Chain Beverage Buzz: November 26, 2012

The 25 Best Chain Restaurant Dishes in America
Amid all the copycat cooking and middling fare, chain restaurants have some incredibly delicious dishes that speak directly to our deepest, guiltiest pleasures. Moreover, these places—not fast-food joints like McDonald’s and Burger King, but casual sitdown spots such as Cheesecake Factory and Red Robin—are an integral part of the American dining landscape. MORE>>

Everything’s Coming Up Pumpkin Pie
During Thanksgiving week, the aroma of pumpkin pie wafts throughout the land, as it has for generations. But these days, chances are the source of the smell is not actually pie. While Starbucks, now serving its seasonal pumpkin spice latte for the ninth year, is often credited with helping popularize the flavor, pumpkin spice has spread to myriad categories. There were 79 limited-time menu items featuring pumpkin at the top 250 restaurant chains from August through October, more than double the 37 during the same period in 2011, according to Technomic, a restaurant market research firm. MORE>>

Restaurant Trends - Growing And Emerging Concepts - Change and Activity Nov 20, 2012
Ground Round (founded 1969) has increased by 7 units, from 23 to 30 (30% growth) and entered into NJ, OH, and SD.  These restaurants are family/casual concepts, serving American cuisine.  Meal periods are lunch and dinner, with a $8-$20 per person check average.  The restaurants have full bar and seating for about 200.  Catering and private party services are available.  All locations are franchised and trade in IA, ME, MI, MN, MO, ND, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SD, and WI. MORE>>

Restaurant operators expect November sales to hold steady
Restaurant industry same-store sales slowed slightly in October as quick-service restaurants continued to outperform those in the full-service segment for the 13th consecutive month, according to the latest NRN-MillerPulse survey. MillerPulse, an operator survey exclusive to Nation’s Restaurant News, questioned operators from 49 restaurants in November regarding October sales, profit trends, performance and outlook. Respondents included operators from all regions of the country that represent the quick-service, casual-dining, fine-dining and fast-casual segments. Those surveyed in November represented restaurants that booked about 17 percent of industry sales. MORE>>

AmBev to launch bars across Brazil
AmBev, the Latin American arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer by sales, is considering a rollout of branded bars across Brazil as it seeks to ramp up sales of its Brahma, Skol and other beers. The move – via a quasi-franchise arrangement, whereby a third party will own and run the bars while AmBev provides marketing, training and basic furnishings – illustrates the efforts being made by manufacturers of branded goods to sell their products to Brazil’s burgeoning middle classes. MORE>>

Rabobank identifies new wine markets
Rabobank, the Dutch bank which focuses on the wine trade, has identified Mexico, Brazil, Poland and Nigeria as future growth markets for wine consumption. In its latest report, it states: “With maturing or declining sales in many traditional markets, wine companies across the globe are increasingly searching for new growth markets. “While China and South Korea probably rank as the most attractive emerging wine markets, Rabobank has identified Mexico, Brazil, Poland and Nigeria as four ‘hidden gems’ that have the potential to become important growth markets.  Early investments to establish a route to market and build brand awareness hold the key to long term growth in these markets." MORE>>

Vodka may become unaffordable to many in several years
From 1 January 2013, the price on a half-liter bottle of vodka may rise by 36 percent, resulting in a minimum price of 170 rubles per bottle ($5.6). The Federal Service for Alcohol Regulation said that the price on Russia's most popular alcohol drink will grow in the context of a sharp growth of excise taxes on strong alcohol. As usual, market experts predict the growth of production and consumption of counterfeit vodka. MORE>>

Restaurant Chains' Obamacare Gripes Are Really About Shortchanging Workers
Since the election, we've heard of fast food and chain restaurant owners protesting the continued implementation of Obamacare, and the costs of having to provide health coverage to their workers. Some have threatened to cut worker hours, or add a surcharge to their meals.  Some of these claims have been walked back once they got media scrutiny, as owners of Denny's or Papa John's or Applebee's have to defend the dubious figures that they initially present.  MORE>>

Health care views cause clash between restaurant companies, franchisees
Schisms are appearing between franchisors and franchisees as restaurant operators become more vocal with their views on the looming health care act after presidential election results took its possible repeal off the table. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act impacts the restaurant industry more than most, said Chris O’Cull, senior restaurant analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, in a report last week. MORE>>

National Council of Chain Restaurants to Unveil New PwC Study on the Impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard
The National Council of Chain Restaurants will hold a press conference to unveil the results of a new PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The first comprehensive, industry-focused report details the economic impact of the RFS mandate on the chain restaurant industry, commodity prices and the food supply chain. MORE>>

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