Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: April 1, 2013

The Best and Worst Restaurants for Healthy Kids’ Meals
Apple slices do not a healthy kids’ meal make, especially if they come with fried chicken and a soda. In an analysis of children’s meals at 50 large chain restaurants, the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that 97 percent of the possible kids’ meal combos failed to meet its nutrition standards for children’s meals; 19 of those chains offer no kids’ options that pass muster. The National Restaurant Association offers different standards for what makes a kids’ meal “healthy”; by its guidelines, 91 percent of the options failed. Nine restaurants, including McDonald’s (MCD), Carl’s Jr., and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (AFCE), had zero options that met either standard. MORE>>

Why mid-size and emerging chains should consider group purchasing to cut costs
Ask any seasoned franchise owner and he’ll tell you that the most important aspect to any menu is your supplier. Quality and cost are paramount, and last year’s epic drought, was a wake-up call for many restaurant owners- particularly for emerging franchises. Staying profitable in the face of surging commodity costs is a concern, and the large national chains have been staying ahead for years by using group purchasing. MORE>>

Fast 50 Spotlights High-velocity Adult Beverage Brands
Identifying the spirits, wine and beer brands that achieved significant volume gains last year and are positioned to continue growing in 2013 and beyond, Technomic is announcing its Fast 50 Brands report. The 50 adult beverage brands were identified by analyzing not only volume performance metrics, but also through examining key brand attributes and supplier strategy and support programs contributing to the brand’s success. MORE>>

Captain Morgan Planning Limited Edition Sherry Oak Finish
Diageo will extend its Captain Morgan rum brand with a limited edition Sherry Oak Finish next month, Shanken News Daily has learned. Captain Morgan Sherry Oak Finish ties in with the company’s efforts to illuminate the exploits of the real-life Captain Henry Morgan, including, most recently, its Sundance Channel documentary on Morgan’s 17th-century flagship, the Satisfaction. MORE>>

Absolut Picks Up Innovation Pace, As Pernod Mulls Acquisitions
Pernod Ricard’s Absolut brand has officially unveiled Absolut Craft, a new range of artisanal flavored vodkas designed exclusively for professional bartenders. Created in partnership with master bartender Nick Strangeway, the collection will ultimately feature three expressions, each using “at least 12 macerates, infusions and/or distillates” to create a sophisticated flavor profile. MORE>>

RPI slips in February amid softer sales, traffic
Due in large part to softer same-store sales and customer traffic levels, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) slipped below 100 in February.  The RPI stood at 99.9 in February, down 0.8 percent from January’s five-month high.  February represented the fourth time in the last five months that the RPI stood below 100, which signifies contraction in the index of key industry indicators. MORE>>

NRA announces Operator Innovations finalists
Three finalists in each of five categories a


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