Chain Beverage Buzz: April 2, 2012
The Millennium Advisory Board (MAB) selected Patrick Henry for its Fourth Annual MAB Hospitality Icon Award, which recognizes his effect on the food and beverage industry. Henry, president of Patrick Henry Creative Promotions, co-founded MAB in 1997 with New World Production owner John Lingo. He was not aware he was receiving the award until it was presented to him. Keeping the secret among more than 150 food and beverage peers was “a miracle,” says original MAB member Michelle Pae, who is Vice President of national accounts for Terlato Wines International. “We not only honor him for all of the creative ideas he has shared, but we congratulate his company for celebrating its 25th year in the food and beverage marketing arena,” she says. MAB is an organization composed of leaders in the food and beverage industry who aim to create and promote a vision for the future of the industry. Past recipients of the award include Jim Flaherty, former Vice President of Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine; the late Don Stanczak, former Vice President of Food and Beverage for Interstate Hotels & Resorts; and Stanley Novack, who, prior to starting his own consulting business, was vice president of concept development for HMSHost Corporation.
Patrick Henry accepts the Fourth Annual MAB Hospitality Icon Award.
The 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains marked a 3.4% annual sales increase in 2011 — a marked increase over 2010’s 1.8% increase, according to data released by Technomic Inc. Full-service restaurants in particular saw a 2.8% sales increase in 2011, following a flat year in 2010. Yard House, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar made the list of 10 fastest-growing chains with sales over $200 million, coming in at Nos. 4, 6 and 7, respectively. Yard House had $262 million in sales — a 21.5% increase over 2010 — while BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse made $621 million (a 20.9% increase) and Buffalo Wild Wings made a staggering $2.05 billion (a 20.1% increase).
Newport Beach, Calif.’s Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, which just earned a VIBE Vista Award for its spirits program, will celebrate spring with brunch specials on Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The 64-unit restaurant will serve a three-course sit-down menu that includes a new brunch cocktail: the Blood Orange Fizz (Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Stolichnaya vodka, fresh lemon juice and a splash of club soda).
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse will partner with Penfolds for the exclusive global release of the 2007 Penfolds Grange Shiraz during a five-course wine dinner May 1. The wine national vintage release dinner will be served at 59 of the brand’s 130 locations across the United States. Wine dinner pricing varies by market, with an average price of $165 per person; the menu includes a chilled shellfish salad, paired with Penfolds “Thomas Hyland” Riesling; spring leek and asparagus soup, matched with Penfolds “Bin 311” Chardonnay; duck confit Napoleon with Penfolds “St Henri” Shiraz; filet and crab-stuffed lobster tail, served with the global release of 2007 Penfolds “Grange” Shiraz; and, finally, chocolate-ganache-covered strawberry cheesecake with Penfolds “Club” Tawny Port.
As March Madness comes to a close, Applebee’s has found success in its “Fan Fanatics” promotion, in which fans are encouraged to post photos and messages to the Applebee’s Fan Fanatics Facebook page to win Applebee’s gift cards. The Kansas City, Mo.-based brand found that 71% of the posts come from women. “Our female Fan Fanatics are dishing it out online far more often than men,” says Jill McFarland, Senior Manager of Digital and Social Media for Applebee’s Services, Inc., and the company’s nearly 1,900 locations nationwide.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Ted’s Montana Grill, the company pledged to raise $150,000 for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. The fundraising effort kicked off last week in all 44 Ted’s Montana Grill restaurants; now through April 8, for every guest donation of $2 or more, the restaurants will give each guest a special Ted’s $2 bill good toward their next visit. The company is planning a second phase of the fundraising campaign for the summer.