KFC finally appears to be getting out from under the shadow of its famous founder. The venerable Louisville-based chicken chain today said it plans to offer a new line of boneless chicken, a move that could arguably be the chain’s biggest product introduction since Extra Crispy.
Analysts have recently come to believe that the restaurant industry is headed for a better spring, and the chain that may be benefitting the most from that epiphany is Panera Bread, the recipient of a pair of upgrades that took the chain’s stock to an all-time high today—over $175 a share.
OK, so remember how restaurant sales started weakening late last year, then turned starkly south in January and February, sparking fears of another economic slowdown as restaurateurs and even some economists likened the situation to 2008? Yeah, about that. Never mind.
Dallas-based casual dining chain Chili’s is getting ready to roll out its new pizza nationwide this month, the company’s first test of new ovens that give the chain the ability to make just about anything. The pizzas could open the chain to new demographics with an item that is more profitable than its typical fare.
News flash: traffic was down last month. According to the latest Restaurant Performance Index from the National Restaurant Association, the industry’s sales and traffic fell last month, taking the index into contraction territory for the fourth time in the past five months.
We’ve seen Jim Greco at several conferences over the past year, and each time he confidently declared that one day Sbarro would become the premier fast-casual Italian chain in the country. So we were surprised today to find out that Sbarro replaced Greco as its CEO just 14 months after he took the job.
Those of you who use the Internet might have come across a photo of a North Carolina billboard recently in which a woman named Jennifer told off her cheating husband. As it turns out, said billboard, followed by other billboards and a video, was all a marketing ploy—for a billboard company owned by none other than one Marty Kotis.
Among the biggest trends we’ve seen in recent years has been the eager investment by private equity groups into the franchise sector. Here’s another one: Acon Investments, a Washington D.C.-based private equity group that recently bought 40 Applebee’s units in the Midwest and hopes to do more.
The second location of the Austin juice and smoothie concept Daily Juice was in the basement of an old house that was converted for business use. And yet it still sold a lot of smoothies. So the concept should be really popular with a little refinement, right? John Martin thinks it will.
Is the restaurant deal dead? Maybe not, but deal-based restaurant traffic continues to diminish, according to the Chicago-based market research firm NPD Group, which found that restaurant visits on a deal, including coupons, BOGO deals and discounts, fell 3 percent last year.
Commodity spikes have befuddled the restaurant industry periodically for years, but especially so at Taco Cabana, the Texas-based Mexican chain that’s part of the Fiesta Restaurant Group. The problem: Every time the company increased prices to meet those costs, its traffic would suffer.
Tilman Fertitta took Landry’s Restaurants private in 2010 after a 17-year run in the public markets. He’s since expanded his holdings considerably, adding a long lineup of chains from Claim Jumper to Morton’s and is now eyeing Ark Restaurants. Could he be setting up for a return to Wall Street?
The restaurant industry had a good 2012, or at least the 500 largest chains did, according to Technomic. The Chicago-based restaurant consulting firm said today that sales for the 500 largest concepts grew 4.9 percent last year—a post-recessionary peak.
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.
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.
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