Franchisee Southeast Restaurant Group has acquired 18 Taco Bell units in the New Orleans market, marking the completion of the chain's efforts to refranchise in the market. SRG, which bought eight Taco Bell units in the market last year, also operates 20 TGI Fridays restaurants.
The rise of the fast casual segment has spawned a new generation of venture funds looking to identify and invest in early-stage concepts with the potential for success. Funds including Danny Meyer's $200 million Enlightened Hospitality Investments and the Kitchen Fund are finding opportunities as restaurateurs launch concepts with an eye on scaling up fast.
Fast casual barbecue concept Pork & Mindy's aims to expand from four units to 30 through franchising in the next few years, and founders Kevin Corsello and Jeff Mauro are also building the brand through pop-ups and a retail line of branded sauces and meat products. "One of our top priorities is finding and retaining the best employees across all levels, from the kitchen to the executive team," Corsello said.
Several recent restaurant closings in Denver don't signal a slowdown in the market, since the spaces aren't remaining empty for long, according to industry experts in the Mile High City. "While we've seen a few of those spaces stay empty, most of them get snapped up almost immediately and redone into a new restaurant," said restaurant consultant John Imbergamo.
School nutrition professionals at a Virginia school recently helped a group of seventh-grade students prepare lunch in the cafeteria for their classmates. The students prepared the meal after winning a competition, which school officials say they plan to hold several times each year.
A study in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience that analyzed how foods affect mood found adults ages 18 to 29 did better when they ate meat, while people over age 30 needed more foods that provided antioxidants, such as fruit. Coffee and high-glycemic-index foods had a negative effect on mood for people in their 30s and older, the study showed.
Dannon's DanoneWave Public Benefit Corp. has opened applications for its Sixth Annual Yogurt, Probiotics and the Gut Microbiome Fellowship Grant. The company will award two $25,000 grants to graduate students who aim to research gut microbiomes, probiotics or yogurt.
Fast-casual Asian eatery Wow Bao, in partnership with Eatsa, is launching an automated meal experience in Chicago. Guests can order from an app or kiosk and then pick up their food from a numbered window, without having to interact with a human.