The Bottom Line

Jonathan Maze The Bottom Line

Restaurant Business Executive Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Maze is a longtime industry journalist who writes about restaurant finance, mergers and acquisitions and the economy, with a particular focus on quick-service restaurants. He writes daily about the factors influencing the operating environment, including labor and food costs and various industry trends such as technology and delivery.

Jonathan has been widely quoted in media publications such as the New York Times and the Washington Post and has appeared on CNBC, Yahoo Finance and NPR. He writes a weekly finance-focused newsletter for Restaurant Business, The Bottom Line, and is the host of the weekly podcast “A Deeper Dive.”


Food costs have come down, but they remain high

The Bottom Line: Falling food costs give operators more options for dealing with traffic. But not all prices are falling. And the deflation could help retailers a lot more than restaurants.


Here's what we're looking for this earnings season

The Bottom Line: Is Starbucks really hurting? How did the year start with all that bad weather? Here is what we will be listening for once restaurant chains start reporting earnings next week.

The Bottom Line: The company recently started requiring franchisees to accept digital coupons. That rule comes just four months before a large swath of its system starts paying a $20 wage. Some operators want the coupons turned off.

The Bottom Line: Restaurant chains have been unleashing a torrent of new technologies on their stores over the past few years. This effort can sometimes have unforeseen consequences.

The Bottom Line: Even before the fast-food burger chain bought its largest franchisee, it was buying up swaths of restaurants around the country. That's a major shift for the brand.

The Bottom Line: Olive Garden has easily outperformed its former sister chain over the past decade. Now the seafood concept is on the market.

The Bottom Line: In acquiring its largest franchisee, the fast-food chain more than tripled its investment in its revitalization and fundamentally altered its ownership structure.

The Bottom Line: Concern is already heightened about the fast-food price-value equation. What will happen come April when the country’s largest dining-out market raises the sector’s wages?

The Bottom Line: Starbucks and now Dutch Bros are giving some key executives barista training and having them work in the field. That should become standard.

The Bottom Line: Darden CEO Rick Cardenas told investors this week that demographic trends are shifting in restaurants’ favor. But some demographic trends will be a headwind.

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