A roundup of interesting bits of news that came across the editor’s desk, including lots of mergers and acquisitions, Cinnabon’s TV partnership, Domino's 14,000th store opening, recommended reading and more.

development

  • Dunkin’ Donuts announced plans for 12 new restaurants in North Carolina.
  • Fazoli’s announced an agreement with TA Restaurant Group, a division of TravelCenters of America LLC, to open four new locations in Connecticut, Oklahoma, Texas and Michigan over the next year.

go big or go home

  • Restaurant Brands International Inc. announced a development agreement to take Burger King Europe GmbH to sub-Saharan Africa with Servair S.A., a member of the gategroup.
  • Domino's opened its 14,000th store worldwide.
  • Closing in on its fifth anniversary, The Pizza Press announced it will expand to nearly 150 restaurants in the U.S., Mexico and China by the end of 2018, with 300 planned for the next three years.

mergers & acquisitions

  • California-based architecture firms AXIS Architecture + Design and Gene Fong Associates have merged to form AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design. With offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the regional firm services the Western U.S. and Hawaii.
  • Oak Hill Capital Partners announced the acquisition of Checkers and Rally’s Restaurants for $525 million.
  • Darden announced the acquisition of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen for $780 million.
  • Four Foods Group, a restaurant development, investment, and management company, acquired 48 Little Caesars Restaurants in Alabama and Louisiana. The announcement caps a flurry of recent activity for FFG, which now operates 97 restaurants in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Alabama, and Louisiana.
  • JAB will acquire Panera Bread for $315 per share in cash, in a transaction valued at approximately $7.5 billion, including the assumption of approximately $340 million of net debt.

branding

  • In a counterintuitive tie-in Cinnabon teamed up to promote the third season of AMC’s Better Call Saul — a series that features a man in hiding unhappily running a Cinnabon. At the end of the TV series Breaking Bad, sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman ends up depressed and lonely, effectively in exile with a secret identity as the manager of a Cinnabon. To celebrate the return of the series, Cinnabon promoted the show with giveaways and exclusive content. (The show, incidentally, doesn’t make it seem like running a Cinnabon makes for a great life.)

recommended reading

  • CNBC: Will Fast Food Restaurants be Automated in a Decade?
  • Eater: Starbucks’ new design nixes cashier counter.
    FT Magazine: How Restaurants are courting the Instagram crowd. 
  • Atlas ObscuraAtlas Obscura: The Surprising Resilience of Fast Food Chains