There always seems to be restaurant news on the menu. As we do every week, let's review some of this week's more appetizing stories.
1. 10 friends for a Whopper
Unlike the quiet "defriending" process on the popular social-networking site, the 10 deletions will be listed in the public-activity feed as being "sacrificed" for a Whopper. This may sound like a clever idea, but you know it's going to ruffle a few feathers in the Facebook community. The site also is unlikely to appreciate seeing its viral networks shrink in the pursuit of a burger.
2. Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
A disappointing quarter out of the casual-dining niche shouldn't surprise anybody. However, even with lukewarm expectations, Ruby Tuesday
"Fiscal 2009 is the most difficult year since our founding nearly 37 years ago," its CEO notes. The company expects comps for all of fiscal '09 to fall by 9% to 10%.
3. Sonic unleashed
Drive-in chain Sonic
So what's eating Sonic? Is it the whole "eat in the car" thing and the fear of consuming too much fuel in a soft economy? One would think that folks consume more gas in a busy BK drive-through lane than they do by parking in front of a Sonic.
Either way, Sonic isn't taking any chances. It's following the fast-food herd by offering up a value menu as a way to attract deal-seeking customers.
4. Crossing the border
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle is also spicing up its executive ranks. CEO Steve Ells will now be sharing the helm, as president and COO Marty Moran is being promoted to co-CEO. Moran has been with Chipotle for four years. The quick-service chain is also hiring its first chief marketing officer, a good move given decelerating comps in recent quarters.
5. Rocky Mountain lows
We're even cutting back on chocolate these days. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
The more problematic part of the report is that the pounds of product purchased fell by a whopping 24% on a same-store basis. If orders are falling substantially more quickly than sales, franchisees must be fearing the worst in this economic slump as they scale back on their inventory levels.
Rocky Mountain is still profitable, though. The end result for the quarter is net income of $0.14 a share, less than the $0.19 a share it earned a year earlier but still firmly in the black.
Check out this week's dessert specials:
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is the rare foodie who embraces restaurant chains. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.