Archive for June, 2010

Dunkin’ Donuts Appoints Two Food & Beverage Industry Leaders to Fill Spots in Operations and Marketing

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s favorite everyday, all-day stop for coffee and baked goods, today announced the appointment of two senior-level strategic hires to support the brand’s ongoing focus on leadership marketing and operational excellence. Dan Saia, Vice President of Consumer Engagement, and Weldon Spangler, Regional Vice President, Midwest, bring a wealth of experience within the food and beverage industry and successful track records representing some of the world’s most prominent retail brands.

With more than 20 years of experience in strategic marketing for some of the world’s most prominent food service brands, including 11 years at YUM! Brands, Daniel Saia has joined the company as Vice President of Consumer Engagement. Mr. Saia will be responsible for the creation, development and execution of Dunkin’ Donuts’ advertising, media and interactive strategies and plans, working closely with Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees to develop innovative advertising campaigns and consumer messaging to support sales growth and enhance brand equity. He will report to John Costello, Chief Global Customer & Marketing Officer.

Most recently, Saia served as Vice President, Marketing and Communications at YUM! Brands, where he was responsible for 52 business units globally. In that position he oversaw leading global brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell and was part of the management team that delivered six consecutive years of double-digit sales increases. Earlier in his tenure with YUM!, Saia served as Senior Director Advertising for YUM!’s International Division.

Prior to joining YUM!, Saia was Vice President, Global Account Director, with Leo Burnett Worldwide where he was responsible for the development and implementation of the advertising and marketing plans for several multinational companies, including McDonald’s, Kraft General Foods and Kellogg. He began his career with the Xerox Corporation.

“Dan has a long history of developing creative marketing strategies and programs that have delivered results for some of the most respected companies in our industry,” said John Costello, Dunkin’ Brands Chief Global Customer & Marketing Officer. “We are thrilled to have Dan on board helping to lead our continued efforts to grow the Dunkin’ Donuts’ brand.”

Weldon Spangler, whose background includes both Starbucks and Taco Bell, has joined Dunkin’ Donuts as Regional Vice President, Dunkin’ Donuts Midwest. Mr. Spangler will be responsible for translating the company’s business strategy into day-to-day execution at Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the Midwest region. He will report to Paul Twohig, Brand Operating Officer.

Most recently, Spangler served as a Division Vice President for Knowledge Learning Corporation. In this capacity, he was responsible for the general management of KinderCare Learning Centers in nine regions which included serving more than 100,000 children and 28,000 employees. As a Division Vice President, he led both field operations and operations services and worked to ensure the development and implementation of key initiatives to support business needs.

Prior to joining Knowledge Learning Corporation, Spangler spent nearly 15 years with Starbucks in positions of increasing responsibility. His last position with that company was Regional Vice President for the Pacific Northwest Region of Starbucks where he oversaw the operations, regional marketing, human resources and store development for more than 600 retail stores. He began his career at Taco Bell, overseeing field operations in several markets as a District Manager and Zone Manager.

“Weldon has extensive operations leadership experience and has delivered strong results in very competitive retail environments,” said Paul Twohig, Dunkin’ Donuts Brand Operating Officer. “As part of the Dunkin’ Donuts operations leadership team, he will be extremely instrumental in helping us deliver on our goals for operational excellence, outstanding guest service and franchisee profitability.”

Sonic Introduces New Footlong Quarter Pound Coney Hot Dog

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Sonic Corp. introduced a new Footlong Quarter Pound Coney hot dog at the limited-time price of $2.99 at its 3,500 drive-ins.

A Sonic spokeswoman said the special Coney is “aggressively” priced at $2.99 through Aug. 29, and the company will be assessing in July and August whether to keep that price point or modify it come September.

The revamped beef-pork-blend Coney hot dog, which with this promotion goes from 2.6 ounces to 4 ounces and to a full 12 inches long, is part of the Sonic’s product strategy to deal with slumping sales over the past several quarters. In the spring, Sonic introduced a new “Real Ice Cream” recipe.

In a conference call with analysts on June 21, Clifford Hudson, chairman and chief executive of Sonic, said the new hotdog with chili and cheese would be promoted an improvement in product quality “both to help drive day parts along the way, but also to assist in moving forward the customer’s perception of our brand from a quality standpoint.”

Hudson said he expected customers to order side items with the Coney. “It’s virtually guaranteed they’ll buy a drink,” he said in the call. “It would be hard to eat a quarter-pound, foot-long Coney without having a drink. But in the test that we did, we also had a majority of the customers buy a side order as well, tots, rings, etc., and so in that case it obviously the side order drives up check considerably. It is a promotion that’s intended to focus on lunch and dinner, primarily.”

Steve Vaughn, chief financial officer, said the Coney runs at about 5 percent of sales.

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Red Lobster leaves oysters off the menu amid oil spill

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

The Gulf oil spill is forcing the removal of oysters from Red Lobster’s menu.

A Franklin, La., processing plant that provided Orlando-based Darden Restaurants with oysters for its Red Lobster chain shut down last week because it was unable to maintain its supply.

AmeriPure Processing Co.’s co-owner and founder said the closure could last through October.

Once Red Lobster’s current supply runs out, probably in the next couple of weeks, oysters will come off the menu, Darden spokesman Rich Jeffers said Monday. It’s uncertain when they’ll return.

Jeffers said oysters make up only a small portion of its Red Lobster sales, but he did not provide a percentage.

Capital Grille, Darden’s upscale steakhouse chain, uses oysters from outside the Gulf and will continue to serve them, Jeffers said. Seasons 52 does not serve them, he said.

AmeriPure is known for a special method of treating oysters to kill off harmful bacteria. The process includes bathing them in warm water, followed by an ice-cold shock bath to stop the transfer of heat.

Gib Migliano, whose St. Petersburg company Save On Seafood supplies Red Lobsters in Florida, said his last shipment from AmeriPure came in Friday.

“When we run out tonight or tomorrow morning,” he said Monday, “that will be it.”

Migliano said some companies that use oysters have switched over to coldwater varieties from the East Coast, which cost three times as much.

AmeriPure supplied 435 Red Lobster restaurants. The chain has about 660 restaurants throughout the country, but not all of them serve oysters.

Those that do serve them as appetizers, raw or steamed.

The closure, AmeriPure co-owner and founder Patrick Fahey said, “really has to do with our inability to get any meaningful volume of oysters in to our shop to process on a regular basis. We can’t get them.”

It’s not just that oyster beds have been closed, he said.

“So few boats are willing to harvest oysters simply because they’re going to make better money working for BP” cleaning up the spill, he said, adding that 48 workers were laid off from the plant.

The packinghouse is “taking a wait and see attitude to when is this nightmare going to end, when are they going to stop that hole in our beautiful Gulf,” he said. Then, it will take “a few more weeks to figure out what the totality of the disaster is going to mean to Louisiana’s oyster industry.”

Adults going out less often, study finds

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Even as the economy begins to improve, U.S. adults are still limiting their visits to bars and restaurants, according to new research by The Nielsen Co.

In a May survey of 7,500 consumers of legal drinking age, more than half, or 58 percent, reported patronizing casual restaurants less often than they did before the economic downturn. Sixty-percent said they are going to fine-dining establishments less frequently, according to Nielsen.

Nearly half, or 47 percent, said they go out less often to bars and clubs, the study found.

“Staying in continues to be the new night out,” said Danny Brager, Nielsen’s vice president and group client director for beverage/alcohol. “As the economy worsened, consumers turned to at-home dining and entertaining, and now that the economy is starting to improve, uncertainty about the extent of the recovery continues to dampen the consumer rush to go out more often.”

Brager said alcohol retailers are benefiting as consumers go out less and entertain at home.

If the economy improves, many consumers indicate they will go out more, with 37 percent of those polled saying they would visit casual restaurants more frequently, and 27 percent saying they would go back to fine dining. Sixteen percent said they would increase their visits to clubs and bars.

The biggest behavioral differentiator, however, was associated with age, Nielsen said. Younger adults between ages 21 and 27 are more likely go out more often when the economy improves, whereas adults 55 and older were much less optimistic about their future going-out prospects.

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