Restaurant Finance Across America
Archived postings from March, 2012...
Consumers Spend, And Restaurants Benefit
Posted: Fri, March 30, 2012 at 11:44am (CDT)
Consumer spending rose 0.8 percent in February, following a 0.4-percent increase in January, which helps explain this: the National Restaurant Association's monthly Restaurant Performance Index rose in February and was above the group's key expansion threshold for a fourth straight month. ...continue reading.
Dunkin' Shareholders Unloading More Stock
Posted: Fri, March 30, 2012 at 10:30am (CDT)
It's safe to say that the three-headed private-equity monster that bought Dunkin' Brands in 2005 has recouped its investment. Indeed, this morning, Dunkin' announced that Bain Capital, the Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners will be selling even more stock in a secondary offering that should raise $780 million. ...continue reading.
Buffalo Wild Wings Wants To Try Something Else
Posted: Thu, March 29, 2012 at 10:17am (CDT)
Buffalo Wild Wings presented at a consumer conference this morning and, amid talk of its fundamental strength and its significant growth prospects, included this little nugget that investors would almost certainly consider juicy: that its future growth options includes another concept. ...continue reading.
Beware Franchisors' Right Of First Refusal
Posted: Wed, March 28, 2012 at 3:20pm (CDT)
Last week's decision by Raleigh, North Carolina-based Golden Corral to exercise its right of first refusal to buy 28 restaurants from franchisee Frisch's Restaurants should serve as a lesson to any investor looking to buy out franchisee-owned locations: beware the franchisor. ...continue reading.
Granite City Stays Off The Pink Sheets For Now
Posted: Wed, March 28, 2012 at 2:35pm (CDT)
Granite City Food & Brewery avoided being sent down to the public company minor leagues, at least for now, when it won a reprieve from a Nasdaq panel, which gave the casual-dining chain until June to get its shareholders equity above $2.5 million or be delisted from the stock exchange. ...continue reading.
McDonald's-Burger King: A Contrast In CEO Tenure
Posted: Wed, March 28, 2012 at 1:18pm (CDT)
McDonald's recent announcement that CEO Jim Skinner is retiring and will be replaced by Chief Operating Officer, and Skinner's heir apparent, Don Thompson, once again sheds light on one of the reasons the Illinois-based burger giant so easily outdistances its rivals: the tightly shut CEO door. ...continue reading.
Restaurants 'No Longer In Survival Mode'
Posted: Tue, March 27, 2012 at 9:11am (CDT)
Consumers are spending more on restaurant meals and they're dining out more often, and that's giving operators more confidence to invest in their businesses, according to the latest Chain Restaurant Industry Review from GE Capital, Franchise Finance. ...continue reading.
Carrols Doubles Its Burger King Units
Posted: Mon, March 26, 2012 at 1:27pm (CDT)
Carrols Restaurant Group will soon be just another Burger King franchisee as it spins off Fiesta Restaurant Group, the operator of the Mexican brands Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana. But it'll be a much bigger one. The Syracuse, New York-based Carrols said today that it will buy 278 more Burger King restaurants from the company. ...continue reading.
The Bullishness Of Buying Out Franchisees
Posted: Fri, March 23, 2012 at 3:46pm (CDT)
One of the biggest trends in the franchise industry in recent years has been re-franchising, or the sale of company units to franchisees. But there's another trend that runs counter to this: de-franchising. And for franchisees of these systems, the move may be a good thing. ...continue reading.
Golden Corral Now Buying Frisch's Units
Posted: Thu, March 22, 2012 at 3:53pm (CDT)
Golden Corral is buying its units out from under Aziz Hashim. The Raleigh, North Carolina-based buffet chain this week decided to invoke its right of first refusal to buy 29 restaurants from Ohio-based Frisch's Restaurants, which had previously reached a deal with Hashim's NRD Holdings. ...continue reading.
Employment Growth Boosts The Franchise Sector
Posted: Thu, March 22, 2012 at 10:13am (CDT)
The franchise sector, much like the rest of the broader economy, has picked up steam the past six months, according to a new economic index released today by the International Franchise Association. The IFA's Franchise Business Index rose 0.3 percent in February, the sixth consecutive month of gains, thanks largely to employment growth. ...continue reading.
Landry's, Twice As Big, Is Refinancing
Posted: Wed, March 21, 2012 at 1:54pm (CDT)
Earlier this week, Landry's Restaurants said that it is considering options to refinance its debt, a move that comes after the Houston-based company made a string of big restaurant acquisitions that has more than doubled the value of its restaurant holdings in less than two years. ...continue reading.
Ron Shaich Gets His Title Back ... Sort Of
Posted: Fri, March 16, 2012 at 9:56am (CDT)
That didn't last long. Less than two years after he relinquished the CEO's chare to then-COO Bill Moreton, Ron Shaich is taking it back—half of it, anyway. Late yesterday, the St. Louis-based bakery/cafe chain announced that Shaich and Moreton will share CEO duties. ...continue reading.
Macaroni Grill's First Franchisee Goes Bankrupt
Posted: Thu, March 15, 2012 at 12:17pm (CDT)
Waterloo Restaurant Ventures, which 10 years ago became Romano Macaroni Grill's first franchisee, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month and put itself up for sale, citing a "dramatic decrease in sales" coupled with the high costs of doing business on the West Coast. ...continue reading.
Burger King: The Latin American KFC?
Posted: Wed, March 14, 2012 at 4:33pm (CDT)
A growing number of restaurant chains have found friendlier markets overseas than they have in the U.S. Dominos has a nearly unprecedented run of strong sales in international markets. KFC is struggling in the U.S. and flourishing in China. And now Burger King's international restaurants are leaving the U.S. in their dust. ...continue reading.
Benihana Returns to the Market
Posted: Tue, March 13, 2012 at 3:02pm (CDT)
Mere months after shareholders limited the voting power of the family of its founder, Florida-based Benihana is back on the block. The venerable Japanese steakhouse chain said today that, once again, it plans to explore strategic alternatives, "including a possible sale," for the second time in less than two years. ...continue reading.
Credit Card Fraud and the Restaurant Industry
Posted: Tue, March 13, 2012 at 11:50am (CDT)
Many restaurants seem to focus many of their security efforts on obvious targets, notably theft from employees, and for good reason: internal theft can be devastating, costing a restaurateur hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially putting it out of business. But they'd do well to watch their computers, too. ...continue reading.
Job Growth Fuels Restaurant Industry
Posted: Fri, March 09, 2012 at 3:16pm (CST)
Earlier this week, Sonic Drive Ins reported that same-store sales for its fiscal second quarter grew 3.4 percent, continuing the company's gradual emergence from its brutal recession. There is a pretty simple explanation for that level of performance: employment growth. ...continue reading.
Happiness Breeds Financing
Posted: Thu, March 08, 2012 at 3:44pm (CST)
Franchises have been deeply concerned about financing for years now and, though the market has been slowly getting easier, that concern has yet to go away. But there is one, sure-fire solution to the credit dilemma: franchisors should make sure their franchisees are happy. ...continue reading.
Should Franchisors Use Development Agreements?
Posted: Thu, March 08, 2012 at 9:31am (CST)
A lot of franchises love development agreements. The bigger, the better. And in the right hands, they can be a good thing for a franchised restaurant, ensuring that a market is run by a sophisticated operator that knows what it's doing. But at least one lender frowns on the idea. ...continue reading.
J. Alexanders Tries To Fend Off Its Activists
Posted: Mon, March 05, 2012 at 9:56am (CST)
J. Alexander's Corporation said this morning that it has swallowed a poison pill, approving a "shareholder rights plan" designed to keep the company from being the subject of a hostile takeover. Its target: a group of investors that now own 12.6 percent of the company and want to overhaul its board. ...continue reading.
Pint-Sized Pizza Deal
Posted: Fri, March 02, 2012 at 4:48pm (CST)
Florida-based startup Pizza Fusion burst onto the restaurant scene in 2007 with environmentally friendly stores, hybrid delivery cars and healthier pizzas using organic, gluten-free ingredients. It also vowed to have 300 stores by 2010. Suffice it to say, the recession got in the way, and now the chain is being sold. ...continue reading.