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Michael Seid

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Little Caesar's Continues to Give Back

Monday October 22, 2012

The Little Caesars pizza chain, in connection with its commitment to charity, in its native Detroit and elsewhere, has been busy lately.  This week, the Little Caesars Love Kitchen donated 130 large pizzas to a soup kitchen in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The Love Kitchen has done things like this to build on its record as a pizza-based version of the American Red Cross' disaster relief efforts, typified by coffee and donuts.

The chain has also created the "pizza cone kit," allowing the buyer to make a cross between a pizza slice and an ice cream cone, with their own choice of toppings, which in this case would instead be fillings.  These pizza cones are being demonstrated at schools, churches, and youth sporting events.  All the proceeds from these demonstration sales are going to charity.

Little Caesars founder Mike Ilitch grew up in the Great Depression, and in spite of his vast wealth, has seen his hometown struggle, and has not forgotten what it was like to do so himself.  He has worked for decades to help lift the people of Detroit, and elsewhere, out of difficulty, and to provide good food at the same time.  Read more about him: http://franchises.about.com/od/m/a/Mike-Ilitch-Biography.htm

Bennigan's Comes Back

Friday October 12, 2012

After going into bankruptcy, and nearly out of business entirely, in 2008, Bennigan's is attempting a comeback.  The former giant of casual dining had been beaten into the ground by competitors and the financial-market meltdown, but has begun to open new restaurants all over the continental United States.

This follows a measure of international success.  There are currently 11 Bennigan's outlets in South Korea, 6 in Mexico, 3 in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, and individual outlets in the Bahamas, El Salvador, Panama, India and Bahrain.  These appear to have kept the company afloat while it restructures itself domestically.

Bennigan's is not the only restaurant chain to reach the brink of disaster, nor the only one to come back from the brink.  Read more here: http://franchises.about.com/od/m/a/Famous-Restaurant-Bankruptcies.htm

Brinker International Shows Tremendous Growth

Friday October 5, 2012

Brinker International has been growing by leaps and bounds.  According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, its profit increased by 76 percent over the last year.  A recent divided yielded 2.2 percent, and total revenue for its fiscal year was $784.5 million.

Their Chili's brand has had 5 consecutive quarters of sales increases, and their Maggiano's brand has had 10.  They are projecting growth of nearly 20 percent for fiscal year 2013, and nearly 14 percent for fiscal year 2014.

This would have pleased their founder, Norman Brinker, who is considered the founding father of casual dining for his establishment of Steak and Ale and his development of Bennigan's and Chili's, the latter being the cornerstone of the company that bears his name.  Read more about him: http://franchises.about.com/od/mostpopularfranchises/a/Norman-Brinker-Biography.htm

Domino's Pizza Opens 10,000th Store

Friday September 28, 2012

Domino's Pizza opened its 10,000th store on September 27, 2012.  Like most American fast-food giants reaching a milestone in store openings, the one that put them over the top was not in the U.S.  It was in Istanbul, Turkey, home to over 13 million people and, as a multicultural Mediterranean city that has been influenced by Italy, open to the idea of Italian and Italian-style food such as pizza.

The milestone store is one of over 250 that Domino's has opened in Turkey.  Having expanded to many other nations, with particular success in Mexico, Britain, India and Australia, Domino's gets about $7 billion, roughly half its total sales from outside the U.S.

Domino's domino logo has three dots, for the three stores that founder Tom Monaghan had when he designed it.  By the time he sold the company in 1998, it already had over 1,500 locations outside the U.S.  Read more about the man who founded this iconic company: http://franchises.about.com/od/mostpopularfranchises/a/Tom-Monaghan-Biography.htm

Boston Market Cuts Down On Salt

Wednesday September 19, 2012

Boston Market is cutting out the salt.  The fast-casual chain has announced that it will no longer provide salt shakers at their tables - while keeping the pepper shakers - and that it will be reducing the salt in its chicken, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes by 20 percent.

 

Ordering a "quarter white," with the two side items being mac and cheese and mashed potatoes, has a total of 2,630 milligrams of salt.  Under this reduction plan, that total will be reduced to 2,055 milligrams.  In order to keep these items flavorful, the salt will be replaced with garlic and herbs, which studies show aid in heart health, of which salt literally gets in the way.

 

Boston Market's effort to make its food healthier is in line with its origins.  The company, under the name Boston Chicken, first rose to prominence by offering gourmet-store-style fresh food at the speed of fast food, with a price closer to fast food than to the gourmet store.  Read more: http://franchises.about.com/od/mostpopularfranchises/a/History-Of-Boston-Market.htm

Tim Hortons, Icon of Charity

Wednesday September 12, 2012

Tim Hortons, the donut and coffee chain founded by the Hall of Fame Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman of the same name, is not only Canada's most familiar fast food company, is also one of the country's leading donors to charity.  This past May, they donated $25,000 to Windsor Regional Hospital, in the Ontario city across the Detroit River from the American city of Detroit, to help keep the hospital's healing gardens open.

 

Company co-founder Ron Joyce founded the Tim Horton Children's Foundation in 1974, establishing summer camps for at-risk children in Canada's cities.  All of their camps are accommodating to children with disabilities, and covers costs for the children's parents, including transportation.

 

Tim Hortons got into the position to offer such charity by becoming a national, and now a continental, icon in less than half a century.  Read more about the stunning growth of this company.  http://franchises.about.com/od/mostpopularfranchises/a/History-Of-Tim-Hortons.htm

Popeyes Seeks to Bring In Suburban Audience

Wednesday September 5, 2012

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, second to Kentucky Fried Chicken in fast-food bird outlets, is making a play to expand its reach. Long a favorite in urban areas, Popeyes is now reaching out to a suburban audience.

Surveys show that 40 percent of Popeyes' customers are African-American, and the effort to reach the suburbs is meant not just to appeal to the black middle class that has developed in the last 20 years, but to white consumers who might want their chicken to be a little spicier than they usually get from KFC.

Trying to bring their style to a wider audience is part of the trend, which Popeyes has led, of the growth of New Orleans-style or Louisiana-style restaurants.  Learn more about this trend here: New Orleans Style Restaurants

Is Taco Bell Beating 'em By Joining 'em?

Monday August 20, 2012

Chipotle Mexican Grill has recently seen its sales increase by less than they'd expected/  Tje company blames their biggest competitor, Taco Bell.  The Bell's new "Cantina Bell" items have been compared to Chipotle's fast-casual items, and have eaten into Chiopotle's sales.

But Taco Bell has also recently introduced its Doritos Locos Tacos, which are unlike anything sold at Chipotle, Qdoba, Baja Fresh or any other competitor.  Considering how popular Doritos are when sold as triangular nacho chips in a bag, it should not be surprising that over 100 million of their taco form has already been sold.  This may be a bigger reason for Taco Bell's rise in sales; likewise, the absence of a similar item at Chipotle may be partly responsible for their unexpectedly weak increase.

Chipotle was able to rise the rise of Mexican-style fast food that Taco Bell pioneered.  But having established themselves as possibly number two -- Burger King, Pepsi or Avis to Taco Bell's McDonald's, Coke or Hertz -- can they now keep up? Read more about the development of the Mexican-style fast-food industry: History Of Mexican Fast Food



Buffalo Wild Wings Sees Prices Take Off

Monday August 6, 2012

Chicken wing prices have soared recently, and this has hit Buffalo Wild Wings hard.  The company had previously set a goal of increasing 2012 earnings 20 percent, but has reduced that goal to 15 percent.

Chicken wing prices tend to rise going into Super Bowl week, as wings are sold in bulk for use at game-watching parties.  But after this year's Super Bowl, in February between the New York Giants vs. New England Patriots, the price didn't go back down.  Buffalo Wild Wings' stock shares dropped 10 percent.

The company remains optimistic, which is not surprising, considering the growth of restaurants specializing in chicken, and especially in chicken wings.  Read more: http://franchises.about.com/od/mostpopularfranchises/a/Chicken-Wing-Franchises-Learn-To-Fly.htm



Taco Bell Goes Upscale with Cantina Bell

Friday July 20, 2012

Taco Bell has introduced its Cantina Bell menu, an attempt to "go upscale" while maintaining its affordability factor.  Suggestions are also being made that Cantina Bell is an attempt to compete with fast-casual Mexican-food chains Chipotle and Qdoba.

The Mexican-themed chain enlisted TV chef Lorena Garcia for this menu revamp, featuring the Cantina Bowl.  Available with both citrus-herb marinated chicken or steak, it includes black beans, guacamole, cilantro rice, and the tomato-onion-and-chili-pepper condiment known as pico de gallo.  They also offer either black beans or cilantro rice as side items, and pico de gallo with nachos.

Adding salads to a fast food menu is not a new phenomenon.  Click here to read about earlier examples: http://franchises.about.com/od/mostpopularfranchises/a/Fast-Food-And-Salad-A-Marriage-Of-Convenience.htm

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