Chain Beverage Buzz: January 7, 2013

Economist’s Notebook: Restaurant Hiring Finished Strong in 2012
Eating and drinking places added a net 38,000 jobs in December, their second-strongest monthly gain of 2012. Restaurants continued to add jobs at a robust pace in December, according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Eating and drinking places — the primary component of the restaurant industry, which accounts for roughly three-fourths of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce — added a net 38,000 jobs in December on a seasonally-adjusted basis. MORE>>

Uno names Ian Baines president, CEO
Uno Restaurant Holdings Corporation, the parent of the Uno Chicago Grill chain, has named Ian Baines president and chief executive, the company said Friday. Baines, who will assume the position on Jan. 7, replaces Frank Guidara, who will continue to work with Uno’s as a part-time consultant and advisor until July 2014. MORE>>



GuestMetrics Releases Full Year 2012 Cocktail/Flavor Trend Results
According to GuestMetrics, based on its extensive proprietary database of POS transactions from restaurants and bars, sales of cocktail drinks grew +1.9% in 2012 compared to 2011, which was disproportionately driven by sales of flavored drinks. The data is based on analyzing 24 months of data representing over $8 billion dollars in transactions and over 250 million checks across the entire US. “In analyzing the nearly 2,000 unique cocktail types captured in our system and comparing sales for full year 2012 versus full year 2011, we see that cocktails grew nearly 2%. However, this growth was driven largely by cocktails that have a specific flavor associated with the drink,” said Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC. MORE>>

Restaurant Trends - Growing And Emerging Concepts - Change and Activity January 2, 2013
Concepts that have grown by at least 5% (if less than 50 units).
Milwaukee, WI-based VECCHIO ENTERTAINMENT GROUP has increased by 1 unit, from 3 to 4 (33% growth), with the addition of a new concept called Twisted Fisherman Crab Shack.  Other company concepts include Hubbard Park Lodge (1), Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden (1), and Rio West Cantina (1).  These are family/casual concepts, open for lunch and dinner, serving multiple cuisine types.  Per person check average is $10-$30, with full bar service.  Average seating is for about 60.  Catering and private party services are available.  All locations are in WI. MORE>>

A Walk Down New Gin Lane
The resurgence in the British gin scene should have plunged Tim Hayward into dipsomaniac’s nirvana - but instead he’s confused. I am extremely fond of gin. I love its subtlety, its fragrance, its fascinating history and, above all, its power to render me as comprehensively wrecked as a smashed crab in fewer than four servings. Imagine, then, my delight at the current resurgence in the British gin scene with every back-bar loaded with tailored, designered, bespoke and exotic gins created by keen, young, independent distillers. I should be in dipsomaniac’s nirvana, but instead, I am confused. MORE>>

What’s “healthy” at restaurants? Technomic finds consumers’ definitions are evolving
Consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious, but their perceptions of what is considered healthy eating at restaurants are also changing. Contemporary definitions of health are strongly associated with local, natural, organic and sustainable food and drink. Additionally, consumers are taking more of a balanced and personal approach to healthy eating—seeking out better-for-you foods, while enjoying occasional indulgences. MORE>>

Seasons 52, Hard Rock Get New Execs
Brian Foye is the new president of Seasons 52, the upscale-dining chain owned by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants. Foye was appointed president of Seasons 52 earlier this month, after Stephen Judge left to lead Bonefish Grill. Previously, Foye had a brief stint as president of Darden's Bahama Breeze chain, having replaced Laurie Burns, who was made senior vice president of strategic platform and development for the company's Specialty Restaurant Group. Before that, Foye had been senior vice president of operations for Darden's Capital Grille chain. MORE>>

Jersey Mike's Raises More Than $100K for Sandy Relief
Working together with The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Jersey Mike’s Subs has raised $106,657 to support The FoodBank’s relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Donations from Jersey Mike’s franchise owners, team members, and customers throughout the country were accepted at Jersey Mike’s nearly 600 locations following the storm. MORE>>

Villa Enterprises eyes five new countries for expansion in 2013
As Villa Enterprises enters the New Year, a dozen new units are scheduled to open during the first quarter, and the company hopes to open concepts in five additional countries in 2013. Villa Enterprises is also concentrating on strategic acquisitions and broadening its presence within outlet shopping centers, casinos and airports through both single and multi-unit openings. MORE>>

Fiscal deal offers some benefits to restaurateurs, NRA says
Congress's passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act has not only averted the so-called "fiscal cliff," but also tax increases for many individuals and small business owners, like restaurateurs, the National Restaurant Association said. The fiscal bill, which President Obama signed into law Jan. 2, included a one-year extension of the 15-year tax depreciation schedule for restaurant buildings, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the enhanced deduction for charitable food donation.  MORE>>

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