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May 23, 2012
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On the Front Burner 
 
  • Equity firm to pay $296 million for Benihana
    Private equity firm Angelo. Gordon & Co. plans to acquire Miami-based Benihana for about $296 million, or $16.30 per share, in a deal that will take the Japanese restaurant operator private. The company, which also operates the RA Sushi and Haru chains, has remodeled stores and boosted service levels, helping it achieve a 6% rise in same-store sales last year. The Miami Herald/Bloomberg (free registration) (5/23), The Wall Street Journal (5/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story

 
Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad) with Wisconsin Mozzarella and Fontina
This traditional summertime salad features fresh Wisconsin Mozzarella Cheese and Wisconsin Fontina Cheese tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and toasted breadcrumbs. The tangy vinaigrette provides a nice acidity to contrast the buttery notes of the fresh cheese.
 

Restaurant News 
  • Sales of kids meals with toys wane in 2011
    Quickservice chains saw sales of children's meals with toys drop 6% last year, according to NPD Group. The drop corresponded with a decline in quickservice visits by families with children, but it may also be tied to increasingly sophisticated palates and boredom with typical kids menu fare, says NPD's Bonnie Riggs. PizzaMarketplace.com (5/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Drive-thru lanes grow beyond quickservice concepts
    Sales at chains' drive-thru lanes rose 3% last year and drew about 12.4 billion visits, according to NPD Group. Their popularity and ability to drive sales have more companies outside quickservice chains adding drive-thru windows, including fast-casual Panera, which will have about 200 stores with drive-thru windows by the end of the year. USA TODAY (5/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Other News
Leading Voices 
  • Summer food programs feed the nation's neediest
    Summer programs designed to make sure the country's poorest children are fed during the months when school is out fed about 2.8 million in the summer of 2010, says Crystal FitzSimons of the Food Research and Action Center. Demand grew during the downturn, but budget cuts ate into programs, highlighting the need to raise awareness with efforts including the Department of Agriculture's National Summer Food Service Program Awareness Week. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Food & Beverage (5/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
 
  • Virtual currency loyalty program pays off for restaurant chains
    Customers using Plink's 3-month-old loyalty program that rewards them with Facebook currency when they make purchases at participating restaurants and shops are spending 65% more at those merchants than they were before, says CEO Peter Vogel. Chains including Outback Steakhouse, Burger King, Taco Bell and Dunkin' Donuts are among the merchants that have teamed with Plink. ClickZ (5/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Jimmy John's founder shares lessons on the road to success
    Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches founder and CEO Jimmy John Liautaud learned one important lesson early in life: Don't spend money you don't have. Other lessons were harder learned after he started his first sandwich shop and worked round-the-clock as employees kept quitting. All of the lessons helped him develop the "tough love" approach with franchisees that has led to the chain's success, he says. FastCasual.com (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Tools help cashiers detect counterfeit bills
    The feel and look of a bill may raise doubts about its authenticity, but eateries also have the option of using tools such as counterfeit detecting pens, UV light devices and magnetic ink detectors to determine whether a bill is real or counterfeit, writes loss-prevention expert D.B. "Libby" Libhart. QSRWeb.com (5/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Culinary Spotlight 
 
  • Chefs team up to fight foie gras ban
    California chefs who oppose the state's new rule that will outlaw foie gras on July 1 have created a petition urging the Legislature to lift the ban. "The effect of the ban is the closing of a successful family business," says Guillermo Gonzalez, owner of Sonoma Foie Gras. "Our farm is being forced to close its doors at the end of June, and the most unfortunate fact is that science has not been given a chance to play a role in this debate." USA TODAY (5/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
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Food for Thought 
There are many trails up the mountain, but in time they all reach the top."
--Anya Seton,
American author

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