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 number one takeout driver for millennials: speed of service. Sixty-seven percent of millennials name speed as the top reason they choose a restaurant for takeout and delivery, according to...
2
Following two quarters of notable same-store sales growth , McDonald’s comps missed financial predictions during its most recent quarter, leading some analysts to question the long-term efficacy of...
3
Ruth’s Hospitality Group has promoted Chief Branding Officer Cheryl Henry to president and COO of the fine-dining company, which is parent to the Ruth’s Chris steakhouse brand . Henry has held a...
4
Kevin Reddy has stepped down as CEO of the Noodles & Company fast-casual chain, surrendering day-to-day operations to CFO Dave Boennighausen until a permanent replacement is found. Reddy’s duties...
5
Allowing baristas more latitude with their personal styles, Starbucks has issued a new dress code that takes a cue from a number of brands allowing their employees to bring more elements of...
6
Panera Bread is suing a former IT executive and his new employer, Papa John’s , alleging the pizza chain purposefully interfered with an employee contract to gain its technology trade secrets,...
7
In spite of customer backlash over the changes made to Starbucks ’ loyalty program in Q3, Starbucks Rewards memberships grew 18% year over year during the quarter. The program now has 12.3 million...
8
Chipotle made slight progress during the second quarter in its struggle to win back customers after last year’s food safety crises, stemming the year-over-year decline in same-store sales at 23.6% on...
9
Congratulations on your success running the social media for your operation. Many independent operators are finding that it’s beneficial to have one or more employees designated to post to social...
10
Randy Gier has stepped down as CEO of Pie Five and Pizza Inn parent Rave Restaurant Group under what the company describes as a mutual agreement. Gier’s duties have been assumed by Clinton Coleman, a...