6 stories you probably missed this week

Peter Romeo

Director of Digital Content

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Birthday business is down, at least for one of the traditional big-time beneficiaries, Chuck E. Cheese’s. Management cited an 11 percent drop in party bookings as the primary reason for a 2.1 percent drop in same store sales for the third quarter. A big part of the problem, said CEO Mike Magusiak, was competition from the silver screen. Parents spent 65 percent more on theater-run movies aimed at kids than they did during the comparable period of 2012, he explained to investors.  Chuck plans to fight back by airing commercials touting its birthday deals.

Two of the hottest costumes this Halloween were Paula Deen and Guy Fieri get-ups, according to Eater.com and other foodie-centric website that track such things.

Brennan’s might be killed before it’s reborn. Several creditors are trying to force the now-shuttered restaurant into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would almost certainly mean a liquidation of the landmark and all of its interior elements. Ralph Brennan, a highly successful restaurateur from another branch of the famous New Orleans culinary family, has indicated that he’s taken over the site with intentions of re-launching a restaurant there.

Kona Grill is testing a Sunday happy hour to build check averages.

San Franciscans would vote yea or nay on a soda tax if two local lawmakers have their way. Both have proposed a ballot initiative for a two-cent-an-ounce levy on sugared drinks. The proceeds would be used to fight obesity and otherwise promote health.

Wal-Mart has pledged to promote 25,000 employees into higher paying jobs during the fourth quarter. No, that news isn’t about restaurants, but that’s the point. Countless stories in recent days have portrayed foodservice as an industry where the convention is to under-pay and otherwise exploit the working poor. McDonald’s, the business’ counterpart to Wal-Mart, was slammed for directing employees to public assistance programs if their wages don’t cover the essentials of life. Wal-Mart was once portrayed as the Darth Vader of employers. Now it’s coming off like retailing’s Jimmy Stewart.
 

Today's top stories

1
The price wars being waged by several major quick-service chains have increased the number of combo meals being sold at such outlets, or so says a recent report from The NPD Group. Combo meal visits...
2
Quick-service restaurant workers in Alabama have added their names to a lawsuit that accuses Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange of blocking a minimum-wage hike in the city of...
3
Four legends of New York City’s restaurant scene were honored Thursday night for their roles in elevating American fine dining to a level even the snootiest European could no longer dismiss. Andre...
4
Starbucks has opened the first of what it says will be a group of stores purposely located in underprivileged areas to provide jobs as well as a dining option. The prototype, in Ferguson, Mo.,...
5
The launch of Grilled Dogs and other new products have been a boon to Burger King ’s comp sales, which grew 4.6 percent during the first quarter, according to the chain's parent. The flame-grilled...
6
Dunkin’ Brands is searching for a successor to Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. President Paul Twohig, who plans to relinquish his day-to-day duties by year’s end and retire by April 1. Twohig, 62, has been...
7
McDonald’s plans to offer a “cleaner,” less-processed version of its Chicken McNuggets nationwide by the time the Olympics start this summer, Crain’s Chicago Business reported. The new nuggets are...
8
A new snapshot of dining habits shows Americans increasingly relying on someone else to handle the kitchen work, even if the meal is enjoyed at home. The high-level look at today’s consumption...
9
As meal subscription services such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated proliferate at lightning speeds, it begs the question whether the home chefs they’re cultivating will be dining out less and...
10
Smashburger said it has promoted Chief Development Officer Michael Nolan to CEO of the fast-casual burger chain. Nolan replaces Scott Crane, who had served as CEO since 2013. Crane recently left the...