Filed under: Franchises

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Hyatt sells 3 suburban hotels for $51M

From Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily | Hyatt Hotels Corp. sold three suburban Chicago hotels — the Hyatt Lisle, Hyatt Deerfield and Hyatt Rosemont — for $51 million. The buyer, a joint venture of AREA Property Partners and Aimbridge Hospitality, will continue to operate under the Hyatt flag under long-term franchise agreements. Get the full story>>

McDonald’s October sales rise 6.5%

McDonald’s Corp said global October sales at established restaurants rose 6.5 percent, helped by new beverages like Smoothies, by its low-price Dollar Menu and by restaurant renovations. Get the full story »

Ohio chain brings ‘East Coast Subs’ to Chicago

(Image courtesy

Penn Station East Coast Subs, a cheesesteak-and-fries chain based in Milford, Ohio, has opened its first Chicago area location in Lombard.

The chain expects to have 20 Chicago area locations by 2015.

The first franchise partner is Gordon Hahn, previously of Chicago Bread LLC, a franchise group that operates 31 Chicago-area Panera restaurants. Hahn and his son Kevin are partners at the Lombard locations, and expect to open four more around Chicago. Get the full story »

McDonald’s grapples with insurance laws

A dispute between McDonald’s Corp. and the federal government over a new health care reform requirement is giving a peek into the potential complexities that the massive new law will have on companies. Get the full story »

McDonald’s raises dividend 11%

McDonald’s Corp. is boosting its quarterly dividend by 11 percent to 61 cents, and analysts expect the world’s biggest hamburger chain to continue returning cash to shareholders while still investing in its restaurants.

First Chicago-area Chick-fil-A opens

The parking lot at the new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Aurora briefly turned into a campground, with the chain offering the first one hundred people in line a one-year supply of 52 meals coupons on Thursday. (Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune)

Employees in crisp red shirts performed a variety of final tasks as the legendary chicken chain prepared to debut its first Chicago-area outlet at 6 a.m. Thursday at the Westfield Fox Valley Mall property on Aurora’s far east side.

An unofficial pre-opening on Wednesday drew dozens of Chick-fil-A fans from the Chicago area and beyond, lured by the prospect of free once-a-week meals for a year. The firm traditionally gives away coupons to the first 100 customers. Get the full story>>

Ex-RR executive tapped to head Burger King

Burger King’s soon-to-be new owners have named a former Latin American railroad executive to be CEO of the fast-food chain after the $3.26 billion deal goes through.

The appointment of Bernardo Hees by 3G Capital is a signal that the investment firm is serious about expanding the Burger King brand further into Latin America and elsewhere abroad. Get the full story »

3G strikes $4B deal to buy Burger King

Burger King's Miami headquarters. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

Burger King Holdings Inc. confirmed that New York-based 3G Capital Management has signed a deal to buy the company for $24 a share.

The total deal, including both equity and debt, is around $4 billion and is expected to closed before the end of the year. Burger King said it may solicit better offers through mid-October. Banks are expected to finance about $2.8 billion of the total deal value. Get the full story »

Burger King in sale negotiations

Customers stop at a Burger King for lunch this week in Chicago. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Burger King Holdings Inc. has been in talks with private-equity firms in recent weeks about a possible sale of the second-largest hamburger chain, people familiar with the matter said.

The status of the talks is unclear but one interested firm was 3i Group PLC, a British private-equity firm, these people said. It is uncertain whether these discussions will result in a sale. Get the full story »

Chrysler introduces dealers to Fiat

Chrysler on Monday told 400 dealers about its plans to bring the Fiat brand back to the U.S. after a 30-year absence, starting with the Fiat 500 minicar later this year.

Fiat-run Chrysler Group LLC hopes the tiny Italian car can boost its lackluster sales when it comes to the U.S. in December. Chrysler wants the bulb-shaped 500 to become a strong contender in the small-car market, where it has struggled for years. Get the full story »

Extreme Pita opens in Orland Park

An Extreme Pita interior. (Photo courtesy of Extreme Pita)

Extreme Pita, a Mediterranean fast-food chain concept for health-conscious consumers, opened its first Chicago-area location last week. The Orland Park store is one of 25 the chain has in the works for the region over the next five years.

“There is a real opportunity for us to carve out a niche market in Chicago,” Ray Zandi, vice president of U.S. development for Extreme Pita said, in a statement. “With a large population that has a sizeable segment tending toward health consciousness, Chicago is a natural fit for our vision of inspiring healthy living.”

Founded in 1997, the Mississauga, Ontario-based chain has more than 300 locations, many of them in Canada. But the chain is growing fast in the U.S. Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based Technomic described Extreme Pita as a Subway restaurant, but with pita. Customers can watch their sandwiches being custom-made at the counter. Get the full story »

Potbelly signs first-ever franchise deal

Potbelly Sandwich Shop announced Monday that the first franchised Potbelly will open in El Paso, Texas, before the end of the year.

Johnny Rockets returning to downtown Chicago

Johnny Rockets, a restaurant chain whose theme is inspired by the diners of the 1950s, has returned to downtown Chicago with two express locations that share space with Halsted Street Deli.

A new franchised Johnny Rockets will hold its grand opening Friday at 177 N. State St., in space it shares with Halsted Street Deli. Another shared location opened around Memorial Day weekend at 30 N. LaSalle. Get the full story »

McDonald’s cancels free smoothie samples

McDonald’s Corp. has cancelled an in-store free sampling of fruit smoothies that had been scheduled for next week following worries the event’s popularity would cause the fast-food chain to run out of the product.

“The McCafe Real Fruit Smoothies are an absolute hit with our customers and we’re experiencing unprecedented demand for this delicious new choice on our menu,” the Oak Brook-based company said in a statement to the Tribune today. Get the full story »

Subway to start ‘tessellating’ its cheese

Tessellated cheese on a Subway sandwich designed to provide full cheese coverage. (Tribune)

Subway franchisees on Thursday will begin placing triangular cheese slices on the chain’s subs. Instead of being positioned end to end with overlap,  the cheese points will alternate facing up and down along your sandwich. To the geometrically inclined, the term is “tessellating” — positioning shapes in a pattern without overlap and with no gaps.