Chain Beverage Buzz - Dec. 12, 2012

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group opened its second Del Frisco’s Grille in Dallas, following the success of its New York City debut. The Dallas location offers 500+ wines, hand-crafted and skinny cocktails, as well as tap, bottle and craft beers at two bars. Expansion plans call for locations in Washington, D.C., and Phoenix, and each will have multiple bars and a heavy beverage focus.

Chris Kenny has joined Beam Global as On Premise Channel Manager. Kenny spent 9 years at The Boston Beer Company, most recently in the role of National Account Manager.

Sam Rothschild, who was Senior Vice President, Franchise Operations for Applebee’s for 8 years, has been named COO of Hooter’s of America. He joins Terrance Marks, who was named President and CEO in August, in running the 430-location chain based in Atlanta.

Landry’s management is busy these days. The acquisition of McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants for a reported $131.6 million should close later this month or early next. Additionally, the multi-concept operator is working to fill 175 positions at its Houston headquarters in the wake of closing various offices of acquired companies after going private just over a year ago. We’ll check in with Landry’s when the dust settles to get a sense of the role of the bar in its business plans…

What do you think of the new menu labeling laws? Click here to take a survey developed by Professors Charles Platkin, PhD, JD, MPH, and Ming Yeh, PhD, from the City University of New York School of Public Health at Hunter College in New York City. They’re conducting research on restaurant owners' perceptions of Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which requires restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations to list calorie content information for standard menu items on restaurant menus.

Brian Abel, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Vice President, Food & Beverage North America, accepted the 2011 FTA Hospitality Award for Excellence as an Operator – North America at the Twentieth Annual FTA “A Fall Evening in New York with Very Special Friends” in November. He's shown at left with Fred Tibbitts, President/CEO of Fred Tibbitts & Associates (center) and Stephen Foster, Senior Vice President, North American Operations at Starwood (right). Held at The MetLife Building in The Vanderbilt Suites, the event attracted 110 hotel and restaurant senior executives, presidents, vice presidents, managing directors, industry VIPs, industry press and sponsors.

Starbucks will add beer and wine to the menus at seven locations in Chicago in 2012. The coffeehouse giant began dabbling in adult beverages in a Seattle location in 2009; four stores there and one in Portland, Wash., now carry beer and wine. No word on further expansion of beer and wine in Starbucks locations.

Bars, restaurants and various industry pros celebrated Repeal Day last week, commemorating the 78th anniversary of the end of Prohibition. Most industry groups did so with a word of caution about the growing anti-alcohol movement. Read my take on it here.

Locally produced wine and beer, artisan spirits and culinary cocktails rank among the top 20 trends identified by the National Restaurant Association's 2012 What's Hot list. The list is developed from a survey of 1,800 members of the American Culinary Federation on which foods, beverages, cuisines and culinary themes will be hot trends on restaurant menus in the coming year. Food and beer pairings/beer dinners and on-site barrel-aged cocktails join those three trends to comprise the Top 5 alcohol beverage trends, according to the chefs surveyed. For more on the survey, click here.

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