Friday, December 17, 2010

Overlooked news of the day

Here are some stories you might’ve missed on what’s proving to be a big news day:

NOW, NOW: Hooters can't say it's adult entertainment and then feed kids
The National Organization of Women reportedly petitioned authorities in the San Francisco area to shut down local Hooters restaurants because they were licensed as hootchie-koochie places but actually fed kids along with the drooling lechers in raincoats. Actually, the lawyers might’ve used different language, but that was the essential contention of the legal action. Hooters doesn’t deny that it’s become more of a family place, acknowledging that 10 percent of its parties are families.

KFC lightening up?
KFC units in the United Kingdom will switch to a healthier frying oil next year, according to a report yesterday from Marketing Week. The online story didn’t say if the change would be chainwide or just an undertaking by British stores. A switch like that for KFC would be like Burger King tinkering with its ground beef mix or McDonald’s fiddling with its fries.

But the Colonel didn't like mood lighting!
The same story reported that KFC is testing a new and surprisingly upscale design across the pond. It sounds like KFC’s take on the trend of quick-service giants making their dining rooms more comfortable and inviting for young people, with amenities like entertainment and more bar-like features. In KFC’s instance, that means a room with red glass walls and red lighting. There again, Marketing Week didn’t say if the new prototype would be peculiar to the U.K. or something that could appear here in the United States.

The King's demand were a royal pain, bankrupt zee says
One of Burger King’s larger franchisees filed for bankruptcy protection, contending that it was bled dry by the capital outlays required by the brand’s former owner. Duke and King reportedly operated 92 stores in the Midwest. It also hissed at the franchisor for blocking the purchase of 66 stores in 2007, arguing that those units were healthier and could’ve provided the cash flow to rejuvenate units elsewhere. The situation underscores that one of the bigger challenges for BK’s new owner is winning the support of the franchise community.

Luby's nickel and dime ops
The most surprising tidbit in Luby’s quarterly financial report is the $153,000 in revenues ascribed to vending operations. Who knew it had any? They must’ve been picked up in the Fuddruckers and KooKooRoo acquisition because there’s no vending revenue listed for the first quarter of the prior year.

Buyer's remorse?
The revelation followed the little-noticed news that a court has directed Luby’s to buy nine Fuddruckers franchises, as the cafeteria operator agreed when it bought Fudd’s parent, Magic Brand, back in June. Luby’s had balked at that part of the deal, contending that it hadn’t been given an accurate account of the franchises’ financial health.

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