Chain Operating Report for Jan. 9. 2013

News from the chain restaurant segment this week includes McDonald's expands a menu test, international expansion for Cheesecake Factory and Starbucks, and Tully's Coffee's new ownership has some star power.

Barberitos Franchising, Inc. announced a series of year-ending results from 2012 including system-wide sales were up 24.09 percent from 2011 and same-store sales were up from the previous year by 10.52 percent. The chain has 30 locations operating and another 43 in various stages of development. A quick-service restaurant chain that offers Tex-Mex cuisine, Barberitos expects to have more than 50 restaurants open by the end of 2013.

Greenfield Farms Food will acquire 100 percent of the equity interest in Ohio-based Carmela's Pizzeria. Carmela's has three Dayton, Ohio, locations and offers a full-service menu for dine in, carry out and delivery as well as pizza buffets in select stores.

Cheesecake Factory opened a location in Dubai. Operated by international licensee Alshaya Trading Co., W.L.L., this location occupies approximately 22,800 square feet, making it the largest Cheesecake Factory restaurant in the world, according to a company release.

First Watch, a breakfast and lunch concept, will open a 3,600-square-foot location in St. Petersburg, Fla. this summer.

McDonald's will expand its test of chicken wings this week as it introduces the menu item to restaurants in the Chicago market, according to published reports. The wings are available in servings of three, five or 10 pieces with prices starting at $3.

Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ:SBUX) announced plans to open new locations in the Vietnam market by expanding its relationship with Hong Kong Maxim's Group. Starbucks' first Vietnam location is scheduled to open in early February in Ho Chi Minh City. Asia represents a significant growth opportunity for the coffee giant, according to a company release. Domestically, Starbucks kicked off 2013 by adding a disposable cup program. Customers purchase the cup for $1 and when they bring it back on subsequent visits they receive a 10 cent discount. The move will help reduce waste associated with using paper cups, according to signage in some participating Starbucks locations.

Tropical Smoothie Café added chicken and fish tacos to its menu.

In a deal valued at nearly $10 million, the assets of Tully's Coffee have been sold to Global Baristas, an investment group that includes Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey. Tully's filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in October 22012, closing 19 unprofitable locations. Since the filing the chain reports same store sales have increased and profitability has improved. Tully's Coffee currently operates 47 company-owned stores in Washington and California and has partnerships with franchisees and grocery chains throughout the Western United States and Asia.

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