Food Focus 9/20/17 – Cracker Barrel Seeks Stability, Walmart Rolls Out E-Commerce EBT Payments

Cracker Barrel releases their most recent earnings report, but beyond that, we look into some signals the company may be sending with their messages during the earnings call. We also look into Farmer Brothers’ increased partnerships as a potential future revenue driver, Walmart’s rollout of EBT payment acceptance in two sample markets, and Albertsons’ acquisition of meal kit delivery service Plated.

Food Focus 9/13/17 – Chili’s Slices Down Their Menu, Starbucks’ Latest Cold Innovation

We begin with a major story from Brinker International, as they announce cuts to 40% of their current menu in an effort to simplify their offerings. We discuss whether this may actually work to boost sales, and potential hurdles for Starbucks’ latest development in cold-pressed espresso. We round out our show with legal news regarding Kroger & Lidl, and a look at El Pollo Loco’s latest LTO.

Food Focus 9/7/17 – Dave & Buster’s Earnings, Will “Ruby” Chocolate Boost Confection Sales?

Dave & Buster’s earnings were released this week, and we discuss the increasing chasm between entertainment and food in their business model. After a Swiss chocolatier releases the first new natural chocolate color since the 1930s, we look at dynamics of a suddenly struggling chocolate industry. We close with two NBA-related stories, as the owner of Landry’s agrees to buy the Houston Rockets and a former NBA player opens up a QSR inside…Walmart?

Food Focus 8/31/17 – Smucker’s Folgers Problem, Dominos Partners with Ford

Although J.M. Smucker saw increased sales in the pet category, Folgers and other legacy brands are beginning to hold the food manufacturer back. We discuss possible solutions, before discussing Dominos’ short partnership with Ford to explore self-driving delivery vehicles. We wrap up with a look at fall flavor challenges to pumpkin spice and a Hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego.

Food Focus 8/24/17 – Zoe’s Kitchen Ratchets Back Growth Plans, Mushroom Demand Increases

We lead with Zoe’s Kitchen earnings, and a clearer picture of anticipated openings for 2018 that falls short of analyst expectations. We discuss why Zoe’s may be right to limit growth, and also how a new partnership between Walmart and Kroger may be beneficial for all parties involved. Finally, mushroom sales are on the rise as demand is up and volumes are down: we explore the edible fungus market to close the show.

Food Focus 8/17/17 – DineEquity Searches for Route to Growth, Two Craft Breweries Sell

The announcement of closures for DineEquity’s two brands—Applebee’s and IHOP—leads our show, along with their direction forward under new leadership. We touch on two buyouts of craft beer companies, with one purchase by a beer giant and another by a craft consortium. Our show rounds out with coverage of Taco Bell’s latest LTO innovations and potentially positive news from Famous Dave’s.

Food Focus 8/10/17 – Little Caesars Looks to Automation, Papa John’s Goes Gluten-Free

After beginning our show by glancing at Shake Shack’s recent struggles (and why warning signs lurk for the up-and-coming chain), we turn our attention to two pizza QSRs. First, Little Caesars, as they partner with a technology giant to boost customer optionality and reduce in-store wait times. Then, Papa John’s, as they roll out a gluten-free crust in all locations nationwide.

Food Focus 8/2/17 – Dunkin’ Connects With Franchisees, A Farewell To Teavana

Dunkin’ Brands earnings lead off our podcast, and we look closely at an upcoming reimaging program that may impact Dunkin’ locations throughout the country. After a brief glance at Del Taco’s own queso rollout, we explore Starbucks’ intent to close all Teavana locations and search for areas of positive momentum in the distilled spirits industry with Diageo’s annual report as a guide.

Food Focus 7/26/17 – McDonald’s Wows Analysts With Earnings, Egg Glut Hinders Cal-Maine

We begin with a story on everyone’s mind in the food industry: McDonald’s destroys analyst expectations on every front, and in their earnings call reveals some interesting suggestions about what might be next for the QSR giant. We connect last month’s story about egg prices to Cal-Maine’s lackluster earnings, hop over to Chipotle’s earnings call, and finish with an update on the Kroger-Lidl legal proceedings.

Food Focus 7/19/17 – Subway’s Store Refresh, Chipotle’s Roller Coaster, Hot Dog Recall

We first glance into how Subway’s store refresh program—including kiosks—may affect franchisees as they debate whether or not to make the immediate splash into a store redesign. Additionally, it was an up and down Tuesday for Chipotle, who saw negative headlines thanks to norovirus but has the momentum of queso on their side. We close by discussing a massive hot dog recall and potential looming financial woes at Bravo Brio.

Food Focus 7/13/17 – Pepsico Manages Modest Growth, Maxwell House Looks to Millennials

After Pepsico’s earnings release this week, it becomes apparent that diversification is the key to the company’s modest growth, even if management doesn’t buy into the anti-sugar trend among consumers. We also discuss new plans for re-expansion at an original fast-casual burger chain, Maxwell House’s efforts to attract millennials, and more acquisition for Campbell Soup.

Food Focus 7/5/17 – McCormick Succeeds Through Acquisition, New Seal Targets Macro Brewers

McCormick releases their second quarter earnings and beats on profit—we take a look at how aggressive acquisitions by the company has them positioned for further growth. The Brewers Assocation releases a new seal for exclusive use by craft breweries, and Southeastern U.S. peach growers see dramatic crop reductions—we discuss industry impacts (or potential lack thereof) of both.

Food Focus 6/29/17 – Darden Beats Expectations Again, Moe’s & Kellogg’s Collaborate

As Darden once again surpasses Wall Street expectations, we look to their earnings call and J.P. Morgan research as to reasons for their continued success. Additionally, General Mills shows signs of weakness, particularly in organics and yogurt, while competitor Kellogg’s teams up with fast-casual Southwestern eatery Moe’s for a new line of pre-packaged breakfast bowls.

Food Focus 6/21/17 – Blue Apron’s Looming IPO, Zima Makes a Return

We lead off the show by dissecting the newly public Blue Apron financials in advance of their desired IPO, and talk about their ability to hold off both other startups in their space and brick-and-mortar imitators.  After discussing Bob Evans’ earnings, we jump into the MillerCoors rollout of Zima, and why it might be a bad idea to structure the return of the drink as an LTO.

Food Focus 6/14/17 – Yet Another Fast-Casual Pizza Player, Del Taco’s New CEO

Where we discussed an increasingly crowded fast-casual burger space last week, we discuss the race to be the “Chipotle of pizza” this week, as Oath Craft Pizza secures funding to grow on the East Coast. We explore differentiators there and at Del Taco, and their new CEO presented their plans to continue QSR+ dominance. Finally, we look into J.M. Smucker earnings and another city’s recently-passed soda tax.

Food Focus 6/8/17 – BurgerFi Further Crowds the Field, Impact of Egg Prices on the Industry

In a fast-casual landscape that already features its share of upscale burger joints, BurgerFi seeks to squeeze into the little remaining white space with new franchisee agreements.  We take a deep dive into egg prices, and how continued low price points for the staple impacts grocers and restaurants. Additionally, we discuss a tuna-related food safety issue, more Buffalo Wild Wings, and Kelly Investment Group’s potential deal to buy struggling Joe’s Crab Shack.

Food Focus 6/2/17 – Nutella’s Concept Café Opens, Two Large Colorado-Based Storylines

We begin the show by discussing Nutella—not because of serving size debates, but because their new concept restaurant in Chicago opened this week. We take a look at industry specials and promotions for Memorial Day before turning our focus to Colorado, who celebrated the six-month anniversary of a new retail liquor law and whose fast-casual chain Smashburger adds another protein option.

Food Focus 5/24/17 – Independent Operators Elicit Positive Sentiment, Cracker Barrel Heads West

After a Pentallect report emerged showing independent restaurant operators scoring vastly higher in many consumer sentiment categories in comparison to their chain restaurant peers, we discuss what chain operators can do to counter this trend. Additionally, Cracker Barrel seeks to open more units on the West Coast, Golden Corral rolls out brunch, and trends at the Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Food Focus 5/17/17 – Weis Markets Grows Via Acquisition, A&W Seeks New Franchisees

Supermarket chain Weis Markets added stores through acquisition last year, and seeks to continue to do so…we discuss how their bolstered store portfolio affects their operations. Also, A&W shifts back into a growth mode and seeks new franchisees to help achieve more net new store openings, Wendy’s enjoys another positive earnings call, and an FSR group appears on the ledge of bankruptcy (or a sale).