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    Chain Marketers Turn Brand Engagement into One Big Social Game

    NTN Buzztime of Carlsbad, Calif., this month acquired the hosted Stump! Trivia game from Trailside Entertainment, Inc. Stump! has a large presence in the Northeast and conducts approximately 300 live events per week.

    Jamba Dives into Bare Fruit and Fruit Chips in New Licensing Deal

    In its scaling plethora of licensing deals, Jamba, Inc. scored a new agreement ─ this time with Bare Fruit LLC. Bare Fruit Founder Eric Strandberg says that all of the company's line of fruit snacks are developed using whole fruit

    Fast Casual Pei Wei Asian Diner Goes South to Mexico

    P.F. Chang's China Bistro has signed an exclusive agreement with Alsea, S.A.B. de C.V. to develop and license the Pei Wei Asian Diner brand exclusively in Mexico.

    Train, Motivate Your Restaurant Team Members for Excellence [Expert Corner]

    In this Expert Corner, Kelly Cockrell, organization and talent development manager at Whataburger, shares her best tips for motivating restaurant employees. Kelly has been in the business of training and people

    Independent Pizza Entrepreneurs Find Success in Distinctive Menu, Loyal Fans

    After having built a strong following at two locations in Portland, Maine, Otto Pizza opened its first quick serve restaurant store in February of this year. A fairly petite pizza shop, it can be found a bit further south ─ in Cambridge, Mass.

    Subway Goes Tap & Go™, Partners with MasterCard to Speed Transactions

    According to MasterCard Worldwide, the Subway chain will begin accepting a faster, more convenient payment method from customers. The MasterCard® PayPass™ payment will be accepted

    Kandessa Media Announces Eatery Leader, Expands Distribution of Digest to Three Additional Cities

    BOSTON ─ Quick Serve Leader magazine's publisher, Kandessa Media, added a New England version of Eatery Leader, its new compact print issue for Northeast Corridor independent restaurants. Kandessa Media will now include Providence, R.I., and the cities of Nashua and

    Social Games Offer Restaurant Marketers a New Level of Guest Engagement

    Recent moves by restaurants looking to engage customers on several technology platforms has brought attention to the way social games draw and appeal to a young audience. Electronic Arts' recent collaboration with coffee and baked goods chain Dunkin'

    Quick Serve Leader's Publisher Hits New Milestone, Releases Print Beta Dates

    BOSTON ─ Quick Serve Leader magazine's publisher, Kandessa Media, released dates for its foray into print this fall. The digital publisher of high-impact quick serve restaurant (QSR) news, trends, and best practices for the restaurant managerial ranks

    i.Menu Expo Launches at IHMRS 2011, Features iPad, Android Apps for Industry

    The i.Meu Expo at the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) will feature solutions in technology to better manage restaurant operations. Through a partnership with i.Business Magazine

    Jones Soda Taps Cue as Interim CFO

    Jones Soda appointed an interim chief financial officer September 12.  Jennifer Cue will return to her CFO post after leaving the company to spend time outside the United States

    Chain Leaders Use Retail Licensing to Grow Revenues, Brand Engagement

    Retail licensing and consumer packaging of restaurant label brands continue to comprise an explosive revenue category for restaurants. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) licensing revenue for Starbucks will exceed one billion dollars this year¹ and represents nearly nine percent of total revenues.

    A Tale of Two Asian Concepts with Sights South of the Border

    Two Asian-style dining chains, Panda Express and Sarku Japan, recently went south of the border in separate licensing deals.

    Panda Express, an operator and franchisor of more than 1,400 quick serve Chinese-style restaurants,

    Quick Serve Leader Achieves Readership Milestone, Lays Groundwork for Social Portal Kelevate

    BOSTON ─ Quick Serve Leader, the digital magazine of high-impact quick serve restaurant (QSR) news, trends and best practices for top QSR management, announced it had reached a milestone.  The publication attained a 25 percent readership draw¹ against the second largest QSR-dedicated publication, QSRWeb.com, and achieved 2,200 unique monthly readers in its most recent trailing 30-day analytics.

    New Events, Features for Hospitality Management Increase Appeal of IHMRS 2011 Attendance

    New features and events hitting the 2011 International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) will increase the appeal of attendance for hospitality folks.

    Urbanspoon to Bite into Yelp, Restaurant Review Space, in Zagat Deal

    Urbanspoon’s recent deal with Zagat will provide the company with much needed fighting power to better compete with the more prominent and popular Yelp review website. The Zagat deal, announced

    Fast Casual Cosi Searches for New Chief as Hyatt Moves On

    Fast casual operator Cosi reported that Mark Demilio, chairman of the Board of Directors, will be the interim chief executive for the company, effective immediately. This follows today's resignation

    Quick Serve Noodles & Company Signs Deal, Arrives in New England in 2012

    Noodles & Company brokered a deal to bring its Asian, Italian and American noodle concept to New England as early as 2012. Colorado-based Noodles & Company's new agreement

    Will Breastaurants Invade Fast Casual? A Designer Dresses the Concepts, Regardless

    In 2005, a uniform designer for the NFL and NBA professional leagues sat down with Randy Dewitt, the owner of Rockfish Restaurants. He had the idea for a new concept, Twin Peaks Restaurants, he told designer Terra Watson, which would compete with concepts like Hooters of America (HOA).

    CFO O'Brien Leaves Jones Soda for Coffee Biz

    Jones Soda Co. said its Chief Financial Officer, Michael O'Brien, had resigned.  A search for a replacement had been initiated. Seattle-based Jones is a supplier in the 'premium soda' category and has

    Can a Boston-Based Mobile App Eliminate Wait Times for Quick Serves?

    Boston-based AisleBuyer LLC recently received additional funding from Old Willow Partners in a series E Round in June worth $7.5 million. Old Willow Partners is a founding investor in technology companies that include Magnitude Networks,

    Q&A: How Lime Fresh Mexican Grill's CEO Keeps the Concept 'Hip'

    When Ruby Tuesday was getting ready to make its Lime Fresh Mexican Grill® master licensing announcement last September, Lime Fresh was a regional Mexican-style eatery with eight locations in Florida, known for its passion, cool brand and atmosphere, but with little notoriety.

    Former Quiznos Exec Tapped as International COO for Popeyes

    Popeyes' parent, AFC Enterprises, has hired Andrew (Andy) Skehan as its International COO (chief operating officer). Skehan has a broad-based restaurant expertise, mostly in operations,

    NRA Launches Kids LiveWell Program, Says 15,000 Restaurant Locations will Provide Healthy Options

    The Kids LiveWell program, launched by the National Restaurant Association (NRA), in collaboration with Healthy Dining, debuted today. The initiative aims to provide parents with more healthy dining options for their kids.

    Beyond NRA Show 2011, Recent Lessons Elevate Foodservice to Top of Social Evolution

    Beyond the social buzz created at this year's National Restaurant Association's (NRA) Restaurant and Hotel-Motel Show, the social arena is heating up and showing the foodservice industry's relevance and key role in driving almost all things social.

    Food Trucks to Cement Their Presence in New England

    Recent regulatory moves in Boston, spearheaded by City Councilor Mike Ross, have led to a more permissive attitude in the city, opening up commerce for a plethora of mobile food operations that will hit Boston's neighborhoods, and are already debuting at the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway and City Hall Plaza, within the next few days.

    For KFC Canada, Double Down Spells Success

    The 2011 encore of the Double Down promotion in Canada is coming to a close. KFC Canada reported having limited inventory, and that the limited-time offer (LTO) of the bun-less sandwich would end within a few days.

    National Restaurant Association to Respond to FDA Enforcement of Menu Labeling Laws, File Comments

    The National Restaurant Association (NRA) has reported that it is filing comments regarding the Food and Drug Administration's draft menu labeling regulations.  The NRA garnered heavy support for the new menu labeling law.

    Boston's Kandessa Media Launches Quick Serve Leader for Restaurant Executives

    Home of Innovation, Bruins, and Dunkin' Brands Now Home of Quick Eatery News Source for Execs and Independent Owners

    BOSTON —With the debut of QuickServeLeader.com, Boston—the home of innovation, technology, and some of New England's star sports teams—is now home to the new news source for quick serve executives and independent restaurant owners.

    Dunkin' Dabbles in Drink Mixology and Frozen Fridays

    Dunkin' Donuts has brought back a popular summer Coolatta promotion from last year: consumers can order up a mix of its frozen beverage flavors to produce more customized thirst quenchers.

    Kandessa Media Gets Social as it Launches Quick Serve Leader

    BOSTON —With the debut of QuickServeLeader.com just days away, Kandessa Media expanded its strategy to include social media counterparts on LinkedIn and Twitter.

    Franchising Has a New Twist: Smashburger in St. Louis Names it Agency of Record

    Franchising has a new twist. Smashburger's St. Louis franchisee named Twist as the new agency of record to support the chain's marketing, PR and communication efforts. 

    ConAgra Foods Picks Up the Marie Callender’s Brand Trademarks

    ConAgra Foods, Inc. reported that, effective June 9, it had acquired the brand trademarks from Marie Callender Pie Shops, Inc. The $57.5 million purchase of the marks, according the company. complemented the strategy of Conagra Foods in developing and growing its convenience meals, snacks and meal enhancers.

    Starbucks Expands Mobile Payment Program via Safeway, Android App

    Starbucks launched a new mobile platform offering for Android app users. Additionally, the Seattle-based coffee house chain announced a roll-out of mobile payment at Safeway, Inc., a national supermarket chain based in Pleasanton, Calif.

    Roark Capital to Get Beefier with Acquisition of Arby's Restaurants

    Wendy's/Arby's Group has agreed to the sale of Arby's Restaurant Group, the number two quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain in the country by store count, to Roark Capital Group.

    Focus Brands Lands John Barber as Franchise Sales SVP

    Focus Brands hired John Barber as Senior Vice President (SVP) of Franchise Sales. The 25-year multi-talented restaurant veteran will oversee new business development for the 3,300-store Focus Brands franchisor.

    Swipe Fee Reform Prevails as Delay Amendment Fails to Pass, NRA and NRF Celebrate

    The New York Times reported that the Senate did not pass the Tester-Corker Amendment June 8 to delay swipe fee reform. The amendment needed 60 votes to pass and it garnered only 54 votes. The reform in debit-card fees arose last year from the Dodd-Frank finance reform.

    Kandessa Media Re-Launches Foodservice Supplier Directory

    BOSTON —Kandessa Media Solutions, LLC, publisher of quick-service restaurant (QSR) content for kandessa.com and the number three QSR-dedicated news media company, announced today it is re-launching its foodservice vendor directory listings for quick-service suppliers, consultants and franchisors.

    (Update: Kandessa Media is launching SourcePulse, a directory for restaurant execs and owners in January. The online supplier directory program is expiring October 31.)

    Approach Can Be Direct or Tender, Say Private Equity Panelists at NRA Show 2011

    Restaurants seeking funding for acquisitions, mergers or expansion follow basic operational best practices to fetch capital, according to panelists at the Executive Kick-off Breakfast at the NRA Show 2011. But they say investors can be as hands-on or as hands-off as their style allows.

    NRA Show 2011 Showcases Hot Products Worthy of a Shout Out

    Foodservice products and technology, from the small to gargantuan—such as Armenco's Catering & Mobile Kitchen trucks—were featured at the National Restaurant Association's (NRA) Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show 2011 in Chicago. In addition to touting 'old stand-bys, like Minute Maid-inspired smoothies and Ecolab

    McDonald's Taps Coffing as Corporate Relations SVP

    McDonald's Corporation has promoted Bridget Coffing, currently Vice President of Global External Communications, to Senior Vice President of McDonald's Corporate Relations.  

    On the 'Fifteenth Day of Show 2011', Share Your Best NRA Show 2011 Story…

    (Re-posted May 30, 2011) This year,  Kandessa Media is reaching out to the restaurant community to get their best stories of networking, deals, career moves, and yes, even love, at the National Restaurant Shows in the past.

    Roark Capital Eyes Corner Bakery in Il Fornaio Acquisition

    Rumors that surfaced last week regarding Roark Capital's acquisition of Il Fornaio, a 21-unit Italian restaurant concept, which also owns Corner Bakery, from Bruckmann Rosser Sherrill & Co. (BRS), appear to be gaining momentum and validity. 

    ICSC Recognizes 2011 Hot Retailers, Denver Burger Concept

    The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), a global trade association of the shopping center industry, announced its 2011 Hot Retailers as selected by ICSC's global membership. Smashburger, a better burger chain based in Denver, was among the award recipients.

    Dairy Queen and Subway Top Lists of Most Effective QSR Advertising

    Dairy Queen and Wendy's have been the most effective quick-service restaurant (QSR) advertisers thus far this year, according to Ace Metrix™, a brand and creative consulting company leveraged on brand metrics.  

    Global Franchise Group Announces Franchisee of the Year Awards and Brand Integration

    Multi-brand franchisor Global Franchise Group, LLC (GFG) hosted its 2011 QSR (quick-service restaurant) Conference in Dallas, Texas in April. The conference was represented by 400 attendees associated with GFG's brands

    Venus Williams Matches Up with Jamba Juice in D.C.

    Jamba Juice and Venus Williams announced will form a joint venture to develop up to five Jamba Juice stores in the Greater Washington D.C. marketplace over the next two years, according to company officials. 

    Kandessa Hits Milestone in QSR Readership in April

    BOSTON – Kandessa Media Solutions LLC reports that the online news publication for QSR professionals in the Northeast surpassed five percent of its competition in the month of April. The website attained a readership of more than 1,650 unique monthly visitors Friday, amounting to a more than five percent readership share of the largest online QSR magazine in the United States.

    Few Restaurants Using Online Ordering Despite Benefits, Says Cornell University Report

    A report from The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at Cornell University cited online ordering as an avenue for increased revenue, among other benefits, for restaurant operators. But, the survey of 326 restaurants chains found that while there was an increase in the availability of technology platforms to offer online ordering, few restaurants are taking advantage.

    1099 Repeal is Victory for Restaurant Operators, Says National Restaurant Association

    Washington, D.C. - The actions by the U.S. Senate and its repeal of the burdensome 1099 mandate, which was included in last year’s health care law, was applauded today by the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

    Heinz Completes Acquisition of Majority Stake in Brazilian Foodmaker and Quero Brand

    H.J. Heinz completed its acquisition of an 80 percent stake in Coniexpress S.A. Industrias Alimenticias, a leading Brazilian manufacturer of the Quero brand of tomato-based sauces, tomato paste, ketchup, condiments and vegetables.

    Groupon Take Heed: SCVNGR Founder Introduces Group Buying App LevelUp

    SCVNGR's development team announced LevelUp, a deal buying application that creates fun for guests and loyalty for restaurants and other businesses at the same time.

    For Restaurants, Building an Inclusive Culture Requires Top-to-Bottom Thinking

    Creating and fostering a spirit of inclusion within a restaurant company requires more than just good will. As it turns out, promoting a culture that is inclusive and seeks to benefit from the thoughts, experiences, differences, and best practices from all employees and stakeholders requires DNA that starts at the top.

    New England Food Show 2011 Attendance, Attitude, Benefitted from Positive Buzz and Social Media

    The New England Food Show (NEFS) 2011's buzz, vibe and attendance this year seemed to be on the rise. NEFS is a conference that is sponsored by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA), a New England state restaurant education

    NEFS 2011 Education Session on Opening and Expanding Restaurants Stirs Up Fine Points

    The New England Food Show 2011 (NEFS)  was a valuable conference for  networking, product sampling and procurement. But the conference’s strongest offering was its education piece, especially evident in the session Opening, Operating, and Expanding Your Restaurant Business,

    Deal Site LevelUp to Donate Level 1 Proceeds to Select Charities

    March saw SCVNGR launch LevelUp as a pilot in Philly and Boston. LevelUp is a brand new type of local deal that is marketed as a tool to promote patronage of businesses -- the more guests use it, the better the deal. 

    For QSR Chains like McDonald's, Leadership Drives Progress Toward Inclusive Cultures

    The increasing success of QSRs that champion diversity, and the lessons of diversity experts alike, point to two main factors that build global diversity awareness within an organization: top-level leaders have to be as on board with diversity as salespeople, and

    Jamba, Inc. Provides Update on 2010 Accomplishments vs. Company BLEND Plan

    Jamba, Inc. today provided an update on its key BLEND plan initiatives and progress in the company's fiscal 2010 year. The Company showed solid progress on key strategic priorities, including the expansion of food, successful commercialization of consumer products and global franchise expansion.

    National Restaurant Association Announces 2011 Kitchen Innovation Award Recipients

    CHICAGO - The National Restaurant Association (NRA) today announced the recipients of the annual 2011 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Award, a well-known honor recognizing groundbreaking kitchen equipment

    Wendy's to Re-Launch in Japanese Market with Higa

    Wendy’s/Arby’s International, Inc. and Higa Industries Co., Ltd., a prominent food importer and distributor based in Tokyo, today announced the signing of a joint venture agreement to develop and operate Wendy’s restaurants in Japan.

    SBA Franchise Registry Approves UFood Grill

    UFood Restaurant Group Inc. announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has listed its UFood Grill healthy fast casual restaurant concept on its official Franchise Registry. The Franchise Registry is a compilation of franchise systems that have had their franchise agreement reviewed by the SBA,

    National Restaurant Assoc. Taps Hans Lindh as Membership and Industry Relations SVP

    Washington, D.C. - In continued efforts to align the organization to fully execute its multi-year strategic plan, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) has named Hans Lindh as senior vice president of Membership and Industry Relations.

    Chipper Is the Outlook for Restaurant Industry Says NRA

    The 2011 forecast is upbeat according to the National Restaurant Association's (NRA) 2011 Restaurant Industry Forecast: Inside the Mind of Today's Consumer. According to the report, industry sales are projected to increase to $604.2 billion in 2011

    The Lessons Behind Social Media Trends: Keep It Simple, But Be Aware

    In the QSR space, social media marketing can be a double-edged sword. Done correctly, it can lead to a lower customer acquisition cost than traditional forms of media. When not, the damage to the brand

    Mexican Fast-Casual Concept Heads West on the Heels of a Standby

    The eight-unit chain Lime Fresh Mexican Grill in Florida was recently put on the QSR map with Ruby Tuesday’s announcement that the veteran chain will open 10 to 12 Lime Fresh Grills by early 2012. The Miami-based concept,

    International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York Presents Two Premier Events

    NEW YORK --The 2011 International Restaurant & Foodservice show of New York, held Feb. 27-March 1 at the Jacob J. Javits Center in New York City, includes two premier events: the first 2011 Foodservice Council for Women, and the return of the Japan Pavilion.

    Get Certified Green Now! Environmental Consultant Gabriele Crognale Talks with qsrbuzz [Expert Corner]

    Gabriele Crognale, PE, is the founder of MCG & Associates, a private environmental consulting practice that for 28 years has advised organizations large and small about the import of implementing environmental management systems (EMS) that allow them to perform, while maintaining a sustainable reverence for the earth and the environment.

    Dapore: Hire, Retain, and Develop the Best of Gen Y [Expert Corner]

    Quick Serve Leader's Expert Corner continues to provide useful QSR information from a fresh, focused perspective. Why is Generation Y so important to the QSR workforce? What systems and processes can elevate restaurant selection of candidates to a new level? In this installment, Nate Dapore, president and chief executive officer of PeopleMatter, expands on these topics.

    Mass. Restaurant Association Sees Key Role as Advocacy for and Training of Restaurateurs

    Additional 2011 Efforts Focus on Segment-specific Benefit Programs

    Janine Harrod, the Massachusetts Restaurant Association's (MRA) director of government affairs, spends countless hours of her day responding to questions from MRA members about legislation impacting their business.

    QSR Marketing Shifts Full Gear to the Mobile Space

    Most quick-service restaurant (QSR) marketers recognize that in order to gain share from competitors, ramping up entry into the mobile space is a no-brainer.

    Kane: Build QSR Geo-Location Loyalty Now [Expert Corner]

    Location-based apps are quickly gathering a large following among social media fans. How can the changing QSR social media landscape courtesy of sites like Foursquare allow you to get the leg up on your competition? In this installment of the Expert Corner, Pete Kane, marketing guru, answers some of these questions for Kandessa Media.

    Blake Huebner, BHI: Are you PCI Compliant? [Expert Corner]

    In this Expert Corner installment for Quick Serve Leader, Blake Huebner of BHI Secure Connect® discusses the importance of PCI compliance as it relates to the restaurant industry.

    Susan Tellem: 10 Tips For New QSR Owners to Build Traffic To Your Restaurant [Expert Corner]

    This issue of our Expert Corner is brought to you courtesy of Susan Tellem, a 25-year public relations veteran, and partner of Tellem Worldwide:

    So you opened a restaurant: Congrats … but now what?

    Menu Engineering 1-2-3-4 for QSRs [Expert Corner]

    In this installment of Expert Corner, we get Rick Zambrano's perspective on the very critical lifeline topic of menu engineering for restaurants. Below is the contribution from Kandessa's founder:

    Menu engineering is the process of creating a menu that is both profitable and appealing to customers and one that increases frequency.  The concept has been around for years yet it’s often misunderstood by smaller restaurant chains and independents;