Executive Movements
Morgan Flatley Replaces Deborah Wahl as McDonald's CMO
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Kevin Hochman Promoted to President and Chief Concept Officer of KFC U.S.
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CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. Selects Jason Marker as Chief Executive Officer.
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Jamba Juice Appoints Joe Thornton as Chief Operations Officer.     Full Article »

Brinker International Names Steve Provost Chief Marketing And Innovation Officer Of Chili's.
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Velvet Taco Names Clay Dover President.
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Überrito Names Peter Ortiz Chief Development Officer.
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Financial Overview

Oak Hill Capital Partners to Acquire Checkers & Rally's Restaurants for $525 Million
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Darden Restaurants Agrees To Acquire Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen For $780 Million; Adds A Casual Dining Value Leader To Darden's Portfolio Of Differentiated Brands
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Panera Bread to Be Acquired in $7.5 Billion Deal.
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Sonic Reports Second Fiscal Quarter Earnings Per Share Growth of 14% Driven by Refranchising Gains
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NPC International, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results
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Chanticleer Holdings Reports Operating Results for Fourth Quarter and Year Ended December 31, 2016
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Ruby Tuesday, Inc. Reports Fiscal Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results.
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Darden Restaurants Reports Fiscal 2017 Third Quarter Results And Increases Earnings Outlook For The Full Fiscal Year
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Post-Merger Success: Increasing the Odds
by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search
Bob Gershberg

With Merger & Acquisition activity in the industry heating up, not to mention the lofty multiples we are seeing, it is time to revisit the importance of cultural integration. Once asked if the AOL Time Warner merger was a success, Steve Case, the architect of the ill-fated deal joked, "Of course it was. We could never have lost that much money on our own." "Culture clash" is the oft mentioned culprit. In this era of mergers, private equity acquisitions or change in ownership, so much time is spent on financial due diligence pre-closing but so dreadfully little on post-acquisition strategy. So much time spent on studying the existing state with so little focus on innovative assessment of how to improve and change the existing state. So much time spent on financial capital but so little on the human capital side.
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"Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don't do it."
--Mark Cuban

Culture Matters
Clarifying the Elusive Concepts of Culture and Climate
by Robert Cooke, Ph.D and Tim Kuppler (Interviewer)

Tim Kuppler
Culture experts and enthusiasts recently gathered in San Francisco for the 2nd Annual Ultimate Culture Conference. A theme of the day was that most leaders recognize culture as a critical factor for success, but it remains an elusive concept and has become an overused word. To kick off the conference, Tim Kuppler interviewed Rob Cooke, CEO of Human Synergistics, to explore culture along with some related constructs (like climate) that are sometimes confused or used interchangeably with it. Some of Rob's answers to Tim's questions are summarized here.  
Executive Chat
Featuring Carolyn Frey, Chief People Officer of Philz Coffee
by Rebecca Patt, SVP Development, Wray Executive Search

Rebecca Patt
Carolyn Frey joined San Francisco-based Philz Coffee in 2015. Philz was started by Phil Jaber inside of his corner grocery in 2002 and now has nearly 40 locations in the Bay Area, L.A., and Washington D.C.

At Philz, you won't find any typical espresso drinks, and you don't add cream and sugar yourself. Instead, Philz serves a variety of premium pour-over brews, hand-crafted to customers' preferences, one cup at a time. Philz is also known for having a warm, community feel inside their stores and with their company culture.

The brand is a cult favorite in Silicon Valley and recently raised $45m in funding to fuel further expansion.
Financial Edge
Restaurants & Retail: Similar Challenges in the Making
by David Ulrich, EVP Wray Executive Search

David Ulrich
Restaurant and Retail companies have been, and will always be similar businesses, with similar challenges that never cease. From an historical perspective, it seems that the retail industry generally goes through its disruptive cycle about three to four years before the restaurant industry, which can provide restaurant executives some insight into what may be coming down the road as far as potential changes. During the first technology wave in the 90's, many retailers, manufacturers, and financial services companies where "early adopters" because they needed to keep their margins in place despite the massive consolidation and consumer change that was going on at the turn of the 21st century.
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Grumpy Old Restaurant Guy
Fast Casual Pizza Closings - REALLY?
by Tom Rollert, Vice President of Culture Integration, Wray Executive Search

Tom Rollert
Recently Pie Five closed roughly 10% of its locations and we will probably be hearing about others doing the same in the fast casual pizza sector. Who could have guessed that pizza's entry as a "hot" fast casual concept over the last few years would have trouble being successful? Why would anyone think that a fast casual concept that has existed in the US for over 100 years might already be saturated? Is there anything quicker and more casual than a pizza by the slice operation?
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