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Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013 By: Mary-Kate Dunphy


National Restaurant AssociationNRA's Kafarakis Talks Health Care, New Notification Tool
The Affordable Care Act poses one of the most significant challenges for restaurateurs in the industry’s history. The National Restaurant Association, in its continued efforts to help its member better understand and prepare for the ACA, has developed tools and resources for the industry. Last month the NRA launched its Employee Notification Tool, an online resource that helps NRA members notify employees about the government-run health insurance “exchanges” that open Oct. 1. Recently, Phil Kafarakis, the NRA’s chief innovation and member advancement officer, talked about the tool and some of the other programs planned. MORE>>


Distilled Spirits CoucilSpirit of Mount Vernon” Industry Heritage Dinner and Rare Spirits Auction Raises $350,000
The Distilled Spirits Council’s 12th annual “Spirit of Mount Vernon” heritage dinner and rare spirits auction held on the lawn of Mount Vernon raised $275,000 for the new Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington and $75,000 for the Wounded Warriors Family Support Program. This brings the grand total for the history of this event to over $3 million. MORE>>


TechnomicLeveraging the Left Side of the Menu
We’re seeing a lot of movement from the Left to the Right, but it’s not in the political sphere—it’s on the menu. And it’s pushed by consumers’ shifting eating and dining behavior. All of these factors are creating opportunities for options traditionally offered on the left side of the menu to expand beyond their established positioning. Our recent Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report shows that each of these mealparts is becoming an increasingly opportune category as the lines between them continue to blur. MORE>>


Red RobinRed Robin is Two Weeks Away from Opening its Newest Restaurant in the Pittsburg-Area
Alert your taste buds! Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. is two weeks away from bringing even more craveable gourmet burgers to the Pittsburgh-area. Located at The District at Monroeville Mall off of William Penn Highway, the newest Red Robin will open on Monday, October 14 at 11 a.m. To help celebrate the grand opening of the new restaurant, Red Robin will donate all

 

sales of its signature Freckled Lemonade from Monday, October 14 to Sunday, October 20, to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for all kids with cancer. MORE>>


Tom VogelUncle Julio's Names Tom Vogel New President, CEO
Uncle Julio’s Corp. has named Tom Vogel president and chief executive, the Tex-Mex casual-dining company said this week. Vogel, who was chief executive of the Logan’s Roadhouse chain until earlier this year, succeeds Todd Conger, whom the Dallas-based company said left “to pursue other opportunities.” Vogel assumed the duties on Sept. 19. “What attracted me to the Uncle Julio’s brand the most is the quality, flavor and freshness of the food, as well as the team’s commitment to delivering a consistently great guest experience,” Vogel said. MORE>>


wineStudy Raises Concerns Over Pesticides Residues in French Wines
A new study on pesticide residue in wine has caused a furor in France by raising questions about leading labels, including Bordeaux’s Mouton Cadet and seven wines from large French producer Castel, Wine Spectator reports. Commissioned by French consumer magazine Que Choisir and conducted by the Excell enology lab, the study analyzed 92 wines from around France for 165 chemicals related to vineyard treatments. MORE>>


VodkaVodka  Tops Consumers' Preferred Spirits
Mixologists might love gin, and connoisseurs might tout whiskey, but vodka remains the spirit of choice among American consumers. Vodka accounts for 30 percent of all on-premise spirits, according to cocktail trend expert Donna Hood Crecca, Technomic Inc. senior director of the adult beverage resource group. Consumption of it, both on- and off-premise, grew by nearly 6 percent in 2012, she said Flavored vodka is driving growth. “There’s just a constant stream of flavors coming to market,” Crecca said. MORE>>


TGI FridaysTGI Fridays at Braintree Re-Opens, Boasting New Modern Design and Re-Energized Atmosphere
After much anticipation, the doors at TGI Fridays in Braintree reopened last night, revealing a new contemporary design being implemented at Fridays restaurants throughout the country. Community leaders and guests joined Fridays CEO Nick Shepherd to celebrate the reopening, check out the new look, and experience an evening of fun, fresh handcrafted cocktails and Fridays craveable appetizers. MORE>>


Chili'sWho Needs a Waitress? Order by Tablet at Chili's
You may be able to order a meal and pay for it without speaking to waitstaff at a national restaurant chain next year. Chili’s, which has tested tabletop tablets at a handful of restaurants for five months, will roll them out at all company-owned restaurants by mid-2014, Nation’s Restaurant News says. Franchisees will have the option of using them, too. There will be about 50 devices per restaurant. The idea isn’t to get rid of waitstaff (or make smartphone culture even more ubiquitous and annoying) but to highlight certain menu items and provide convenience, executives told NRN. MORE>>


Ruby TuesdayRuby Tuesday, Inc. to Host Its First Quarter FY 2014 Earnings Conference Call on the Internet
Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will host its quarterly conference call to discuss first quarter results on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The live call is being webcast and can be accessed on the websites below. The call will be archived on the Investor Relations page of the Company’s website through October 23, 2013. MORE>>


Olive GardenOlive Garden and Red Lobster Suffer Declining Sales
The casual dining chains Olive Garden and Red Lobster saw sales drop despite upticks in the economy, an indication that consumers are still wary of spending their money. The casual dining industry as a whole faced its lowest quarterly sales in more than three years, Brad Richmond, the chief financial officer of Darden Restaurants, which owns both chains, said in a conference call with investors, according to Reuters. MORE>>


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