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).

Food Focus 5/3/17 – Arby’s Continues Progression, Effect of Sugary Drink Tax on Retail

With earnings season upon us, we start the episode by detailing what Arby’s is doing correctly, why Bloomin’ Brands is trying to open up capital, and what could potentially lead to a turnaround at BJ’s. Additionally, we take a deeper look at data provided by a study of Berkeley, CA following the implementation of a sugary drink excise tax, and what effects the tax may or may not have on retail outlets.

Food Focus 4/26/17 – Chipotle Smashes Expectations, R Taco Multiplies, McDonald’s Earnings

It’s a Food Focus episode of optimism, as a number of businesses look towards immediate growth. We begin with Chipotle, where same-restaurant sales crushed analyst opinions, and continue with McDonald’s, where All-Day Breakfast 2.0 appears to be working after all. We finish the show with two smaller operators seeking long-term expansion: R Taco and Papaya King.

Food Focus 4/6/17 – JAB Carb-Loads with Panera, New Major League Baseball Food Items

We begin with the acquisition that had everyone in the food industry abuzz this week, as JAB seeks to purchase Panera for $7.5 billion. We also glance at earnings from Inventure Foods, an effort by Buffalo Wild Wings to sell some stores to franchisees, and with MLB Opening Day this week, a look around new and emerging food trends at ballparks throughout the country.

Food Focus 3/29/17 – Large Chicken Recall, Darden’s Interest in Cheddars Scratch Kitchen

One of the largest chicken producers in the U.S. issues a sizeable recall, and we tackle whether or not it will affect chicken prices overall.  Additionally, Checker’s/Rally’s is in the midst of another sale, a Pie Five franchisee takes Rave to court, and the latest from Darden’s $780 million bid for casual dining chain Cheddars Scratch Kitchen.

Food Focus 3/15/17 – Ruby Tuesday Considers Sale, Del Taco Remains En Fuego

Ruby Tuesday, after several consecutive quarters of shrinking sales and operating losses, mulls over its options with the help of UBS…we discuss this along with continued excellence in revenue numbers at Del Taco. Chipotle exits their ShopHouse concept, and we talk about why El Pollo Loco may be positioned for growth despite recent lackluster quarterly financials.

Food Focus 3/8/17 – Shake Shack at Crossroads, Monster Energy Continues to Impress

Although Shake Shack saw revenue grow during the last quarter, significant signs of slowing traffic numbers spark concern for the company.  We discuss this, and Monster Energy’s continued growth despite massive competitive pressures.  Finally, we touch on QSR limited time offers for Lent, and an Arkansas-based steakhouse chain trying to grow in an already crowded space.

Food Focus 2/23/17 – Wendy’s Future Direction, Restaurant Brands Attempts Popeye’s Takeover

After we discuss earnings from Dean Foods, the largest dairy operator in the United States, we delve into information from Wendy’s annual investors day, and look closely at their opportunities for future growth. Additionally, we detail the attempted buyout of Popeye’s by Restaurant Brands, a failed takeover bid by Kraft Heinz, and slight optimism from Texas Roadhouse.

Food Focus 2/15/17 – Positive Signs From Panera, Pie Five Continues Struggles

Panera’s system-wide expansion of their 2.0 concept contributes to solid same store sales increases, while fellow fast-casual operator Pie Five shrinks in the opposite direction with another quarter of double-digit comparable-store losses. Meanwhile, we discuss Noodles & Company’s move towards increased franchisee ownership, and the passing of a QSR legend.

Food Focus 2/8/17 – Chipotle Battles Market Cynicism, a Canadian Staple Enters U.S.

Chipotle shows signs of a turnaround in their most recent earnings release, and we discuss why onlookers have potential reasons for optimism (and pessimism). Additionally, Tyson Foods is the subject of an SEC query, KFC launches its newest limited time offer, and a well-known Canadian grill and bar chain makes their first inroads in the U.S. by way of Texas.

Food Focus 1/31/17 – Starbucks’ Earnings, Olive Garden Riffs on ‘Never Ending’ in Latest LTO

Starbucks releases their latest quarterly results, and there are both positives and negatives for the coffee giant.  Additionally, Bob Evans sells off their restaurant division under shareholder pressure, and Smallcakes takes the lead in the cupcake franchise race. Finally, we discuss Olive Garden’s latest limited time offer, and Taco Bell’s latest unique ad campaign.

Food Focus 1/25/17 – Early Returns on ADB 2.0 at McDonald’s, Bojangles’ Concept Store

After their first financial release following their All-Day Breakfast 2.0 rollout, we discuss how the initiative impacted McDonald’s bottom line. Also, we take a closer look at features in Bojangles’ new concept store, and how they might use elements in their planned expansion efforts. Finally, we note layoffs at Brinker Intl. (Chili’s) and a recall for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.