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Wendy’s sells 12.3% ownership interest in Inspire Brands for $450m

Eat Out Magazine - Fri, 2018-08-17 00:00

American quick service restaurant (QSR) chain Wendy’s has completed the sale of its 12.3% ownership interest in Inspire Brands, the owner of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and R Taco, back to the company for $450m.

The transaction has received approval from the board of directors of Wendy’s and represents a 38% premium on its previous valuation of the investment.

According to the QSR chain, the deals offer future flexibility to invest in the growth of its brand and increase its share repurchase programme.

Wendy’s board of directors chairman Nelson Peltz said: “The sale of our stake in Inspire Brands for $450m is a great return on this investment for our shareholders.

“The opportunity to monetise our investment in Inspire Brands will allow us to invest in future growth for the Wendy’s brand and company, which is our top priority.”

“Over the past seven years, Wendy’s and its shareholders have benefitted from more than $100m in distributions and the monetisation of this investment carries a 38% premium over its most recent valuation.”

As part of the transaction, Wendy’s is expecting approximately $335m of cash proceeds net of tax. The company closed the transaction on 16 August.

The company is also currently in the process of developing additional plans to use the proceeds from this transaction.

Wendy’s president and chief executive officer Todd Penegor said: “We have benefited from and enjoyed our partnership with Inspire, and we wish Paul Brown and the team continued success in the future.

“The opportunity to monetise our investment in Inspire Brands will allow us to invest in future growth for the Wendy’s brand and company, which is our top priority.

“The flexibility provided by the sale proceeds and the additional share repurchase authorisation through 2019 will also allow us to continue to create value for our shareholders.”

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Categories: Restaurant News

McDonald’s expands menu in US with new chicken recipe

Eat Out Magazine - Fri, 2018-08-17 00:00

Global fast-food chain McDonald’s has expanded its menu with the addition of sweet ‘n’ spicy honey BBQ glazed chicken tenders.

The item is available in four-piece, six-piece and ten-piece servings at participating restaurants across the US for a limited time.

The chicken is made with McDonald’s buttermilk tenders mixed up with sweet ‘n’ spicy honey BBQ glaze. The glaze is prepared with brown sugar and a range of spices such as chilli pepper, garlic powder and paprika.

“We are building on the success of our buttermilk crispy tenders by offering a new craveable sweet and spicy taste.”

McDonald’s US menu and brand strategy vice-president Linda VanGosen said: “We share our customers’ love of chicken. A better McDonald’s means more chicken options and delicious new tastes.

“We are building on the success of our buttermilk crispy tenders by offering a new craveable sweet and spicy taste we know our guests will love.”

McDonald’s is also offering customers a chance to order the new BBQ glazed chicken tenders through its McDelivery service on UberEats.

The fast food chain introduced a classic chicken sandwich in January this year, buttermilk crispy tenders in late 2017 and chicken McNuggets in mid-2016.

The classic chicken sandwich is made using white meat chicken filet, the chain’s signature sauce and tart pickles served on a steamed bun.

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Categories: Restaurant News

Lagardère to buy foodservice operator Hojeij Branded Foods for $330m

Eat Out Magazine - Fri, 2018-08-17 00:00

Lagardère Travel Retail has entered into an agreement to acquire North American airport foodservice operator Hojeij Branded Foods (HBF) for $330m.

Established in 1996, the Atlanta-headquartered HBF currently operates more than 124 bars and restaurants in 38 airports across the US and Canada.

The company has 40 brand relationships and proprietary concepts across full service, fast casual and quick service segments such as illyCaffè, LongHorn Steakhouse, Chick­Fil-A, PF Chang’s, Pei Wei and Cat Cora.

Hojeij Branded Foods also acquired Vino Volo, an airport wine bar chain in the US and Canada last year.

“The integration will create a $1.1bn business in the North American travel retail and foodservice industry.”

The transaction is currently subject to various customary conditions including regulatory approval and third-party consents.

Following the completion of the transaction, the travel company will integrate HBF with its North American division Paradies Lagardère.

Lagardère chairman and CEO Dag Rasmussen said: “This acquisition strongly reinforces the presence of Lagardère Travel Retail in the foodservice industry and is in line with our strategy to grow in the three segments of travel retail: duty free & fashion, travel essentials and foodservice.

“It allows us to expand our concession portfolio and to develop relationships with our brand partners and suppliers. We are very pleased to welcome HBF into our group. Together, we will aim to create a regional leader and break new ground.”

According to the company, the integration will create a $1.1bn business in the North American travel retail and foodservice industry.

Lagardère will also enter a new phase by reinforcing its presence in North America by adding new retail spaces in airports, as well as seizing growth opportunities across all market segments in the US and Canada.

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Categories: Restaurant News

NRA and Beam Suntory partner to promote drinking awareness programmes

Eat Out Magazine - Fri, 2018-08-17 00:00

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has partnered with premium spirits company Beam Suntory to provide programmes on safe drinking awareness.

The ServSafe Alcohol programme is a premier alcohol service training scheme developed by NRA, while the Drink Smart programme from Beam Suntory is to educate consumers about the responsible consumption of alcohol.

As part of the partnership, Beam Suntory and NRA will develop co-branded content for the restaurant and hospitality industry for alcohol safety awareness.

ServSafe training and certification executive vice-president Sherman Brown said: “This partnership demonstrates Beam Suntory’s commitment to responsible service and consumption of alcohol.

“Partnering with retailers and restaurants is critical to ensuring that alcohol is served appropriately, and everyone stays safe.”

“Our entire association and broader industry will benefit from our shared commitment to educating employees in responsible alcohol service.”

The partnership will extend the Drink Smart platform into responsible alcohol service at retail and restaurant locations.

NRA will offer co-branded educational materials for the ServSafe Alcohol programme in the fourth quarter.

Beam Suntory national accounts on-premise vice-president Ken Ruff said: “We are so pleased to be partnering with the National Restaurant Association and know that this relationship will send a strong message about the commitment of our entire brand portfolio to responsible beverage service by the trade and responsible consumption by consumers.

“As part of our global commitment to reduce alcohol misuse, partnering with retailers and restaurants is critical to ensuring that alcohol is served appropriately, and everyone stays safe.”

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Categories: Restaurant News

Thai Satay Restaurant pays $313,742 to resolve wage violations in US

Eat Out Magazine - Thu, 2018-08-16 00:00

US-based Thai Satay Restaurant has paid $313,742 to resolve wage violations following an investigation by the US Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD).

As part of the settlement, the restaurant chain has paid the amount in back wages and liquidated damages to 20 employees at its South San Francisco and San Mateo locations.

The WHD investigation found that the company violated minimum wage requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

“This case highlights our commitment to levelling the playing field for employers and to ensuring that employees receive their rightfully earned wages.”

The FLSA establishes that workers are entitled to a minimum wage of at least $7.25 per hour and must receive overtime pay for hours worked exceeding 40 per working week at a rate not less than 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.

According to WHD investigators, the employees worked for more than 40 hours a week with no additional payment resulting in overtime violations.

However, the restaurant chain had paid flat salaries to some employees insufficient to cover all of the hours that they worked.

In addition, investigators noted that Thai Satay failed to maintain records of the number of hours worked by employees resulting in recordkeeping violations under the FLSA.

San Francisco WHD district director Susana Blanco said: “No employer should gain a competitive advantage by failing to pay its workers in compliance with the law.

“This case highlights our commitment to levelling the playing field for employers and to ensuring that employees receive their rightfully earned wages.”

The post Thai Satay Restaurant pays $313,742 to resolve wage violations in US appeared first on Verdict Foodservice.

Categories: Restaurant News

US consumers spent more at restaurants over last three months

Eat Out Magazine - Thu, 2018-08-16 00:00

US consumers have contributed to a spending surge in restaurants over the last three months, according to the latest figures from the Commerce Department.

Sales at restaurants and drinking outlets increased by 1.3% in July to $61.6bn, taking the three-month annualised gain to 25.3%, which is the fastest growth pace since 1992.

According to NatWest Markets analysts Kevin Cummins and Michelle Girard, the figures indicate ‘consumers remain quite comfortable with their personal financial situation and the economic outlook.’

Omair Sharif of Societe Generale stated that eateries contributed to 30% of the July growth in retail sales, although only 12% of the total.

“US consumers are spending their additional cash from tax cuts on eating out.”

Sharif noted: “Any mean reversion here would lead to a noticeably slower pace of retail sales in the coming months.”

One reason could be that US consumers are spending their additional cash from tax cuts on eating out. Several major restaurant companies have increased prices in the recent past to meet higher minimum wages and rent costs.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Sharif stated the gains could be partly because of the price increases associated with a hike in labour costs.

In July this year, McDonald’s posted a gain in the key measure of same-store sales, although its customer traffic dipped in its US market, indicating that fewer consumers are dining out but are spending more.

Restaurants across the industry are attracting diners through delivery services and discounts.

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Categories: Restaurant News

QSR Church’s Chicken expands delivery service in US

Eat Out Magazine - Thu, 2018-08-16 00:00

US-based quick service restaurant (QSR) chain Church’s Chicken has partnered with multiple third-party providers to launch its door-to-door US delivery service.

The QSR chain is currently offering its ‘Dealivery Programme’ from more than 200 restaurants through partnerships with major players DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates and Uber Eats.

The company’s delivery service will further expand with the addition of 450 restaurants to the network by the end of this month.

Church’s Chicken global chief marketing officer and executive vice-president Hector Muñoz said: “Adding delivery has been a key objective for the entire Church’s system this year.

“The restaurant chain is also testing independent delivery providers in markets which are not served by major delivery services.”

“It ties directly into our brand promise of giving guests an abundance of choice, flavour, and variety at a fair price whenever and wherever our guests want to enjoy it.”

As part of the partnership, participating restaurants have signed on with more than one third-party partner to ensure accessibility to more customers.

The restaurant chain is also testing independent delivery providers in markets which are not served by major delivery services.

Through its ‘Dealivery Programme’, the company will offer its staple menu items such as fried chicken and tender strips in original and spicy flavours, honey-butter biscuits, coleslaw, jalapeno bombers, and a range of sides including corn on the cob, fried okra, baked macaroni and cheese, along with desserts, fountain drinks and iced tea.

Church’s Chicken is activating its ‘Dealivery Programme’ across all restaurants within the service area of at least one third-party logistics partner.

Customers also have the option to select their provider of choice while placing orders from restaurants served by multiple providers.

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Categories: Restaurant News

Investment firms explore buyout of fast-food company Yum China

Eat Out Magazine - Thu, 2018-08-16 00:00

Investment firms are looking to buyout Yum China Holdings which operates quick service restaurant chains KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

In 2016, Yum China, which had a valuation of $13.6bn as per its closing price on 14 April, was split from owner Yum Brands! Inc and then listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Yum China currently has more than 8,100 restaurants in more than 1,200 cities.

Chinese investment firm Hillhouse Capital Group is intending to lead an association to acquire the restaurant operator in what could be one of the biggest M&A deals in Asia this year, according to Reuters sources.

“Global investment firm KKR & Co and Hong Kong-based regional firm Baring Private Equity Asia are also exploring the option to invest in the acquisition.”

Hillhouse has secured commitments worth more than $10bn for a new private equity fund. According to two sources, the investment firm has already tapped financiers for potential lending for the acquisition, as well as other investors to join them in the deal.

Previous Yum China chairman and CEO Sam Su, who has played a key role in its expansion in the country, currently is an operating partner at Hillhouse.

Global investment firm KKR & Co and Hong Kong-based regional firm Baring Private Equity Asia are also exploring the option to invest in the acquisition.

A decision is reportedly yet to be made on this buyout.

In January, Yum China opened two new Mexican-inspired Taco Bell restaurants in Shanghai.

The new outlets are located in a shopping mall in Wu Jiao Chang, and Feng Sheng Li, a lifestyle hub in Shanghai.

The chain has exclusive rights in mainland China to Taco Bell, which opened its first outlet in the country in 2016.

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Categories: Restaurant News

Somma Foods chooses KeyImpact to reach foodservice operators in US markets

Eat Out Magazine - Wed, 2018-08-15 00:00

US-based food supplier Somma Foods has selected KeyImpact Sales & Systems as its national broker for sales and marketing.

As part of the deal, KeyImpact will help the supplier implement targeted sales strategies in key regions.

Somma Foods sales vice-president Mark Rodriguez said: “Our team is excited to partner with KeyImpact to reach foodservice operators in markets throughout the US.

“KeyImpact shares our commitment to customer service, and with their experienced sales team and strong network of K-12 industry contacts, we are confident that our products will be well-represented.”

“Somma Foods brings high quality, innovative and on-trend products to grow our mutual business in today’s marketplace.”

Somma Foods will offer a range of clean label protein products such as grass-fed beef and antibiotics-free chicken to customers through KeyImpact’s portfolio.

The food supplier offers chicken, beef, dairy and finished food products for foodservice and retail markets. Its portfolio features a range of brands such as Chickentopia products and Merrywood Farms clean label beef, poultry and dairy products.

KeyImpact education division vice-president Gary Vonck said: “We are proud to partner with the Somma Foods team.

“Somma Foods brings high quality, innovative and on-trend products to grow our mutual business in today’s marketplace.”

Established in 2000, KeyImpact represents manufacturers in the food and packaging industries. It offers sales and marketing services to distributors and operators across all segments of the foodservice channel.

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Categories: Restaurant News

Boston’s expands menu with new appetiser lineup

Eat Out Magazine - Wed, 2018-08-15 00:00

US-based casual dining restaurant chain Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar has expanded its menu with the launch of a new appetiser lineup.

Available across all of Boston’s locations, the appetiser line-up features risotto balls, cactus cut potatoes, Thai bites and buffalo cauliflower.

Risotto balls are made using Parmesan risotto rolled in breadcrumbs and lightly fried. It is served with a side of homemade Pomodoro sauce.

Cactus cut potatoes features thinly-sliced potatoes served with a cactus dip, while Thai bites include breaded and fried shrimp served with Asian noodles, carrots, green onions and sesame seeds.

“These new offerings are just the beginning as we continue to elevate our brand and offer our guests a great dining experience all around.”

Buffalo cauliflower contains lightly battered and fried cauliflower florets, buffalo sauce, bleu cheese dressing and cabbage. It is topped with crumbled bleu cheese and sliced scallions.

Boston’s marketing senior director Katie Borger said: “Boston’s wants to be the one stop shop for sports fans this football season, so we’ve introduced four new delicious starters guaranteed to meet every fan’s craving.

“Just like our shareable gourmet pizzas, we are happy to continue serving large groups of guests with our new range of unique and delicious shareable appetisers. These new offerings are just the beginning as we continue to elevate our brand and offer our guests a great dining experience all around.”

The dining chain is also offering beverage choices such as Bloody Hail Mary featuring a jalapeno-infused Bloody Mary mix.

Based in Dallas, Boston’s currently operates 23 locations in 16 states across the US, while its sister brand Boston Pizza operates more than 400 locations across Canada.

The post Boston’s expands menu with new appetiser lineup appeared first on Verdict Foodservice.

Categories: Restaurant News

Restaurant same-store sales in US shows positive growth in July

Eat Out Magazine - Tue, 2018-08-14 00:00

Restaurant same-store sales in the US have increased by 0.5% in July, which represented a 0.5% point drop from June, according to insights from TDn2K’s Restaurant Industry Snapshot.

The data is based on weekly sales from more than 30,000 restaurant units, over 170 brands and representing annual revenues exceeding $70bn.

According to TDn2K data, the drop follows after three straight months of flat sales growth.

The dip was driven by a drop in same-store traffic, which at -1.8% year-over-year represented a 1.3% point decline from the previous month.

TDn2K insights and knowledge executive director Victor Fernandez said: “Restaurants had a terrible month in July of last year. With same-store sales down -3%, July 2017 was the third-worst month in the last three years.

“While expectations are for restaurant spending to continue to expand slowly, the risks appear to be on the side of a moderation in demand as we go into 2019.”

“Only two winter months hit by extreme weather posted weaker results. So the small uptick in sales in July is far from being cause for celebration given the extremely easy comparison.

“If anything, it was a great missed opportunity for the industry to post its best results in years.”

According to the report, only eight of the 11 regions of the country posted positive same-store sales growth during July.

Ten regions saw positive growth in June. The Western region of the country continued the trend through July of being the strongest based on same-store sales.

The report also noted that the fast-casual industry segment performed well based on sales in July while family dining and casual dining reported positive sales for the month.

TDn2K economist Joel Naroff said: “Significant economic momentum was carried into the summer that should allow solid growth to continue for the overall economy. Despite a less than stellar July job gain, the three-month average was still extremely robust.

“But wage gains remain limited and continue to expand at a lethargic pace. While that has yet to affect consumer spending, which is being hyped by the tax cuts, it raises questions about the ability to sustain the solid consumption over the next year.

“In addition, there are few indications the issues being created by the trade skirmishes will dissipate soon. Thus, while expectations are for restaurant spending to continue to expand slowly, the risks appear to be on the side of a moderation in demand as we go into 2019.”

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Categories: Restaurant News

Chipotle piloting two menu items in select cities across US

Eat Out Magazine - Tue, 2018-08-14 00:00

American fast casual chain Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing two new menu items, applewood smoked bacon bowl and nachos, in select cities across the US in a move to make the brand more accessible to customers.

Debuted at the NEXT kitchen in New York City, the company will pilot launch the applewood smoked bacon bowl in eight restaurants in Orange County, California in September this year. Chipotle plans to roll out the product for a full market test later.

Chipotle chief marketing officer Chris Brandt said: “Consumers have always said ‘everything tastes better with bacon’ and that is exactly what we confirmed in our New York test kitchen.

“Following a successful pilot launch in ten restaurants, the company will also expand the availability of its nachos.”

“We found consumers added bacon to their traditional bowls, burritos, tacos and nachos while also enjoying new items such as the BLT quesadilla with bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheese grilled to perfection.”

Following a successful pilot launch in ten restaurants, the company will also expand the availability of its nachos across Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul this October.

Chipotle’s nachos are made using homemade corn tortilla chips, topped with queso and a choice of meat, beans, salsa and lettuce.

The company is planning to expand the pilot launch to select restaurants in Philadelphia and Indianapolis.

The chain will also offer customers at these locations a chance to add regular-sized chips and a fountain drink to their order for $3.

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Categories: Restaurant News

Ark Restaurants reports total revenues of $44.8m in Q3

Eat Out Magazine - Tue, 2018-08-14 00:00

US-based dining establishments’ operator Ark Restaurants has reported total revenues of $44.8m for its third quarter ending 30 June, compared to $41.3m from the previous year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of the restaurant chain increased to $4.77m for the three-month period, compared to $3.15m during the same period last year.

The restaurant company also reported a net income of $2.65m, compared to $1.3m for the same period last year.

Restaurant operating income of the company was $3.78m for the third quarter compared to $2.44m for the same period last year.

“Ark Restaurants currently owns and operates 20 restaurants and bars, 19 fast food concepts and catering operations.”

Company-wide same store sales of the restaurant increased by 2.3% for the third quarter, compared to the same three month period last year.

For the nine-month period ended 30 June 2018, total revenues were at $119.42m, net income was $3.64m and $7.61m was the total EBITDA from restaurant operations, adjusted for non-controlling interest.

Ark Restaurants currently owns and operates 20 restaurants and bars, 19 fast-food concepts and catering operations in New York City, Washington, Las Vegas and the gulf coast of Alabama.

The restaurant chain also operates hotel room service, banquet facilities, employee dining rooms, food court concepts and restaurants inside hotels.

Last month, the company announced its president and chief financial officer (CFO) Robert J. Stewart had passed away.

Stewart joined the company as CFO in June 2002 and was named as the president in 2013.

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Categories: Restaurant News

McDonald’s invests billions to modernise US restaurants by 2020

Eat Out Magazine - Tue, 2018-08-14 00:00

Global fast food chain McDonald’s, along with its franchisees, is investing $6bn to modernise its restaurants across the US by 2020.

As part of the modernisation plan, the company is investing approximately $143m in Massachusetts to establish and modernise over 140 local restaurants during 2018 and 2019.

Investments in other states from McDonald’s include $68m for 121 locations in Oklahoma, $317m for 410 in Illinois, $166m for 215 in Wisconsin, $205m will go towards 400 locations in Michigan, $448m for 840 Texas locations and $168m for 270 restaurants in Indiana.

Pennsylvania will receive $266m for 360 restaurants, Maryland will get $104m for 135, $170m will go towards 340 locations in Georgia and $320m for 360 in New York.

“This is a positive impact felt across not only its customer base, but small business trades who are helping rebuild and update the facilities.”

Massachusetts state representative Edward Coppinger said: “Through its commitment to modernising numerous locations throughout the Commonwealth, McDonald’s is creating and sustaining local jobs.

“This is a positive impact felt across not only its customer base, but small business trades who are helping rebuild and update the facilities. Through these enhancements, McDonald’s is able to better support local families they serve in their communities.”

Other enhancements include initiatives such as modernised dining rooms with new designs, improved customer experience with digital self-order kiosks, remodelled counters for table service, digital menu boards inside locations and at the drive-thru and parking spots for pick-up through mobile order and pay.

As part of the investment, the company will also expand its McCafé counters and larger display cases across its restaurants.

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Categories: Restaurant News

Domino’s Malaysia deploys Profisee Platform for data management initiatives

Eat Out Magazine - Mon, 2018-08-13 00:00

Domino’s Malaysia has partnered with data management technology developer Profisee to deploy its platform for enterprise data management initiatives.

The move will help the company to accelerate its digital presence in the country’s restaurant industry and execute their strategy to better serve customers.

The deployment follows the success achieved through the implementation of the platform at the Domino’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, US.

The Profisee Platform master data management (MDM) solution offers strategic targeted marketing to individual customers, households and affinity groups, allowing them to order and eat pizza together.

“Our level of service is one of the very reasons clients continue to expand and grow with us.”

Profisee CEO Len Finkle said: “We have been able to differentiate ourselves from the competition through strong customer relationships, and our level of service is one of the very reasons clients continue to expand and grow with us.”

A Microsoft Gold ISV Partner and software company, Profisee delivers enterprise MDM capabilities through its MDM platform.

The company makes use of the Microsoft technology stack to deliver Microsoft MDM solutions on-premises, in the Azure Cloud, or in a consumption model through the Azure Marketplace.

Domino’s Malaysia is operated by the pizza chain’s master franchise holder, Dommal Food Services. It operated 217 locations in the country as of Q1 2017.

The global pizza chain operates around 14,000 owned and franchised stores across the US, as well as in more than 85 markets.

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Categories: Restaurant News

Restaurant delivery service Bite Squad to add 100 more locations in US

Eat Out Magazine - Mon, 2018-08-13 00:00

On-demand restaurant delivery service Bite Squad is planning to expand its footprint by adding 100 new US cities to its platform this year.

The company has already added 100 cities to its service area in 2018, expanding its footprint to more than 300 cities. Bite Squad plans to offer services in more than 400 cities in 22 states by the end of this year.

Bite Squad CEO and co-founder Kian Salehi said: “A major percentage of the largest US cities are underserved when it comes to food delivery service.

“Unlike many companies in this space, we’re experiencing organic growth, funded by our own profits.”

“We’re thrilled to move into these areas where consumers want more access to food delivery and restaurants are ready for a strong partner in what is the fastest growing opportunity in the industry.

“Our unique business model creates healthy unit economics, allowing us to grow and scale both rapidly and profitably. Unlike many companies in this space, we’re experiencing organic growth, funded by our own profits. Post-integration growth in acquired markets is explosive, and response in new, organic markets is strong.”

The expansion includes the acquisition of 13 regional restaurant delivery companies in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

It also includes organic market expansions in Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Minnesota.

Established in 2012, Bite Squad currently employs more than 5,000 drivers to offer on-demand delivery services across the US.

The company offers delivery services from more than 10,000 restaurants.

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Categories: Restaurant News

QSR chain Chopstix secures loan from Metro Bank

Eat Out Magazine - Mon, 2018-08-13 00:00

British quick-service restaurant chain Chopstix has secured a £2m debt facility from Metro Bank to support its expansion programme across the country.

Metro Bank also offered a £3m loan to the QSR chain in a move to assist it with acquiring Belfast-based noodle bar Yangtze last year.

Metro Bank commercial banking managing director Mark Stokes said: “Chopstix is marking its territory as a strong-performing business in the fast food market, and we’re thrilled to be on this journey with the company.

“Our customer-focused service combined with our extensive industry knowledge has enabled us to create another tailor-made funding solution, which will take Chopstix to the next stage of their growth ambitions.

“The large commercial team was able to meet our needs and understand the group’s vision to provide more communities with the Chopstix experience.”

“We look forward to supporting their future strategic plans with additional resources over the years to come.”

Chopstix co-founders Sam Elia and Menashe Sadik said: “Metro Bank provided the team with an excellent service when we acquired the Yangtze business last year, and they have continued to show the same level of enthusiasm with our latest funding package.

“Through speed and ease, the large commercial team was able to meet our needs and understand the group’s vision to provide more communities with the Chopstix experience.”

Founded in 2004, Chopstix currently operates more than 80 restaurants across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The noodle bar chain offers Asian cuisine in food courts, motorway services and high street locations.

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Categories: Restaurant News

Aramark to introduce healthier menu options for students

Eat Out Magazine - Mon, 2018-08-13 00:00

American foodservice company Aramark has committed to introduce healthier menu options, sustainability and innovative programmes to Gen Z students.

As part of its plans to introduce new menu options, the company will launch four plant-forward dishes such as sweet potato smash, spanakopita quesadilla, roasted butternut tartine and all American Beyond Burger this autumn.

Sweet potato smash features sweet potato, goat’s cheese, cranberry sauce and arugula on wholegrain ciabatta.

Spanakopita quesadilla is made using a crispy tortilla filled with spinach and feta cheese spread and is served with Tzatziki sauce.

Roasted butternut tartine is a sandwich made using roasted butternut squash, arugula, ricotta cheese and Dijon maple.

“Students’ demand for quality, health, convenience and personalisation drives every stage of our menu innovation process.”

All American Beyond Burger is a plant-based patty and will be debuted as a limited time menu option at Burger Studio & Grille Works locations.

Aramark has also partnered with American Heart Association (AHA) as part of its ‘Healthy for Life 20 By 20’ programme to introduce more fruits and vegetables into menus.

Aramark’s Higher Education business president Jeff Gilliam said: “Students’ demand for quality, health, convenience and personalisation drives every stage of our menu innovation process.

“Our team layers consumer insights and proprietary data with trends from industry experts and market research partners to identify, create and introduce innovation to each menu we develop for college campuses.”

The foodservice company is also in the process of reducing single-use disposable plastics across its global foodservice operations by 2022.

It will begin reducing plastic straws and stirrers completely on its Higher Education campuses from September 2018. However, it will offer smaller quantities of plastic straws upon request to retail customers in some locations.

Furthermore, the company has partnered with FarmLogix to introduce a software platform to assist it to source and report on sustainable ingredients and purchases.

The company will track sustainable attributes such as Seafood Watch Best Choice or Good Alternative, Fair Trade USA certified and USDA Organic, among others.

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Categories: Restaurant News

FAT Brands reports $3.9m total revenues in Q2 2018

Eat Out Magazine - Fri, 2018-08-10 00:00

US-based restaurant franchising company FAT Brands has reported total revenues of $3.9m in this year’s second quarter ending 1 July 2018.

The company currently owns FatBurger, Buffalo’s Cafe, Buffalo’s Express and Ponderosa & Bonanza Steakhouses restaurant brands.

The franchise company reported a net income of $373,000, $0.04 per share, as well as an EBITDA of $825,000 for the second quarter this year.

System-wide same-store sales of its FatBurger & Buffalo’s Express brands increased by 9.5% in the core domestic market, whereas total revenues were at $2m.

“Our pipeline of franchise brands is robust, and we are actively working to complete additional transactions.”

Buffalo’s Café has reported a 10.2% increase in system-wide same-store sales and total revenues of $511,000.

The company’s Ponderosa & Bonanza Steakhouse brand reported a 0.9% increase in system-wide same-store sales, as well as total revenues of $1.4m.

FAT Brands president and CEO Andy Wiederhorn said: “Our flagship FatBurger brand continued to achieve particularly impressive results, with same-store sales growth of 9.5% inclusive of 4.2% transaction growth.

“Strong FatBurger results continue to be driven by momentum in delivery, as well as by increased traction of the plant-based Impossible Burger. We also saw positive trends in our casual dining brands, supported by the tests of a new media campaign, to-go packaging, and third party delivery.

“Over the last few months we secured significant financing, which enabled the closing of our previously announced acquisition of Hurricane Grill & Wings, a brand best known for its jumbo fresh wings.

“The integration of the Hurricane restaurants onto our platform has been smooth, and we now expect to achieve an annualised revenue run-rate of $19m to $20m and an annualised EBITDA run-rate of $10m to $11m, inclusive of synergies beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018. The financing we secured provides dry powder for future accretive acquisitions; our pipeline of franchise brands is robust, and we are actively working to complete additional transactions.”

FAT Brands also opened four FatBurger & Buffalo’s Express stores during the second quarter.

The post FAT Brands reports $3.9m total revenues in Q2 2018 appeared first on Verdict Foodservice.

Categories: Restaurant News

Prime Pubs eliminates plastic straws across Canada

Eat Out Magazine - Fri, 2018-08-10 00:00

Canadian holding company Prime Pubs has eliminated plastic straws across all of its brands in the country from this week.

The company’s brands involved in this initiative include Fionn MacCool’s, D’Arcy McGee’s, Paddy Flaherty’s and Tír nan Òg.

Prime Pubs is currently offering paper straws on request at its locations as an alternative to plastic straws.

“We’re constantly looking for creative ways to give back, do the right thing and dig our community roots even deeper.”

Prime Pubs senior vice-president Grant Cobb said: “Pubs are built on the foundation of community where people come together to create positive, meaningful connections.

“We’re constantly looking for creative ways to give back, do the right thing and dig our community roots even deeper. Sustainability is a natural part of that.”

Apart from eliminating single-use plastics, the company has involved in various other initiatives such as sourcing from farmers and establishing charitable programmes like Pints for Philanthropy.

The company’s ‘cocktails with a conscience’ concept is designed to reduce waste by making beverages using celery trimmings, tomato tops and bottoms, and cilantro or mint stems as ingredients.

Recipe Unlimited Corporation beverage director Nathan Cameron said: “We’ve had a lot of fun creating these specialty recipes that are sustainably satisfying.

“These drinks are delicious and ensure every ounce of goodness goes into our bellies and not into landfill.”

Recipe Unlimited Corporation franchises and operates Prime Pubs.

Prime Pubs currently operates 40 pubs under various brands with a range of food and drink choices.

The post Prime Pubs eliminates plastic straws across Canada appeared first on Verdict Foodservice.

Categories: Restaurant News