Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
July 3, 2007

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc Foodservice Group
July 6 Early Deadline For FER President's Preview Forecast Meeting
Technomic Revises Forecasts Upward At 'Restaurant Trends' Meet
McDonald's Grows Robustly, Plans Faster Openings

Regulatory Report:
Sponsored by:
Lawsuit Stalls NYC Menu Board Makeover
Michigan Eyes Tougher Food Code
NRA Expresses Concern About Biofuels
New Food Code In Effect In Western Illinois

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In This Section:
Upgraded Data Protocol Now Lets POS Talk To Kitchen Equipment
R.W. Smith & Co. Donates $10,000 To Road To Atlanta Charity Ride
Wendy's, Applebee's Consider Selling; Friendly Does
TGI Friday's Says Smaller Portions To Show Profits

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Manitowoc Foodservice Group
Regulatory ReportSponsor: Delfield Co./Enodis

Industry Report Server Products

Upgraded Data Protocol Now Lets POS Talk To Kitchen Equipment
You asked for it. Now you've finally got it. The North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers and the Association for Retail Technology Standards say they've finally developed and agreed upon a data protocol that will let Point-Of-Sale terminals communicate with back-of-house equipment. (ARTS is a division of the National Retail Federation.)

ARTS has been working in collaboration with NAFEM on the technical spec, called PRO-CON, for two years. The new spec, which incorporates the NAFEM Data Protocol, provides a standardized way for XML-based systems like POS terminals to talk with SNMP-based equipment like fryers and refrigerators.

Both types of systems already can be tied into an operation's computer. Using the new technical spec, software companies will be able to develop a host of applications you can use to run your stores more efficiently and effectively, according to NAFEM Pres. Carol Wallace, of Cooper-Atkins.

"We're proud NAFEM could play a role in this significant step, and we will continue to help foster the development of commercial kitchen and retail systems integration," Wallace said.


Section sponsored by Server Products

R.W. Smith & Co. Donates $10,000 To Road To Atlanta Charity Ride
Motorcyclists riding to The NAFEM Show in Atlanta this coming October to benefit America's Second Harvest got a huge boost last month when R.W. Smith & Co., the San Diego-based equipment and supplies dealership, contributed a staggering $10,000 to the biennial effort.

The announcement was made by event coordinator Alexa Kinney, who might've had something of an inside track, as she represents RWS in Arizona markets.

The fundraising rides to The NAFEM Shows began with The Road To Dallas in 1999, which drew roughly $40,000. Subsequent events have grown, and the 2005 Road To Anaheim raised more than $80,000. Combined, the four biennial rides have brought in more than a quarter-million dollars to help fight hunger in the United States.

This year's event so far has roughly 20 riders signed up and upwards of $20,000 in contributions, including the big one from RWS. Kinney has said the goal this year is to top $100,000.

The Atlanta ride, likely the last one of its kind because of NAFEM moving its show to Orlando in February starting in '09, is timed to allow the bulk of the riders to arrive Oct. 7 in time for pre-show association meetings. Riders with other scheduling needs will arrive as needed.

For more information on Second Harvest, go to And if you're interested in contributing to the equipment and supplies industry's largest single fundraiser, you can learn more and make a secured electronic contribution by going to

Also, for more information about riding or contributing, you can contact Kinney at

Section sponsored by Server Products

Wendy's, Applebee's Consider Selling; Friendly Does
In a sign of how competitive the business has become, Wendy's Int'l. has strengthened its resolve to find a suitor, Applebee's Int'l. is entertaining possible buyout bids, and Friendly Ice Cream agreed to be acquired.

Wendy's first raised the prospect of selling out in April when its board formed a special committee to investigate strategic options in response to slower sales and earnings. Last month, the special committee reiterated its intent to explore the possibility of a sale. It also said it's evaluating a possible securitization financing that could facilitate a potential buyer's purchase or recapitalize the company. The committee said it has no timetable.

Applebee's is pursuing a similar strategy of looking for potential suitors while investigating a possible recapitalization of the company. Bloomberg Financial reported last month that IHOP Corp. made a $2 billion bid for the chain, but spokespersons for both companies had no comment. At the company's annual meeting in late May, Applebee's Pres. and CEO Dave Goebel said the company would do its homework before committing to any binding proposals.

Meanwhile, Friendly did agree to be acquired by Freeze Operations Holding Corp, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, for about $337.2 million in cash. Friendly's President George Condos said the deal delivers attractive value to shareholders more quickly than other options the company explored. If approved by shareholders, the deal should close before the end of the summer.

Section sponsored by Server Products

TGI Friday's Says Smaller Portions To Show Profits
Carlson Restaurants Worldwide President Richard Snead recently said smaller portions at TGI Friday's are on track to produce higher profits for the chain.

After introducing its "right-size" menu of smaller portion items at lower prices in April, TGI Friday's customer counts immediately started going up, but check averages at first dropped 4%. In the past month and a half, however, sales have rebounded while traffic continues to increase.

The chain reported recent customer counts are up about 4% over a year earlier, and sales are up about 2.5% for the same period. Even better, according to Snead, is that check averages now are down only about 1% from year-earlier levels. Profits will improve, he said, if customer counts increase by about 6%.

"(Right size items) are going to take a permanent place on our menu," he said.

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