Restaurant Resiliency from CAKE and SHIRU CAFE Enters U.S.

The Magnificent Monday edition of MRM’s Daily Bite includes news from CAKE, SHIRU CAFE, KFC, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream and OpenTable.

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Restaurant Resiliency from Natural Disasters

In 2017, the U.S. has been hit with hurricanes, flooding, state-wide fires and other natural disasters. Surprisingly, according to recent data from CAKE, natural disasters don’t always have a long-term negative effect on business. In fact, most restaurants showed resiliency in these times of crisis when looking the effect on revenue and average bill size in hurricane vs. non-hurricane years.

Data suggests many restaurants are able to recover quickly when a natural disaster strikes, presenting an opportunity to help their local communities and forge relationships in the wake of disaster. Restaurants can show their support by handing out free, easy to produce meals, like sandwiches; offering meal deals while the town or city rebuilds; and even providing temporary shelter for those displaced from their homes.

Mani Kulasooriya

“We see and hear a lot about the devastation that comes with natural disasters, and we recognize that an impending disaster can be very stressful for restaurant operators, Mani Kulasooriya, CEO of CAKE. “However, our data shows that as a whole, the restaurant business is resilient in the wake of such events. Operators facing a natural disaster situation don’t necessarily need to panic. What’s more, after a storm, restaurant operators are in a strong position to assist the community and build deeper ties – whether it’s offering free meals for displaced citizens or volunteer rescue workers, discounts and deals while the town or city rebuilds or even providing temporary shelter, the aftermath of a situation like this can be a time of relationship building for operators, rather than a time of declining sales and worry.”

Key findings from CAKE’s analysis include:

In 2014 and 2016 the southeastern United States (SC, NC and FL) experienced two large hurricanes: Hurricane Arthur and Hurricane Matthew. When compared with the same timeframe* in 2015, a non-hurricane year, restaurants reported a steady increase in average revenue per restaurant, as well as a steady increase in average bill size per restaurant.


Average revenue: $36,977.43

Average bill size: $16.41


Average revenue: $46,931.74

Average bill size: $17.30


Average revenue: $52,082.15

Average bill size: $17.59 

In August of 2017, Houston, Texas was afflicted by Hurricane Harvey. When compared with the same timeframe in 2016, Houston restaurants reported very similar average revenue per restaurant, as well as nearly identical average bill size per restaurant.


Average revenue: $50,969.79

Average bill size: $19.80


Average revenue: $53,538.02

Average bill size: $19.68

Free Coffee Concept

ENRISSION AMERICA Inc., a cafe company specializing in free coffee for university students,  will open its first U.S. branch of “SHIRU CAFE” on the Brown campus on  February 19, 2018. ENRISSION AMERICA Inc. will soon launch SHIRU CAFEs on the campuses of Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University and Amherst College.


SHIRU CAFEs  are financed primarily through the sponsorship of companies that aim to improve student life. At SHIRU CAFEs, students, faculty and staff receive free coffee, tea, and juice as they are provided with sponsors’ promotional materials. The cafes will provide comfortable study spaces equipped with electrical outlets and free Wi-Fi. SHIRU CAFEs seek to create spaces where students can learn about the professional world and envision their future careers.SHIRU CAFE Logo

Companies are able to support students by sponsoring SHIRU CAFE. Sponsorship allows companies to advertise on paper coffee cups, on digital displays set up in the cafe, and on the cafe’s website. Company representatives can also meet and interact with students in person at these cafes, as well as conduct recruiting activities in them. ENRISSION AMERICA Inc. has opened more than 20 SHIRU CAFEs around the world.

“Launching SHIRU CAFEs in the U.S. is an essential part of our vision,” said ENRISSION’s CEO Yusuke Kakimoto. “We’re excited about this new challenge!”

Have Yourself a KFC Christmas

KFC launched its new limited-edition collection, top photo, of quality fried chicken apparel and merchandise essentials on the brand’s e-commerce store, KFC Ltd. The collection debuts just in time for procrastinating holiday shoppers to pick up fried chicken swag for anyone on their gift list.

“Our finger lickin’ faithful deserve to celebrate the holidays by giving and receiving some fried chicken essentials,” said George Felix, director of advertising, KFC U.S. “The second round of KFC Ltd. has it all, even the wrapping paper. You’ll spend less time shopping, leaving you more time to enjoy a $20 Fill Up with your family this holiday season.”

With products starting at just $4, The KFC Ltd. refresh includes a mix of vintage-style apparel and prints, unique accessories, along with Colonel Sanders and fried chicken-themed wrapping paper:Like KFC Ltd.’s initial collection launch, the limited-edition items will be available only as supplies last.

KFC launched its e-commerce store in July to fill the void in the fried chicken couture marketplace, featuring apparel and goods, as well as one-of-a-kind, high-value products. This is the first time the collection has undergone a full refresh since its initial launch.

Bruster’s Continues Growth Pace

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream named Thomas J. “T.J.” Tranel vice president of Real Estate, as it continues to add franchised locations at a fast pace.

Most recently, Tranel was store development manager for Batteries Plus Bulbs, responsible for nationwide site selection at the 730-plus unit chain. He conducted market analysis to identify sites with the best sales potential, negotiated leases and managed all corporate build-outs. Before assuming that role at Batteries Plus Bulbs, he was the company’s construction and store-opening specialist, involved in construction of new corporate and franchised stores. In addition, he served as liaison between the corporation and new franchisees. Tranel also has held construction and logistics positions with Famous Footwear and Target Corp.

Bruster’s, which is best known in the Eastern and Southern U.S., is expanding into West and Southwestern markets, the result of an aggressive franchise growth strategy. The chain has commitments to open 30 new franchised locations throughout the U.S. There are nearly 200 independently owned locations in 20 states, Guyana and South Korea.

According to Bruster’s CEO Jim Sahene, finding good sites and negotiating leases is one of the biggest challenges franchisees face.

“Bruster’s has a reputation for providing excellent marketing and operational support to new franchisees,” he said. “By bringing T.J. onboard, we will be able to better support our new owners in the all-important site selection process. Ultimately, they will be able to open their shops faster and be more successful.”

“This is a very exciting time for Bruster’s,” Tranel said. “It’s a great brand with a unique culture, and I am really looking forward to helping Bruster’s and its franchisees continue to grow.”

OpenTable’s Top Restaurants in U.S. and Canada

OpenTable revealed its 100 Best Restaurants in America list for 2017. The list of the 100 Best Restaurants in America reflects the combined opinions of more than 12 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 26,000 restaurants in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

From restaurants with world-renowned chefs to breakthrough newcomers, the complete list showcases a diverse group of restaurants in 24 states andWashington, D.C. California and New York are tied at the top of the list, each boasting 19 winning restaurants, followed by Illinois and Pennsylvania with eight, Washington D.C. with seven and Texas with five. Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, and South Carolina all boast three winners while Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia each have two. Alabama, Arizona,Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma andWashington are also represented.

While American, French, and Italian cuisine proved to be the most popular, there is a growing presence of globally inspired cuisines on the list, including Mediterranean, Japanese, Indian and Middle Eastern. The range of cuisines highlighted points to diners’ growing appetites for more exotic flavors and destination-driven offerings.

“While the winning restaurants this year are each distinctive, they all consistently deliver exceptional dishes, impeccable hospitality, and a meal to remember,” said Caroline Potter, OpenTable Chief Dining Officer. “This year’s honorees have risen to the challenge of providing outstanding experiences time and again to a nation of discerning guests.”

The list is generated solely from diner reviews collected between November 1, 2016, and October 31, 2017. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant’s average rating in the “overall” category.

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the 100 Best Restaurants in America for 2017 according to OpenTable diners. The complete list may also be viewed at

2017 100 Best Restaurants in America

1770 HouseEast Hampton, New York
Arethusa al TavoloBantam, Connecticut
Atera New York, New York
Barclay PrimePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Barrique VeniceVenice, California
Bavette’s Chicago, Illinois
Benu San Francisco, California
Bida Manda Restaurant and BarRaleigh, North Carolina
BonesAtlanta, Georgia
BONDSTNew York, New York
BuccanPalm Beach, Florida
Café MonarchScottsdale, Arizona
Cafe ProvencePrairie Village, Kansas
CharlestonBaltimore, Maryland
Charleston GrillCharleston, South Carolina
Chez Billy SudWashington, D.C.
chi SPACCALos Angeles, California  
Coppa Boston, Massachusetts
CRUSTMiami, Florida
DanielNew York, New York
Del PostoNew York, New York
Double KnotPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Fishing With DynamiteManhattan Beach, California
FrancesSan Francisco, California
Gabriel KreutherNew York, New York
GeronimoSanta Fe, New Mexico
Girl & the GoatChicago, Illinois
Giulia RestaurantCambridge, Massachusetts
Gramercy TavernNew York, New York
The Grill – The Ritz-Carlton, NaplesNaples, Florida
Halls ChophouseCharleston, South Carolina
Harold BlackWashington, D.C.
Heirloom CafeSan Francisco, California
Hersh’sBaltimore, Maryland
Highlands Bar & GrillBirmingham, Alabama
The Inn at Little WashingtonWashington, Virginia
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab – Multiple Locations
JUNGSIKNew York, New York
KinshipWashington, D.C.
KoiWest Hollywood, California
Kokkari EstiatorioSan Francisco, California
L’Auberge Chez FrancoisGreat Falls, Virginia
La GrottaAtlanta, Georgia
Lahaina GrillLahaina, Hawaii
L’ArtusiNew York, New York
Le Bilboquet – DallasDallas, Texas
Le CoucouNew York, New York
Le DiplomateWashington, D.C.
Le VallaurisPalm Springs, California
LinwoodsOwings Mills, Maryland
Mama’s Fish HousePaia, Hawaii
Marc ForgioneNew York, New York
Marcel’s by Robert WiedmaierWashington, D.C.
MareaNew York, New York
Market Restaurant and BarDel Mar, California
Mistral – Sherman OaksSherman Oaks, California
The Modern – Bar Room and Dining RoomNew York, New York
Momofuku KoNew York, New York
Neighborhood Services on Lovers LaneDallas, Texas
Orchids at Palm CourtCincinnati, Ohio
Oriole Chicago, Illinois
Parc Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Per SeNew York, New York
The Polo Bar New York, New York
Polo Lounge @ The Beverly Hills HotelBeverly Hills, California
PRESSSt. Helena, California
QuinceSan Francisco, California
Raoul’s New York, New York
RasikaWashington, D.C.
Restaurant LCincinnati, Ohio
Riccardo EnotecaChicago, Illinois
Rich TableSan Francisco, California
RL RestaurantChicago, Illinois
RPM Restaurants –   Locations
Rudy & Paco Restaurant & BarGalveston, Texas
Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Baton RougeBaton Rouge, Louisiana
The Saddle River InnSaddle River, New Jersey
Saint Jacques French CuisineRaleigh, North Carolina
Shinsei RestaurantDallas, Texas
SHU – Sushi House Unico – Bel AirBel Air, California
SottoCincinnati, Ohio
Spinasse Seattle, Washington
St. Francis Winery & VineyardsSanta Rosa, California
Steve & Cookie’s By the BayMargate, New Jersey
Stonehouse at San Ysidro RanchSanta Barbara, California
Sushi Nakazawa – Sushi BarNew York, New York
The Table at Season To TasteCambridge, Massachusetts
Talula’s GardenPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
The Metro Wine Bar & BistroOklahoma City, Oklahoma
ToscanaLos Angeles, California
TownsendPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
True Food Kitchen – ChicagoChicago, Illinois
Uchi – DallasDallas, Texas
UMIAtlanta, Georgia
UplandNew York, New York
Vernick Food & DrinkPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Vetri CucinaPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Yvonne’sBoston, Massachusetts
ZahavPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Zero Restaurant + BarCharleston, South Carolina

For the 100 Best Restaurants in Canada for 2017 the awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 500,000 restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 2,000 restaurants across Canada.

Whether it’s the understated elegance of Bar Von Der Fels in Calgary or the authentic tastes of Damas in Montréal, this list illustrates some of the best restaurants in Canada’s elevated hospitality scene, as voted by OpenTable diners. Including establishments with multiple locations1, Ontario has the greatest number of restaurants included on the list with 55, followed by Albertawith 17, and British Columbia and Québec each with 14 restaurants.Newfoundland and Labrador is also represented on the list.

For the second year in a row, Italian restaurants proved to be the most popular among diners. French and Canadian cuisine placed second and third, respectively, while restaurants specializing in Japanese, Mediterranean and Contemporary American cuisines also ranked in the top 100.

Canada has truly come into its own as a global dining destination and that is evident in the calibre of restaurants on this year’s list,” said Ziv Schierau, Head of National Accounts for OpenTable Canada. “This year’s honourees have excelled at providing world-class hospitality and the finest fare that is a reflection of the nation’s diverse cultural landscape and vast natural resources.”

The 100 Best Restaurants in Canada list is generated solely from more than 500,000 restaurant reviews collected between November 1, 2016, and October 31, 2017. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant’s average rating in the “overall” category.

Based on this methodology, the 100 Best Restaurants in Canada according to OpenTable diners are as follows (in alphabetical order):

100 Best Restaurants in Canada for 2017

Araxi Restaurant & Oyster BarWhistler, British Columbia
Atelier – Ottawa, Ontario
Bar Von Der FelsCalgary, Alberta
Bishop’sVancouver, British Columbia
Blue Water CafeVancouver, British Columbia
Bonaparte – Montréal, Québec
BoraliaToronto, Ontario
Bow Valley Ranche RestaurantCalgary, Alberta
Bridgette BarCalgary, Alberta
The Bruce Hotel and RestaurantStratford, Ontario
Buca YorkvilleToronto, Ontario
ByblosToronto, Ontario
CampagnoloToronto, Ontario
Canis Restaurant – Toronto, Ontario
Canoe Restaurant and BarToronto, Ontario
Carben RestaurantOttawa, Ontario
The Carbon BarToronto, Ontario
CarismaToronto, Ontario
Chabrol CafeToronto, Ontario
Chez Sophie – Montréal, Québec
ChiadoToronto, Ontario
Cioppino’s Mediterranean GrillVancouver, British Columbia
Cucci RistoranteOakville, Ontario
Da Vinci Ristorante – Montréal, Québec
DaiLoToronto, Ontario
Damas – Montréal, Québec
Days on FrontKingston, Ontario
Deane HouseCalgary, Alberta
Earth to Table: Bread BarGuelph, Ontario
Eden – Rimrock Resort HotelBanff, Alberta
Ernest’s at NAITEdmonton, Alberta
Europea – Montréal, Québec
EVOOToronto, Ontario
Fishbone Bistro – Multiple Locations (Ontario)
Five Sails RestaurantVancouver, British Columbia
George RestaurantToronto, Ontario
Gotham Steakhouse and BarVancouver, British Columbia
Grey GardensToronto, Ontario
Gyu-KakuToronto, Ontario
Harbour SixtyToronto, Ontario
Hawksworth RestaurantVancouver, British Columbia
Hoogan & Beaufort – Montréal, Québec
Hy’s Steak HouseToronto, Ontario
Ile Flottante – Montréal, Québec
Inn on the TwentyJordan, Ontario
Jacobs & Co. SteakhouseToronto, Ontario
Joso’sToronto, Ontario
Ki Modern Japanese + BarToronto, Ontario
King Street TrioWaterloo, Ontario
Kitchen76 at Two Sisters VineyardsNiagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
KOKO! Share BarToronto, Ontario
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon – Montréal, Québec
La BananeToronto, Ontario
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & SpaCambridge, Ontario
LaurieRaphael – Québec City, Québec
LaViniaToronto, Ontario
Le Baccara – Casino du Lac LeamyGatineau, Québec
Le Club Chasse et Peche – Montréal, Québec
Le Filet – Montréal, Québec
LeeToronto, Ontario
Lupo Restaurant & VinotecaVancouver, British Columbia
Maison Boulud – Montréal, Québec
Mamakas TavernaToronto, Ontario
The MarcEdmonton, Alberta
Mettawas Station Mediterranean RestaurantKingsville, Ontario
Miku Restaurant – Multiple Locations (British Columbia and Ontario)
Momofuku Shōtō (Counter Seating – Chef’s Tasting) – Toronto, Ontario
Morton’s The SteakhouseToronto, Ontario
NightingaleVancouver, British Columbia
Niko’s BistroCalgary, Alberta
Nuit SocialToronto, Ontario
ONE RestaurantToronto, Ontario
Opus RestaurantToronto, Ontario
Osteria Savio VolpeVancouver, British Columbia
PatriaToronto, Ontario
Peoples EateryToronto, Ontario
PigeonholeCalgary, Alberta
Q Haute CuisineCalgary, Alberta
Quails’ Gate Estate Winery – Old Vines RestaurantKelowna, British Columbia
RaymondsSt. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Restaurant Le Continental – Québec City, Québec
Rickshaw BarToronto, Ontario
Sabor RestaurantEdmonton, Alberta
Salt Wine BarToronto, Ontario
Scaramouche Restaurant Pasta Bar & GrillToronto, Ontario
ShoushinToronto, Ontario
Sorrel RosedaleToronto, Ontario
TavolaVancouver, British Columbia
Ten Foot HenryCalgary, Alberta
TOCA – Ritz CarltonToronto, Ontario
Trius Winery RestaurantNiagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Tzin Wine & TapasEdmonton, Alberta
Vero Bistro ModerneCalgary, Alberta
Villa FirenzeCalgary, Alberta
Vineland Estates Winery RestaurantVineland, Ontario
vivo ristorante – WestendEdmonton, Alberta
Woods Restaurant & BarToronto, Ontario
WORKSHOP kitchen + cultureCalgary, Alberta
Yuwa Japanese CuisineVancouver, British Columbia
Zucca TrattoriaToronto, Ontario

The complete list may also be viewed at