A roundup of interesting bits of news that came across the editor’s desk in the last month including a fast-growing celebrity-owned vegan concept, Pizza Hut Australia’s acquisition and more.
- Hart House, the plant-based quick service restaurant founded by actor and comedian Kevin Hart, opened its newest location across from the University of Southern California campus, in Downtown Los Angeles.
- Fast-casual chicken salad concept Chicken Salad Chick is opening a new location in Colorado Springs, Colo. This is the brand’s second location in the state.
- Travelers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) now have more options to experience plant-based dining while on the go as CLT welcomes SAMBAZON Açaí Bowls to Concourse D.
- 375º Chicken ‘N Fries has plans to double the size of the chain this year through its new franchising program. New franchise locations are expected to open in Brooklyn, Harlem and Queens, and a new corporate location is planned for Newark, New Jersey.
- Caribou Coffee is ready to go big game hunting. The coffee shop chain has set its sights on more than doubling its footprint by 2030. And the company seemingly is off to a good start with 300 units in its development pipeline. The company launched a franchising program that it feels will help spur this growth.
- Another week and another application for ChatGPT emerges in the restaurant industry. In this instance, Texas-based pizza restaurant Motor City Pizza is using the artificial intelligence app to develop interesting new recipes. Depending on how well this pizza sells, the restaurant could consider adding a rotating AI-inspired menu item.
mergers + acquisitions
- Flynn Restaurant Group will acquire Pizza Hut Australia. Flynn is buying the Australia franchising license from Sydney‑based private investment firm Allegro Funds and will add 260 Pizza Hut restaurants in the country to its lineup. San Francisco-based Flynn already owns 945 Pizza Huts in its home market. The acquisition will give Flynn about 2,600 locations across the two countries and boost annual sales to roughly $4.5 billion from $4.2 billion.