Restaurant Finance Across America
Archived postings from September, 2012...
NRA: Restaurants Sales Improve In August
Posted: Fri, September 28, 2012 at 10:22am (CDT)
Anybody keeping an eye on economic indicators in recent days might be feeling a sense of whiplash. Consumer Confidence rose substantially, according to The Conference Board, but consumer spending is flat and economists are worried. None of this seems to be enough to keep people from going to restaurants, at least. ...continue reading.
A Look At Yum's Stunning China Growth
Posted: Thu, September 27, 2012 at 3:02pm (CDT)
Over the past five years, GDP growth in the U.S. has averaged just 0.5 percent, and even that sounds high when you consider the 3.5 percent decline during 2009. China, on the other hand, has averaged 10.5 percent growth over that same period—a number that has been really, really good for Kentucky-based Yum Brands. ...continue reading.
FTC Violation Costs Biglari Holdings $850,000
Posted: Tue, September 25, 2012 at 2:38pm (CDT)
Some late paperwork is costing Biglari Holdings $850,000. The FTC today said that it has reached a settlement deal with the owner of Steak N Shake over the company's failure to to meet federal reporting laws when it first bought up large shares of stock in Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel last year. ...continue reading.
Dave & Buster's Decides Its Safe To Go Public
Posted: Mon, September 24, 2012 at 10:57am (CDT)
Dave & Buster's is going to give it a go. The Dallas-based food and games chain priced its offering this morning at $12 to $14 a share, which would enable it to raise as much as $124 million. The initial public offering would be the sixth of the year in the restaurant industry, and it would be the eighth company to start selling stock. ...continue reading.
Biglari Takes A Little Credit
Posted: Fri, September 21, 2012 at 12:11pm (CDT)
Biglari Holdings filed its first 13D indicating activist investment and 9.7 percent share ownership in Cracker Barrel on June 13, 2011. At the time, the Nashville-based family dining chain and retailer was trading at $44.21 a share and coming off a pedestrian quarter in which traffic fell 2.6 percent and same-store sales were flat. ...continue reading.
Fidelity Gets Its Restaurant Chain
Posted: Thu, September 20, 2012 at 10:54am (CDT)
Fidelity National Financial this morning said that nearly three-quarters of J. Alexander's have agreed to sell their stock for $14.50 a share, ensuring that the Nashville-based casual dining chain joins O'Charley's, Bakers Square, Village Inn and Max & Erma's under the American Blue Ribbon Holdings umbrella. ...continue reading.
Cracker Barrel's Stock Keeps Going Up
Posted: Wed, September 19, 2012 at 4:55pm (CDT)
At their quarterly conference call this morning, Cracker Barrel executives refused to talk about their upcoming proxy fight versus the San Antonio activist Sardar Biglari, but they didn't have to. Their quarterly report, including sales and traffic growth and improved guidance, spoke loudly enough. ...continue reading.
Fazoli's Tries Some Development Incentives
Posted: Wed, September 19, 2012 at 4:31pm (CDT)
Fazoli's has a new menu, new prototype, and a long string of sales growth. Now it just needs the franchisees. The Kentucky-based chain of Italian fast-casual restaurants is planning to use a series of royalty and fee waivers for new operators in an effort to kick-start development. ...continue reading.
Retiring Boomers Are Hurting Casual Dining
Posted: Wed, September 19, 2012 at 9:55am (CDT)
Lost in yesterday's strange exchange at Darden Restaurants' shareholder meeting yesterday was the interesting comments from its CEO, Clarence Otis, on the current state of the casual dining sector. In short: the aging baby boom population is hurting restaurants with wait staff. ...continue reading.
Clarence Otis Has Worker Problems
Posted: Tue, September 18, 2012 at 3:12pm (CDT)
Darden Restaurants likes to tout its employee-friendly workplace. The company notes several times—in literature, press releases, and on the front page of its website—that Fortune Magazine recently called it one of the 100 best companies to work for. But it sure didn't seem that way this morning. ...continue reading.
Piccadilly's Lender Paints A Different Picture
Posted: Mon, September 17, 2012 at 5:16pm (CDT)
Last week, we wrote about the bankruptcy of Baton Rouge-based cafeteria chain Piccadilly, which filed for federal bankruptcy protection in what it said was a necessary step to prevent it from being shut down by its lender, Atalaya Capital management. Atalaya, it appears, has a different version of events. ...continue reading.
Restaurants Already Trying To Overcome The Weather
Posted: Mon, September 17, 2012 at 10:21am (CDT)
The weather turned noticeably cooler here in Minnesota, where The Monitor's world headquarters is located, which to us is a clear indication that winter is around the corner. Here's another indication: we're already hearing the first restaurant chain make a move to offset December's expected same-store sales decline. ...continue reading.
Biglari Trying Again To Preserve Control
Posted: Fri, September 14, 2012 at 11:13am (CDT)
Once again, Sardar Biglari is trying to protect his company from the dreaded scourge of the small investor. Biglari Holdings earlier this week proposed the creation of a dual class share structure, a move that could enable him to acquire more companies even while preserving his own control over the company. ...continue reading.
Is New York City Doing Restaurants A Favor?
Posted: Thu, September 13, 2012 at 2:54pm (CDT)
Last year, when San Francisco decided to play parent by banning toys from unhealthy Happy Meals, the idea elicited intense opposition from the restaurant industry. But the moment the law went into effect, McDonald's—at which the law was targeted—figured out a way around it by simply charging extra for a toy. Keep that work-around in mind as New York City prepares to ban large drinks. ...continue reading.
Will 'Uncertainty' Dampen Franchise Growth?
Posted: Wed, September 12, 2012 at 2:43pm (CDT)
We hear quite a bit these days about the dreaded specter of uncertainty—that uncertainty over taxes or the frightening "fiscal cliff" is keeping businesses from making investments. And now we hear that it's affecting the franchise sector to the point that the IFA has cut its growth forecast for the year. That's ridiculous. ...continue reading.
Atalaya Tries To Take Over Piccadilly
Posted: Wed, September 12, 2012 at 9:00am (CDT)
Piccadilly Restaurants, the Baton Rouge-based chain of 81 cafeteria eateries, has been fighting for its life for the past seven years amid a series of natural and economic disasters and customers' steady shift away from its style of restaurant. But last week its fight got much more serious when a private equity group tried shutting it down and taking it over. ...continue reading.
Focus Brands' International Pretzel Development
Posted: Tue, September 11, 2012 at 3:11pm (CDT)
When the Franchise Times Top 200 ranking of the largest franchise systems comes out in a couple of weeks, you'll see some familiar names among the fastest growing concepts, including Five Guys, Jimmy John's and Firehouse Subs. But here's one you may not expect: Auntie Anne's. ...continue reading.
Did Fidelity Get A Deal On J. Alexander's?
Posted: Fri, September 07, 2012 at 4:55pm (CDT)
As we noted earlier this week, the past few months had to be tough on Fidelity National Financial, at least as far as its attempted purchase of J. Alexander's is concerned. The persistence of two unknown restaurant chain bidders cost the company $15 million. But the Florida insurer's chairman, Bill Foley, should relax. He's still getting a good deal. ...continue reading.
Cracker Barrel Still Doesn't Want Biglari On Board
Posted: Thu, September 06, 2012 at 9:12am (CDT)
It certainly doesn't appear that Sardar Biglari will get his seats on the Cracker Barrel board without a fight. The San Antonio investor this morning indicated that he's been offered two seats on the Tennessee-based chain's board—so long as those members are not currently associated with another restaurant and own a lot of stock. ...continue reading.
Fidelity May Finally Get Its Restaurant
Posted: Wed, September 05, 2012 at 10:04pm (CDT)
The strange auction for J. Alexander's may finally be coming to an end, and it appears the company in the driver's seat all along will get the chain. The Nashville-based casual dining concept said tonight that it has reached a deal with Fidelity National Financial on a higher price, $14.50 a share, and a higher buyout fee. ...continue reading.
Unique Pizza Throws Pizza Fusion A Life Vest
Posted: Tue, September 04, 2012 at 5:26pm (CDT)
It's not easy being green. Just ask Pizza Fusion. For a while, the Florida-based pizza chain was the darling of the restaurant world, with its promise of healthier pizzas made with organic ingredients and delivered in hybrid cars based in Green buildings. Now it's been sold to another small pizza concept, a move that likely kept it from going bankrupt. ...continue reading.