Chain Beverage Buzz: Feb. 21, 2012

Houston-based Landry’s Inc. completed its tender offer for shares of Morton’s Restaurant Group Inc., clearing the way for a Real Mexplanned $116.6 million acquisition. About 15.6 million shares were tendered at an offered price of $6.90 each; with 92.2% of outstanding shares, the deal closed without shareholder approval. Morton’s board agreed to the deal in December. Morton’s, which is headquartered in Chicago, operates more than 70 upscale steakhouses. Just last month, Landry’s closed on a $131.6 million purchase of Portland, Ore.-based McCormick & Schmick’s.

A group of noteholders, including Tennenbaum Capital Partners, Z Capital Partners and J.P. Morgan Investment Management, agreed to buy Real Mex Restaurants, which operates more than 140 restaurants under the El Torito, Acapulco and Chevys brands as well as single-unit restaurants and small regional concepts. The bid was $129 million, including $49 million in cash. Real Mex filed for Chapter 11 restructuring in October.

O'Charley'sFidelity National Financial Inc., a title insurance and mortgage services provider, will acquire Nashville, Tenn.-based O’Charley’s Inc. for $9.85 per share, or $221 million in cash. O’Charley’s operates 342 restaurants under the O’Charley’s, Ninety Nine and Stoney River brands. Fidelity National Financial also holds investments in American Blue Ribbons Holdings, which operates the Max & Erma’s brand, among others.

Black Box Intelligence, which covers 12,000 units across the United States, released its Restaurant Industry Snapshot, containing January sales performance and trends. Ninety percent of member companies reported positive traffic — the strongest results reported in two years. Highlights of the report include positive comparable store sales of 3.27%, with positive guest traffic of 0.26%. Download the report.

2012 is the Year of Beer at Fox and Hound and Bailey's Sports Grille, headquartered in Wichita, Kan. To kick off the Year of Beer, each restaurant has created its own Better Beer Book, composed of about 100 of the best beers, as selected by Fox and Hound beer enthusiasts. The guidebook provides guests with a wide selection of bottled and draft beers to try. Other components of the promotion include employee beer training, a home-brew contest and a Frosty Fox game through Fox and Hound’s iPhone application. When guests play, they earn credits toward free food at the restaurants, up to $5.

Peter Beaudrault has been named president and COO of the 17-unit Mitchell’s Fish Market, part of the Winter Park, Fla.-based Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. Beaudrault — who most recently served as president, CEO and chairman of Sbarro Inc. and previously was president and CEO of Hard Rock Café International Inc. — takes over for Sam Tancredi, who has served as president and COO since December 2008. Tancredi will transition to a consulting role with the company, where he will assist in the transition of the brand to new leadership.

Boasting more than 90 locations in the United States, England and Mexico, Las Vegas-based Buca di Beppo and General Growth Properties (GGP) are scheduled to open 10 restaurants within the GGP mall portfolio during late summer 2012.

The Outback Racing Steakhouse Team is supporting U.S. military service members through Operation Homefront. Fans can showOperation Homefront their support of by texting “TROOPS” to 90999.  With each text message, fans donate $5 directly to Operation Homefront. As part of its “Thanks for Giving” program, the Tampa, Fla.-based Outback, which has more than 1,200 locations nationwide, has donated more than $2 million during the past two years in support of troops and their families.


The number of restaurant companies taking part in the National Restaurant Association’s “Kids LiveWell” program has more than tripled since its launch last July. Sixty-eight restaurant brands, representing more than 20,000 locations, have committed to the program, providing an increased selection of healthy options for children when dining out. For more information, visit

Technomic Inc. is developing an online adult beverage database to track U.S. sales and volume information for spirits, wine and beer brands, including key consumer attitude and usage metrics, pricing and in-depth analysis of the adult beverage market to assist in strategic-planning decisions.

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