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

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One person has died in connection to the Salmonella outbreak at Tarheel Q, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. Jen Hames, with the Davidson County Health...
2
Nashville-based J. Alexander's is preparing to ramp up a new restaurant brand as the company plans a return to the New York Stock Exchange. Citing SEC documents, Nashville Post reports that the chain...
3
Southern Hospitality, the Justin Timberlake-founded restaurant whose first franchisers have grown it to three locations in Colorado, is about to rock into a new market and try to become one of the...
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Providing exclusive consumer trends and insights to enhance your marketing strategy. Powered by Technomic . “Technomic is a Chicago-based consulting and research firm providing a 360° view of the...
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As I sampled the wares of 2,500 exhibitors during the 61st annual Summer Fancy Food Show, which concluded Tuesday in New York City, I was on a mission to pinpoint the culinary trends that were...
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You are in one of the few environments where being open for one meal service is potentially feasible. In general, since restaurants pay rent for 24-hours a day, it is best to maximize your operating...
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TGI Fridays hopes to stoke some friendly customer competition with its new “buy a burger, give a burger” promotion, the chain says. Starting Wednesday, Fridays customers who buy a burger and enter...
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Restaurants that have not yet abided by New York City’s new ban on polystyrene takeout containers are likely to discover what early adjusters learned weeks or months ago: Compliance comes easy, but...
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Minimum wage earners in Chicago will see a $1.75 hourly bump. A city law raising the minimum wage to $13 by 2019 in increments will take effect Wednesday. The first increase will be from $8.25 to $10...
10
Destination salad chain Sweetgreen has closed a $35 million Series F round of funding, led by funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price. Existing investor Steve Case’s venture capital firm,...