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
Despite gains in comp sales and customer traffic across the restaurant industry, operator enthusiasm may be fading, according to the National Restaurant Association’s latest Restaurant Performance...
2
Papa John’s International has promoted COO Steve Ritchie to president, the pizza-delivery company announced Thursday. Ritchie will continue his duties as COO, a position he has held since 2014, when...
3
Lower beef prices and sales leaps buoyed profits at Ruth's Hospitality Group during the second quarter ended June 28, the company said Friday. Net income at the steakhouse company, which operates the...
4
Restaurant executives shared some surprising figures and factoids during their financial reporting this week. Here are a few of the more arresting numbers: 600 A renovation forced Pollo Tropical to...
5
Driven by sales gains at its Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical fast-casual brands, Fiesta Restaurant Group saw its profit jump 20.8 percent in the quarter ended June 28, the company said Thursday. Same-...
6
Buffalo Wild Wings has news for beer lovers that could be hard to swallow: Prices are going up. This fall, the company expects major brewers to boost draft beer prices—a move that will trickle down...
7
Restaurant innovation comes in diverse forms, as several chains demonstrated this week in revealing their mid and long-range plans. Where else would a standout turkey be regarded as a potential...
8
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to require all New York City chain restaurants to label high-sodium foods on their menus has drawn criticism from opposing corners. Some public-health professionals...
9
After a 20-year hiatus, Naugles, a popular Mexican restaurant that once had a cult-like following, reopened this week in southern California. The Naugles rebirth was met with joy which resonated over...
10
Following its recent acquisition of food-delivery startup OrderUp, Groupon Thursday launched its first foray into on-demand food delivery, Groupon To Go. In a food-courier market flush with...