Chain News & Profiles includes news on chain restaurants, operations, profiles, trend pieces and new concepts.
The fast-casual pizza segment has gone from nowhere to seemingly everywhere with head-spinning speed. While the niche is the industry’s new darling, operators within it are suddenly finding themselves hard-pressed to create real points of differentiation. Pizza Studio, which opened its first unit in Los Angeles in January of 2013, has done so with its menu as well as with its creative, art-centric concept.
You might call it eatertainment for the millennial age. Punch Bowl Social brings elevated casual comfort food, craft beverages and old-school, unplugged entertainment together in a single venue. Founded in 2012 by Denver-based Seasoned Development, the concept places equal emphasis on those three foundations — food, drink, entertainment — according to Robert Thompson, Seasoned Development’s CEO and Punch Bowl founder.
A job as a busboy at a Mexican restaurant hooked Rocco Mangel on the idea of developing his own eating establishment. He spent two years working and formulating his idea, but a chance meeting with his former employers, partners at multiconcept operator Big Time Restaurant Group (BTRG), brought it to fruition. BTRG was interested in adding a Mexican concept to its portfolio and teamed up with Mangel, who subsequently spent 6 months visiting more than 60 restaurants across Mexico and refining his Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar concept.
When Steve Ells and company developed their game-changing Chipotle Mexican Grill concept, they had the benefit of starting with a cuisine already well known and loved by mainstream American consumers. Such was not the case for the three young friends behind Tava Indian Kitchen, the fast-casual brand they launched in the San Francisco Bay area in 2011. But to founders Vijay Brihmadesam, Hasnain Zaidi and Jason Pate, who fled the finance and consulting worlds to launch Tava, that spelled opportunity.
As part of a series of personnel moves among its current executive leadership team, Wendy's promoted Bob Wright to executive vice president, chief operations officer and Abigail Pringle to chief development officer.
Restaurant Brands International Inc., the organization that came about as a result of the merger of Tim Horton's and Burger King, has announced its new executive leadership team.
Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., announced a series of leadership changes aimed to support domestic and international expansion.
Bloomin' Brands, Inc. has agreed to sell all of its interests in its Roy's concept, including 20 company-owned restaurants, to United Ohana, LLC, a new company formed by Sunil Dharod.