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Financing

Howard Schultz puts some money into Starbucks

The Bottom Line: The interim CEO, who did away with company buybacks, has been buying up shares of the company’s stock and now owns 21.8 million shares directly or indirectly.

Financing

Restaurants’ finances turned south in a hurry

The Bottom Line: Margins were fine last fall as sales recovered. But high food costs on top of high labor costs have done them in. And some concepts are already feeling the pain.

The outgoing CEO of Brinker International reflects on his impact over 17 years at the Chili’s and Maggiano’s parent.

The Bottom Line: Sales at restaurants and bars are now at a higher percentage of Americans’ food dollar than they’ve ever been. They can thank higher grocery prices for that.

The Bottom Line: The burger giant has flourished in international markets even as its U.S. growth slowed. But its $1.4 billion decision to pull out of the market demonstrates the risk of global expansion.

Reality Check: The Independent Restaurant Coalition needs to become part of the National Restaurant Association.

Taste Tracker: Chocolate is for drinking at Starbucks and Shake Shack; Bennigan’s and Lazy Dog craft cocktails; Subway’s latest sandwich refresh; Modern Market embraces summer; and more menu news of the week.

Self-service cases mean big average checks at Paris Baguette, which is rolling out a new prototype to spotlight its top-selling cakes.

A record 1,700 stores changed hands last year. High valuations and a difficult operating environment are leading many franchisees to sell their restaurants. But some say culture problems, low morale and constant disputes are playing a major role.

The Bottom Line: The drive-thru coffee chain’s sales were weak because of high gas prices and its more conservative pricing decisions. But it hurt the chain’s earnings and its reputation on Wall Street.

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