Chain Beverage Buzz: Dec. 13, 2010

NRAThe National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) is up 0.4 percent from September to 100.7 in October, having its strongest showing since September 2007. It also stood above 100 for the second month in a row, indicating that key industry segments are expanding. In fact, restaurant owners saw an increase in same-store sales and in customer traffic levels. To find out more, click here.

Brinker International Restaurants named Ian Baines as Senior Vice President of Strategic Innovation for Chili’s Grill & Bar, while promoting Carin L. Stutz to President of Global Business Development. Baines previously was President and Chief Executive of Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill in Orlando, Fla. Baines will oversee Brinker’s kitchen and menu initiatives and the remodeling of more than 800 Chili’s units. Stutz joined Brinker in June 2009 as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Office of Global Business Development.

Jim Clerkin was named as CEO of Moet Hennessy USA effective this month. Clerkin has worked in the alcohol beverage industry for 30 years, joining Moet Hennessy USA in June 2008 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

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We asked industry leaders to weigh in on what metrics they were tracking to ensure proper cash flow, increased profit margins, and operations setup for future growth.

Claim Jumper Restaurants filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, with Landry’s Restaurants, Inc., buying the company for $76.6 million. Claim Jumper operated 45 restaurants in eight states including Rainforest Café, Landry’s Seafood House, The Crab House and Chart House, as well as recently acquired Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. This month, two Claim Jumper restaurants in Southern California shut their doors, the first of many closures expected for the Orange County chain.

DineEquity Inc., is planning to sell 30 corporate Applebee’s in the Washington, D.C., area as part of its refranchising plan. DineEquity entered into an asset purchase agreement with Potomac Family Dining Group for the 30 restaurants.

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