Bruegger’s Bagels and Caribou Coffee have been neighbors in several locations for years, but they’ll get even closer in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market today when they open their first two co-branded stores. The test will expand to a total of six stores in the coming months, including retrofitted Bruegger’s and Caribou stores and brand-new builds by both companies next year.
The concept of co-branded units has become more common in the restaurant world in recent years, but the eateries typically combine sibling brands like Yum! Brands’ KFC and Taco Bell. In this case, the separately owned brands bring complementary offerings to the table. “When you’re combining two different products, it can be confusing at first, especially if you’re combining a site but there’s no synergy of thought,” said Claude Bergeron, co-CEO of Bruegger’s parent Le Duff America. “When you’re combining a coffee house and a bagel concept, there’s much more synergy with the products right away.”
Caribou’s story starts with a connection to Bruegger’s — literally. (read more…)
A few new reports paint a picture of the hot restaurant trends for next year, including one not-so-hot prediction that an increased focus on health could lead to fewer restaurant visits in 2014. The report from AlixPartners leads off with the good news — nine months into 2013, restaurant spending has returned to pre-recession levels, the number of restaurants in financial distress is at a record low and inflationary pressures on commodity prices have eased.
Consumers are continuing to focus on food quality when dining out, and that’s where the not-so-hot news comes in. Americans are expected to make fewer restaurant visits next year, but this time the reasons will have more to do with healthy eating than pinching pennies, the study says. That doesn’t mean pocketbook issues are off the table entirely — consumers say they plan to spend less per visit, largely by taking advantage of promotions and deals, the survey says. (read more…)