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Financing

Winners and losers from a tough first quarter

The Bottom Line: Wingstop (again) and Texas Roadhouse (also again) were among the big winners last quarter, while the fast-food value proposition is among the losers.

Financing

Red Lobster needs a buyer. How does Darden sound?

Reality Check: The casual dining giant sold Red Lobster in a cloud of controversy a decade ago. Here's why a return to the fold may not be as crazy as it sounds.

Behind the Menu: Bite-size Apple Pie Poppers, created to target customers' sweet spot, lend themselves to line extensions to expand the chain’s snack selections.

Tech Check: Almost every customer has a POS in their pocket. Can mini mobile apps get them to actually use it?

These small concepts are still proving out their ideas, but each shows promise as a potential candidate for the next generation of emerging chains.

The Bottom Line: Some of the fastest-growing chains in the U.S. push drinks, even as sales at traditional concepts lag in growing delivery and takeout business. How can traditional restaurants get in on the action?

The Bottom Line: The role a giant sale-leaseback had in the bankruptcy filing of the seafood chain has drawn more criticism of the investment firms' financial engineering. The criticism is well-earned.

The Bottom Line: Giving customers meal options they can afford will be key to generating traffic this year. But make sure those offers can generate a profit.

The Bottom Line: The seafood chain’s bankruptcy declaration was not surprising after months of closures and Endless Shrimp recriminations. But that doesn’t make it any less notable.

How did a once-struggling, regional bone-in chicken chain overtake KFC, the formerly dominant player in the U.S. market? With a fixation on sandwiches and many more new restaurants.

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