurant Association, doesn’t have a firm figure for how many of the state’s 10,000 or so restaurants are subject to the mandate, he’s confident that it’s less than half. McElroy said it’s too early to say whether Bartmann’s move will spur some sort of trend in the Twin Cities among restaurateurs. “Our members are good business people, and they’re not all going to figure it out the same way,” McElroy said. While McElroy said “the association doesn’t have a position” on Bartmann’s surcharge, he called it “creative, and Kim is often a leader. I have heard about this in other markets, but not here.” Employee health coverage is just one of several costs that have been rising for restaurant operators, particularly in Minneapolis, where the minimum wage is climbing from $9.50 to $15 an hour over the next several years. “Commodities are going up, utilities going up,” McElroy said. “Every [restaurant operator] will set their own policy on how they deal with rising costs.” Bruce Nelson, whose Edina-based Nova Restaurant Group counts the Hazellewood Grill and Tap Room and Tavern 4&5 among its locales, said his company has no plan to go the surcharge route but understands why it would be appealing. “There is a competitive disadvantage to [raising] the menu price,” as opposed to breaking out this particular expense for diners to see, said Nelson, who is Nova’s chief financial officer. “We’re all trying to figure it out; how we adjust.” – Source: (Minneapolis, MN).

Starbucks to close all 379 Teavana units by the end of next year

Starbucks announced they are shuttering all 379 Teavana units by the end of next year, ending a diversification strategy that began with some promise but ultimately yielded little other than new brands being incorporated into existing Starbucks locations. Starbucks roster of acquisitions included Evolution Fresh in 2011 for $30 million. The freestanding juice stores (four were opened) were short lived but the brand continues to be marketed in Starbucks stores as well as thousands of free standing locations. La Boulange was acquired in 2012 for $100 million with the plan of opening new units and using the brand to improve food offerings within Starbucks. Twenty-three stores were shuttered in 2015 and Starbucks continues to evolve its in-store food offerings. The biggest acquisition was Teavana, purchased for $620 million in 2012. At the time, the company intended to grow Teavana in malls, their primary outlet but also experimented with a number of free standing Teavana bars that were a café format. And, of course, the Teavana brand is now a staple within Starbucks, a $1 billion brand and growing within their locations. Closing 379 stores that were once a profitable business seems an extraordinary step to take. While Starbucks warned of underperformance in their last earnings call, the closure of the chain suggests significant underlying problems that were not easily remedied. The cost of closing these stores was not disclosed but we would expect that they have significant lease obligations to meet that will make this an expensive proposition. No doubt that underlying issues at shopping centers who are experiencing declining traffic is somewhat to blame—but is a bit difficult to understand how the business could deteriorate so quickly. In the scheme of things, the argument can easily be made that the end justified the means: even though these businesses have not yielded alternative retail growth, the brands have made (and continue to make) contributions to the core Starbucks brand, which has been on a roll for many years. However, it also points out a flaw in how the company has pursued acquisitions. While they may work to shore up the brand portfolio, Starbucks has yet to figure out a way to diversify their retail portfolio. I would suspect that they will approach future acquisitions a bit more cautiously. Even for a company as strong as Starbucks, this is going to sting a little. – Source:

Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. has reached an agreement to acquire Chicago-based East Balt Bakeries from One Equity Partners for $650 million.

The acquisition is expected to give Grupo Bimbo additional reach in the global food service segment. “East Balt brings significant expertise, a remarkable track record of profitable growth, and a geographically diverse and highly scalable platform in the food service segment, complementing our current business within this channel,” said Daniel Servitje, chairman and chief executive officer of Grupo Bimbo. “This acquisition continues to fulfill our vision of expanding our global reach to better serve more consumers, with entry to eight new countries. Notably, East Balt enjoys long-standing strategic relationships with the largest and most established Q.S.R. brands in the world. We look forward to welcoming all of East Balt’s associates to the Grupo Bimbo family and to our continued growth together.” Founded in 1955, East Balt produces and supplies buns, English muffins, rolls, tortillas, bagels, artisanal bread and other baked foods to quick-service restaurants around the world. The company employs approximately 2,200 and operates 21 bakeries in 11 countries across the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The company generated sales of approximately $420 million and EBITDA of $70 million in the most recent fiscal year. Acquired by One Equity Partners, the private investment arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co., in 2012, East Balt’s roots date to 1939 when Louis Kuchuris acquired Mary Ann, a bankrupt bakery on the northwest side of Chicago that produced a line of bread, rolls, buns and pastries. Under the ownership of Mr. Kuchuris, Mary Ann serviced restaurants, snack shops, drive-ins, hotels, schools and caterers. The course of the business changed in 1955 when, on a handshake with Ray Kroc, Mr. Kuchuris agreed to begin supplying buns to Chicago-area McDonald’s restaurants owned by the emerging fast food pioneer. In 1969, Mr. Kuchuris built East Balt Commissary, an automatic bun bakery that exclusively serviced 40 McDonald’s in the Chicago area. In 2015, East Balt acquired The Wendy’s Co.’s Zanesville, Ohio-based bakery business, known as The New Bakery Co., L.L.C. Mark Bendix, CEO of East Balt, said the company is “pleased” to become a part of the Grupo Bimbo family. “The combination between East Balt and Grupo Bimbo provides exceptional new business opportunities, including broad product capabilities, custom sandwich carriers in the food service channel and expanded global reach,” Mr. Bendix said. Guillermo Quiroz, chief financial officer of Grupo Bimbo, said the acquisition — in terms of margins, earnings per share and profitability — supports the company’s value creation objectives. “To fund the transaction, Grupo Bimbo will utilize an existing committed long-term revolving credit facility, which preserves the company’s financial flexibility and healthy credit profile,” Mr. Quiroz said. “After giving effect to the transaction, we expect a pro-forma total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 2.8 times.” Earlier this year, Grupo Bimbo entered the Indian market with the acquisition of a 65% stake in Ready Roti India Private Ltd., a New Delhi, India-based maker of bread, pizza bases, and sweet and savory buns. The company also this year entered the African market through the acquisition of Grupo Adghal, and acquired Panettiere, a frozen baked foods business based in Bogota, Colombia. – Source: Food Business News.

Annie Young-Scrivner has been named chief executive officer of premium chocolate brand Godiva, part of the Pladis family of businesses under Yildiz Holding.

Ms. Young-Scrivner joins Godiva from Starbucks Coffee Co., where most recently she was executive vice-president, Global Digital and Loyalty Development. During her eight-year tenure at Starbucks, she also was president of Teavana and executive vice-president, Global Tea, president of Starbucks Canada, and global chief marketing officer and president of Tazo Tea. Prior to Starbucks, she held senior leadership and general management roles at PepsiCo, Inc., including president and chairman of PepsiCo Food in China. As CEO of Godiva, Ms. Young-Scrivner will lead the continued development of markets, including Japan, China and North America, as well as the brand’s global travel retail business. She succeeds Mohamed Elsarky, c.e.o. and president, who will step down from his role to focus on new projects. Mr. Elsarky will remain on the leadership team within Yildiz Holding. “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Annie Young-Scrivner as CEO of Godiva,” said Murat Ulker, chairman of Godiva. “She is a highly experienced and talented executive who will play a major role in digitizing the company, globalizing our e-business and improving customer experience in our retail boutiques.” – Source: Food Business News.

Former Wendy’s and Arby’s leader joins coffee chain

Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. named Roland Smith to its board of directors. Smith served as president and CEO of The Wendy’s Company and CEO of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. as well as CEO of Office Depot Inc. “Roland is a veteran public company CEO with experience in a broad range of industries, including consumer goods, quick-service restaurants, and grocery and specialty retail stores,” Travis said of the West Point graduate via release. “His track record of delivering strong business results, including growing revenue and increasing operating profit, as well as his more than 30 years spent heading up complex, global companies, will greatly benefit Dunkin’ Brands as we work to position both our brands for success.” The chain also appointed Jason Maceda to senior vice president of Baskin-Robbins U.S. and Canada. Maceda is a 19-year Dunkin’ vet and most recently served as the company’s VP of U.S. Financial Planning and Corporate Real Estate. “During his tenure with Dunkin’ Brands, Jason has contributed greatly to our success. He has a strategic financial mind but has never confined himself to a traditional financial role in the corporate office,” said chairman and CEO, Nigel Travis via statement. “He has also served as business partner to our operations teams, both Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts, and has been actively engaged in the field and the day-to-day business of the restaurants.”  Dunkin’ Brands is based in Canton, Mass. and is currently distributed in more than 60 countries. – Source: NRN.

Advent International announced that it has agreed to make a majority investment in First Watch Restaurants Inc.,

Advent International, one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors, announced that it has agreed to make a majority investment in First Watch Restaurants Inc., the prominent breakfast, brunch, and lunch concept. First Watch’s existing management team will continue to lead the company and will retain a meaningful equity stake in the business. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks. Financial terms were not disclosed. First Watch is a portfolio company of Freeman Spogli & Co. Headquartered in University Park, Florida, and founded in 1983, First Watch operates full-service daytime cafés under the First Watch and The Egg & I brands. The restaurants serve breakfast, brunch and lunch from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., seven days a week. The company provides customers a unique farm-to-table experience through a variety of healthy, traditional and indulgent offerings, with a focus on fresh ingredients and outstanding service. First Watch currently has more than 300 locations across 26 states, predominantly in Florida, Texas, Ohio, Colorado, and Arizona. “First Watch is a fresh and modern restaurant concept, serving craveable food with exceptional customer service,” said Tricia Patrick, Managing Director at Advent. “We are excited to partner with Ken Pendery, Chris Tomasso and the talented management team at First Watch, and to lend our expertise to support continued restaurant expansion, digital investment and innovation in the breakfast category. First Watch is strongly aligned with trends toward healthier eating and better ingredients, and positioned to not only grow within existing markets but also to expand the unique concept to guests in new geographies.” “This is an exciting time for us at First Watch, and we are very pleased to be working with Advent as we enter our next phase of growth,” says Kenneth L. Pendery Jr., chief executive officer of First Watch. “With Advent’s support, we look forward to deepening our connection with consumers, building on our core business of serving healthy, high-quality breakfast, brunch and lunch, and continuing our thoughtful approach to driving significant value. We sincerely thank the team at Freeman Spogli for their trust, support and partnership in helping us to significantly expand our brand and solidify our position as the premier daytime-only restaurant concept in the United States.” In recent years, First Watch has executed an aggressive growth plan, nearly tripling its total number of restaurants through organic company-owned restaurant growth, franchising and acquisitions. This plan has led to growth in revenue and EBITDA. For First Watch, 2016 marked 33 years of positive same-store sales growth, as the company finished the year up 7 percent supported by positive traffic. The brand’s strong performance can be attributed to maintaining a focus on delivering a superior, differentiated customer experience and culinary offering at an exceptional value that continues to resonate with a broad consumer demographic. “We are pleased with First Watch’s performance during our partnership,” says John Roth, Chief Executive Officer at Freeman Spogli. “During our time together, the company has delivered industry-leading results, including 26 straight quarters of positive same-store sales, while increasing average unit volumes by 22 percent and nearly tripling EBITDA. We have enjoyed working with Ken and the First Watch team, and look forward to watching the business continue to succeed with Advent’s support and expertise.” Advent International has significant investment experience in the retail, consumer and leisure industry. Over the past 27 years, the firm has invested more than $9 billion in 71 companies in the sector worldwide. In addition to First Watch, recent North American investments include Sovos Brands, whose businesses include Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods and Rao’s Specialty Foods; Noosa Yoghurt, lululemon athletica, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Serta Simmons Bedding, Party City, Bojangles’ and Five Below. Jefferies and North Point Advisors are acting as financial advisors, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius is acting as legal advisor to First Watch and Freeman Spogli in connection with the transaction. Weil, Gotshal & Manges is serving as legal advisor to Advent International. – Source:

Buffalo Wild Wings just opened a new type of store to win back millennials who are ditching the chain

A millennials ditch the casual dining industry, Buffalo Wild Wings is hoping that a new type of store can reinvigorate the business. On Monday, the chain opened its first B-Dubs Express location in Edina, Minnesota. The new location, along with a similar model in Hopkins, Minnesota, that is set to open in early August, will be counter-service and more focused on take-out, though they will still have televisions showing sports. In contrast to the typical expansive Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar, the locations will only have seating for 35 to 50 customers. Buffalo Wild Wings has struggled to attract customers in recent months, something that executives have blamed, in part, on millennials’ dining preferences. The convenience-centric express locations seem to be an attempt to address this issue. “Millennial consumers are more attracted than their elders to cooking at home, ordering delivery from restaurants, and eating quickly, in fast-casual or quick-serve restaurants,” Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith recently wrote in a letter to shareholders. Source: Business Insider.

NRA Leaders Offer Insights

Restaurant operators who are finding it harder to attract and retain good employees aren’t imagining things. The demographics of the American workforce are changing in ways that make it particularly difficult for the restaurant industry to find and keep good help. The improving economy isn’t making it any easier. The number of restaurant industry jobs is projected to grow from 14.7 million in 2017 to 16.3 million in 2027, said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, who discussed the issue during a panel at May’s NRA show in Chicago. Every year, there are 600,000 positions that need to be filled – both new positions and openings caused by turnover. Restaurant operators often feel helpless when it comes to filling those positions, said Gifford, who mentioned that a recent NRA survey found that labor issues top restaurateurs’ list of concerns. “We know that labor challenges now are intense in the industry,” Gifford said during his session about attracting and retaining talent in a challenging environment. “Staffing is the biggest barrier right now to your success.” Challenging demographics. The nation’s age demographics aren’t helping matters for restaurants. Where the restaurant industry has historically relied on people 16-to-24 years of age to fill positions, that segment will decline by 2.8 million in 10 years. “There’s a demographic trough of younger workers,” Gifford said. “You’re competing for fewer young people than previously existed.” Given this reality, the only options are to recruit more from other age groups or be more successful recruiting younger employees. To attract younger employees, it’s important to recognize what motivates them to select an employer. Younger people are less motivated by salary than by the employer’s commitment to training and development, Gifford said. Training and development opportunities are the leading motivators for younger employees. “It conveys your interest in them and their futures,” Gifford said. “They are hungry for training and development, and are often looking for it on their own.” When employees leave their jobs, it is usually on account of what they perceive as insufficient employer investment in these areas as opposed to financial compensation. The cost of worker turnover. Employers should also consider the cost of employee turnover, according to Gifford, who said there was a direct correlation between employee turnover and sales. Companies with lower turnover than their competitors had 0.8 percent higher traffic whereas those with higher turnover than competitors had 1.4 percent lower traffic, according to one study. Breaking it down by segment. Comparing different restaurant segments, quick serve restaurants had the highest turnover for both hourly employees and managers in 2016 – 150 percent and 55 percent respectively – while upscale casual and fine dining had the lowest turnover – 89 percent for hourly employees and 32 percent for upscale casual and fine dining. Fast casual and family dining had 119 percent turnover for hourly workers and 41 percent for managers, while casual dining establishments had 114 percent turnover for hourly employees and 33 percent for managers. Gifford also provided numbers that gave hard costs to turnover. Replacing an hourly worker costs $2,004 on average, for example, while replacing a manager costs $13,523. This translates to $130,000 per year for a restaurant with 50 hourly employees. Finding and keeping employees. The restaurant industry could do a better job of informing the public about how important it is to the economy. One out of every three jobs are in the industry, Gifford said, and 36 positions within the category pay an annual salary of $45,000 or more. Too many people view a job in a restaurant as a temporary career move, he said. To attract better quality employees, the industry needs to find more workers who are looking for long-term employment. Chip Romp, NRA senior director of training and quality, talked about the importance of having an “ambassador” to go out and find good employees. Employers should go to other retail establishments and look for the people on the “front lines” – the first ones to interact with customers. Employees can help, too. Employee referral bonuses are also important, Romp said. He suggested rewarding an employee $50 for bringing in a new employee and another $250 after 90 days. Don’t wait for the referrals to contact you, Romp said. Go out and visit them in person. He also said restaurants should hold “grand celebrations” to honor employee performance in some way. These events should involve the entire staff. Most restaurants invest in promoting their food to customers but fail to invest in rewarding employees, he said. As for retention, employee orientations are an important first step, according to Sara Anderson, NRA director of workforce development. The orientation is the opportunity to describe the company culture and explain what is expected of the employee and why. Hourly employees should be given four hours of introductory job training, she said. “It has to be continuous and it has to go on,” she said. And don’t forget the people who give the training. Management is responsible for training the trainers, Anderson said. As with hourly employees, the trainers should be formally recognized for their performance as leaders. “Invest in the people that are training your staff,” she said. Culver’s is a great example of a brand who understands training, Anderson said. The chain hosts ongoing training and special events to formally recognize employee performance. – Source: Pizza

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Craig Wilson

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