February 2018 | Food Newsfeed
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February 2018

IHOP's Innovative To-Go Packaging Kicks Off New Era

For IHOP, its plans and hopes for the future of the brand might be contained in a plain, yet streamlined, little box. As unremarkable as it may sound, the company’s new to-go carrier embodies two of its most robust initiatives: take-out/delivery and combination meals.

NLRB Goes Back on 'Joint Employer' Ruling

The National Labor Board unanimously vacated its December Hy-Brand joint employer ruling Monday (February 26), meaning restaurant operators around the nation will once again be subject to the 2015 Browning-Ferris test for determining joint employment.

Pairing Cocktails with Food: Everything You Need to Know

Pairing food with alcohol has a long tradition, but it’s usually mentioned when combining wine with a meal. Increasingly, however, other hard beverages like spirits are being considered for matches. As mixologists become ever more innovative, the idea of putting together cocktails that go well with the chef’s creations is intoxicating.

BJ's Restaurants Wants to Become 'Best Casual-Dining Concept Ever'

BJ’s Restaurants’ ultimate goal isn’t a complicated one. As chief executive officer Greg Trojan frankly put it, the 197-unit brand is on a “quest to be the best casual-dining concept ever.” To get there, BJ’s understood that 2017 needed to be a transformational 12 months.

Inventory Management Takes a Digital Step Forward

When it comes to P&L statements, inventory can sometimes be the redheaded stepchild, often overlooked in favor of labor costs and restaurant sales. For years, those oversights could be partially chalked up to an archaic system wherein amounts were recorded by pen and paper.

Behind Off-Premise Growth, Red Robin Storms Back

Red Robin’s fourth-quarter performance caught executives a bit off guard—in a good way. The casual dining chain’s leaders weren’t the only surprised parties, either. Red Robin’s revenue of $342.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Emerges from Bankruptcy

Romano’s Macaroni Grill announced February 22 it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Mac Acquisition LLC, the owner of the Italian chain, filed for bankruptcy protection October 18, citing a shift in customer preference and an “overall downturn for the casual dining industry.

Applebee’s to Close 60–80 Restaurants in Turnaround Year

Applebee’s has long been on the road to recovery alongside IHOP, and the two casual dining icons received a checkup in the form of parent brand DineEquity’s fourth-quarter earnings report, which came complete with a name change to Dine Brands Global Inc.

The Cheesecake Factory Prepares to Launch Fast Casual Spinoff

More than a year after the company hinted at a limited-service spinoff, The Cheesecake Factory is making good on its word with plans to open a pilot fast casual later this year.The news came amid the casual-dining chain’s fourth-quarter earnings report Wednesday, February 21.

Traffic Boom Gives Outback, Bloomin' Brands Hope for Strong 2018

After Barington Capital Group representing a group of shareholders released a letter to Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. chairman and CEO Liz Smith on Feb. 21, calling for sweeping changes in the company’s brand and leadership structure, as well as marketing and financial strategy, many were anticipating the earnings report released the following day to be poor.

Shareholders Ask for Sweeping Changes at Bloomin’ Brands

Barington Capital Group, representing a group of shareholders of Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., sent a letter and 87-slide presentation to Elizabeth Smith, chairman and CEO of Bloomin,’ on Feb. 21 recommending the company implement a variety of measures to improve long-term value.

Here's Why Texas Roadhouse is Cooking the Competition

Texas Roadhouse isn’t immune to some of the crunches facing casual dining. The 527-unit brand stared down labor inflation in 2017 and raised prices about 0.3 percent across its U.S. system. But, as chief executive officer Kent Taylor put it Tuesday afternoon during a conference call, Texas Roadhouse is “feeling some very cool vibes for 2018.

Cracker Barrel Continues Strong Run Into Second Quarter

Cracker Barrel reported its earnings for the second fiscal quarter of 2018 on February 20, outperforming industry estimates and carrying forward momentum from the first quarter.Restaurant and retail sales boomed for Cracker Barrel, which outperformed the casual dining industry as a whole during the quarter.

Fogo de Chão Sold to Firm for $560M in Cash

Fogo de Chão, Inc. announced Tuesday it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Rhône Capital in an all-cash deal valued at $560 million, or $15.75 per share. The figure represents a 25.5 percent premium to the company’s closing shares on February 16.