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

With a turnaround proving tougher than expected, Chipotle is tweaking its comeback plan to put more emphasis on technology, menu changes and advertising. It also revealed a new, less-expensive store...
With Chipotle’s namesake brand still struggling to win back customers , the company is halting development of its secondary concept, 15-unit ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, while deciding what to...
Jack in the Box is trying a different approach to delivery in the San Francisco Bay Area, teaming up with a third party to provide the service until 3 a.m. The quick-service chain features a separate...
A 15.2% decline in traffic dragged down Chipotle’s same-store sales for the third quarter by 21.9%—a slight improvement from the 23.6% drop of the prior period , but proof the concept is still...
Technomic President Darren Tristano discusses restaurant concepts projected to grow in 2017.
Emeryville, Calif., has followed the lead of San Francisco and Seattle in requiring restaurateurs and other employers to set workers’ schedules at least two weeks in advance of a shift. The...
Hamish Dodds has resigned as president and CEO of Hard Rock International after nearly 13 years to pursue other opportunities starting early next year, the restaurant, lodging and casino company...
David G. Burke has succeeded Michael Ansley as CEO of Diversified Restaurant Holdings, a 64-unit Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee and parent of the Bagger Dave’s burger concept. Ansley, who founded the...
Two iconic hot dog stands are catching some of the buzz over this year’s baseball playoffs by waging a snarky Twitter battle over whose city has the better team—and taste in dogs. Putdowns of the Los...
Lemonade has hired Larry Kurzweil, a former CEO of Universal Studios Hollywood, as chief executive of the growing fast casual. Kurzweil replaces co-founder Alan Jackson, who has taken on the role of...