State of the Union puts minimum wage, 30-hour work week, joint employer issues in the spotlight

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It's been a busy week in Washington. From the State of the Union address to the Supreme Court to more on the minimum wage, here's a round-up of hot public policy topics for restaurants.

FEATURES


Is Zoës Kitchen poised for a breakout year?

Going public landed $42 million on the Mediterranean-inspired concept's balance sheet, and Zoës Kitchen is ready to put those dollars to work growing its footprint.

Pizza Inn Holdings Inc. hopes investors will RAVE about new name

Pizza Inn Holdings Inc., the parent company of Pie Five Pizza Co. and Pizza Inn, has announced that it is changing its name to RAVE Restaurant Group Inc., reflecting the company's transition to a multi-brand group.

What it takes to build long-term vision

Write down where you want to be in one year, three years or five years as a way to better understand where you are headed and how you are going to get there.

Competition for talent among hot trends for employers in 2015

The upswing in the economy means competition for talent will heat up in 2015. That means employers need to up their game when it comes to attracting and retaining the best team members.

Digital strategy produces 119% jump in Tijuana Flats' online ordering

A simplified website, local SEO optimization, Pandora ads and special events for bloggers helped lift sales and drive traffic to Tijuana Flats stores.

The four 'Cs' driving Jason's Deli's success

Jason's Deli racks up around $2.5M in AUVs. It's achieving that success by sticking with its core strengths, listening to customers, maintaining control and building strong company culture.

'Black Friday' a boon to restaurants, too

Mall-based restaurants can see a significant spike in sales around the holiday season, bolstered by high traffic volumes and consumers' desire for indulgence.

Minimum wage: how restaurants are responding to the 'inevitable'

Many restaurant operators believe a minimum wage increase is inevitable, and they are responding in a variety of ways.

How a hotel became a hot fast casual concept

Marriott transformed its Courtyard food and beverage offerings away from the traditional buffet into a new fast casual format, resulting in a 27-percent jump in guests' intent to recommend and return.

Technology, desire to connect with customer drives Buffalo Wild Wings' success

Based on customer research and feedback, Buffalo Wild Wings invested significantly in defining, delivering and enhancing its brand experience using technology.

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NEWS


Mars Drinks adds Peet's to workplace coffee offerings

Mars will offer Peet's French Roast, Café Domingo and Columbia Luminosa in its proprietary, recyclable Freshpacks.

Fazoli's franchisees report 12.2% sales increases in December

Franchisees were up 12.2 percent year-over-year, and company-owned units were up 8.4 percent in December.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe posts 11.4-percent comp growth in 2014

Tropical Smoothie Café wrapped up 2014 with 11.4-percent sales comps, a 28-percent increase in new franchise agreements, 55 new stores and AUVs of $526,000.

Top stock pics for 2015 dominated by QSR, pizza, fast casual

Quick-service, fast casual and pizza brands dominated top picks in the 2015 Best Restaurant Stock Pick Competition hosted by ICR.

NRA announces BAR event

The National Restaurant Association is expanding its beverage and alcohol program at the spring NRA show.

Chipotle will discuss Q4, FY 2014 results on Feb. 3

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has announced that it will host a conference call to discuss fourth quarter and full year 2014 financial results on Feb.

Researchers use text-mining software to predict success, failure of DC restaurants

The computer-assisted text analysis was more accurate at predicting restaurants' demise than ratings alone (although it is most powerful when used in combination with numerical ratings).

Luby's sets release date for Q1 2015 report

Fuddrucker's parent company will release Q1 2015 financial results after the markets close on Dec. 17.

Jamba partners with Peak Franchise Capital for refranchising effort

Peak Franchise Capital, based in Irving, Texas, will help facilitate the sale of Jamba stores in key California markets, including San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento.

In 5 years, your whole day could revolve around Starbucks

Just when you thought the coffee behemoth can't possibly get any bigger, it announces a five-year plan to grow even more through non-traditional venues,expanded dayparts, mobile ordering and delivery.

Jamba Juice reports increased sales, progress toward 'asset light' model

Jamba Juice refranchised 13 stores and added 51 new global franchise stores through the end of the third quarter, and reported mid-single digit percentage point increases through the first eight weeks of Q4

Buffalo's Express added to LA-area Fatburger location

Buffalo's Express brings chicken wings with 13 different sauces to the combined location's better burger-based menu.

Consumer confidence grows, but costs pressure profits

Despite increased consumer confidence, increased costs -- beef is up 39 percent -- are making it tough for restaurants to earn a profit.

Boston Market catering, takeout up 20 percent over last year

Heat & Serve options have surged 20 percent over last year, and catering is up 18 percent.

Zoe's comps up 6.3 percent YTD

Zoe's attributes the comp increase to an increase in transactions and product mix, combined with a 1.3-percent increase in price.

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