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
Red Robin scrapped its Red Robin’s Burger Works fast-casual chain on Friday after what the casual full-service chain said was a strategic review. The chain left open the possibility of trying other...
2
Starbird, one of a new generation of high-aiming quick-service chicken restaurants , said it has been given a $5 million infusion of growth capital by an investment group that includes fast-casual...
3
The Northern California city of Palo Alto decided this week that it couldn’t wait until 2022 to require a $15 hourly wage from restaurants and other employers, voting to adopt the figure as the legal...
4
The new Union Square Cafe will outfit front-of-the-house employees with Apple Watches to provide real-time information about customers and operations, parent company Union Square Hospitality Group...
5
The shiny new thing may not be right for everyone's operations. Here are some tips offered at the FSTEC conference for making a smart decision. 1. Be smart about checking references Before signing...
6
Your question raises two important issues that restaurants are struggling with: How much side work is too much? At what point should an employer not be claiming the tip credit (paying full minimum...
7
Sharon Koval, assistant digital marketing manager at Pei Wei, and Sara Rush Wirth, managing editor of Restaurant Business , discuss mobility and marketing to millennials at FSTEC . NRA CIO Kevin...
8
The U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to delay adoption of pending overtime pay rules by six months, pushing back the start date to June 1. The measure has yet to be considered by the...
9
The franchisor of the Cosi fast-casual chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today after closing 29 of the system’s 105 stores and agreeing to sell all remaining assets to its principal...
10
Danny Meisenheimer has been appointed interim president and CEO of Fiesta Restaurant Group, parent of the Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical fast-casual brands. Meisenheimer, who previously served as COO...