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
A scrappy lobbying shop that usually turns its guerilla tactics on enemies of restaurant chains is squaring off with one of the industry’s own. Rick Berman’s Center for Consumer Freedom has set out...
2
McDonald’s Corp.’s plan to sell breakfast sandwiches throughout the day has delighted many customers, but the move risks exacerbating egg-supply woes in the U.S. Restaurants and other food companies...
3
Applebee’s President Steven Layt has resigned from his position, effective Friday, according to the casual-dining brand’s parent company, DineEquity. His resignation comes amid a newly announced...
4
Wendy’s might not exist in its current form if the “Where’s the Beef?” commercial had never been aired. Rare is the Baby Boomer who can’t recall the words to “Have It Your Way,” their generation’s...
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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...
6
Taco Bell has added delivery service in four more markets and started delivery of catering orders in one. With the expansion into Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego and Houston, about 200 Taco Bells in...
7
Bryan Vincentini, former chief operating officer at The Counter Custom Built Burgers, has been named COO of Sauce Pizza & Wine, the fast-casual Italian chain announced Thursday. In his new role,...
8
After years of telling consumers how to get to a restaurant, Google has started advising them about which places to try. The tech giant has added a new restaurant-recommendation feature to its Google...
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Former Johnny Rockets CEO John Fuller will take the helm as president and CEO of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf , the cafe chain announced Thursday. Prior to joining The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf,...
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McDonald’s is hailing the local-marketing and customer-insight benefits of its new app as it expands the rollout to the key market of southern California. The deal-making possibilities of the new...