No Hike Here

Despite drought-driven food-price increases, quick serves are refusing to pass rising costs on to the customer, according to a recent survey by group purchasing firm SpenDifference. The study shows that more than one-quarter (26 percent) of restaurants maintained steady pricing in 2012, compared with 14 percent the year before.

“Operators are looking to reduce costs through renegotiating supplier agreements and distribution contracts, promoting lower-food-cost items both in their main menus and LTOs,” says Brad Moore, senior vice president at SpenDifference.

Breaking the 7 Unwritten Rules

How some operators succeed by going against the industry’s conventional wisdom.

Every industry has its unwritten rules for success, a series of dos and don’ts that conventional wisdom suggests are the path to profits.

The quick-serve industry is no exception. For decades, companies have operated under a series of assumptions that guide their business decisions and compose their operations manuals. And many of these brands would suggest they’ve been all the wiser—and richer—by playing by the rules.

Bobs Unite: Pancheros Mexican Grill Campaigns to Save Bob

Pancheros Mexican Grill is out to save Bob. Once one of the most common names in the country, “Bob” has been decreasing in popularity since the 1970s.

In honor of Bob the Tool—the mixing mechanism that blends ingredients together before they are wrapped into a tortilla—and his fourth anniversary, Pancheros is launching a “Save Bobs” campaign to save the once-prevalent name.

As part of the social media campaign, fans can visit the company Facebook page through May 15 for a chance to win a $5,000 prize. Fans just choose one of their Facebook friends named Bob to save.

New Website, Logo Mark Panchero's 'Evolution'

Panchero’s Mexican Grill, an Iowa-based fast-casual concept with more than 50 units, unveiled a new logo and website that its director of marketing calls an “evolution” for the brand.

Reid Travis says the company, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, originally set off to explore how customers perceived the brand and what some of its key product differentiators were.

Panchero’s Gives First Franchisee of the Year Award

Panchero’s Mexican Grill has given a Franchisee of the Year award for the first time. Lou Kathrakis, owner of the Panchero’s located at 704 Bridgeport Ave. in Shelton, Connecticut, received the honor.

Kathrakis, 30, opened the restaurant in 2007.

“I feel honored to be the first recipient of the award, and look forward to getting it again hopefully,” Kathrakis says. “Things are going very well and I am looking to expand in 2012.”

While this is the first time Panchero’s has bestowed a Franchisee of the Year honor, the company plans to make it an annual award.

Panchero’s Brings VP of Operations, Controller on Board

Panchero’s Mexican Grill has announced the hiring of Barry Nelson as the company’s new vice president of operations. Nelson brings more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He spent 10 years with Papa John’s working with both corporate and franchise operations, including positions as store manager, district manager, franchise business director, and operating partner with the master franchise in Alberta, Canada.