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Food

Wendy's Reorganizes To Repair Rift With Franchisees

 Dave Near, the Wendy's multi-unit franchise owner who recently was appointed its Chief Operating Officer, is now focusing intently on building stronger relations between franchiser and franchisee.

Dave Norman, head of Wendy's Old Fashioned Franchisee Association, said that the company's Franchise Advisory Council wasn't listening to the concerns of franchise owners. He told Business First journal, "Franchisee's have complained about the company "getting away from being the quality brand."

Arby's Launching New "Fast Casual" Chain

Atlanta-based Arby's is test marketing a "fast casual" restaurant called Arby's Market Fresh that expands on its current signature Market Fresh products with a lineup of sandwiches, salads typically found in eateries such as Panera Bread Co. and Doc Green's Gourmet Salads.

The new chain will feature Cuban sandwiches, deli wraps, feta cheese, peanut cole slaw, kalamata olives, and made to order salads. There are two experimental Market Fresh restaurants that have opened their doors not far from corporate headquarters around Atlanta. The firm told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution :

Senator Legislates Nutrition Labeling on Restaurant Menus

 WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today introduced legislation, The MEAL Act, requiring that nutritional information be displayed on chain restaurant menus and vending machines. This comes just days after the release of a new Food and Drug Administration funded report recommending that restaurants should provide consumers with calorie information in a standard format that is easy to use.

Ruth's Chris Buying Its Franchises in Major Markets

Ruth's Chris Steak House Inc. announced it will acquire seven of its franchised restaurants in major markets with an option to acquire another eighth in Baton Rouge for the following five years starting in 2008. The acquisition, totaling $37 million, will be of franchises in major cities in Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee. With purchases expected to close in June, analysts felt the corporation had negotiated a favorable price for the franchises.

The reasons for the acquisition of franchised restaurants and growth of corporate ones were touched on briefly in the company's webcast of its Earnings Conference Call (registration required) for Quarter 1, 2006 to shareholders.

Cheap Burgers Revive McDonald's?

The NY Times declared that McDonald's astronomical growth in the past few years is due to it's dollar menu items and not the variety of adult meals it has added. It states:

"The enormous success of the Dollar Menu, where all items cost $1, has helped stimulate 36 consecutive months of sales growth at stores open at least a year. In three years, revenue has increased by 33 percent and its shares have rocketed 170 percent, a remarkable turnaround for a company that only four years ago seemed to be going nowhere.

Perkins Gobbles Marie Callender's

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, a Memphis, Tennessee based operator and franchisor of some 481 restaurants announced today it is pursuing the acquisition of Marie Callender's Restaurant & Bakery, a chain of 138 casual-dining restaurants and headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California.
 
A stock-for-stock exchange is anticipated with plans to repay Marie Callender's debt.

Hey Dunkin.. Accentuate the Hate!

Dunkin Donuts is prototyping stores that look more like Starbucks in an effort to stop brand erosion and gobble up some of its competitor's business. But here's an interesting insight from Brand Autopsy, on a marketing path forward for Dunkin Donuts.

Dunkin' Donuts last year paid dozens of faithful customers in Phoenix, Chicago and Charlotte, N.C., $100 a week to buy coffee at Starbucks instead. At the same time, the no-frills coffee chain paid Starbucks customers to make the opposite switch.

When it later debriefed the two groups, Dunkin' says it found them so polarized that company researchers dubbed them "tribes" -- each of whom loathed the very things that made the other tribe loyal to their coffee shop. Dunkin' fans viewed Starbucks as pretentious and trendy, while Starbucks loyalists saw Dunkin' as austere and unoriginal.

Burger King Announces New CEO

John W. Chidsey

Burger King today replaced CEO Greg Brenneman with new CEO John Chidsey (pictured) in a management shake-up that comes as the chain prepares for an initial public offering. Mr. Chidsey was president and CFO. He will work with the board until he returns to his private-equity firm, Turn Works Inc. in pursuit of business turnarounds.

A 3-inch Pizza? Domino's Must Be Foolin'


On April Fools' Day, Domino's Pizza launched it's XLP. It spoofed college students and customers by giving out a 3-inch free "Xtra LITTLE pizza." In reality, Domino's was about to launch it's "xtra LARGE pizza". So what did these college kids graciously say about the free extra little gift??

"I think it is a really great idea," said John Lanphear, a student from Plymouth, Mich. "It would be great for parties because it is kind of awkward carrying around a slice of pizza when you are partying and dancing. Four or five bites is just enough to get you a little less hungry."

Other students felt that the Xtra Little Pizza was just not enough to satisfy their extreme hunger. "It's too small," said Julia Nuoffer, a student at Eastern Michigan University. "I would have to eat like ten of them to fill me up."

April Fools -- Domino's style that is. While ravenous college students were getting the mini pies, the rest of us could get the actual XLP -- a 30% larger than large pizza.

Photo by conrado4.

Travel Booking Websites Vs Franchise Hotel Websites

“The city of Atlanta has sued several major Internet travel sites, including Expedia Inc, Hotels.com and Travelocity.com, claiming that the companies bilked it out of tens of millions of dollars in hotel occupancy taxes. “ Atlanta Business Chronicle Millions of American travelers use various travel booking websites for their travel related needs. Though these travel booking websites provide up to date information and feature best travel deals, the travelers may not be getting their financially best offer. Some franchised hotel owners/operators are trying to encourage travelers to visit the individual hotel websites for the best deals and book with the hotels directly. As per franchise hotel owners following are the advantages of booking directly with the hotels: