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Food Focus 11/14/17 – Bakery Giants Report Earnings, Whole Foods’ 2018 Food Trends List

We go all bakery in the first half of the Food Focus, as Flowers Foods and Hostess both release quarterly earnings…we discuss differences between the two, and why one might be on better footing than the other going forward. After discussing Craft Brew Alliance’s recent earnings call, we turn our attention to Whole Foods’ list of projected food trends for 2018, and which may actually have a food industry impact for years to come.


Food Focus 11/2/17 – Papa John’s Slips, The Cheesecake Factory Hastens Growth

We start with Papa John’s and an earnings call that referenced the NFL over 40 times as an explanation for slower-than-expected growth. Meanwhile, BJ’s slows down their construction of new locations in an effort to focus on their existing restaurants while The Cheesecake Factory hits the throttle on new development in the fourth quarter.


Food Focus 10/5/17 – Halo Top Goes Dairy-Free, PepsiCo Continues Reinvention Track

Halo Top launches a line of dairy-free frozen desserts in an effort to stake down even more market share—we frame their expansion through the overall trend of dairy-free products. PepsiCo continues to attempt to straddle the past and the present, and Monsanto sees an increase in seed demand in the midst of a proposed merger. We close with Taco Day promotions in the U.S., and reviews of a new pizza chain and a West Coast beer.


Food Focus 9/7/17 – Dave & Buster’s Earnings, Will “Ruby” Chocolate Boost Confection Sales?

Dave & Buster’s earnings were released this week, and we discuss the increasing chasm between entertainment and food in their business model. After a Swiss chocolatier releases the first new natural chocolate color since the 1930s, we look at dynamics of a suddenly struggling chocolate industry. We close with two NBA-related stories, as the owner of Landry’s agrees to buy the Houston Rockets and a former NBA player opens up a QSR inside…Walmart?


Food Focus 8/24/17 – Zoe’s Kitchen Ratchets Back Growth Plans, Mushroom Demand Increases

We lead with Zoe’s Kitchen earnings, and a clearer picture of anticipated openings for 2018 that falls short of analyst expectations. We discuss why Zoe’s may be right to limit growth, and also how a new partnership between Walmart and Kroger may be beneficial for all parties involved. Finally, mushroom sales are on the rise as demand is up and volumes are down: we explore the edible fungus market to close the show.


Food Focus 6/8/17 – BurgerFi Further Crowds the Field, Impact of Egg Prices on the Industry

In a fast-casual landscape that already features its share of upscale burger joints, BurgerFi seeks to squeeze into the little remaining white space with new franchisee agreements. We take a deep dive into egg prices, and how continued low price points for the staple impacts grocers and restaurants. Additionally, we discuss a tuna-related food safety issue, more Buffalo Wild Wings, and Kelly Investment Group’s potential deal to buy struggling Joe’s Crab Shack.


Food Focus 6/2/17 – Nutella’s Concept Café Opens, Two Large Colorado-Based Storylines

We begin the show by discussing Nutella—not because of serving size debates, but because their new concept restaurant in Chicago opened this week. We take a look at industry specials and promotions for Memorial Day before turning our focus to Colorado, who celebrated the six-month anniversary of a new retail liquor law and whose fast-casual chain Smashburger adds another protein option.


Food Focus 5/24/17 – Independent Operators Elicit Positive Sentiment, Cracker Barrel Heads West

After a Pentallect report emerged showing independent restaurant operators scoring vastly higher in many consumer sentiment categories in comparison to their chain restaurant peers, we discuss what chain operators can do to counter this trend. Additionally, Cracker Barrel seeks to open more units on the West Coast, Golden Corral rolls out brunch, and trends at the Sweets & Snacks Expo.


Food Focus 5/17/17 – Weis Markets Grows Via Acquisition, A&W Seeks New Franchisees

Supermarket chain Weis Markets added stores through acquisition last year, and seeks to continue to do so…we discuss how their bolstered store portfolio affects their operations. Also, A&W shifts back into a growth mode and seeks new franchisees to help achieve more net new store openings, Wendy’s enjoys another positive earnings call, and an FSR group appears on the ledge of bankruptcy (or a sale).


Food Focus 5/10/17 – New Questions Surround Shake Shack, Applebee’s Scuffles

Despite an increase in overall revenue, questions about after Shake Shack displays lowered same-store sales in the latest quarter. We discuss whether the company’s reasons for the declines are valid, and also address a generally positive earnings call from Wingstop, continued sales falloffs at Applebee’s, and a slight expansion plan at Ingles Markets.


Food Focus 5/3/17 – Arby’s Continues Progression, Effect of Sugary Drink Tax on Retail

With earnings season upon us, we start the episode by detailing what Arby’s is doing correctly, why Bloomin’ Brands is trying to open up capital, and what could potentially lead to a turnaround at BJ’s. Additionally, we take a deeper look at data provided by a study of Berkeley, CA following the implementation of a sugary drink excise tax, and what effects the tax may or may not have on retail outlets.


Food Focus 4/26/17 – Chipotle Smashes Expectations, R Taco Multiplies, McDonald’s Earnings

It’s a Food Focus episode of optimism, as a number of businesses look towards immediate growth. We begin with Chipotle, where same-restaurant sales crushed analyst opinions, and continue with McDonald’s, where All-Day Breakfast 2.0 appears to be working after all. We finish the show with two smaller operators seeking long-term expansion: R Taco and Papaya King.


Food Focus 4/19/17 – Firehouse Subs Goes Small, Chipotle’s Limited Price Hike

Firehouse Subs rolls out a new line of smaller subs in an effort to appeal to calorie- and cost-conscious consumers. Meanwhile, kefir provider Lifeway funnels more money into marketing and product development, Chipotle raises prices at 20% of locations, and we address numbers suggesting restaurant growth may be slowing in the U.S.


Food Focus 4/6/17 – JAB Carb-Loads with Panera, New Major League Baseball Food Items

We begin with the acquisition that had everyone in the food industry abuzz this week, as JAB seeks to purchase Panera for $7.5 billion. We also glance at earnings from Inventure Foods, an effort by Buffalo Wild Wings to sell some stores to franchisees, and with MLB Opening Day this week, a look around new and emerging food trends at ballparks throughout the country.


Food Focus 3/29/17 – Large Chicken Recall, Darden’s Interest in Cheddars Scratch Kitchen

One of the largest chicken producers in the U.S. issues a sizeable recall, and we tackle whether or not it will affect chicken prices overall. Additionally, Checker’s/Rally’s is in the midst of another sale, a Pie Five franchisee takes Rave to court, and the latest from Darden’s $780 million bid for casual dining chain Cheddars Scratch Kitchen.


Food Focus 3/22/17 – Dunkin’ Continues Innovation, the Keurig & A-B-InBev Partnership

Dunkin’ Donuts hosts a media day this week, unveiling several new product innovations and LTOs…we discuss the direction in which the company is headed. Additionally, La Madeleine seeks to grow through franchising, Jamba Juice sales fall, a ShopHouse update, and possible outcomes from the new Keurig partnership with Anheuser-Busch-InBev.


Food Focus 3/15/17 – Ruby Tuesday Considers Sale, Del Taco Remains En Fuego

Ruby Tuesday, after several consecutive quarters of shrinking sales and operating losses, mulls over its options with the help of UBS…we discuss this along with continued excellence in revenue numbers at Del Taco. Chipotle exits their ShopHouse concept, and we talk about why El Pollo Loco may be positioned for growth despite recent lackluster quarterly financials.


Food Focus 3/8/17 – Shake Shack at Crossroads, Monster Energy Continues to Impress

Although Shake Shack saw revenue grow during the last quarter, significant signs of slowing traffic numbers spark concern for the company. We discuss this, and Monster Energy’s continued growth despite massive competitive pressures. Finally, we touch on QSR limited time offers for Lent, and an Arkansas-based steakhouse chain trying to grow in an already crowded space.


Food Focus 2/28/17 – McDonald’s Latest LTO, Dominos & Papa John’s Continue Pizza Growth

McDonald’s unveils their latest limited time offer in an attempt to regenerate restaurant traffic—we discuss how their latest plan appeals to customers and franchisees alike. Meanwhile, Domino’s rolls out another quarter with double-digit sales growth, Papa John’s tries a new marketing path, and Trader Joe’s initiates a recall.


Food Focus 2/23/17 – Wendy’s Future Direction, Restaurant Brands Attempts Popeye’s Takeover

After we discuss earnings from Dean Foods, the largest dairy operator in the United States, we delve into information from Wendy’s annual investors day, and look closely at their opportunities for future growth. Additionally, we detail the attempted buyout of Popeye’s by Restaurant Brands, a failed takeover bid by Kraft Heinz, and slight optimism from Texas Roadhouse.


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