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
Chain restaurants would have more leeway in meeting federal menu-labeling requirements under a bill that was approved this morning by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Common Sense Nutrition...
2
A growing number of San Francisco concepts are going more than a year without health inspections, as the local health department struggles to keep up with the city’s increase in restaurants and food...
3
The Red Robin full-service burger chain has promoted Denny Marie Post to president, making the longtime industry veteran the official Number Two to CEO Steve Carley. The promotion continues Post’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...
5
After successfully implementing over 100 enterprise back office software implementations for many of the most successful restaurant operators in the world , we’ve learned a few things about how to...
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Good Times Restaurants Wednesday said that it saw a net loss of $1.1 million during the first quarter of 2016. Comps at the operator’s two brands increased in the quarter ended Dec. 31, rising 4.8...
7
Panera Bread has purchased a majority interest in a five-unit breakfast-and-lunch chain in Boston called Tatte Bakery & Cafe, with plans to test the concept as a possible growth vehicle into...
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Panera Bread said it will invest even further in delivery and catering in the coming year, with plans to bring delivery capabilities to more than 10 percent of its system in 2016. The chain will use...
9
We have addressed campers before in this column , mostly focused on how to get guests to move on quickly after they have paid their check to turn the table. For an owner and/or manager working long...
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Sure, the cool kids are doing it—Danny Meyer, David Chang and Tom Colicchio are a few of the big names ditching tipping in some of their restaurants. But still, they’re among only 9 percent of...