Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: December 20, 2013

2014 Looks Promising For RestaurantsChain Restaurant News
After several tough recessionary years, the U.S. restaurant industry has seen modest growth for the past few years — and assuming continued (if slow) economic improvement, the industry's second-half 2013 momentum should continue into 2014. MORE>>

Darden Ditching Seafood as Red Lobster FloundersChain Restaurant News
Darden Restaurants (DRI) will divest its Red Lobster seafood chain and slash spending as the struggling company confronts persistently poor financial results and a hedge fund that has been agitating for changes. Today’s results, which missed Wall Street’s expectations, highlight a continuing problem for Darden and other casual dining chains: Americans are no longer going out to eat as often as they did before the 2008 financial crisis. MORE>>

Bartenders give some spirited predictionsChain Restaurant News
It's time for another in an unyielding series of end-of-year columns, except instead of 40 inches of thoroughly useless fashion and pop-culture insights (ZZ Ward is out and Kacey Musgraves is in? Thanks, Washington Post!), this one is about booze and bars, with insights from some of Pittsburgh's finest bartenders. It will get you thinking, and failing that, it will get you drinking. MORE>>

Having One for the SkyChain Restaurant News
A man at a bar orders a julep. The bartender nods and turns to grab a canvas satchel known as a Lewis bag. He fills it with ice, reaches for a wooden mallet and begins to pulverize the bag’s contents, creating the crushed ice needed to build the cocktail. MORE>>

Consumer Perceptions of Restaurant AdvertisingChain Restaurant News
In a new white paper, Technomic reveals what consumers think about leading restaurant brands' advertising efforts. As reported in "Perceptions of Restaurant Advertising: Consumer Assessments of the Leading Chain Brands" restaurant brands are measured on three attributes related to advertising: Has memorable advertising. Has advertising I can relate to. Has advertising that makes me hungry. Taken together, these attributes provide a holistic view of consumers' perceptions of advertising messaging from the leading restaurant brands. MORE>>

Major Brands buying Garco Wine Co.Chain Restaurant News
Alcohol distributor Major Brands is acquiring Garco Wine Co. as it rebuilds its portfolio after some suppliers left the distributor earlier this year. The sale is expected to be finalized early next year. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both companies are based in St. Louis. MORE>>

Craft spirits continuing to strongly outpace mainstream brandsChain Restaurant News
Similar to what we reported earlier in the year, craft spirits continue to be strongly outpacing mainstream brands in the spirits category, and are showing no signs of slowing: As we reported recently, the spirits category has not been immune to the continued weakness in the overall on-premise channel, with volumes down about 2.5% over the course of the first 11 months of 2013 vs. last year.  However, within the spirits category, there is a significant difference when comparing craft vs. mainstream brands:  year-to-date, craft brands (which by our definition includes Tito's) have grown volumes by 26%, while mainstream brands are down about 3.5%.  MORE>>

Google Releases List of Top Searched Restaurants of 2013Chain Restaurant News
Pizza Hut was the most searched chain restaurant on Google in 2013. The year is winding to a close, and with it have come a flurry of “Best Of” lists. Google got in on the craze and released its yearly “Zeitgeist” report, which aggregates the top searches in different categories for the year. MORE>>

Morgan Stanley sees gains in casual diningChain Restaurant News
Morgan Stanley analyst John Glass says that growth has solidly resumed among casual restaurants, ending an extended period of contraction.The analyst's report on Wednesday, suggests that not only is the consumer's appetite for eating out improving but consumer preference is also shifting toward more casual and quick-service chains as they adjust to more modest spending habits and tastes. MORE>>


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