"From our House to Yours......
Happy Holidays!"
The Wray Search Team
Carson Ulrich with Tucker

Big News
Chef Mario Batali accused of sexual harassment, steps away from his business for nowRenowned chef Mario Batali has stepped away from the day-to-day operations of his business after four women came forward alleging that he sexually harassed them in a pattern of behavior spanning at least two decades, food website Eater reported Monday. Batali said he was taking time away in a statement to the website. 

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Executive Movements
(Another stellar Wray Search placement) Kona Grill, Inc. Appoints Jim Kuhn as new Chief Operating Officer
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Potbelly Appoints Alan Johnson as President and Chief Executive Officer
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Outback co-founder parts ways with the company after more than a quarter century
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Jonathan Maze Joins Restaurant Business as Executive Editor
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Len Van Popering Named Vice President of Global Brand Management for Subway Restaurants

FSC Franchise Co. Adds Franchise Veteran as Chief Operating Officer
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Financial Overview

FAT Brands Inc. Announces Fiscal Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results
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Good Times Restaurants Reports Q4 and Fiscal Year End Results
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Jack in the Box Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter FY 2017 Earnings
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Cracker Barrel Reports Results For First Quarter Fiscal 2018, Comparable Store Sales Outperformed The Casual Dining Industry, Earnings Exceeded Expectations
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Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. Announce Definitive Merger Agreement
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2017 - It was an interesting year!
by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search

Bob Gershberg
In January of this year, at the ICR Exchange, the industry CEOs, analysts and a few of our favorite curmudgeons all concurred. The legacy, casual dining brands would continue their downward spiral. The rest would have a good year. Sales would be strong. Commodities would be controlled. The only anticipated headwinds were around labor and labor-related costs. Well, we were right about the casual dining brands continued downward spiral. We were certainly correct about the labor cost headwinds. The rest...not so much!

Mergers and Acquisitions in our arena went wild, no pun intended. More than thirty deals as follows:
Six Steps
These 6 Steps Will Help You Get More Done in 2018. Guaranteed
by Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan
"Lost: yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever." -Horace Mann 

 Time. It flies, is spent, goes by, is money, waits for no one, is on my side, takes its toll, changes everything, is fleeting, has come today, is right, you can't turn back the hands of it, and you can fool all of the people during some of it. You can kill it but you can't keep it.   
What's New?
Restaurant Industry Forecast for 2018
by Kevin Stockslager, Assistant Vice President at Wray Executive Search

Kevin Stockslager
This past year was an interesting, and perhaps challenging, one for the restaurant industry. While industry sales are projected to approach $800 billion for 2017, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the year was plagued by declining same store sales and traffic, coupled with several companies declaring bankruptcy, in an otherwise stable economic environment. Also of note, the restaurant industry witnessed increased activity for mergers and acquisitions, with several large brands being acquired. Many within the industry predict that this activity will continue into the early part of 2018. 
Executive Chat with Ryan Smolkin, Founder and CEO of Smoke's Poutinerie
by Rebecca Patt, SVP Development, Wray Executive Search

Rebecca Patt
Entrepreneur and brand guru Ryan Smolkin is on the cheese curd and gravy-train fast track with Smoke's Poutinerie, an innovative fast-casual concept featuring the Canadian specialty of poutine with over-the-top toppings and lumberjack-meets-glam-rock style. The concept is 100% franchised and has 150 locations with many more deals in the works.
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"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." 
~Ronald Reagan

Financial Edge
Palate, Profit, and People
by David Ulrich, EVP/Partner Wray Executive Search

David Ulrich
The restaurant industry is an ever-changing and dynamic one that is mainly affected by palate, profit, and people. The trends of today's food, unit size, and winners are much different than they were 10, 20, and even 30 years ago. Much of today's chef driven menus and inspiration comes from the origins of the Food Network and its great success in creating a generation of "foodies" that believe food can both taste great and be healthy for you.
Grumpy Old Restaurant Guy
by Tom Rollert, Vice President of Culture Integration, Wray Executive Search

Tom Rollert
Remember back, when Little Caesar's was offering two pizzas for a price? This offer was perceived as buy one, get one free, not what it actually was - two pizzas for a price. Granted that the price was lower than two comparably sized pizzas at, say, Pizza Hut, but the quality was undeniably inferior... less cheese, less topping, less flavor. At that point competitors in the pizza sector, who had worked hard to reduce dependence on discounting, had to jump back into the discount arena in order to bring back market share.
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