Wray Newsletter Masthead
Big News

McDonald's vows 'modern' makeover amid U.S. sales struggle



(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) on Monday vowed to remake itself as a "modern, progressive burger company" after aggressive competition from Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (CMG.N), Chick-fil-A and myriad "better burger" chains bit into U.S. restaurant sales last month. February ended the run of former Chief Executive Don Thompson.   Full Article » 


If Charged with Leading - Lead Well!

by Bob Gershberg, Managing Partner/CEO Wray Executive Search

Bob Gershberg

As we roll steadily through 2015 with improved perspective on the economy and a bit stronger overview of the restaurant industry, growing our businesses is the mission of choice. The only proviso - grow them wisely! The movement of many highly regarded industry CEOs of late has heightened our attention to the art of building the team. And as is the case with so many aspects of the restaurant business, developing the team is clearly an art as well as a science.   Full Article » 


You Need a Smart Retention Strategy, Because It's Not 2011 Anymore

by Heather Nelson, Partner, People Results

Heather Nelson

I opened my email last week to see a message from a dear friend that said, "I resigned!!!! I pulled the trigger!!" My friend and I have talked FOR YEARS about her unhappiness and lack of engagement, about the corporate politics and leadership egos that consume her days, about the constant pressure to do more with fewer people and resources, and about her exit strategy. That's right. She has had an exit strategy, and she has been refining and polishing it for years. Like the best strategic plans, it was deliberate, well-thought-out and executed over a multi-year time frame.  Full Article » 

Executive Movements

Orlando, FL (RestaurantNews.com) Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed current Interim Chief Executive Officer Eugene I. Lee, Jr. as Chief Executive Officer and director, effective immediately.
Full Article »

Real Mex Restaurants ("Real Mex" or the "Company"), the largest full service, casual dining Mexican restaurant chain in the United States, today announced that Bryan Lockwood has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Full Article »

Long John Silver's has named James O'Reilly as chief executive officer. O'Reilly brings to the role more than 20 years of food service leadership, including, most recently, chief brand officer for Sonic Drive-In.  Full Article »

Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) announced today that Thomas J. Edwards Jr. has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the company, effective March 16, 2015. Full Article »

Golden Corral, the nation's leading grill buffet chain, announces the appointment of Lance Trenary as President and Chief Executive Officer effective January 1.  Full Article »

East Coast Wings & Grill, has recently named Stacey Kane as Vice President of Marketing. As an experienced marketing professional, Kane brings with her extensive knowledge in the restaurant industry.  Full Article »
More Executive Movements »
Financial Overview

Sonic Announces 11.5% Same-Store Sales Growth for the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2015. Full Article »

Full-year domestic system wide same-restaurant sales increased 3.9% at IHOP and 1.1% at Applebee's.   Full Article »

Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA)today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 28, 2014.  Full Article »

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Reports Results for the Fiscal Fourth Quarter and Full Year Ended December 28, 2014.   Full Article »

Jack in the Box Inc. Reports First Quarter FY 2015 Earnings; Updates Guidance for FY 2015. Full Article »

Fazoli's franchisees and company units posted a combined 13.6% same-store sales increase in January - more than double that of their quick-service competitors.  Full Article »
More Financial News »

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"In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield."
~Warren Buffett

See You There!

The Big Apple
The Chipotle Effect
by Joe Radice, Vice President, Wray Executive Search

Joe Radice

News flash! March 4, 2015, Wall Street Journal front page headlines. McDonald's to Curb Antibiotics in Chicken: Suppliers asked to halt certain drugs. Ripple effect expected. McDonald's US president Mike Andres wrote in an email to franchisees that "people want to know what's in their food", leading us to believe that the company is concerned about the health of consumers. After all, people DO want to know what is in their food. But the article further states that "The announcement comes three days after Steve Easterbrook took over as McDonald's chief executive, vowing significant change at the fast-food giant to reverse two years of worsening sales declines."

The restaurant company, Chick-fil-A, Inc., with over 1200 units nationwide (only one unit is located in NYC at New York University), made the determination to eliminate antibiotics from their chicken supply just a year ago. Another sizable brand, Panera Bread, introduced antibiotic-free chicken on their menus in 2004 and was an early advocate of calorie-posting, establishing their program, voluntarily, in 2012. In 2001 Chipotle released a Mission Statement calling for "Food with Integrity"and vowed to use naturally-raised meats, organic produce and dairy without added hormones. Even though McDonald's was an early investor in Chipotle (they fully divested their interest in 2006, the same year Chipotle went public), McDonald's is arguably late to a party hosted fourteen years ago by Chipotle.
Full Article »
Executive Chat

Executive Chat with Lon Southerland

by Rebecca Patt, Vice President of Development, Wray Executive Search

Rebecca Patt

Lon Southerland is a leader and innovator of global F&B operations for brands including American Blue Ribbon Holdings, Marriott International, Starbucks, and 7-Eleven. His many accomplishments include leading the roll out of The Bistro - Eat.Drink.Connect® inside Courtyard by Marriott from inception to one of the most rapidly growing fast-casual outlets in the US. He has a prominent voice throughout the restaurant industry with speaking engagements at conferences including IFMA Presidents Conference, COEX and the Fast Casual Summit. His keynotes detail his compelling successes in large-scale new-platform development & integration.  Full Article »