Chain Beverage Buzz: July 11, 2011

Brice R. PhillipsPhillips Seafood patriarch, Brice R. Phillips passed away on July 1, 2011 at the age of 90. Brice and his wife Shirley found Phillips Seafood in 1956, when it was just a small “crab shack” in Ocean City, Md. Over the next 55 years, Phillips Seafood grew to 19 restaurants, creating a line of retail products under the Phillips Seafood brand name along the way, as well as becoming a hallmark of the hospitality industry. Throughout his tenure, Brice received numerous awards including a Doctorate of Hospitality from the University of Maryland, the 2008 Citizen of the Year from the Ocean City, Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the Henry L. Dunnick Award from Restaurant Association of Maryland, as well as the Association’s Restaurateur of the Year. Brice is survived by his wife Shirley, sons Stephen and Jeffrey, daughters-in-law Maxine and Janet, his eight grandchildren and his four great-great grandchildren.

Sonic, America's Drive-InIn the hopes of increasing traffic, a Sonic restaurant in Homestead, Fla., will start selling beer and wine, making it the first location of the quick-service chain to have alcohol on its menu, which will include three draft beers, 25 bottled beers and 10 wines. Sonic management is planning a nationwide roll out in the future.


NRAThe National Restaurant Association (NRA) filed comments regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) draft menu labeling regulation, which requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations operating under the same brand to provide detailed nutrition information to consumers, display calories on the menu, menu board and/or drive-thru. The NRA’s comments show how the regulations include: flexibility with nutrition disclosure, making sure similar retail food establishments with restaurant-like operations are treated the same under the law, that restaurant operators should use the reasonable basis standard recognized by the FDA rather than the standard used for packaged foods and requesting a one-year implementation timeline rather than the initial six-month timeline, which the FDA proposed.

Both Katie Scherping, Chief Financial Office and Senior Vice President and Susan Lintonsmith, Chief Marketing Officer, have resigned from Red Robin Gourmet Burgers. Scherping has been with the company as CFO since 2005; Lintonsmith joined the company as CMO in 2007. Analysts see this move as part of Red Robin’s overall and ongoing turnaround efforts.

Keep those sliders on your bar menus! Technomic released a new study that finds burger consumption up considerably since 2009; 48% of consumers say they eat a hamburger at least once a week compared with 38% who said the same thing two years ago. Part of the reason for this increase is quick-service value menus as well as casual dining restaurants making the burger top-of-mind for consumers. 

Glazer’s Distributors is creating a new education program for its employees, suppliers and retailers called Glazer’s University (GU). GU participants obtain free training to become experts on wine, beer and spirits by completing a 10-15 minute interactive course with games, virtual trips around the world and other methods. Participants then will acquire “Bachelor of Wines,” “Bachelor of Spirits” and “Bachelor of Malts” degrees.


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