Hot numbers of the week: BWW’s chicken bill, Pollo Tropical’s high-volume lessons

Restaurant executives shared some surprising figures and factoids during their financial reporting this week. Here are a few of the more arresting numbers:


A renovation forced Pollo Tropical to shut all but the drive-thru of a unit in Miami for three days. “We were running in excess of 600 cars a day through the drive-thru,” said Tim Taft, CEO of the chain’s parent, Fiesta Restaurant Group. But the biggest sales boon might have been the lessons delivered on throughput, staffing and kitchen design, said Taft. Those insights will figure into the designs of future restaurants, he added.


Chicken-wing costs for Buffalo Wild Wings, undoubtedly one of the industry’s largest-scale buyers of the poultry parts, are running 26 percent above last year’s prices.


Restaurants that were converted more than a year ago to Panera Bread Company’s 2.0 prototype are collecting about 30 percent of sales from digital orders, compared to a 10 percent contribution at more-recent conversions. CEO Ron Shaich says his charge enjoys a larger percentage of high-margin digital sales than any restaurant concept outside of the pizza segment.


Panera’s revenues have been hurt by a decline in the sale of dough to franchisees, the result of pushing salads and broth bowls instead of sandwiches and other items made with bread, Shaich revealed this week. But he also indicated that sandwiches figured large in the chain’s 9.2 percent jump in catering sales during the second quarter. 


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