Archive for March, 2009

Restaurant Activity Remains Sluggish for 18th Month Running

“Although the index registered its second consecutive monthly gain, each of the RPI’s eight indicators stood below 100 in February, which signifies continued contraction,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Information Services for the Association. “A majority of restaurant operators reported negative same-store sales and customer traffic levels in February, and their outlook for sales growth in the months ahead remains uncertain.”

Restaurant Activity Remains Sluggish for 18th Month Running

Three out of four women feel that food costs are affecting how they cook

Here are some quick stats from Better Homes and Gardens’ “Food Factor: How America Cooks, Eats and Shops”:

* 77 percent of women feel the cost of food is affecting the meals they cook
* 83 percent of women try to save money by preparing meals regularly
* 28.2 mins is the average “ideal” start-to-finish time when choosing a weekday recipe
* 78 percent of women tend to create dishes based on the ingredients they have in their house
* 66 percent of women are eating out less often as a result of the increase in food prices
* 85 percent of women have brought home prepared foods from delis, specialty food markets and restaurants in the past 12 months

Four 30-minute meals, $5 per serving

Kid and Young Adult Restaurant Visits Are Down

In addition to a challenging economy, restaurant operators are also dealing with shifting customer demographics as parents decide to leave the kids at home, and young adults, ages 18 to 24, cut back on restaurant visits, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. NPD’s CREST, which has tracked consumer purchasing and consumption patterns at commercial restaurants since 1975, shows that in 2008, restaurant visits by parties with kids declined by three percent, and restaurant visits by young adults, the most lucrative restaurant market, dropped from 254 per capita in 2007 to 233 in 2008.

Kid and Young Adult Restaurant Visits Are Down

Make & Take = Done & Gone = Dead & Buried

MAKE & TAKE GOURMET: Flagship Cicero Store Closes

I guess Michele will have a hard time blaming this one on the store owners. Another franchise packs up and heads home. But before they go, let’s not forget that Michele and her brand are still the targets of lawsuits from franchisees claiming fraud. Not to mention the Maryland Attorney General is also a little concerned about Make & Take Gourmet and whether they were legally allowed to sell their franchise.

It’s not a bad business model, or greed, or incompetence or mismanagement, or fraud, now it’s all the bad economy. Sharks circling because there’s blood in the water? Walls closing in? Legal fees nipping at your heels? Packing up and making a run for it like a couple other franchisors?

Spin it however you want, but out of business and facing legal charges is out of business and facing legal charges. We’ll just go ahead and add Michele to the list of closed franchises.

But before you read this final farewell, you should prepare yourself and get a tissue, it’s a sad story and a real tearjerker.

Dear Friends,
It is with much sadness that I announce that the Make and Take Gourmet store in Cicero is closing. We have really enjoyed helping you feed your families.
Unfortunately, tough economic times and rising costs have made it impossible for us to continue doing business. It was a difficult decision and not one that we wanted to have to make.
Saturday, March 28th will be our last day. Stop by and fill up your freezers with our Buy 2 Get 1 Free Blowout Event.
Thank you for all of your support over the last three years. We will miss you!

Done and DONE!

MAKE & TAKE GOURMET: Flagship Closes : Franchise Pick
MAKE & TAKE GOURMET: Flagship Cicero Store Closes

Home-Meal Enhancement

Those nostalgic for a simpler time, a time when the dinner hour was a fixed ritual observed by most American families, probably can’t find much to like about the erratic, sporadic, and frequently rushed version of the modern evening meal.

consider concepts such as Dinner by Design and Super Suppers, which are thriving by offering meals that meet three distinct criteria: they’re customizable, they offer considerable variety, and they can be prepared at home on the consumer’s schedule.

I have to say I’m a little skeptical of the concept and the information. Seems somewhat amusing to say Dinner by Design is thriving since the parent company went out of business. And Super Suppers is enjoying a nice 50% reduction in their store openings. Interesting those two stores were single out based on their past performance. I would have to say thriving is once again a relative term.

Home Meal Assembly Boosted by Restaurants

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