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Contents At A Glance

Chain LeaderEditorial Archives — Contents

July 2006

Cover Story: Natural Selection
With comparable sales growing by double digits, shares trading at $60 apiece and a market cap of nearly $2 billion, 505-unit Chipotle Mexican Grill looks like the real deal: a proven concept with staying power. Founder and CEO Steve Ells (r.) credits the chain’s success to its limited menu, which emphasizes naturally raised meats and vegetables. Today he remains focused on improving food quality rather than adding new menu items.

Storyboard: Fresh Face
Baja Fresh has partnered with Olympic gold medalist Mia Hamm for its latest ad campaign. Launched in May, the TV spots emphasize the chain’s no-freezers, no-can openers, no-microwaves method of making Mexican and promote a contest to win the chance to play soccer with Hamm. The company says the first month of the campaign netted a 5.2 percent increase in systemwide sales.

Restauratour: Less Is More
Houlihan’s prototype in Algonquin, Ill., has cut back on the clutter to create a modern, warm look. Subtle details include recessed lights, flagstone surrounding a communal table, sage green Naugahyde booth backs and glowing orange plastic panels suspended above the display kitchen. According to the company, sales at the store are above the system’s average $2.8 million to $2.9 million.

Toque Of The Town: Speedy Delivery
Senior Vice President of Menu Development and Innovation Kurt Hankins is rapidly cranking out bolder, contemporary fare at Applebee’s. He has launched several upscale dishes like the Roasted Garlic and Asiago Chicken as limited-time offers, moving the most successful ones straight to the core menu. By shining the spotlight on the food rather than simply hammering on value, the company hopes to win back lapsed users and attract higher-income guests.

Technology: Hot off the Presses
To project a consistent brand image yet still allow franchisees to meet their customers’ unique pricing needs and regional preferences, IHOP uses a Web-based print-management system that helps units create their own customized marketing materials including menus.

Cover Society: Michael Kaufman Brings All the Essentials

On The Money: What Went Up, Now Comes Down

Upstarts: Go Roma Fills the Void

Editorial: Give ’Em What They Want

Take Note: In “Second Act” in the June 2006 issue, Page 47, Chain Leader misidentified Donatos Pizza’s kitchen designer. It should have read SRE. A caption in the same story on Page 40 suggests the kitchen SRE designed is too large; in fact, the designer was hired to improve that. We regret the errors.

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