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Restaurant M&A Activity Robust, Thanks To Private Equity

Private equity groups bought a lot of restaurants in 2012. According to the latest Chain Restaurant Merger & Acquisition Census from the Chicago-based investment banker J.H. Chapman, acquisitions in the restaurant industry leveled off last year, but at a robust clip, led by equity firms.

On Wall Street, Franchisees Struggle To Keep Pace

The growing size of some of country’s largest restaurant franchisees, and the interest in those companies by private equity groups, has some people wondering whether we’ll see some franchisees go public soon. Maybe, but if they do such companies tend to perform poorly on Wall Street.

Buffalo Wild Wings Invests In PizzaRev

Buffalo Wild Wings took its first step toward becoming a multi-concept operator today, when it announced that it has made a minority investment in PizzaRev, a Los Angeles-based fast casual pizza chain whose reputation makes it seem much larger than its three units.

Fiesta Blossoms On Its Own

It’s amazing how fast you can run when one of your feet isn’t stuck in a bucket. That’s been the experience of Fiesta Restaurant Group, the Texas-based operator of a pair of Mexican fast casual restaurants that has flourished on Wall Street since being spun off by Carrols Restaurant Group.

Are Restaurants Pointing To A Recession?

Restaurants can be a canary in a coalmine. Consider that casual dining sales began turning in 2007 and 2008, before anybody had ever uttered the word “recession.” If that’s the case, then we should probably worry about a recent run of negative numbers coming from the industry.

Families Give Pizza Chains A Big Boost

We’re years into a supposed economic recovery and, though things are looking up, spending remains frustratingly restrained. Consumers continue to focus on value and convenience above everything else. This might be the perfect environment for pizza chains, which have been performing extremely well.

Chidsey Making Something Of A Comeback

John Chidsey is back in the restaurant business. Sort of. The former chairman and CEO of Burger King is making a comeback of sorts with a restaurant-focused technology company known as Red Book Connect—a cloud-based suite of back-of-the-house software services.

Concerns Not Holding Lenders Or Buyers Back

Concerns abound in the restaurant industry at the moment: the payroll tax, a looming health insurance mandate, commodity costs and a desire by politicians and the public to boost the minimum wage to $9 an hour. But lenders targeting the restaurant industry don’t appear overly concerned by any of these issues.

Is Casual Dining In A Tailspin?

As they’ve come out with their fourth quarter financials, a number of casual dining restaurant chains, including BJ’s Restaurant Group and DineEquity, have uttered dismal warnings about the current year. Now we’ve got our first evidence of how bad it might be for them, thanks to Knapp Track.

Can Servant Leadership Help Popeyes Sustain Success?

The first person we saw upon pulling in the parking lot at the newly opened Popeyes in suburban Minneapolis was a much needed traffic cop. Inside, there was barely enough room to fit all the customers. This once sleepy chicken chain has indeed become a hot ticket, but now it has to sustain that success.

Landry's Questions Ark Restaurants Board's Motives

Having been rejected, and on Valentine’s Day no less, Tilman Fertitta is no longer playing Mr. Nice Guy. Fertitta’s company, Landry’s Restaurants, sent a letter this week to Ark Restaurants’ board, questioning its motives in rejecting Fertitta’s $22-per-share offer for the company last month.

Chicken Wing Prices Take A Big Turn South

No commodity is as fascinating to track as the chicken wing, simply because few commodities have gone through such wild swings in prices—low prices one year, high prices the next. Now, it appears, chicken wings are heading back downward again just weeks after surpassing the ungodly $2.10 mark.

Restaurant Stocks Join Wall Street's Party

Stocks have hit records over the past two days, despite looming federal budget cuts, because of a series of encouraging economic reports. Many restaurant stocks have followed suit: several of them, in fact, from AFC Enterprises to Wendy’s, are trading at or near 52-week highs. Do these stocks deserve it?

Le Duff Starts Working On Mimi's

Bob Evans didn’t get a whole lot for its Mimi’s Café brand last month largely because the chain didn’t make much of a profit. And low profits typically yield low multiples. So it has to be tempting for its new owner to start slashing costs, right? Perhaps, but Le Duff America insists that won’t be the case.

Activist To Get Seat On Famous Dave's Board

If you can’t beat them, put them on your board so you won’t have to bother. That’s what Minneapolis-based Famous Dave’s is doing with its activist, Patrick Walsh. The barbecue chain said today that it has agreed to place Walsh among its slate of director nominees, so long as he doesn’t buy up too much stock.