Wray Newsletter Masthead
Big News

New Owner Closes Several Coco's, Carrows Restaurants, Lays Off 100 Workers
The new owner of Carlsbad-headquartered Catalina Restaurant Group has closed an undisclosed number of Coco's Bakery and Carrows restaurants, citing lagging sales performance. Based on interviews with former employees, the industry publication Nation's Restaurant News reported that 73 restaurants - 38 Coco's and 35 Carrows, most of them in California - were shuttered as Texas-based Food Management Partners (FMP) took over the company on April 1. Full Article »

It's all about the Execution

by Bob Gershberg, Managing Partner/CEO Wray Executive Search

Bob Gershberg

"We have a strategic plan. It's called doing things." Herb Kelleher, co-founder, Chairman Emeritus, and former CEO of Southwest Airlines

 A brilliant strategy may put you on the map but only solid execution can keep you there. Countless hours are spent creating business and strategic plans with all too little follow through to execute the strategy. In their book, Execution: The Discipline of getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy and Ron Charan make the case for execution as a discipline or "systematic way of exposing reality and acting on it". Proper execution, they professed, lies in three core areas; people, strategy and operations. "The people process is more important than either the strategy or operations processes," they wrote. "After all, it's the people of an organization who make judgments about how markets are changing, create strategies based on those judgments, and translate the strategies into operational realities."   Full Article » 

The Workplace

16 Ways to Create Your Own Happiness at Work

by Dr. Travis Bradberry

Dr. Travis Bradberry

Let's face it, happiness and work do not tend to go hand in hand. A 2013 Gallup study, which reported data from more than 180 million people, found that just 13% of us consider ourselves to be "happily engaged at work." Those who do rate themselves as happy are 36% more motivated, six times more energized, and twice as productive as their unhappy counterparts. The good news is that just 50% of happiness is influenced by genetics-the rest is up to you. When it comes to making yourself happy, you need to learn what works for you. Once you discover this, everything else tends to fall into place. And making yourself happy doesn't just improve your performance; it's also good for your health.  Full Article » 

Executive Movements

Bloomin' Brands looked inside its own C-suite to head up the concept that CEO Liz Smith calls the company's "top domestic development priority." Gregg Scarlett was named President of Bonefish Grill, as well as Executive Vice President of Bloomin' Brands.
Full Article »

Michael Coyne, who most recently was senior vice president of small business at CNA Financial, will step into the role of new chief financial officer May 1. Full Article »

Amid an exciting growth phase in which it will double its café count, la Madeleine Country French Café announced a pair of executive team moves. la Madeleine Promotes John Cahill to President and Names Duncan Davis as vice president of operations.  Full Article »

Captain D's, the leading national fast casual seafood restaurant, announced today that Wendy Harkness has joined the company as chief people officer, effective April 7. Full Article »

P.F. Chang's Announces Michael Osanloo as new Chief Executive Officer. Full Article »

Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. announced that John Bowie, Senior Vice President of Operations, is being promoted to Chief Operating Officer, reporting to Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer.  Full Article »

True Food Kitchen, an eatery born from the collaboration of wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil and restaurateur Sam Fox, has appointed Larry Ryback as president to pioneer the impending, rapid growth of the restaurant brand.   Full Article »

The Krystal Company®, famous for its iconic square burgers, has announced the appointment of Alice Crowder, a seasoned restaurant marketing professional, as Vice President of Marketing for the brand.   Full Article »
More Executive Movements »
Financial Overview

Ruby Tuesday Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2015 Results. Net loss from continuing operations of $769,000 compared to net loss of $7.4 million from continuing operations for the same quarter in the prior year. Full Article »

Total revenue, which includes Shack sales and licensing revenue, increased 51.5% to $34.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, from $23.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2013.  Full Article »

Good Times Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ: GTIM) announced that its Good Times' same store sales increased 8.2% in its second fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2015 over the prior year's increase of 17.8%, and a three year compound increase in same store sales of 35.4%.  Full Article »

For FY14 Starbucks has reported record revenues of $16.4 billion (11 percent growth) and record non-GAAP earnings per share of $2.661 (21 percent growth on a non-GAAP basis1) in fiscal 2014.   Full Article »

Fourth Quarter 2014 Financial Results Total revenue, which includes restaurant sales from Company-owned restaurants and royalty fees, increased 39.5% to $40.0 million in the twelve weeks ended December 29, 2014, from $28.7 million in the twelve weeks ended December 30, 2013. Full Article »

Ignite Restaurant Group reports fourth quarter financial results. Total revenues were $177.3 million, compared to $186.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013; Comparable restaurant sales increased 5.7% at Brick House Tavern + Tap, decreased 4.5% at Joe's Crab Shack and decreased 2.8% at Macaroni Grill;  Full Article »

Steak 'n Shake Achieves 24th Consecutive Quarter Of Same-Store Sales Growth. This sales growth has been propelled almost exclusively by a nearly 40% cumulative growth in customer traffic.  Full Article »

Pollo Campero, the world's largest Latin chicken restaurant brand, announces an 11.8 percent same store sales growth at comparable United States stores for the period January-February of 2015.  Full Article »
More Financial News »

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Prove Yourself Worthy of the CEO's Inner Circle

The Harvard Business Review


In many companies, a lot of the decision-making power resides with the CEO's inner circle. If you want to break into this elite club, make yourself stand out with a few strategies:

  • Make your numbers. Your CEO wants to know that you can achieve the objectives set for you - and that you're accountable. Don't make excuses when you fail.
  • Don't spring surprises. If bad news is about to hit, tell senior management before it materializes. You don't want to run the risk of appearing incompetent or unsure of yourself when your boss finds out from a board member or the media.
  • Prove your loyalty. CEOs still feel vulnerable - they know that one or more of their direct reports want their job. If you want to show that you're loyal, be wary of cozying up to board members or forming coalitions with peers.

Adapted from "How to Break into Your CEO's Inner Circle" by Jacques Neatby. 


Financial Edge
Breastaurants: Showing impressive numbers
by David Ulrich, EVP Wray Executive Search

David Ulrich

Many within the restaurant business have concluded that the Casual Dining segment has seen its better days gone by, and that those in Fast Casual segment are the darlings of today. While many indicators suggest that Fast Casual restaurant companies appear to be more appealing to today's consumers in general, a new generation of casual dining concepts that are producing some serious numbers and have been outpacing the growth of even Chipotle. Twin Peaks saw sales soar 45% last year which made it the fastest-growing full-service large chain in America, according to Technomic's top 500 restaurants report. Full Article »
Executive Chat

Executive Chat with Vic Macchio

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

Rebecca Patt

At the Restaurant Leadership Conference in Phoenix last month, I had the opportunity to chat with Vic Macchio, Founder and CEO of Dinova. Dinova helps large corporations manage and leverage their restaurant expenditures through a network of over 12,000 restaurant partners, driving sales for the restaurants and savings for the corporate clients. We are making the decision of which restaurant to select no longer random. Now there is some rhyme or reason to how business travelers decide where to eat. The second thing we do is provide convenience to travelers. For example, if you are coming to Phoenix, and you have never been here before, you could use some help as to how to find business grade restaurants. We have a mobile app that our clients use and it enables them to find the right restaurants, to do some research, and to make a reservation if they want.  Full Article »

Time to Move Beyond Radical Discounting

by John A. Gordon, principal and founder of Pacific Management Consulting Group

John A. Gordon

The news of the last few weeks reveals a lot of cost pressure still dogging the restaurant space. Food commodities-steak, ground beef, all proteins really, dairy, avocados and more have been a problem since 2008. We are all looking forward to the end of that commodity cost cycle, but the end seems not yet upon us. An additional pressure, one that we all saw coming forever, is wage pressure. Restaurants of all types from Subway (one multiunit operator told me: "I have no bodies in my store...and for the few that show up, I have to pay higher wages for those that are there!" On his last earnings call, Cheesecake Factory CEO and founder David Overton said: "Make no mistake. The entire industry will see the same effect we did last quarter" speaks to higher hourly employee turnover as the economy has generally improved. There you have proof. If Cheesecake Factory is suffering, so is the industry.  Full Article »