Big News
Pie Five closes 18 locations
Pie Five, stung by steep declines in same-store sales, has closed 18 locations as it withdraws from underperforming markets, parent company Rave Restaurant Group Inc. said on Wednesday.

The closures came during a quarter in which the fast-casual pizza chain's same-store sales declined by 15.8 percent. On a two-year basis, the chain's same-store sales are down 19.8 percent. 
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Executive Movements
TGI Fridays has named a restaurant veteran with nearly two decades of operational and franchisee experience as its top executive
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Shake Shack Appoints Tara Comonte as Chief Financial Officer
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The Habit Restaurants, Inc. Announces Appointment of Douglas Branigan as Chief Development Officer
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Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. Appoints Nicholas P. Shepherd and CEO Richard C. Stockinger to Board of Directors     Full Article »

Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc. Names Neil Thomson as Chief Financial Officer
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Front Burner Expands Leadership Team with New Hires and Promotions
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Financial Overview

Overview for the first quarter of 2017 as compared to the first quarter of 2016
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Yum! Brands Reports First-Quarter GAAP Operating Profit Growth of 39%; Delivers First-Quarter Core Operating Profit Growth of 9%
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Arby's Outperforms Industry as First Quarter Same-Store Sales Grow 1.6%
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Domestic same store sales growth of 10.2% - International same store sales growth of 4.3%
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MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes Announces Acquisition by Balmoral Funds LLC in Partnership with Gala Capital Partners, LLC
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Ruth's Hospitality Group, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2017 Financial Results
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Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. Announces Fiscal First Quarter 2017 Financial Results
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Papa John's Announces First Quarter 2017 Results
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Noodles & Company Announces first quarter 2017 financial results.
 Total revenue increased 2.4% to $116.7 million from $114.0 million. Net loss was $26.8 million for the first quarter of 2017
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More on the Millennials: Embrace them for they are our Future
by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search
Bob Gershberg

"What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders. They disobey their parents...... Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?" No, not a current diatribe on generation Y, but a proclamation of Plato, circa 400 B.C.

Narcissistic, entitled, disaffected, in need of instant gratification, the attention deficit generation; these are just a few of the oft-repeated millennial criticisms. Heck, they even won trophies for showing up and placing tenth. Well, my dear boomer contemporaries, do you think your Dad, clad in a starched white shirt was impressed with you when you came home from College with shoulder length hair, torn jeans and a tie-dyed tee shirt? Do you think he looked across the dinner table and thought, this is the next great generation? I think not.
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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
8 Culture Change Secrets Most Leaders Don't Understand
by Tim Kuppler

Tim Kuppler
I spent 15 years learning and applying culture insights as a senior executive and consultant across multiple organizations before I started to proactively reach out to top culture pioneers and experts to learn about their culture facts and fundamentals. We can't learn much about culture from the popular press and most social media is dominated by over-simplified or incorrect culture content. Critical culture change insights from the top culture experts in history are unfortunately "secrets" to the vast majority of leaders. Other leaders turn away from the fundamentals of culture to more exotic and superficial solutions.  
Executive Chat
Featuring Mike Speck, COO of The Halal Guys 
by Rebecca Patt, SVP Development, Wray Executive Search

Rebecca Patt
Founded in 1990 as a hot dog cart, The Halal Guys have become an indomitable presence on the corner of 53rd and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, amassing an empire and a fervent following serving Middle Eastern street food. The concept started franchising in 2014 and now has over 300 units planned for development, worldwide. Their industrious ground crew inspired Reebok to design a specialty sneaker in 2015 called the Street Meat. Mike Speck joined The Halal Guys in 2015. He is a restaurant operations and training veteran whose most recent role was VP of HR and Training for Qdoba Mexican Grill.
Financial Edge
How Panera Bread has become the benchmark for restaurant innovation
by David Ulrich, EVP Wray Executive Search

David Ulrich
Ron Shaich, Founder/CEO of Panera Bread, has been the driving force and visionary behind the impressive growth of Panera since founding the company in 1981. He recently sold the company to the German based PE firm known as JAB ( Though he states that it's a bittersweet end to a great run, he'll be leaving behind a legacy that will be the benchmark for how restaurant companies innovate and stay relevant to the ever changing and fickle demands of consumers today and in the years to come.
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What's New?
Tech savvy restaurant companies
by Kevin Stockslager, Associate Vice President at Wray Executive Search

Kevin Stockslager
As restaurant companies look to reverse the trend of negative same-store sales, it should come as no surprise that many brands have placed a strong emphasis on embracing technology to improve the restaurant experience, facilitate food delivery, and differentiate themselves from competitors. Restaurants in the QSR and fast casual segments have implemented plans for kiosk-based ordering and several brands, including Panera Bread and Papa Murphy's, recently introduced delivery (or plan to soon) to their menu of services.
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The Big Apple
The Evolution of the Celebrity Chef
by Joe Radice, Vice President, Wray Executive Search

Joe Radice
The job description for an executive chef in a recent search specified that the individual have the celebrity to generate significant publicity for the restaurant. It was not enough that the chef be a creative culinarian with excellent management skills. Not surprising in our celebrity centric world. There has always been a celebrity component to restaurants, particularly in New York. The city is a great place to people watch - the restaurant viewed as theater. Celebrities are attracted to restaurants, to see and to be seen.
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