Calif. bill would tie minimum wage to inflation | New CEO aims to reclaim Friendly's iconic status | Buffalo Wild Wings to raise menu prices
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April 25, 2012
Restaurant SmartBrief

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Calif. bill would tie minimum wage to inflation
Business groups including the California Restaurant Association oppose a state bill to tie future minimum wage increases to rises in the Consumer Price Index, saying they would have no way to fight future increases or budget for sudden jumps in inflation. Ten U.S. states already tie minimum wage increases to inflation; the California bill would also prevent cuts in the minimum wage when prices decline. The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (free registration) (4/24)
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Walnuts coated with maple syrup and cayenne pepper combine with crumbled Wisconsin Gorgonzola Cheese adding sweet, spicy and salty notes to complement the watercress and romaine lettuce salad. The salad is topped with red onions and dried cranberries and is tossed with balsamic vinegar.
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New CEO aims to reclaim Friendly's iconic status
John Maguire grew up on patty melts and chocolate Fribbles at his neighborhood Friendly's, and as the chain's new CEO he aims to revive the once-iconic family restaurant brand by finding a modern way to take it back to its roots. "In some ways it tried to be fast casual and chased concepts like Panera, but they lost what really is their identity," said Maguire, a 19-year Panera veteran. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (4/24)
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Buffalo Wild Wings to raise menu prices
Buffalo Wild Wings is paying 57% more for bone-in wings than it paid this time last year, spurring the chain to say it would raise menu prices to offset the high cost of its staple offering and other commodities. Typically, wing prices drop after the Super Bowl, but that didn't happen this year, the company said. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/Dow Jones Newswires (4/24)
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Leading Voices
"Restaurant Impossible" chef helps troubled eateries
Chef Robert Irvine's role helping struggling eateries turn things around on "Restaurant Impossible" is part restaurant expert and part therapist, he says. Most restaurants need to spruce themselves up every three years or so, he says, but too many get in trouble when they fail to set aside funds for such projects during the good times. Reuters (4/24)
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How eateries can boost traffic, sales with Urbanspoon
Restaurants looking to boost sales and walk-in traffic would do well to make use of Urbanspoon and its online reservation system, Rezbook, writes Sociallybuzz CEO Andre Kay. Among other features, Rezbook lets eateries notify guests when tables are available, track customer food allergies and table preferences and offer promotions to bring in more patrons during slow periods. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Food & Beverage (4/25)
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Profile of a big restaurant franchisee
Lexington, Ky.-based Thomas & King is the nation's 22nd largest franchisee, with 89 Applebee?s units and six Carino?s Italian locations in five states and $225 million in annual sales. CEO Mike Scanlon talks about the early days of building the company, shifting from growth mode to survival mode when the economy tanked and surviving the dark days of the downturn. Restaurant Management online (4/1)
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Are NYC's iconic diners a dying breed?
Several formerly thriving diners in New York City have closed their doors amid the double whammy of slower sales and rising rents. Once staples of the city's dining scene, diners began to see sales slow even before the recession hit, with average checks dipping 10% in the past decade, according to one estimate. Crain's New York Business (4/22)
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Is Pricing Low Your Strategy to Success? Think again.
Pricing is the heart of a business. It affects everything you do and is affected by everything you do. Economists talk of supply and demand as key factors behind pricing—successful entrepreneurs manipulate demand by making their products more desirable. These six steps will help you determine the right price for your product or service, read the article and learn how to get pricing right.

Culinary SpotlightSponsored By
Barbecue gets a modern twist, even in Texas
Traditional barbecue is growing beyond its regular seasonings, even in places like Texas where traditions die hard. Dallas' Smoke restaurant serves beef ribs with chimichurri sauce. Fort Worth's Woodshed Smokehouse serves a 16-hour smoked beef shin with ricotta along with oak-smoked cauliflower. "This is doing modern Texas without being kitschy," said Woodshed chef Tim Love. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/24)
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Transformational Journeys: Modern Business Planning
Harvard Business Review explores why CFO's and their finance organizations must adapt to the changing landscape of their markets and how big data, organizational collaboration, and new cloud-based planning and analysis technologies are driving successful change.
Click here to access the report.

Business Tips and AdviceSponsored By
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Food for Thought
All things are difficult before they are easy.
Thomas Fuller,
British churchman and historian
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