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Restaurant Roundup: Andiron steakhouse gets new chef; MKT Distillery closing

In this week's Restaurant Roundup, recently opened steakhouse Andiron has a new chef, MKT Distillery in Katy is closing after five years in business, and Miami-based Pincho Burger + Kebabs continues its Houston expansion......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 2nd, 2023

The most famous restaurant in every state

A scene from "When Harry Met Sally" helped put New York's Katz's Deli on the map. And all over the country, there are equally famous restaurants. A scene from the movie "When Harry Met Sally" helped put New York's Katz's Deli on the map.Brad Barket/Getty Images Every state has a famous restaurant that everyone knows about.  Some are fine dining establishments like the Greenbrier in West Virginia. Others are local barbecue joints like Gates Bar-B-Q in Missouri and Prohibition Pig in Vermont. From fine dining restaurants to local barbecue joints, every state has at least one legendary restaurant that everyone knows about. The types of eateries vary from the oldest restaurant to the very best, but each has ultimately made a name for itself. Business Insider went state by state to find the most famous restaurant and measured the winners based on culinary awards, TV and movie appearances, and celebrity sightings. Keep reading to learn what eatery is the most famous in your state. ALABAMA: Dreamland Bar-B-Que in TuscaloosaDreamland Bar-B-Que in Alabama.Mary M./ YelpFamous for its ribs, Dreamland Bar-B-Que has been satisfying folks in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, since 1958.Celebrities even come to the restaurant to enjoy the food, including comedians Sean and Penn Teller, actor and singer Reba McEntire, and former president George W. Bush, who ordered some of the restaurant's famous ribs to-go to eat aboard Air Force One, The Tuscaloosa News reported. ALASKA: Snow City Cafe in AnchoragePresident Obama in Snow City Cafe.MANDEL NGAN/ GettyLocated in Anchorage, Alaska, Snow City Cafe is known around town as a popular brunch restaurant specializing in egg sandwiches and pancakes.The establishment made a name for itself in 2015 when President Barack Obama came in to buy all of the cinnamon rolls for his staffers and even reporters following the president, NBC reported at the time.ARIZONA: Durant's Steakhouse in PhoenixSteak, wine, and martinis at Durant's Steakhouse.Ashley H./ YelpDurant's Steakhouse is a fine dining restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. The establishment is well-known for its steaks, red booths, and martinis.The food has attracted notable celebrities through the years, including John Wayne, Joe DiMaggio, and Clark Gable, according to Visit Arizona. The steakhouse is also a popular eatery among Arizona's politicians. ARKANSAS: Petit and Keet in Little RockPetit and Keet is located in Arkansas.John J./ YelpLocated in Little Rock, Arkansas, Petit and Keet is an award-winning restaurant and bar. Locals have rated it the top restaurant in the state several times in Arkansas Times' reader's choice issue. Additionally, Petit and Keet made the news when the owners announced they were donating 20% of their proceeds to Red Bar, a famous eatery that burned down in Florida in 2019. CALIFORNIA: Craig's in Los AngelesFried chicken at Craig's.Sandee T/ YelpCraig's opened in 2011 in Los Angeles, and it specializes in Italian and American fare, including dishes like pizza, pasta, honey truffle chicken, and steak.However, the restaurant is mostly known for its celebrity clientele. Kim Kardashian and "Vanderpump Rules" star Lala Kent have both been photographed at the restaurant, and Eater reports that Lizzo, Olivia Jade, and Nicky Hilton all dined at the establishment in 2022.COLORADO: Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs in DenverA bacon and cheddar dog at Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs.Jessica M// YelpBiker Jim's Gourmet Dogs started as a hot dog truck, but now it's one of the most famous restaurants in Denver. The eatery allows customers to choose from hot dogs made of beef, elk, ostrich, wild boar, and even a combination of rabbit and rattlesnake. Cream cheese and caramelized onions are also popular choices for toppings at this restaurant.According to the restaurant's website, the unique offerings at Biker Jim's caught Anthony Bourdain's attention and were featured on his show "No Reservations."Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs also appeared on the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" and the Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate."CONNECTICUT: Mystic Pizza in MysticThe outside of Mystic Pizza.PhotoItaliaStudio/ShutterstockMystic Pizza opened in 1973 in Mystic, Connecticut, but it wasn't until the late '80s that the pizzeria became famous worldwide after screenwriter Amy Jones visited the eatery and decided to set her movie in Mystic Pizza.The movie, which starred Julia Roberts and was shot on location at the pizzeria, was released in 1988. "Mystic Pizza" became a national phenomenon, causing many tourists to flock to the pizza eatery to try "A Slice of Heaven."DELAWARE: Stoney's Pub in WilmingtonPie and peas at Stoney's British Pub.Kristina S./YelpStoney's Pub in Wilmington, Delaware, is best known for its British pub fare like "Mum's poached or boiled fish," shrimp and chips, and roast beef dinner.However, the eatery was put on the map when it appeared on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." During the show, host Guy Fieri said, "You're going to have to pry this out of my hands," when he took a bite of the restaurant's gravy-covered roast beef, according to the Food Network.FLORIDA: Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge in MiamiSeaspice Brasserie & Lounge overlooking the yachts on the Miami River.Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge/ YelpSeaspice sits on the Miami River offering customers sweeping views of the city.The restaurant specializes in "gastro-classic dining" serving dishes like steak tartare, crab tempura, and truffle brie tart. Seaspice often has over a two-hour wait and is a favorite among celebrities like Marc Anthony, the Miami Herald reported after he arrived by yacht to dine at the restaurant in 2016. GEORGIA: STK in AtlantaSTK in Atlanta.Phuong D./ YelpIn addition to a hearty lineup of steaks, STK specializes in seafood dishes like oysters, shrimp cocktail, and salmon, as well as other dishes like roasted rack of lamb and short ribs.The restaurant has drawn in a lot of celebrities over the years, including Selena Gomez and Denzel Washington, according to Discover Atlanta. Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans were also spotted eating at STK while "Captain America 3" was being shot in Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.HAWAII: Manago Hotel Restaurant in Captain CookManago Hotel and Restaurant.David O./YelpThe Manago Hotel and Restaurant dates back to 1917, years before Hawaii officially became a state, and is popularly known as the oldest restaurant in Hawaii. Among the restaurant's most famous offerings are its family-style pork chops, which attract tourists from across the country. IDAHO: White Horse Saloon in Spirit LakeWhite Horse Saloon & Hotel.Michael W./YelpWhite Horse Saloon in Spirit Lake, Idaho, was opened in 1908 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.Since the restaurant opened over 100 years ago, the establishment has a lot of history and is known as the oldest operating saloon in the state.ILLINOIS: Manny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen in ChicagoManny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen.Johnny R./YelpNamed by Time Out as "the most prominent Jewish deli in Chicago," Manny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen has been owned by four generations of the same family for 80 years, according to the restaurant's website. In addition to classic deli fare like Reuben sandwiches and corned beef hash, the restaurant also serves unique dishes like tongue and mushrooms.INDIANA: St. Elmo Steak House in IndianapolisSt. Elmo Steak House.St. Elmo Steak House/YelpSt. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis, Indiana, is well known for its shrimp cocktails, steak, chicken, and seafood.However, the eatery became known by many more people when it appeared on a 2013 episode of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," which is set in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Indianapolis Monthly reported that in the episode, Rob Lowe, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, and Nick Offerman go out for steaks at the establishment. IOWA: Northwestern Steakhouse in Mason CityNorthwestern Steakhouse.Will F./YelpNorthwestern Steakhouse in Mason City, Iowa, opened over 100 years ago in 1920.Today, the restaurant is still operating, serving steaks that are covered in olive oil, butter, and a Greek seasoning. In 2017, Northwestern Steakhouse was named the "most iconic restaurant" in Iowa by Thrillist. KANSAS: Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que in Kansas CityJoe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que ribs.Jay P./YelpJoe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que may be a former gas station, but it's now famous nationwide for its burnt-ends sandwich and ribs.Founded by Jeff and Joy Stehney in 1990 after the couple attended a local barbecue contest, Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que now has three restaurants across the state, in addition to a private tasting and event space. KENTUCKY: Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum in North CorbinHarland Sanders Cafe and Museum.Raymond S./YelpLocated in North Corbin, Kentucky, the Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum is a popular tourist attraction for KFC enthusiasts and history lovers alike.According to the restaurant's website, Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, operated the restaurant from 1940 to 1956, during which time he developed his signature recipe for fried chicken that is still used by the fast-food chain today. Visitors to the museum can take a look at historic memorabilia and exhibits related to KFC's history, as well as snack on some fried chicken. LOUISIANA: Commanders Palace in New OrleansCommander's Palace.Steve G./YelpSituated inside a bright blue-and-white Victorian-style building in New Orleans' Garden District, Commanders Palace opened in 1893 and has been serving locals ever since.According to Explore Louisiana, celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse worked as the iconic restaurant's head chef after a stint of restaurant jobs in France, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. He worked at Commanders Palace for eight years, during which time he perfected his signature Creole-influenced cooking style.MAINE: The Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape ElizabethFood from the Lobster Shack at Two Lights overlooking the water.Jessie B./ YelpOpen since the 1920s, The Lobster Shack at Two Lights sits atop the shores of Cape Elizabeth, serving lobster rolls and fried seafood by the basket all summer long.The restaurant became even more well known when, according to Food Network, celebrity chef and TV personality Bobby Flay visited the eatery on his show "FoodNation," bringing the Lobster Shack into the national spotlight. MARYLAND: Woodberry Kitchen in BaltimoreWoodberry Kitchen.Chris L./YelpWoodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, Maryland, is known for its American cuisine and farm-to-table philosophy.In 2016, Michelle and Malia Obama were spotted dining in the restaurant and social media buzzed with the sighting. The restaurant is said to have many celebrity guests but the establishment has a policy that bars employees from disclosing any information, though the owners did reflect on serving Michelle Obama on the restaurant's 10th anniversary in 2017."She gives the best hugs," former server Amy Sherald, who also was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint a portrait of Michelle Obama, told Baltimore Magazine. "She walked in and I was thinking she would shake my hand, but she hugged me and the kids."MASSACHUSETTS: Cheers in BostonThe interior of Boston's Cheers.Elizabeth G./ YelpMany know Cheers in Boston, Massachusetts, as the setting for the hit 1980s NBC sitcom of the same name. However, the restaurant was popular long before the show premiered.According to the restaurant's website, Cheers was originally named the Bull and Finch Pub and opened in 1969 as a neighborhood spot for classic American grub and beers. Today, it's a landmark in Boston, attracting tourists from all over to grab a pint in the place where everybody knows your name. MICHIGAN: Hack-Ma-Tack Inn and Restaurant in CheboyganHack-Ma-Tack Inn & Restaurant.Sandy B./YelpThe Hack-Ma-Tack Inn was founded in 1894 as a private hunting and fishing lodge, according to the inn's website, and was named the most iconic restaurant in Michigan by local news outlet MLive in 2019.The restaurant features classic dishes like escargot, prime rib, filet mignon, and roast duck. MINNESOTA: Matt's Bar in MinneapolisThe burger oozes with cheese at Matt's Bar.Chassidie L./YelpMatt's Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota, opened in 1954 and made a name for itself after creating the famous Jucy Lucy, the most famous local sandwich in the state. Staying true to its name, the Jucy Lucy is a burger filled with oozing, melted cheese. The burger is so famous that it was even featured on the Travel Channel, appearing on shows like "Man Vs Food" and "Food Wars," according to the restaurant's website. MISSISSIPPI: Mayflower Café in JacksonMayflower Cafe.Andrea K./YelpThe Mayflower Cafe is a staple in Jackson, Mississippi, and has been open since 1935. The restaurant has been featured on the Food Network, as well as in the films "Ghosts of Mississippi" and "The Help."After opening as a humble hamburger stand, the Mayflower Café has occupied the same street corner for over 80 years, the Clarion Ledger reported. The restaurant is known for its Greek and seafood, including Greek salads, crab cakes, oysters, and fried calamari. MISSOURI: Gates Bar-B-Q in Kansas CityGates Bar-B-Q sandwich.Donna D./YelpGates Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Missouri, opened in 1946 and specializes in pork ribs, barbecue sandwiches, and sides.The joint's tomato-based secret sauce also helped make the restaurant an institution in Kansas City. The Travel Channel has featured the restaurant as one of the best barbecue joints in the country, and the restaurant now has a line of seasonings and barbecue sauces. MONTANA: Lucca's in HelenaThe lasagna at Lucca's.Joe D./ YelpLucca's in Helena, Montana, is a fine-dining restaurant that focuses on Italian cuisine.The eatery serves Italian mainstays like baked ziti, spaghetti, risotto, and chicken. TripAdvisor has ranked it among the best eateries in the state, and Business Insider previously named Lucca's the best restaurant in Montana. "Lucca's cozy dining room — which holds a mere 15 tables — creates an intimate environment for guests to enjoy Chef Hyyppa's carefully crafted dishes," wrote Business Insider reporter Mary Hanbury. NEBRASKA: Big Mama's Kitchen in OmahaThe "Pig Ear Sandwich" at Big Mama's Kitchen.Jeff B./ YelpBig Mama's Kitchen in Omaha, Nebraska, specializes in comfort food, serving fried chicken and burgers.Food Network considers the restaurant one of its "Top Places to Eat," and on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives," host Guy Fieri said his favorite is the pig-ear sandwich.NEVADA: Mr. Chow in Las VegasThe main dining room at Mr Chow in Las Vegas.Mr Chow/ YelpMr Chow is a luxury restaurant inside of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, and it's popular among celebrities. Britney Spears had dinner there on New Year's Eve to ring in 2016, Eater reported, and Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez even held a party at the establishment before their split, according to Access.The restaurant itself serves Asian cuisine and offers a performance with a champagne trolley.NEW HAMPSHIRE: Moxy in PortsmouthBeef short rib at Moxy in New Hampshire.John B./ YelpMoxy in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is known for its tapas menu, which offers guests pork belly bites, short rib crostini, clams, and mussels.Chef and owner Matt Louis helped put the eatery on the map after he became a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award, a top honor in the culinary world, for four years straight in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. He has also been named as a nominee for Food and Wine's best new chef three times. NEW JERSEY: Tops Diner in East NewarkThe Firebird sandwich at Tops Diner.Krystal P./ YelpTops Diner in East Newark, New Jersey, opened in 1942 and has been serving its famous burgers, meatloaf, and lobster mac and cheese for decades.In 2017, Time Out named Tops the best diner in the country, and back in 2015, Thrillist called the diner the "most iconic" restaurant in New Jersey.NEW MEXICO: El Pinto in AlbuquerqueAn appetizer at El Pinto.Phil V./ yelpEl Pinto in Albuquerque, New Mexico, serves up huevos rancheros, enchiladas, and burritos.USA Today named El Pinto one of the best restaurants and called it "a local favorite." It's also among Food Network's top places to eat.NEW YORK: Katz's Delicatessen in New York CityKatz's Deli sandwiches.Brad Barket/Getty ImagesKatz's Delicatessen in New York City is known for two things.First, the pastrami sandwich is considered one of the best in the country. Second, it was also the setting for an iconic scene in the 1989 movie "When Harry Met Sally," starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal.Today, the restaurant is a popular tourist attraction where people come to reenact the famous scene and chow down on some of the deli's classic offerings, from Reubens to matzah ball soup. NORTH CAROLINA: Skylight Inn in AydenFood at the Skylight Inn.Seymour S./ YelpSkylight Inn in Ayden, North Carolina, specializes in southern barbecue.Food Network named the eatery one of its "Top 5" barbecue restaurants in the US, and says the best menu items are the chopped pork sandwich and the "Whole Hog Pork Plate."NORTH DAKOTA: Red Pepper in Grand ForksThe taco burger at Red Pepper.The Red Pepper/ YelpRed Pepper has been open for more than 50 years, with students at the University of North Dakota among its many clientele.The most popular dish served is the everything grinder, which has salami, turkey, ham, and cheese on a roll. The taco burger is also popular at Red Pepper.The Daily Meal has described the establishment as a "local landmark" and a "local legend," and Esquire named Red Pepper as one of the best late-night food spots in the country in 2012.OHIO: Red Steakhouse in ClevelandThe steak at Red Steakhouse.James D./ YelpRed Steakhouse in Cleveland, Ohio, is well-known for its steak, pasta, and seafood, and the eatery even has the Kardashian stamp of approval.In an episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," Kim and Kourtney dined at Red Steakhouse, according to Refinery 29. OKLAHOMA: Rock Cafe in StroudRock Cafe.M G./YelpRock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma, sits on the famous Route 66 and has been serving up sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, and chili since 1939. "Betsy," the restaurant's grill, has been used continuously for over 75 years and has "seared more than 5 million burgers, chicken fried steaks, and much more" over the years, according to the restaurant's website. Food Network reported that Guy Fieri said he loved Rock Cafe's buffalo and alligator burgers while visiting the establishment on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Drives."However, Rock Cafe has another major claim to fame. The restaurant claims that researchers from Pixar Animation Studios visited the restaurant in 2001 and then used it as inspiration for the movie "Cars." Today, there are homages to the movie throughout the restaurant. OREGON: Lilia Comedor in PortlandLilia Comedor.Bertha B./YelpRecently opened in October 2022, Lilia Comedor in Portland was featured in the New York Times' list of the 50 best restaurants in the United States in 2023 and one of Oregon Live's best new restaurants in 2022.Headed by chef Juan Gomez, Lilia Comedor's menu changes every day but features dishes like pork collar confit, diver scallops, and braised short rib emolada.PENNSYLVANIA: Victor Cafe in PhiladelphiaThe interior of Victor Cafe.Scott V./ YelpEstablished in 1918, Victor Cafe in Philadelphia specializes in Italian food, offering customers ravioli, tortellini, and steak.However, the restaurant isn't known just for its food. Victor Cafe's claim to fame is its appearances in the "Rocky" franchise, when the restaurant appeared in "Rocky Balboa" in 2006, according to the restaurant's website, and in its spinoff, "Creed." In the movies, the restaurant is called Adrian's.RHODE ISLAND: Crazy Burger Cafe & Juice Bar in NarragansettCrazy Burger in Rhode Island.Barbara Ann W./ YelpLocated in Narragansett, Rhode Island, Crazy Burger is famous for its hamburgers, as there are over 30 varieties. Some notable burgers include the Mahi Mahi Taco Burger, the Poco Loco Vegan Burger, and the Luna-Sea Fish Burge.Crazy Burger got national attention when Food Network's Guy Fieri visited the restaurant on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives," eating something called the "Whassupy Burger," which comes with sesame, wasabi, and fennel rub on a beef burger, topped with Brie cheese and onion rings on an ancient grain bun.SOUTH CAROLINA: Butcher & Bee in CharlestonA roast beef sandwich at the Butcher & Bee.Michelle K./ yelpButcher & Bee in Charleston, South Carolina, proved it's famous for a reason after it was selected as a 2022 finalist for the James Beard Award for outstanding restaurant.The restaurant has an ever-evolving menu that changes with the season. However, throughout the year, ingredients are locally grown and fresh, according to the restaurant's website.This philosophy may be why A-list celebrities are drawn to Butcher & Bee. Local news outlet The Post and Courier wrote that in 2016, Leonardo DiCaprio ate at the restaurant, sitting on the patio.SOUTH DAKOTA: Wall Drug Store in WallWall Drug Store blueberry pie.Pranjali S./YelpIn South Dakota, you can famously see signs along the road for Wall Drug Store more than 1,000 miles before you're even near it. The road signs are a genius marketing strategy thought up by Dorothy Hustead in the 1930s to entice drivers along Route 16 to come to her drugstore, according to the store's website.Today, the road signs still stand and Wall Drug Store includes a restaurant where tourists come from all over to try the donuts, ice cream, and famous beef sandwiches. TENNESSEE: Bluebird Cafe in NashvilleTaylor Swift at Bluebird Cafe.John Shearer/ GettyBluebird Cafe in Nashville is a restaurant that operates as a famous music venue. Opening in 1982, Blue Bird Cafe serves minimal comfort foods, including chicken fingers and pork sandwiches.However, the real draw is the music performances and the famous guests, which have included Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift, Jon Bon Jovi, Melissa Etheridge, and Garth Brooks. The ABC show "Nashville" was also filmed there in 2012. TEXAS: Franklin Barbecue in AustinBrisket from Franklin Barbecue.Erin McDowell/InsiderEstablished in 2009, Franklin Barbecue has been a staple in the Texas and Austin barbecue scenes for years and has even gained a reputation worldwide for its mouthwatering brisket and barbecue sides. Eater reported that Anthony Bourdain visited the spot for an episode of "No Reservations" in 2012, where he waited in line for over an hour. The barbecue was apparently well worth the wait since he called the brisket "earth-shatteringly good."In 2011, Bon Appetit called Franklin the "best barbecue in the country," and Texas Monthly ranked the restaurant first on its list of "The Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas."Franklin Barbecue owner Aaron Franklin is also one of the top names in barbecue. In 2015, he became the first chef specializing in barbecue to be awarded the James Beard Foundation Award for best chef in the Southwest.UTAH: Ruth's Diner in Salt Lake CityCountry-fried steak from Ruth's Diner.Katie W./YelpRuth's Diner in Salt Lake City, Utah, allows guests to dine in railroad cars that were operating during the early 1900s. The restaurant focuses on brunch foods, serving French toast, huevos rancheros, and deep-fried mac and cheese.When "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" host Guy Fieri visited the restaurant, he said he couldn't get enough of the fluffy biscuits. VERMONT: Prohibition Pig in WaterburyMac and cheese from Prohibition Pig.Melody C./YelpLocated in Waterbury, Vermont, Prohibition Pig specializes in smoked meats and beer, but the Food Network says the real star on the menu is the mac and cheese.VIRGINIA: Beach Pub is famous for its various seafood dishes.Oysters Rockefeller from Beach Pub.RunAway B./YelpLocated in Virginia Beach, Beach Pub serves crabs, shrimp, scallops, and fish-n-chips.Their popular seafood dishes attracted Food Network host Guy Fieri in 2011. While there, he ate the oyster Rockefeller, baked rockfish, and fish hash, giving the pub national attention and fame. WASHINGTON: Canlis in SeattleCanlis overlooking the cliff it sits on.Jules H./ YelpBefore Canlis opened in the 1950s, founder Peter Canlis wanted to build the restaurant in downtown Seattle, but he couldn't afford it. Instead, he built his eatery outside of the city and on the edge of a cliff.The second-choice location seemed to pay off because Canlis has been nominated for 15 James Beard Awards, has won 22 Wine Spectator Grand Awards, and the restaurant is famous for its views as well as its food. WEST VIRGINIA: The Main Dining Room at Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur SpringsThe Main Dining Room at Greenbrier Resort sea bass.Grace K./YelpThe Greenbrier Resort's main dining room has been serving customers for over 100 years, becoming a landmark in the state.The fine-dining restaurant serves impressive dishes like corn-crusted scallops, beef bourguignon, pan-seared ribeye steak, and Maryland crab carbonara. WISCONSIN: Mader's Restaurant in MilwaukeeThe exterior of Mader's Restaurant in Wisconsin.John D./ YelpLocated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mader's Restaurant has been open for over 100 years, serving mostly German foods like wiener schnitzel, beef and mushroom strudel, and Hungarian-style beef goulash.However, throughout its long history, Mader's has served nearly 100 famous guests, including John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Frank Sinatra, according to the restaurant's website.WYOMING: Snake River Grill in Jackson HoleEskimo bars at the Snake River Grill.Sheri R./YelpSnake River Grill in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a fine-dining restaurant focusing on American cuisine. Pork shank, duck breast, risotto, and spring rolls are all menu options at this establishment.However, one menu item that has caught the Food Network's attention is the Eskimo Bars, which is ice cream dipped in chocolate and caramel. Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis raved about the dessert on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," and Snake River Grill was named one of Food Network's top places to eat. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 23rd, 2024

I booked a 7-day Alaska cruise for $799 but actually spent $2,800 with extras. Take a closer look at what made it so pricey.

A cheap fare for a 7-day Princess Alaska cruise turned into an expensive vacation after excursions, Wi-Fi, drinks, port fees, and specialty dining. The author in a hot tub onboard the Royal Princess.Allison TibaldiThis summer, I thought I got a great deal when I booked a 7-day Alaska cruise for $799 per person.I ended up spending $2,800 with excursions, Wi-Fi, a drink package, port fees, and specialty dining.Even though I paid $2,000 more than the base price, it was so worth it.I'm an experienced cruiser who has sailed around the globe. So I was excited to take my husband on his first cruise last summer to celebrate his birthday.We chose a seven-day Princess Cruise to Alaska in and out of Seattle on the Royal Princess. The mid-size ship would visit the Inside Passage with a day cruising in Glacier Bay National Park, two full days at sea, and stops in Alaska at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and also Victoria, Canada.I had cruised with Princess before and liked how they offer a sweet spot between casual and luxury. It was also the first time either of us was visiting Alaska, and since seven Princess ships sail there, I felt confident that they were experts in cruising America's last frontier.The base price for the cruise was $799 per person, which included an interior stateroom, all meals not served in specialty restaurants, and entertainment.I thought that was a cheap price, but as an experienced cruiser, I knew there would be extras, such as Wi-Fi, beverages, excursions, and upscale dining. In the end, I spent just over $2,800 per person, which was $2,000 more than the base price. While it wasn't exactly the cheap deal I originally booked, I thought the price was well worth it considering the fabulous trip we had.Here's a closer look at how we spent our money.Many things onboard the Royal Princess were included in the base price.The pool deck of the Royal Princess.Allison TibaldiThe Royal Princess is a large ship with 1,780 cabins for 3,560 guests. There are 19 passenger decks, eight with guest accommodations.Our stateroom was 170 square feet, which felt compact, but just right for two people. We shared a queen-size bed and a bathroom with a shower. The ship felt like a gigantic floating hotel and most amenities and activities were included in the fare. That included access to two swimming pools, eight hot tubs, a spa, fitness center, and a variety of dining venues, from buffets to a pizzeria, and a steakhouse. Specialty and upscale dining cost extra, but more on that later.My first purchase was the Princess Premier Package, which cost $80 per person, per day. The author onboard the Royal Princess.Allison TibaldiAlong with my base fare, I purchased the Princess Premier Package for myself, which cost $80 per person, per day. The package includes Wi-Fi for up to four devices, alcoholic beverages and wine by the glass that cost up to $20, unlimited drinks from the juice bar, specialty coffee, and premium desserts like gelato. Crew gratuity, room service, fitness classes, and two meals at specialty restaurants are also part of the package.It must be purchased for the duration of the cruise, which totaled $560 for me for my 7-day cruise.My biggest additional expenses came from shore excursions.The author and the captain on a luxury whale watching tour.Allison TibaldiThe cruise stopped in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia. As much as I enjoy shipboard life, to really experience Alaska, I knew I wanted to disembark and explore each port of call. While it is free to simply leave the boat and walk around each port, with only a day in most locations, I thought I'd get a better sense of the destination by booking official shore excursions hosted by the cruise line. These excursions are soup-to-nuts packages that take care of all the details and make the most out the time in port. Excursions may be booked with local tour operators that are unaffiliated with the cruise line, but I preferred booking all of mine through Princess. That way, I knew the day would be tailored around when I needed to be back on the boat.I booked each excursion in advance as I know from experience that popular shore excursions tend to sellout, and spent $930 per person on all three of them.I spent $480 per person for a luxury whale-watching tour in Juneau.The yacht from the author's excursion.Allison TibaldiOur first port of call was Juneau. There, I booked an all-inclusive, four-hour luxury whale-watching group tour on a yacht with room for eight passengers. It cost me and my husband $480 each.Once off the ship, a representative greeted us and drove the group to Auke Bay to board our yacht, which felt swanky with its leather seats and polished chrome. Our crew included the captain and Emma, a naturalist, who helped us spot wildlife. Emma encouraged questions and was a wealth of information regarding all things Alaska.The yacht brought us incredibly close to orcas, humpback whales, harbor seals, and sea lions. Champagne, Alaskan beer, and a big charcuterie platter were included in the price, too.It was a once-in-a lifetime experience, and well worth $480 cost per person.I paid $210 to kayak in Skagway, Alaska.The author and her husband in a kayak in Alaska.Allison TibaldiI love to kayak and didn't want to miss the chance to paddle in Alaska, so I booked Princess' Chilkoot Lake Kayak Experience for $210 per person.Twenty other passengers joined my husband and I on a high-speed, 45-minute ferry ride to Haines. As our ferry journeyed through a deep fjord, we saw whales breaching, eagles soaring, and bears along the shoreline.When we arrived in Haines, a bus drove us to the lake where a guide gave us a brief lesson on paddling technique before we hopped into double and triple kayaks atop blue water surrounded by tall peaks. We paddled for around 90 minutes before the coach brought us back to the ferry. A simple picnic lunch of sandwiches, chips, and hot coffee was waiting for us before we returned, as part of our rate.A tour of totem poles, a salmon cannery, and a rainforest walk cost $240 each. The author and her husband in front of a totem pole in Ketchikan.Allison TibaldiKetchikan was our last stop in Alaska. It's an excellent destination to explore Native Alaskan culture, particularly to learn about totem poles. I booked the Best of Ketchikan: Totems, Wildlife Cruise & Alaska Appetizers excursion, a four-hour tour for $240 per person.Our group of 16 began the trip with a narrated wildlife cruise to a former salmon cannery where a guided tour and interactive exhibits helped us understand the importance of salmon canning to the state's growth.Next, we snacked on locally-made reindeer sausage and wild berry cookies. Well-fortified, we took a short walk through the rainforest before getting on a bus to Saxman Native Village to watch totem poles being hand carved, and to view a collection of towering totem poles.Back onboard the ship, I paid $60 for access to an adults-only space.The author's husband in the Sanctuary.Allison TibaldiThe Sanctuary is an adults-only, outdoor area located at the bow of the ship, where you can reserve a chaise lounge for a half or full day, for $20 or $40 respectively. It's the only section of the ship where you can have a tranquil, adult-only, outdoor experience, with room for approximately 30 people. We went once, on our scenic cruise day, which is the day the ship traverses Glacier Bay National Park. I knew that the ship would be hectic on this day, as every single passenger is onboard and wants a good view of the passing scenery. As such, a half day in the Sanctuary cost $60, which was more than any other day.But our access provided us with a front-row seat as we sailed by breathtakingly beautiful glaciers. Plus, there were only a few dozen other passengers there, and the helpful staff kept bringing us extra blankets to offset the chilly air. A breakfast buffet with fresh fruit, smoked salmon, croissants, and more, took the experience up a notch.I happily forked over $22 for sushi in a specialty restaurant.The author and her husband at their sushi meal.Allison TibaldiMany restaurants, including the three main dining rooms with waiter service, buffets, and a pizzeria are included in the base cruise price. But several upscale dining spots incur an extra charge. However, because I'm a sushi fanatic, I knew I would pay extra to eat at Ocean Terrace, the ship's sushi bar.We ordered an assortment of sushi, sashimi, and edamame, for lunch. It was extremely fresh, and I thought it was well worth the $22 we paid per person. Unlike some of the other upscale dining options, my meal was not a flat fee, and instead based on what I ordered.Considering other sushi meals I've had, I thought it was inexpensive and had I discovered it sooner, I would have eaten at Ocean Terrace several more times.For my husband's birthday, I booked the Chef's Table for $130 per person with wine pairings.The risotto served at the Chef's Table.Allison TibaldiOn my husband's actual birthday, I wanted him to have a VIP culinary experience. I booked the upscale Chef's Table for $130 per person with wine pairings. The chef personally greeted us to discuss the menu and how he chose and sourced ingredients, making it an interesting experience for foodies like us. The intimate dinner took place in a private section of the dining room at a table set with fine China and crisp linens. We were joined by two other couples we didn't know, but by the end of the meal, a casual shipboard friendship was created. There's no dress code but it was a great opportunity to wear our fanciest outfits.We started with Champagne and hors d'oeuvres before a feast of ceviche, creamy risotto, tender filet mignon, and an individual strawberry cake. The food was luscious, though it was the presentation and service that made it truly memorable.I paid $35 for a repeat meat at Sabatini's Italian restaurant. Dinner with a view at Sabatini's.Allison TibaldiWhile most specialty dining incurs an extra fee, two meals at premium restaurants were included as a perk my Princess Premier Package.One was a meal at the ship's steakhouse, Crown Grill, as well as another at the Italian restaurant, Sabatini's.My husband is Italian, and I lived in Italy for many years, so we are tough critics when it comes to Italian cuisine. But we liked our meal so much, that we returned a second time and paid $35 per person to do so.We enjoyed paper-thin slices of tender veal topped with a rich tuna and caper sauce that gave my favorite trattoria in Milan a run for its money. Other standouts included spaghetti in a briny sauce of scallops, shrimps, clams, and mussels; and baked striped bass accompanied by polenta. Finally, port fees and taxes cost an extra $272 per person.The Royal Princess.Allison TibaldiThere are three things that new cruisers might not realize they'll always have to pay for, even if they skip all specialty experiences and excursions.They are gratuities, tax, and port fees.My gratuities were included as part of the Princess Premier Package. However, port fees and taxes cost us an extra $272 per person. These are for the charges your ship pays to dock at various ports of call. These fees are paid by passengers and are not included in the base price of the cruise.My total cost for the cruise was $2,808 per person, and I have no regrets.A glacier spotted from the Royal Princess.Allison TibaldiAll of my cruise extras came to $2,009. With the $799 that I paid when I initially booked the cruise, my grand total for just me came to $2,808. For both me and my husband, it was $5,616 in total.While it was a lot more than initially advertised, it was an unforgettable experience that was worth every penny. I would spend it again in a heartbeat.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 20th, 2024

15 Highest Quality Steakhouse Chains In The US

In this article, we shall discuss the 15 highest quality steakhouse chains in the US. To skip our detailed analysis of the global meat industry and a brief overview of the restaurant industry in 2023, go directly and see 5 Highest Quality Steakhouse Chains in the US.  According to a market research report by the […] In this article, we shall discuss the 15 highest quality steakhouse chains in the US. To skip our detailed analysis of the global meat industry and a brief overview of the restaurant industry in 2023, go directly and see 5 Highest Quality Steakhouse Chains in the US.  According to a market research report by the OECD, the global meat market is estimated to have a total value of 375.9 billion in 2023, and is projected to reach $473.1 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 4.3%. The next decade is expected to see a rampant growth in the global consumption of meat proteins, projected to amount to more than 14% by 2030 compared to the base period average of 2018-2022. This growth is largely to be driven by rising income and population growth. Furthermore, meat protein availability from beef, pork, poultry, and sheep meat is expected to surge by 5.9%, 13.1%, 17.8% and 15.7% respectively by 2030. However, consumption is expected to take a nosedive in many high-income countries due to changing consumer preferences, greater levels of ageing, and slower growing populations, leading to a diminishing per capita meat consumption and a greater move towards consumption of higher valued meat cuts. One of the primary trends affecting major players in the meat industry like Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ:BYND), Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL), and Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) is a global shift towards poultry, especially in lower income developing countries, owing to a lower price of poultry per unit as compared to other meat. In high-income countries, this shift represents an increasing preference for white meats which are considered much easier to prepare and are widely perceived as being the healthier option. Hence, in global terms, poultry meat is expected to make for more than 41% of all meat sources by 2030, representing a stark increase of 2% compared to the base period. The global shares of other meat products are lower: beef (20%), bacon (34%), and sheep mutton (5%). Furthermore, international meat trade is expected to pick up in countries in Asia and the Near East, where production is unlikely to be sufficient to meet demand. You can read more on trends affecting the meat industry in the next decade in our coverage of Top 20 Meat Producing Countries in the World.  The Potential in Cultivated Meat: An Analysis According to a report by McKinsey, the fact that some of the highest quality steakhouse chains in the US bit into cultivated meat for the first time in 2022 has the potential to transform the global meat and restaurant industry in surprising new ways. Consumers will likely get luxurious and tantalizing kinds of meat, like Wagyu beef and bluefin tuna, for extremely affordable, standardized prices all across the world. The report predicts that by 2030, billions of pounds of the global meat supply could be provided by cultivated meat, with further implications for multiple sectors, like some of the highest quality steakhouse chains in the US.  Cultivated meat has, in the span of a few decades, grown from a futuristic dream of a handful of academic scientists to a potentially mainstream global meat supply. Instead of relying on animals for meat, or equating different characteristics of plants with animal meat, cultivated meat is produced by acquiring minute samples of animal cells and growing them in a controlled environment. By systematically manipulating cell density and shaping techniques, the resultant product could replace the experience of eating conventional meat. As biological science catalyzes an era of innovation, top players in the industry like Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ:BYND), Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL), and Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) are diverting greater investments in the research and development of cultivated meat sources. They aspire to be able to reduce production cost by more than 99%. With regulatory authorities in the United States agreeing to regulate the product, the industry, which in the present only comprises a meagre handful of startups, was able to generate more than $350 million in investments from companies like Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ:BYND), Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL), and Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN). You can read more on companies offering cultivated alternatives to meat in our article 16 Biggest Lab-Grown Meat Companies. However, there are still certain preconditions which need to be met for cultivated meat to turn into a major industry, not including the fact that in order to scale it to even less than 1 percent of the global meat market, there is a need to invest tens of billions of dollars into the product. In this vein, the next decade is likely to entail companies vying to prove commercial viability of the product to the highest quality steakhouse chains in the US by relying on modest market penetration. In order to ensure profitability in the next decade, the industry must deal with potential concerns that arise around any novel food idea whilst ensuring deliciousness at the right price.  Ensuring Revenue Management for Restaurants: An Overview Many of the top meat companies like Beyond Meat Inc. (NASDAQ:BYND), Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE:HRL), and Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) are contractually obligated to some of the highest quality steakhouse chains in the US and tend to generate a substantial portion of their revenue from the restaurant industry. The restaurant industry in the United States is facing a challenging time due to global supply chain constraints and immediate inflationary pressures. Although these issues have shown initial signs of abating, restaurant leaders are expecting expensive increases in labor and input costs over the next five years. Furthermore, as consumer demands continue to morph and evolve, restaurant leaders are under increasing pressure. In this vein, many restaurant chains are building up their revenue growth management (RGM) capabilities to resist potential headwinds and ensure profitability in times of crisis. RGM is an integral ingredient with immense potential for value creation during tough times, becoming incredibly salient during times when cost pressures form an impediment to profitable growth. You can read more on how restaurants are navigating the increasingly complex food landscape in our coverage of the 20 Most Popular Fast Food Restaurants In The World.  According to a report by McKinsey, there are four central areas which provide huge upside potential for RGM gains and they comprise menu offering, price architecture, value offers, and franchisee execution. They provide a more holistic alternative to the simple price hike strategy some of the highest quality steakhouse chains in the US have been following up till now to keep pace with rising costs. Brands are choregraphing decision making across elements like price, promotional offerings, and menu compositions, integrating components together into a seamless network geared to boost sales and optimize revenue management. This coordination can facilitate restaurants respond to near-term margin constraints whilst optimizing long-term brand health. A butcher shop showcasing fresh meats and seafood for customers. Our Methodology To compile our list of the 15 highest quality steakhouse chains in the US, we decided to undertake a consensus-based approach using a diverse variety of credible sources and reviews (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). We then shortlisted more than 30 steakhouse chains which appeared most frequently during our research. Since quality is an incredibly multifaceted and complex phenomenon, we established a three-pronged criteria to measure the quality of each steakhouse chain; the criteria is premised on each chain’s grade and source of meat (20 points), cooking techniques (15 points), and ambiance (10 points). We then proceeded to award each chain a cumulative score according to the aforementioned criteria and selected 15 chains which scored the highest points. Subsequently, we ranked each entry based on the total points scored, from lowest to highest. Where there was a tie, we broke it based on the chain’s grade and source of meat. To sum it up, we ranked the 15 highest quality steakhouse chains in the US based on their cumulative scores, using a consensus methodology. By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders. 15 Highest Quality Steakhouse Chains In The US 15. Ocean Prime Average Score: 9 One of the highest quality steakhouse chains in the US, Ocean Prime has locations in California, Las Vegas, Texas, Missouri, Florida, and beyond. Known for its top-tier beef, Ocean Prime also has great ambiance and an exceptionally proactive service.  14. Rare Society Steakhouse Average Score: 9 Often classified as a mini-chain, Rare Society Steakhouse has a high-end chef-driven heritage rooted in San Diego. The chain perfectly straddles the line between classic and contemporary and is known for its dry-aged rib-eyes and Australian Wagyu, grilled over wood-fired log boilers and served on the side of oysters Rockefeller and seafood towers. 13. Outback Steakhouse Average Score: 11 Outback Steakhouse is an Australian-themed restaurant chain based in the US, with more than 700 locations across the country. Despite having a strong Australian theme, the cuisine is on the casual end of the steakhouse spectrum. The restaurant’s ‘Bloomin Onion’ steak is one of its most loved menu offerings. 12. Fleming’s Average Score: 12 Fleming’s is a fine-dining style steakhouse with an extensive menu, tantalizing wine bar, and exceptional service quality. The chain has more than 64 locations across the US and is famous for its medium-rare filet mignon made from Fleming’s high quality beef procurement. The chain also has an eclectic wine collection. 11. Sizzler Average Score: 13 Sizzler is known as one of the highest quality steakhouse chains in the US primarily due to its generous portion size, soothing ambiance, and affordable pricing. The restaurant specializes in hand-cut steaks, as well as surf and turf steak combos. 10. The Capital Grille Average Score: 13 Known for its signature Gorgonzola and black truffle crusted dry-aged bone-in New York strip or the porcini rubbed bone-in ribeye with 15-year-aged balsamic, The Capital Grille is one of the highest quality steakhouse chains in the US. It is widely revered for the quality of its meat and the expertise of its meat cuts.  9. Shula’s Steakhouse Average Score: 15 Founded in Florida, Shula’s Steakhouse was founded by NFL coach Don Shula. He established a nationwide standard for his restaurants with his special ‘Shula Cut’, which is an exclusive, all-premium Black Angus steak sourced from Graham Angus Farms in Georgia, and then aged, cut, and trimmed to incredibly complex parameters. 8. STK Average Score: 16 STK, an extremally popular steakhouse chain, is widely known for its fresh cuts of prime beef served directly to customers. The chain has more than 13 locations across the United States and sources beef exclusively from the Midwest, either Angus USDA Choice or USDA Prim. 7. Steak 48 Average Score: 17 One of the most underrated steakhouses on this list, Steak 45 is located in more than 7 cities and has a strong reputation amongst hardcore steak enthusiasts. Each Steak 48 restaurant has an in-house butcher shop, with trained staff who custom-cut 28-day wet-aged steaks, from bone-in Kansas City strips to grass-fed New York strips. 6. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Average Score: 19 One of the highest quality steakhouse chains in the US, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse has more than 100 locations across the country. They have an extensive menu and an extremely professional service, geared at complimenting their tantalizing steaks and quality wine lists. The chain is best known for its specialty Tomahawk for Two.    Click here to continue reading and see 5 Highest Quality Steakhouse Chains in the US.    Suggested Articles: 30 Friendliest Cities in the World 20 Most Luxurious and Expensive Woods for Furniture In The World 20 Safest Countries To Visit For US Citizens   Disclosure: None. 15 Highest Quality Steakhouse Chains in the US is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyDec 26th, 2023

Good Times Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ:GTIM) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

Good Times Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ:GTIM) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript December 14, 2023 Operator: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Good Times Restaurants Incorporated Fiscal 2023 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Earnings Call. By now, everyone should have access to the company’s earnings release, which is available in the Investors section of the company’s […] Good Times Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ:GTIM) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript December 14, 2023 Operator: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Good Times Restaurants Incorporated Fiscal 2023 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Earnings Call. By now, everyone should have access to the company’s earnings release, which is available in the Investors section of the company’s website. As a reminder, a part of today’s discussion will include forward-looking statements within the meaning of Federal Securities Laws. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and therefore, you should not put undue reliance on them. These statements involve known and unknown risks, which may cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include among other things, the market price of the company’s stock prevailing from time-to-time, the nature of other investment opportunities presented to the company, the disruption to our business from pandemics and other public health emergencies, the impact and duration of staff constraints at our restaurants, the impact of supply chain constraints and inflation, the uncertain nature of current restraints, development plans, and the ability to implement those plans and integrate new restaurants, delays in developing and opening new restaurants because of weather, local permitting, or other reasons, increased competition, cost increase or shortages in raw food material, other general economic and operating conditions, risks associated with our share repurchase program, risks associated with the acquisition of additional restaurants, the accuracy of cash flows, and the cost and availability of capital or credit facility borrowings to provide liquidity, changes in federal, state, or local laws and regulations affecting the operation of our restaurants, including minimum wage and tip credit regulations and other matters discussed under the risk factors section of Good Times annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 26, 2023, filed with the SEC and other filings with the SEC. During today’s call, the company will discuss non-GAAP measures, which they believe can be useful in evaluating our performance. The presentation of this additional information should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for results prepared in accordance with GAAP and reconciliation to comparable GAAP measures available in our earnings release. And now I would like to turn the call over to Ryan. Please go ahead, sir. Ryan Zink: Thank you, Krista, and thank you all for joining us on the call today. As mentioned, everyone should now have access to our fourth quarter earnings release and our 10-K filing. As with last quarter, the final quarter of the fiscal year delivered mixed results with continued strong performance at our Good Times brand, where we again posted another quarter of positive same-store sales. In addition to the positive sales, we were able to improve margins compared with prior year, primarily through the benefit of lower food and packaging costs. Near the end of the fiscal year, as had previously been reported, we purchased two Good Times restaurants from prior franchisees. And though there were the typical transition and integration inefficiencies that initially accompanied the acquisition of these restaurants. We are currently growing year-over-year sales at both restaurants, and both restaurants are profitable and contributing to the brand’s overall results. We now own and operate 25 company-owned Good Times restaurants, including six restaurants in which we are equal partners with a third-party. Additionally, we have six restaurants in the system that are franchisee-owned. We launched our loyalty program, GT Rewards, during the quarter. GT Rewards is a points-based loyalty offering that provides our guests an opportunity to earn deals and other rewards driven by the purchasing behavior. The app already provided order ahead and direct order of delivery. And the GT Rewards platform is accessible by our guests, both in a digital native order and also in a traditional drive-through transaction with the order being placed at the Menu Ordering Board. While card-based payment for digital native orders has been a part of the app from its initial release, payment in the drive-through has not been a feature of our app. We intend for the next major release of the app to incorporate the ability to link a credit or debit card, or a Good Times gift card by which payment can be made in the drive-through. In addition to our company-owned restaurants participating in the GT Rewards program, all of our franchisee-owned restaurants in Colorado also are currently participating in the program. We believe that the convenience, value, and technology enablement that our app now delivers to our guests is critical to the continued relevance of our brand, and our ability to capture incremental share in the QSR Burger space. Further, during the first quarter of fiscal 2024, we completed the full digital menu transition of the company-owned restaurants with the installation of digital menu boards at the walk-up windows complementing the menu boards that were already installed in the drive-throughs during fiscal 2023. Additionally, the installation of the digital drive-through menu board at the Lafayette restaurant that we recently purchased was completed just earlier today. Our franchise system in Colorado has yet to deploy the digital walk-up menu boards, and we still have one Colorado franchisee-owned restaurant that does not yet have the drive-through menu boards. We have also completed the re-image of two Good Times restaurants and are nearing the completion of a third restaurant. This re-image package includes repainting the building in light and dark shades of gray as opposed to a more beige tone previously, the replacement of highly graphic awnings with solid red awnings, and the contribution of community art to our buildings through the painting of a unique wall mural by a selection of local artists. These re-image elements combine to create a clean, crisp design for our buildings that align with guest feedback and the results of consumer research we have conducted surrounding the purchasing behavior of our guests. Same-store sales have remained positive to-date through the first fiscal quarter, though late November and December, have experienced significant unfavorable weather with colder average temperatures than the prior year, but the greater impact has been two large Denver area snowfall events occurring on weekends, including Black Friday and the entire weekend following Thanksgiving holiday. This weather activity has muted the strong trend we had been experiencing early in the quarter. At Bad Daddy’s, operating results deteriorated from the prior quarter. Reduced sales have impacted most other areas of the P&L with significant deleveraging effects in labor costs and other operating expenses. Sales have further continued to be soft into the first quarter of the new year, and as a result, changes within the Bad Daddy’s organization have been made. Our prior operations leader for Bad Daddy’s left the company in late August. And for the moment, the four regional directors that previously reported to him are reporting directly to me. We have long excelled in our back of house execution, and we continue to excel in that area. We serve remarkable food and our employees throughout the brand, including both management and hourly team members, have so much passion around serving up great burgers. However, that same passion had declined in our front of house and the level of hospitality we have been providing was not meeting our customers’ wants or needs. We also failed to pivot back to the bar side of our business as pandemic behavior faded and our bar execution has lacked. The ultimate solution to this is a mindset shift among our operations leadership team within the brand. However, to accomplish that, tactical changes are needed to drive the alignment desired. We’ve appointed a bar and beverage leader to complement the culinary processes we already have in place. Happy hour specials have been launched in our Colorado restaurants and we expect those specials to be system-wide by mid-January. This is the first time in the concept’s history when drink specials will be available in all restaurants. Further, to additionally support the bar business, we extended operating hours by an average of one hour per day to begin closing at 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday beginning on November 27. The extended operating hours have already begun to pay dividends as sales during the last two operating hours of each day have measurably increased. And the same-store sales trend, which had further deteriorated in October and November, has improved sequentially with significant gains in the dinner and late night day parts. We’ve overhauled the beverage portfolio with new core beer and spirits offerings that better align with our guest preferences, and a new cocktail menu with more concept appropriate cocktails that will launch in February. Additionally, on a seasonal basis, we’ve incorporated new cocktails, shakes, and mocktails into our seasonal chef special program. New improved training content and teaching methods have accompanied and will accompany all of these programs. To address the inconsistent hospitality, we’re taking a three-pronged approach. First, by replacing our training manager for Bad Daddy’s, who was previously a one-person team, and then supplementing that new individual with two other learning and development specialists, who will assist our operators in the delivery of training content and the validation of the hard and soft skills that are critical in each role. Resetting expectations and standards of our multi-unit leaders and re-systematizing their roles with appropriate tools, systems, and accountability that had become lacking and was resulting in lower than desired standards in the front of the house. And finally, adjusting financial system incentives, AKA bonus, for our restaurant management teams to better incentivize a combination of long-term profitability and sales growth, along with period-by-period guest satisfaction, financial controls, and operations excellence. Our prior bonus structure was also designed to address each of these. However, the revisions to the plan better balance all of these and reduce incentives to prioritize behaviors that improve single period results, but could have negative full-year or longer term impacts. Our Atlanta market discussed on prior calls has continued to prove to be a challenge. We’ve invested heavily in management development, new management where necessary, and additional hourly labor to improve our reputation in the market. These investments are starting to show early indications of delivering results as the incessant and unrelenting declines in sales at each of these stores have recently given way to days and in some cases weeks of increasing year-over-year sales. We continue to evaluate the optimal restaurant portfolio in the Atlanta market, which will be influenced by each restaurants performance in the first six to nine months of this fiscal year. While Bad Daddy’s results for the quarter are disappointing and our expectations for the first quarter of the year are for disappointing, and our expectations for the first quarter of the year are for similar, if not slightly lower, performance, I’m confident in the relevance and the power of the brand. As our highest volume restaurant in Somerville, South Carolina continues to post positive year-over-year sales, Our second highest volume restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina is also delivering positive sales growth, as our several other restaurants. Additionally, our new restaurant in Madison, Alabama is continuing to deliver top quartile average weekly sales three full months into operations. While there has been some honeymoon effect, the typical peak to trough decline experienced in new Bad Daddy’s new store openings has not manifested that same decline here. I have great confidence in the future of the Bad Daddy’s brand, as the passion this team has for the brand is unlike the passion I’ve seen anywhere in my past. The company has gone without a finance leader for nearly nine months, though for the past four months we have contracted with a highly capable finance and accounting professional in an exclusive consulting engagement, who has performed many of the responsibilities of our former Vice President of Finance. We expect to have news with respect to a permanent hire for this leadership role in the upcoming weeks. I’ll now review this quarter’s results. Total revenues decreased approximately 2.5% for the quarter to $34.3 million and decreased approximately 0.1% to $138.1 million for the year, compared to fiscal 2022. Total restaurant sales for Bad Daddy’s restaurants decreased $1.4 million to $24.6 million for the fourth quarter, compared to the prior fourth quarter and decreased $1.0 million to $102.2 million for the year, compared to the 2022 fiscal year. The sales decline was a combination of reduced sales associated with the closure of the Cherry Creek restaurant earlier in the year, the temporary closure of approximately three weeks during the third quarter for the remodel of the formerly franchised Greenville South Carolina restaurant and the decline in same-store sales of 4.9% during the quarter, with 39 Bad Daddy’s restaurants in the comp base at the end of the quarter. Menu prices during the quarter were approximately 4.4% higher than the prior year. We expect same-store sales to be mid-single-digit negative for the first quarter of fiscal 2024. Cost of sales at Bad Daddy’s were 31.8% for the quarter, a 100 basis point decrease from last year’s quarter with benefits from costs versus 2022 across our basket. Though there’s somewhat — some upward pressure on beef, we believe there is otherwise some general stability in our commodity basket and expect similar results in Q1. Experts continue to predict that beef prices will likely rise over the next 12 to 18 months from their current level, which is already slightly elevated from a long-term historical perspective. Bad Daddy’s labor costs increased by 310 basis points, compared to the prior year quarter to 36.3% for the quarter. This increase as a percentage of sales reflects higher wage rates, higher levels of staffing, compared to 2022, the deleveraging impact of lower sales on management costs, and additionally reflects post-opening labor inefficiencies and extended training team presence in our new restaurant in Madison, Alabama. Occupancy costs at Bad Daddy’s decreased 20 basis points to 6.2%. Other operating costs at Bad Daddy’s increased by 50 basis points, compared to the prior year quarter to 15.2% for the quarter, primarily the result of the deleveraging impact of lower sales on certain fixed costs. Overall restaurant-level operating profit, a non-GAAP measure for Bad Daddy’s, was approximately $2.6 million for the quarter, or 10.6% as a percent of sales, compared to $3.4 million or 12.9% last year. Total restaurant sales for company-owned good times restaurants increased by approximately $0.6 million to $9.5 million for the fourth quarter, compared to the same prior year fourth quarter and increased $1.0 million to $35.0 million for the year, compared to the 2022 fiscal year. The average menu price increase for the quarter was approximately 6.8% over the same prior year quarter. Same store sales increased 2.4% for the quarter. Sales growth accelerated early into the new quarter, but as mentioned earlier has softened on unfavorable weather comparisons. Food and packaging costs for Good Times were 30.5% for the quarter, a decrease of 180 basis points, compared to last year’s quarter. As was the case with Bad Daddy’s, the longer-term forecast indicates resumed pressure on beef prices from current levels. Total labor costs for Good Times increased to 33.1%, a 120 basis point increase from the 31.9% we ran during last year’s quarter, due primarily to higher wage rates driven by overall labor market pressure in Colorado and the 8% increase in the statutory minimum wage in Denver. Occupancy costs at good times were 8.2%, an increase of 40 basis points from the prior year quarter, primarily driven by higher real estate taxes. Good Times other operating costs were 12.0% for the quarter, a decrease of 70 basis points. Restaurant level operating profit for Good Times increased by $0.1 million for the quarter to $1.5 million. As a percent of sales, restaurant level operating profit increased by 90 basis points versus last year to 16.2%, due primarily to higher sales and the improvement in food and packaging costs. Combined general and administrative expenses were $2.0 million during the quarter or 6.1% as a percent of total revenues. The decline in G&A costs is primarily attributable to the reduction in legal and professional fees incurred in the prior year associated with litigation defense. We continue to expect for general and administrative costs to run at approximately 7% to 7.5% of sales on a full-year basis, with some of the additional support personnel detailed earlier in this call. We recorded impairment charges of approximately $0.5 million, primarily related to the Greenville, North Carolina restaurant, which has long been marginally profitable, but has seen some trade area deterioration over the past six months. Our net loss to common shareholders for the quarter was $0.3 million, or a loss of $0.02 per share versus net loss of $1.3 million, or $0.10 per share in the fourth quarter last year. Approximately $0.3 million of income tax benefit was recognized during the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $1.1 million, compared to $0.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2022. We finished the quarter with $4.2 million in cash and approximately $0.8 million of long-term debt. With that, Krista, we will open the call for questions. Q&A Session Follow Good Times Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ:GTIM) Follow Good Times Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ:GTIM) We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: [Operator Instructions] We have a question. Your first question comes from Brian London, an Individual Investor. Please go ahead. Brian London: Hi, Ryan. Just a quick question. On the Good Times brand, you guys invested money and it seems like you’re reaping some of the benefits of improving the stores. Do you think there’s any opportunity for growing the Good Times restaurant or looking, you know, forward over the next two or three years? Ryan Zink: I think the challenges associated with that in the immediate future are we have a large presence here in the Colorado market and real estate prices combined with wages decrease the attractiveness of doing so, and I think it’s a bit of a big bet to jump to another market. With that, I would say we continue to believe in the Good Times brand and I would say that if we continue to see strong sales that accompany the investments that we’ve made and the continued investments that we will make in some of the light refreshes, the remodels that I described earlier in the call, the possibility exists for future development of that brand. Brian London: Okay, thanks. The Bad Daddy results, I mean, I’m — you know, I know this is anecdotal, but following a lot of restaurants, feeling like there’s recessionary pressures, kind of, on that type of restaurant. I don’t know if you have any feel for that or feedback, but that kind of led me a little bit into the Good Times question. I’m wondering if there are pressures, like recessionary-type pressures on the Bad Daddy’s brand over the next few years, I was wondering like if you might look towards, you know, Good Times expansion, but yes, I know I totally understand your comments in regard to real estate prices and appreciate your answer. Ryan Zink: Yes, and I’ll offer some color on that. I mean, you know, we have to be cognizant of the reality in the environment that we operate in. And, you know, I don’t want to make excuses for our team and I don’t want our team to make excuses for the restaurant’s performance. I do believe that if you look at other burger-centric casual dining brands, there are pressures there. And so I think our performance, while disappointing, is not entirely surprising, compared — considering some of the results that have been reported by similar concepts. That said, I think our Bad Daddy’s concept has a greater degree of relevance. And I think if we execute the operations, strategies, and tactics that I’ve outlined on this call, that we’re going to be in a good position to compete against our casual dining peers now and in the future. That said, I think it’s beneficial to have a portfolio that includes concepts both in the full service and in the QSR segment, because I think the QSR segment does tend to perform better when there are recessionary pressures. Brian London: Thank you. Yes, I appreciate the answer. Also, again, I appreciate, I think that your strong balance sheet will help you out, and happy holidays to you guys. Thanks. Ryan Zink: Happy holidays to you as well. Operator: Your next question comes from the line of [Sanjay Raigaga] (ph), who is also a Private Investor. Please go ahead. Unidentified Analyst: Hi Ryan. I just wanted to ask on the Bad Daddy’s of brand. So first of all, if you could just give a brief update on the Seaboard Station location, what’s going on there? And just in general, do you guys have like an expectation of when you, you know, when the Bad Daddy’s, same-store sales will start, you know, kind of, either being neutral or positive. Is this like the first quarter, second quarter? Do you guys have some sort of idea there? Ryan Zink: Yes, so to answer your first question on Seaboard Station, I was there about six to eight weeks ago and the — to be quite frank, the traffic and construction situation there is pretty painful. There are our main entrance has been blocked off, access to the site is extremely compromised. We believe there is a lot of multi-unit residential being constructed there. And the long-term outlook for that site is extremely strong once the construction is finished. However, it seems like it has been and continues to be a bit of a never-ending point of pain in terms of the construction that is occurring and the impact of that. I don’t believe that we’ve received from our landlord or other developers, who are participating in that construction a real clear timeline on when that’s going to end. And I would like that as much as you and our other investors would like that. With respect to same store sales turnaround, that’s an interesting question and one that I would love to be able to provide you a precise answer on. What I would say is that our comparable start to get easier in the third fiscal quarter, so the June quarter. I’m nor predicting that it will be turned around by then to the point whoever posting positive same-store sales. But internally we have the goals of we’ve set and I’m setting aggressive goals with my team and certainly, you know, I would love to be in a position where come June quarter that’s what I’m reporting. Unidentified Analyst: Okay, thanks. And just on going back to the balance sheet and the $4.2 million cash, I see from the 10-K, I believe you have a plan of opening one Bad Daddy’s location in fiscal ‘24. Any other plans for the liquidity? And could you just touch on what prompted borrowing from the credit facility if you have cash on hand? Thanks. Ryan Zink: So, in terms of investments and use of liquidity, we have share repurchase program. And as you’ve seen this past year, we’ve made investments, whether that’s through the acquisition of minority interests or non-controlling interests, I should say, whether it’s through the acquisition of franchisees. You know, we don’t have any of those in the works, but we obviously still have some of those out there and would be opportunistic if situations would arise where we could do something similar, either this year or in fiscal 2025. I think with respect to new units, we are building a pipeline. I think we would like to be able to get one done this year. And we’re going to try to. I think some of those may bleed in. That may bleed into fiscal 2025. And we’re trying to get multiple units opened between now and fiscal ‘25. With respect to borrowing, you know, I would say really there’s some cash management and treasury strategies that are involved in that. And it is not, I think there’s also a certain amount of cash on hand that’s required to run the business. And so just from an overall, from an overall treasury standpoint, we believe there was a wise decision to borrow that money. Unidentified Analyst: All right and got it. All right, thanks Ryan, happy holidays, appreciate it. Ryan Zink: Thanks, same to you. Operator: We have no further questions in this time. Ryan, I’ll turn the call back over to you for closing remarks. Ryan Zink: I’m grateful to lead a talented team of people, who have the same commitment to our brands and passion for industry and for our guests as I do. I thank them for their continued hard work and meaningful contribution to our brands. I’m encouraged by the continued strength that Good Times has manifested over my tenure with the company. With sales growth in five of the six years I’ve been part of this organization. I know as does our leadership team and our operations leaders and Bad Daddy’s, the sales and profitability improvements are needed at that brand and that the best marketing is strong operations, which we are laser focused on. Thank you all for joining our call today. Operator: This concludes today’s conference call. Thank you for your participation and you may now disconnect. Follow Good Times Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ:GTIM) Follow Good Times Restaurants Inc. (NASDAQ:GTIM) We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyDec 19th, 2023

Mama’s Creations, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAMA) Q3 2024 Earnings Call Transcript

Mama’s Creations, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAMA) Q3 2024 Earnings Call Transcript December 12, 2023 Mama’s Creations, Inc. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.05, expectations were $0.04. Operator: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to Mama’s Creations Third Quarter Fiscal 2024 Earnings Conference Call. During today’s presentation all parties will be in […] Mama’s Creations, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAMA) Q3 2024 Earnings Call Transcript December 12, 2023 Mama’s Creations, Inc. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.05, expectations were $0.04. Operator: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to Mama’s Creations Third Quarter Fiscal 2024 Earnings Conference Call. During today’s presentation all parties will be in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation the conference will be open for questions. This conference is being recorded today December 12, 2023, and the earnings press release accompanying this conference call was issued after the market close today. On our call today is Mama’s Creations’ Chairman and CEO, Adam L. Michaels; and CFO, Anthony Gruber. Before we get started, I’d read a disclaimer about forward-looking statements. This conference call may contain, in addition to historical information, forward-looking statements within the meanings of the federal securities laws regarding Mama’s Creations. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements that express the Company’s intentions, beliefs, expectations, strategies, predictions, or any other statements relating to its future earnings, activities, events or conditions. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about the Company’s business base in part on assumptions made by Management. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual outcomes and results may and are likely to differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements due to numerous factors discussed from time-to-time in this report and in other documents, which the Company files with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A busy restaurant kitchen with a chef and staff rhythmically preparing food for delivery orders. In addition, such statements could be affected by risks and uncertainties related to factors beyond the Company’s control. Matters that may cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, among other factors, the loss of key management personnel, availability of capital and any major litigation regarding the Company. In addition, throughout today’s call, the Company may refer to adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, which it believes better reflects the performance of the business on an ongoing basis. A reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to its most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is included in today’s earnings release, which is available on the Mama’s Creations website under the Investors tab. And finally, this conference call contains time-sensitive information that reflects management’s best analysis only as of the date and time of this conference call. The Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events, information or circumstances that arise after the date of this conference call. At this time, I’d like to turn the floor over to Chairman and CEO, Adam L. Michaels. Adam, the floor is yours. Adam L. Michaels: Thank you, operator, and thank you to everyone for joining us today. I’d like to welcome you to our third quarter fiscal ‘24 financial results conference call. I’m very excited to be speaking with you all today, coming out of what was another strong quarter of consistently improving top and bottom line growth, representing even more evidence of what we believe is Mama’s true potential over the long term. We continued our reliable cadence of operational execution in the third quarter with strong double digit revenue growth and the year-over-year expansion of our gross margin profile by 460 basis points to 30.1%, validating our strategy and internal focus on our 3 Cs: Cost, Controls, and Culture. Both revenue and net income were up over 15% consecutively from the second quarter of fiscal ‘24, and we are now beginning to see the cumulative results from our efforts over the last year, ranging from our acquisition of CIF to formalizing and improving countless processes throughout the Company. Taken together, I believe we remain on track to continue our cadence of planned, persistent, and profitable growth in the years to come. Our team has worked together to drive a significant turnaround in the business in the last year, changing everything, but no, including the name. We made countless small changes at every level of the Company, from operations, to logistics, to administration, implementing operational KPIs under the mantra of ‘what gets measured gets improved’. The results can be clearly seen in our gross margin profile, which improved from 11.9% in Q2 fiscal ‘23 to 30.1% today, as well as in our bottom line with our net income transforming from negative $700,000 in Q2 fiscal ‘23 to over $2 million today. Looking ahead into the next fiscal year, we see even more opportunities to further margin enhancement, particularly by leveraging strategic CapEx investments to build new in-house capabilities earlier in the value chain, improving automation at our production facilities and further building the capacity to support potential new Tier 1 national customers. Taken together these initiatives will position us to invest surplus gross margin to into higher and more profitable trade promotion, which will serve as the rocket fuel for the next leg in our revenue growth trajectory. Early tests in trade promotion have driven promising results, and we look forward to right sizing our trade promotion investments in the quarters to come. At its core, our strategy and growth are being fueled by macro trends that continue to point in our favor. We are well positioned to capture share driven by the rapid shift in consumer preference towards deli prepared foods, which as a sector continued to grow in both price and volume. With the effects of the pandemic normalizing, food retailers are now investing heavily to increase space for the fresh-prepared, grab-and-go options, to differentiate themselves and appeal to the next generation of shoppers, capturing share from restaurants with healthy, high quality meals and creative new flavors at a favorable price point relative to takeout. Research from the Food Marketing Institute, FMI reports Gen Zers and millennials consume grocery deli prepared foods more often, and both report they expect to increase food service purchases in the future. More than half of shoppers recently surveyed say grocery deli prepared foods represent a good value compared to eating out at a quick service or fast casual restaurant or ordering takeout. Grocers have noticed this undeniable macro trend with 64% of grocery executives polled by Deloitte, saying that the fresh department is the most strategically important area for their sales growth during the next 12 to 36 months, with FMI reporting that three quarters of food retailers are planning to increase the space they allocate to food service. In-home dining has become a source of respite for our consumers seeking to avoid the ever present impacts of inflation, with trailing 12 months in-home food inflation running at 2.1% as compared to more than double that at 5.4% for out-of-home occasions, all on top of what has already been aggressive inflation since COVID began. We firmly believe prepared foods will continue to grow and take market share from the frozen, center aisle, and especially out-of-home occasions, creating a generational opportunity for deli prepared foods providers such as Mama’s Creations. As I’ve said before, realizing our goal of shaping Mama’s Creations into a one-stop shop for deli prepared foods has required a step change in our corporate structure in many ways. Throughout the third quarter, we remained laser-focused on the continuous foundational improvement of our 3 C strategy: Cost, Controls and Culture. Starting with cost. As is plainly visible in our margin profile, our new approach to cost management has driven noticeable savings across the organization, which has enabled our gross margin to grow from 12% when I started to this 30% range as you saw today. Our new ability to load share and produce leading products across our two facilities rather than having them each single sourced has established the framework to enable a much greater level of flexibility and agility that will ultimately provide us with both redundancy in production and lower costs. In addition, our significant investments in automation will position us to grow production capacity to support anticipated future Tier 1 customer wins, as well as to notably enhance margins which ultimately positions us to reinvest those gains in trade promotion, the rocket fuel for our growth. We are already harvesting the fruits or shall I say, proteins of our labor. For example, our gross margin saw an over 300 basis-point improvement year-over-year through significant procurement efficiencies, a further nearly 200 basis points through labor efficiencies as load sharing between facilities helped to drive reduced overtime. While most other companies would be ecstatic for such results, our team only sees it as justification to double down on our 3 C strategy to capture more savings for us to reinvest. On the controls front, I’m proud to say that we delivered on time, in full with the transitioning of our T&L Creative Salads division over to our NetSuite ERP system. This means that our full company is now on the NetSuite platform, providing us with a vastly improved degree of actionable insights into the details of our operations. While not as sexy, we also implemented our new SEC reporting systems, Workiva, which automates processing, allows us to close our books faster and frees up our finance team to focus on more value-added activities. Having our financial, operational and sales analytics at the touch of a button is truly transformational, something we saw after integrating NetSuite at MamaMancini’s and Olive Branch. As I’ve said before, what gets measured gets improved. We have proven it together over the past several quarters and these analytical capabilities that we are investing in in-house will continue to pay dividends for years to come. Another form of proof of our strategy comes from the response of our customers to our products. We recently heard from our QVC customers who once again voted MamaMancini’s products as number one in the “I Could Eat This Everyday, “Best Sauce” and “Best Smart Swap” categories during the recent 2023 QVC Customer Choice Food Awards. It is truly an honor to receive this level of recognition for the fifth year in a row, beating out countless superb food products offered on QVC, a testament to the joy of our products continue to bring to our QVC loyal consumers. QVC continues to be a tremendous, profitable and incremental channel for us, which also serves as an efficient R&D and innovation real-time testing platform. Finally and most importantly, I am proudest of the cultural evolution my teammates and I are creating. This quarter, we launched our first-ever employee engagement survey with an impressive 80% participation rate. I have seen early results with our amazing VP of HR, Abbey Meeks, and she is already sharing with our leadership team the three specific actions we are going to commit to for our people. Abbey also helped us implement our first-ever performance management system. I was lucky enough to have a mentor early in my career, Jon Katzenbach, and he taught me that you can’t change your culture, you change behaviors and behavioral change leads to cultural change. I am living that with my 250 colleagues every day at Mama’s, and I couldn’t be more excited for the renewed culture we are building together. We continue to invest in our people to further grow capabilities. And while not every hire gets a press release, we had several exciting appointments recently. Concurrent with the retirement of COO, Matt Brown, at the end of fiscal third quarter, we announced the planned evolution of our leadership team with two new Vice President of Operation appointments. Eric Felice was promoted to the role of Vice President of Operations, East Rutherford. Eric maintains over 25 years of operational experience, including over 10 years managing operations at our facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey. In addition, Ray Geer was promoted to the role of Vice President of Operations, Farmingdale. Ray draws on over 30 years of operations experience, including nearly 10 years managing operations at our facility in Farmingdale, New York. I am fully confident that these tested leaders now managing operations, further supported by the superbly talented T&L Creative Salads Founder, Anthony Morello, and our tenured Chief Administrative Officer, Steve Burns, that we are well positioned to continue to realize exciting new operational synergies between our new facilities. I want to share congratulations to Eric and Ray, and thank Anthony and Steve for their continued leadership. With the successful evolution of our finance and operations organization, I committed to my fellow shareholders that building our sales and marketing organization would be our next area of focus. I am proud to report that we again are successfully building differentiated capabilities ahead of schedule. We have nearly completed the build-out of our sales organization, growing from a single dedicated sales employee to five today, further supported by our Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Trade Strategy and Execution. Together, their goal is to continue to drive up our average items carried, accelerate our existing velocities and open new doors, building broad-based distribution. With our new team and capabilities, we increased the likelihood of opening up entirely new channels, whether that is the convenience channel, e-commerce channel, our major mass retailers such as Walmart or Target, opening these will be impactful to our growth trajectory, hence, our strategic CapEx investments to prepare for whatever the future may hold. In summary, I firmly believe that we are well positioned to leverage the build-out of our supercharged sales team and a compelling product portfolio to take market share, continue to grow our SKUs per customer and ultimately become the premier one-stop shop deli solution provider in the United States. As we continue to improve our internal processes firm-wide to become brilliant at the basics we are building a more resilient and flexible organization that I believe can deliver sustainable value to our fellow shareholders for years to come. With that, I’d like to turn the call over to Anthony Gruber, our Chief Financial Officer, to walk through some key financial details for the third quarter of fiscal ‘24. Anthony? Anthony Gruber: Thank you, Adam. Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2024 increased 11.5%, $28.7 million as compared to $25.7 million in the same year-ago quarter. The increase was largely attributable to volume gains driven by same-customer cross-selling, the acquisition of new customers and successful pricing actions. Gross profit increased 31.6% to $8.6 million, or 30.1% of total revenues, in the third quarter of fiscal 2024, as compared to $6.6 million, or 25.5% of total revenues, in the same year-ago quarter. The increase in gross margin was primarily attributable to successful pricing actions, the normalization of commodity costs and improvements in procurement, manufacturing and logistics efficiencies. Operating expenses totaled $5.9 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2024, as compared to $5.1 million in the same year-ago quarter. As a percentage of sales, operating expenses increased in the third quarter of fiscal 2024 to 20.7% from 19.7%. Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, increased due to the addition of several new key hires, who brought new and differentiated capabilities to the organization. This figure includes a tripling of our marketing expenditures this quarter as we achieved many firsts for the Company and build out a best-in-class marketing program. Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2024 increased 83% to $2 million or $0.05 per diluted share, as compared to a net income of $1.1 million or $0.03 per diluted share in the same year ago quarter. This quarter’s net income totaled 7% of revenue, in line with management expectations in the mid-single-digit range. Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP term, increased 67.6% to $3.5 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2024, as compared to an adjusted EBITDA of $2.1 million in the same year-ago quarter. Cash and cash equivalents as of October 31, 2023, were $5.6 million as compared to $4.4 million as of January 31, 2023. The increase in cash and cash equivalents was driven by $1.5 million in cash flow from operations in the third quarter of fiscal 2024, $1 million of which was used to pay down the Company’s debt. As of October 31, 2023, total debt stood just under $10 million. Looking ahead, we believe that our normalized gross margin profile will continue to hover in the high-20% range. Our long-term goal, leveraging strategic CapEx investments, procurement efficiencies and continuous operational efficiencies would be targeting margins consistently maintained in the low-30% range, while rightsizing our trade promotion investments. One fact that I’d like to call out that we are quite proud of, is that top of the — on top of the 460 basis-point improvement in gross margins, we still were able to double our trade investment in the quarter. Turning to net income. While we continue to target mid-single-digit net income margins, our long-term goal would be to improve to approximately 10%, with adjusted EBITDA margins in the teens percentage range. This completes my prepared comments. Now, before we begin for our question-and-answer session, I’d like to turn the call back to Adam for some closing remarks. Adam? Adam L. Michaels: Thank you, Anthony. Our ambition is to fortify and expand upon the robust groundwork and strategy presented here today, positioning us to continue to drive profitable growth and margin expansion. We will seek to reinvest our surplus gross margins as rocket fuel for our trade promotion budget, which we expect will ultimately snowball into increasingly robust revenue growth. Looking ahead, our near-term sales goals will be achieved by launching highly incremental products to further increase the SKUs per customer, introducing our products to new Tier 1 customers via our supercharged sales team, putting in place high ROI trade promotion programs to accelerate existing product velocities and further enhancing our margin through continuous operational improvements at every level of the organization. We believe that this approach will not only position Mama’s Creations as a one-stop shop deli solution provider but drive sustainable shareholder value creation over the long term. With that, I’ll turn it over to the operator to begin our question-and-answer session. Operator? See also 30 Most Peaceful Countries in the World Heading into 2024 and 20 Best Vodkas for a Moscow Mule. Q&A Session Follow Mama's Creations Inc. (NASDAQ:MAMA) Follow Mama's Creations Inc. (NASDAQ:MAMA) We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Ryan Meyers with Lake Street Capital. Please proceed with your question. Ryan Meyers: Hey guys. Thanks for taking my questions. Congrats on another solid quarter. Obviously, it looks like we saw sequential revenue growth once again, along with sequential EBITDA growth. Just wondering if you can comment on how we should be thinking about Q4 and what sort of seasonality we should be expecting? Adam L. Michaels: Yes. Thanks, Ryan. Great team effort. Yes, I think like we spoke about last year and before Q4 is usually our softest quarter. So I think not many people are shopping on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, and hopefully, people get to take some vacation. So, we do know, like you saw last year, it tends to be a little softer. I think we’re still shooting for — we said we’re going to continue to grow faster than the market and continue to gain share. We’re seeing that in the high single digits now between all of that, and we think we could continue to beat that. Ryan Meyers: Got it. That’s helpful. And then just wondering if you can comment a little bit more on the new sales hire, what kind of productivity have you seen out of them, and then maybe if you can quantify how much new business they generated during the quarter? And then, if you have any sort of comments on how much business you think they can generate next year, whether it’s in terms of new customers or just overall revenue growth, it would be helpful to understand. Adam L. Michaels: No, it’s actually incredible, Ryan. I wish everybody on this call could have joined me. So last week, we had our sales meeting. Our entire sales team and the extended team got together to plan out next year and talk about customers. It was — yes, you’re going to ask the questions about the numbers, and I’m totally great with that, and I’ll answer that, but it’s the culture, the energy that we’ve never had before. Literally, when I started, we had one salesperson. So, that was great and to see that excitement. From what’s going to happen, everything is going to happen. So brought in this great guy, Art, who has lived his whole life in the C store. We have a whopping total of $0 in the C store, we’re going to open that up next year, Andrew, with e-commerce, the work that Lauren Sella is overseeing in all of our marketing efforts. These are real capabilities that we’ve never had before as a company, and I expect to see significant growth next year. Again, I continue to believe we’re going to [Technical Difficulty] is and continue to grow share. These folks are going to help us do that more confidently and at a higher rate than we would have without them. So new customers, new channels are going to be incredible. And again, Nick, who is leading all of our trade programming, we didn’t have those capabilities before. The level of analysis we’re doing now on ROIs on every single program we’re doing is unheard of in this company [Technical Difficulty]. So we know exactly what we’re doing. We know what to do more of, and equally because you’re not going to get it all right. If you get it all right, you’re not trying hard enough. We know which ones aren’t going to work and why we’re not going to double down on them next year. So, it’s been perfect. It has actually exceeded my expectations, this whole sales team coming together, and I love it. Ryan Meyers: That’s great to hear. And then last question for me. I know average SKU per customer was 7 last quarter. Did that trend higher during the quarter? And what is that currently standing at? Adam L. Michaels: Yes, it’s good. So a year ago this time, it was at 6. We actually got it up to — it’s a little over 7 now. So what’s happening is we’re seeing new customers come in. You know when new customers come in — remember, this is a weighted average. So when a new customer comes in and like we said, they usually come in with just a couple of SKUs, ironically, that suppresses the average items carried. And even we overcame that and still got over 7 for that. The other thing is some of the customers that did really well this quarter tended to have fewer items because they had much more volume to it. But we continue to make progress. We did better than we did before, and I expect to do even more with our new sales team. Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Eric Des Lauriers with Craig Hallum. Please proceed with your question. Eric Des Lauriers: Great. Thank you for taking my questions. And congrats on another really impressive quarter here. My first question is a bit of a follow-up to the last question. So, we’ve seen year-over-year revenue growth accelerate from 5.9% in Q1 to now 11.5% in Q3. I was wondering if you could just help us understand the drivers of that acceleration. Obviously, there’s a number of things going on here. Presumably, increasing SKUs per store is having the biggest impact there. But if you could just kind of help flesh that out a bit? Are there any sort of velocity changes or new geographies to call out in addition to the increasing SKUs per store? Thanks. Adam L. Michaels: Yes, absolutely. So, a couple of things. So first, what’s great is both of our major businesses, right, the legacy Mancini business and the new Creative Salads business, both of them grew double digits, which was great. So this is a — we’re all rowing the boat together. That was great to see. Actually, a super majority of the growth was volume-driven, which is awesome. So I was really happy to see that. So this is actual real sales. This is not a pricing thing, even though we were able to improve our gross margins in price. So we saw that as well. We did get to see great new customers that brought in, one that I’m really excited about, that I’m sure you guys know Albertsons. We just opened up a whole new division in North Cal, which is one of their biggest divisions with some of our chicken products......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyDec 14th, 2023

I tried the $65 Doritos-flavored booze and could taste nacho cheese dust in every sip. Here"s what it says about the future of liquor.

A writer who tried Doritos-flavored liquor in a margarita says the drink's bold, nacho cheese taste is meant to appeal to adventurous Gen Z drinkers. Doritos is now producing a nacho cheese-flavored liquor, and freelance writer John Kell got to try it. John KellA new Doritos-flavored liquor has launched and will soon sell for $65 a bottle online.The liquor, designed for Gen Z, evokes nacho cheese, corn tostada, umami, and a hint of acidity. Writer John Kell tried it and says he probably won't drink it again or recommend it to others. I've reported on alcohol trends for more than a decade and have sampled hundreds of alcoholic beverages. But when I opened the latest bottle of liquor to arrive on my doorstep, I was hit with a smell I'd never experienced before. Nacho cheese.Doritos is now producing a nacho cheese-flavored liquor, made in partnership with a Danish-based distiller called Empirical. The flavors are meant to evoke nacho cheese, of course, as well as corn tostada, umami, and a hint of acidity. You can mix the limited edition liquor with a margarita, bloody mary, or old-fashioned. It'll sell for $65 and will be available next month online and in some New York and California stores.Doritos dust — in a drinkWhen I first tried it, I took a sip from a glass without any mixers or ice. It almost tasted like flavored vodka, but as the liquid flowed down my mouth, I did get the sensation of nacho chip powder floating around my mouth.That's by design, Empirical distiller and CEO Lars Williams told me. "You feel like you can smell the actual dust and your fingers almost feel like they're going to get a little sticky every time you're tasting it," he said."Wow, no," a friend proclaimed when I gave her a sample to try. She and I are both older millennials — not exactly the ideal demographic for this new liquor. That'd be Gen Z."This younger generation is a little bit more adventurous and willing to try different things," Williams said.Doritos liquor tasted like a drink I would've made in collegeI made my friend and I margaritas using the Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese liquor, along with some fresh lime juice, agave syrup, and Del Maguey mezcal — which proved to be a mistake on my part, as Empirical reps told me that I should mix the spirit with blanco tequila, which is more neutral in flavor. We also tried it with a mix of Pepsi and a small splash of lime, another concoction that Williams recommended, but could barely stomach it. I'd say it tasted like a mixed drink I would've had in college.Williams — a former chef at Noma, a Copenhagen restaurant that frequently tops lists of the world's best restaurants — co-founded Empirical in 2017 to create sensory memories from less elitist flavors than expensive fine dining. The drinks he makes, including the Doritos Nacho Cheese liquor, can't legally be called a vodka or a gin because they don't follow the specific standards of those beverage categories. Empirical's Doritos-flavored liquor costs $65 per bottle and will be available online. John KellYears ago, a colleague of Williams had come into the distillery from lunch with a bag of Doritos. Inspired, Williams blended the Doritos as a distiller would use botanicals to make a gin, and thought the taste perfectly encapsulated the experience of eating a Dorito. Empirical had offered samples to friends and guests that came to visit the distillery. The company later connected with Pepsi, the maker of Doritos. Bold flavors are becoming more popularLiquor flavors of late have included glazed donuts, bacon, tobacco, and cookie dough. Doritos makes everything from spicy pineapple jalapeño to ketchup-and-mustard flavored chips. In the past few years, Pepsi has experimented in the alcohol beverage space with a vodka made partly from Frito-Lay's potatoes and an alcoholic Mountain Dew made with the brewer of Sam Adams. "There's really no limit on flavor and the flavors that you can put on spirits and chips," Courtney Larson, senior director of marketing for Doritos, said. "It's just pushing those boundaries to figure out what's too far."I asked if that meant there'd be a Doritos Cool Ranch liquor in the future and was told there are no plans for it.I may never drink my Doritos againAfter sampling the Doritos Nacho Cheese liquor, I don't think I'll have it again, and I don't think I'd recommend it to others. The biggest barrier is the cost: $65, a tough price to stomach with so many exceptional liquors sold at that price point. Later, though, as I started eating a bag of Doritos chips, I couldn't help but dive in for seconds and thirds. They're delicious.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 12th, 2023

Restaurant Roundup: Andiron steakhouse gets new chef; MKT Distillery closing

In this week's Restaurant Roundup, recently opened steakhouse Andiron has a new chef, MKT Distillery in Katy is closing after five years in business, and Miami-based Pincho Burger + Kebabs continues its Houston expansion......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 2nd, 2023

This Is the Best Seafood Restaurant in Every State

Delicious seafood dishes like oyster shooters, lobster rolls, and clam bakes can transport you to a coastal vacation, no matter where you live. The good news is that you don’t have to travel to the ocean to find fresh, tasty seafood options – most places have appealing local seafood restaurants or markets worth trying. (Prefer […] The post This Is the Best Seafood Restaurant in Every State appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. Delicious seafood dishes like oyster shooters, lobster rolls, and clam bakes can transport you to a coastal vacation, no matter where you live. The good news is that you don’t have to travel to the ocean to find fresh, tasty seafood options – most places have appealing local seafood restaurants or markets worth trying. (Prefer cooking at home? Here are 30 easy ideas for shrimp.) To determine the best seafood restaurant in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted lists, ratings, and reviews from various food-centered websites including Guide Michelin, as well as numerous local and regional sites. Sushi bars and informal seafood shacks will be the subject of future stories, so were omitted from the final results, though some of the restaurants listed may include sushi on their menu. (This is the best sushi place in every state.) The best seafood restaurants range from casual eateries to dress-code establishments. A number of them have perfected their fry game and offer the best fish and chips or popcorn shrimp around. Some are new American restaurants that combine world flavors with fresh, sustainably sourced fish, while others might bring Chinese, Mexican, or Portuguese flavors to the table. Alabama: Doc’s Seafood > Location: Orange Beach Nestled on the sound side of Orange Beach on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, this friendly, no-frills seafood shack and oyster bar serves up heaping platters of fish, shrimp, and crabs (fried, grilled, or baked) along with Southern-style sides including hush puppies and green beans. Customers rave about the fried shrimp, the fried crab claws – a Gulf Coast tradition – and the seafood gumbo. Alaska: Bridge Seafood Restaurant > Location: Anchorage Housed in a covered-bridge-like building over Ship Creek, this restaurant serves only fresh Alaskan seafood, including tanner crabs, halibut, Alaskan oysters, tiger prawns, salmon, and of course king crab legs. Watch salmon swim up river while enjoying the all-you-can-eat salad bar and generous entrees. ALSO READ: The Best Seafood Restaurants in America, According to Yelp Arizona: The Salt Cellar Restaurant > Location: Scottsdale This subterranean Scottsdale outpost flies in fresh seafood and has an extensive New-England style menu complete with a happy hour (4 to 7 p.m.) and a reverse happy hour (10 p.m. to closing). Customers love the halibut ceviche, shrimp toast, and escargots to start, as well as the halibut cheeks, Baja shrimp, and baked stuffed lobster entrees. Arkansas: Eat My Catfish > Locations: Little Rock, North Little Rock, and five other Arkansas locations What started as a roadside seafood trailer has become a local chain in central and northwestern Arkansas, serving fresh fried catfish, boiled crawfish, shrimp (blackened, boiled, or fried), and po’boys, with sides like fried okra and hush puppies. Parties and families can take advantage of the boiling bucket deals, complete with crawfish, shrimp, crab legs, potatoes, and corn on the cob. California: Providence > Location: Los Angeles This upscale, chef-owned Hollywood establishment with two Michelin stars serves sustainably wild-caught seafood that comes mostly from American waters. The chef’s tasting menu includes six courses plus dessert and features delicately plated dishes such as uni egg with warm yolk and champagne beurre blanc and Norwegian king crab with sweet pea, sea urchin, and aged ham broth. Visit with a heavy wallet, and you will not be disappointed. Colorado: Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar > Location: Denver This upscale Colorado-based chain serves sustainable seafood in six locations including LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver). Their raw bar features a proprietary oyster – the buttery and low-salinity Emersum – bred in partnership with Virginia’s Rappahannock Oyster Co.. Customers comment on the strong drinks and superior service, and love the tuna poke, crawfish gumbo, seared scallops, and of course the oysters. Connecticut: The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood > Location: Rowayton (Norwalk) This harborside seafood market and restaurant, open year-round, has limited boat slip parking for nautical guests. The bustling atmosphere is welcoming to tourists and locals alike, and the large menu has something for everyone including huge raw bar platters, salmon and tuna tartare, chowders and bisques, steamers, crab cakes, popcorn shrimp, smoked fish dips, steamed lobsters, and other decadent entrees. ALSO READ: The Worst Seafood to Eat Delaware: Feby’s Fishery > Location: Wilmington With an attached seafood market and popular all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab nights, this local favorite has a large daily selection of fish (served any way you like it), as well as fried and steamed platters, seafood pastas, lobster tails, lump meat crab cakes, and raw bar appetizers. Customers love the crab imperial and the turtle soup. Hawaii: Mama’s Fish House > Location: Paia (Maui) This family-owned restaurant is so popular it is often booked as much as six months in advance. The rotating menu features locally caught fish bought directly from fishermen (whose names are proudly printed on the menu) and prepared with Polynesian flare. Starters include oysters with mango-lilikoi mignonette and macadamia nut crab cakes, while entrees include uku (blue-green snapper) baked with coconut, sweet potato, and charred pineapple. Idaho: Fresh Off the Hook > Location: Boise A local favorite, this bustling eatery is known for its large portions and great prices. The menu boasts tons of classics like halibut fish and chips, shrimp scampi, and clam chowder, alongside house specialties like warm teriyaki shrimp salad, salmon BLTs, butter pecan trout, and crab muffins (English muffins topped with lobster and crab salad and baked until crispy). 24/7 Wall St. Best Hidden Gem Restaurant in Every State Illinois: Shaw’s Crab House > Locations: Chicago and Schaumburg Shaw’s Crab House works directly with farmers and fishermen to curate a menu that highlights fresh ingredients and lets their flavor shine. With a formal dining room and a 1940s-style diner section, guests can feast casually or fancifully on classics like oysters Rockefeller, Alaskan king crab, and parmesan-crusted haddock, or dine on a wide selection of maki rolls, sashimi, and poke bowls. Indiana: Paula’s on Main > Location: Fort Wayne A high-end establishment with a warm, rustic vibe and an attached seafood market, Paula’s on Main boasts a huge selection of fish entrees including a famous almond-crusted walleye with jalapeño tartar sauce and a blackened swordfish with horseradish, crispy shallots, and chive mashed potatoes. Customers rave about the crab cakes, Chilean sea bass, and Key lime pie. Iowa: Waterfront Seafood Market > Locations: West Des Moines and Ankeny With two locations in the Des Moines metro area, this fresh seafood market and restaurant sources its catch directly from fishermen and will serve any market filet in the restaurant, cooked however you like it. The large menu features sushi, raw bar appetizers, fried baskets, pastas, po’boys, and house favorites like halibut royale and Maryland-style crab cakes. Kansas: Mad Jack’s Fresh Fish > Location: Kansas City (KS) This down-home takeout counter and market specializes in fried fish by the pound while also selling fresh fish filets, shrimp, lobster, scallops, and even alligator meat. Fried catfish and basa are popular menu items, as are the frog legs and red snapper. All fish by the pound is served with hot sauce and bread, and add-ons include hushpuppies, fried okra, collard greens, and mac and cheese. Kentucky: River House Restaurant & Raw Bar > Location: Louisville A sprawling new American eatery with a riverside patio and great views, River House serves “regional cuisine with a Southern flair.” The excellent bourbon selection and complimentary cornbread set the mood, but the Monday night all-you-can-eat crab legs special steals the show. Try the blackened ahi tuna with tomato ginger chutney over a crispy parmesan grit cake, or the crispy grouper cheeks over crab and chive risotto with bok choy and smoked shrimp vinaigrette. ALSO READ: The 35 Best Restaurants in the South Louisiana: Pêche Seafood Grill > Location: New Orleans This James Beard award-winning restaurant in the Warehouse District specializes in open-fire cooking inspired by the cuisines of South America, Spain, and of course the Gulf Coast. Guests love the steak tartare with oyster aïoli from the raw bar and the baked drum with mushroom broth and calas (rice fritters). Groups can order a selection of small plates, like spicy ground shrimp with noodles and catfish with pickled greens and chili broth, then dig into a whole grilled fish. Maine: Eventide Oyster Co. > Location: Portland A true New England-style oyster bar, Eventide offers a rotating selection of local Maine oysters, crab claws and clams on ice with all the fixings, and such fare as lobster stew, clam chowder, New England clam bake, and a famous brown-butter lobster roll. Some Asian-fusion items including steamed bao buns and tuna tartare with nuoc cham round out the menu. Maryland: The Oceanaire Seafood Restaurant > Location: Baltimore This high-end chain serves ten U.S. locations including Baltimore’s Harbor East. A selection of East and West Coast oysters starts the menu, while the raw bar includes Maine lobster cocktail and sturgeon caviar. The crab cake appetizer is a customer favorite, and if the extensive chef specials and buttery seafood entrees don’t cut it, there’s also a steak menu. Massachusetts: Neptune Oyster > Location: Boston This intimate high-end oyster bar in Boston’s North End may draw long lines, but the wait is worth it. Start with a raw bar platter or perhaps a scallop crudo or johnnycake topped with honey butter, smoked bluefish, and sturgeon caviar. For an entree, choose between such offerings as spicy cioppino with shellfish saffron rice, whole mackerel with Basque pepper stew and fennel, or sea scallops with fava beans, pancetta, and kelp butter. Michigan: Joe Muer Seafood > Locations: Detroit and Bloomfield Hills A fine-dining dress-code establishment on the Detroit River, Joe Muer in Detroit boasts some of the best seafood in the Midwest. The menu features sparkling cocktails, happy hour specials, and sophisticated takes on classic flavors, with appetizers like deviled crab balls and lobster corn dogs, as well as enticing entrees like tiger shrimp with shaved garlic, roasted fennel, fingerling potatoes, duck confit, and sambal oelek butter. Don’t miss the coconut cake for dessert. A second location in Bloomfield Hills opened in 2017. 24/7 Wall St. 30 Easy Ideas for Shrimp Minnesota: Smack Shack > Location: Minneapolis, Bloomington, and Roseville A smack is a lobster boat, but this mini-chain of Minnesota seafood restaurants celebrates sustainable fish and shellfish of all kinds. Boiled dinners – with prawns, shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, or, yes, whole Maine lobster, served with potatoes, Polish sausage, and corn on the cob – are a specialty, but the menu also offers everything from red snapper ceviche to sesame ahi tuna to fish & chips.   Mississippi: Caet Seafood / Oysterette > Location: Ridgeland A vibrant restaurant with patio, dining room, and oyster bar seating, Caet offers a variety of tapas-style plates and raw-bar fare as well as a huge wine selection and a steak menu. Seafood entrees include the popular shrimp and grits with tasso, corn, and mushrooms and jumbo scallops with white truffle risotto, green tomato pico, and tomato parmesan broth. Missouri: 801 Fish > Location: Clayton This chic upscale St. Louis restaurant is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion (think wedding anniversary or promotion), with Russian osetra and American hackleback caviar on the raw bar menu and $50 entrees. Expect everything to be impeccably on point, from the cocktails to the perfectly seared tuna and scallops to the creamy and decadent lobster tail risotto. Montana: Feast Raw Bar & Bistro > Location: Bozeman Known for its intimate atmosphere, stellar service, and great wine list, this new American eatery in Bozeman utilizes mostly sustainably grown and caught seafood. Customers come for the oysters on the half shell and the daily ceviche special, and rave about the crab cakes, bison carpaccio, and halibut with jasmine sticky rice, mango salsa, and coconut sauce. Nebraska: Plank Seafood Provisions > Location: Omaha Plank – which also has an outpost in Austin – is a bustling oyster bar and restaurant with a popular happy hour, offering a huge selection of shareable starters, seafood entrees, and even family sized meals that can feed four. Guests can’t get enough of the oysters Rockefeller, crispy alligator, blackened catfish with dirty rice and creole beurre blanc, and walleye puttanesca. 24/7 Wall St. The Best Seafood Restaurants in America, According to Yelp Nevada: Lakeside > Location: Las Vegas With views of Wynn’s Lake of Dreams, this stylish Vegas restaurant offers sustainably wild-harvested fish and seafood from around the world, including Hawaiian mahi mahi, Ligurian octopus, and Mediterranean pink rock lobsters. Bring a date and enjoy a lake light show and other live entertainment alongside the best seafood in Vegas. New Hampshire: Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café > Location: Portsmouth With an atmosphere of casual sophistication and a menu featuring both locally caught and exotic seafood, Jumpin’ Jay’s is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. The house cocktails and superb wine list perfectly accent the diverse menu of raw bar fare, crispy appetizers, seafood pastas, and pan-seared daily catches. Customers love the scallops with lobster risotto and broccolini, haddock piccata, and New England clam chowder. New Jersey: Sol-Mar Restaurant > Location: Newark This Portuguese restaurant has a high end, formal dining room as well as a casual bar dining room. In addition to a wide selection of turf fare (veal, lamb, steaks, pork, and chicken), Sol-Mar specializes in seafood dishes like paella, clams in garlic sauce, octopus salad, and bacalhau à Brás (salt cod with matchstick potatoes, scrambled eggs, and black olives).   New Mexico: El Zarandeado > Location: Albuquerque An authentic Mexican seafood restaurant, El Zarandeado specializes in whole fried mojarra, molcajetes (dishes served in a volcanic stone mortar), ceviche and other cold seafood appetizers, shrimp combination plates, and caldo de siete mares (fish stew). Customers love the large portions, great prices, and the house salsa. New York: Le Bernardin > Location: New York City With more James Beard Awards than any other New York City restaurant as well as three Michelin stars, Le Bernardin has upheld a tradition of excellence for over 20 years. Combining French culinary techniques with global influences (think thin-sliced yellowfin tuna layered with foie gras or baked striped bass with baby leek mousseline), the kitchen offers multiple seafood-based tasting menus. 24/7 Wall St. The Worst Seafood to Eat North Carolina: Captain Tom’s Seafood Grill & Bar > Location: Kernersville Serving down-home cuisine including fried platters with hush puppies and cole slaw, Captain Tom’s is a classic seafood joint with a casual, neighborhood vibe. The flounder filets and popcorn shrimp are breaded to perfection, the portions are large, and the she crab soup is the best around. North Dakota: Beer & Fish Co. > Location: Fargo At a place called Beer and Fish Co., you’d better believe the beers are cold and the fish and chips are perfect every time (the chips are fresh cut and the fish options include walleye, halibut, and cod). The menu also features tacos, fish sandwiches, and fresh grilled steaks and seafood. Customers rave about the oysters, lobster rolls, and bang bang shrimp. Ohio: Frank’s Fish & Seafood Market > Location: Columbus This seafood market has a fry cook and both indoor and patio seating. Pick up some fresh, frozen, or smoked seafood to take home, and stay for a fried platter, po’boy, or gumbo. The lobster bisque, salmon salad, and clam chowder are always fresh, and the menu often includes gator sandwiches and frog legs. Oklahoma: Brent’s Cajun Seafood & Oyster Bar > Location: Edmond A New Orleans-themed restaurant with a patio and weekend brunch specials, Brent’s boasts a huge menu featuring all the Cajun staples including boudin, crawfish, shrimp etouffee, seafood jambalaya, gumbo, and po’boys. Guests love the fried alligator, Gulf shrimp, perfectly breaded catfish filets, and of course the red beans and rice......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstNov 24th, 2023

The Best Seafood Restaurant in Every State

Ice cold oyster shooters, lobster rolls, and clam bakes can make you feel like you’re on vacation no matter where you are. Luckily, you don’t need to go to the ocean to enjoy fresh seafood, as there’s bound to be an appealing local option. (Prefer cooking at home? Here are 30 easy ideas for shrimp.) […] The post The Best Seafood Restaurant in Every State appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. Ice cold oyster shooters, lobster rolls, and clam bakes can make you feel like you’re on vacation no matter where you are. Luckily, you don’t need to go to the ocean to enjoy fresh seafood, as there’s bound to be an appealing local option. (Prefer cooking at home? Here are 30 easy ideas for shrimp.) To determine the best seafood restaurant in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted lists, ratings, and reviews from websites including Guide Michelin, Eat This Not That, Food Network, Gayot, Eater, and Time Out, as well as numerous local and regional sites. Sushi bars and informal seafood shacks will be the subject of future stories, so were omitted from the final results, though some of the restaurants listed may include sushi on their menu.  The best seafood restaurants range from casual eateries to dress-code establishments. A number of them have perfected their fry game and offer the best fish and chips or popcorn shrimp around. Some are new American restaurants that combine world flavors with fresh, sustainably sourced fish, while others might bring Chinese, Mexican, or Portuguese flavors to the table. Many cultures eat some form of raw fish, be it poke, ceviche, crudo, or sashimi, and most of the restaurants listed serve raw fish or shellfish as a starter. Some oyster bars even offer oysters raised on site in their own shellfish ponds. It doesn’t get any fresher than that. Regional American seafood is heavily represented across the country, whether it be Cajun-style boiled crawfish, New England clam chowder, Gulf Coast crab claws, or Chesapeake Bay crab cakes. Fish tacos are now ubiquitous fare at American seafood restaurants, and po’boys are no longer solely reserved for New Orleans. (Here are the 35 best restaurants in the South.) Alabama: Doc’s Seafood > Location: Orange Beach Nestled on the sound side of Orange Beach on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, this friendly, no-frills seafood shack and oyster bar serves up heaping platters of fish, shrimp, and crabs (fried, grilled, or baked) along with Southern-style sides including hush puppies and green beans. Customers rave about the fried shrimp, the fried crab claws – a Gulf Coast tradition – and the seafood gumbo. Alaska: Bridge Seafood Restaurant > Location: Anchorage Housed in a covered-bridge-like building over Ship Creek, this restaurant serves only fresh Alaskan seafood, including tanner crabs, halibut, Alaskan oysters, tiger prawns, salmon, and of course king crab legs. Watch salmon swim up river while enjoying the all-you-can-eat salad bar and generous entrees. ALSO READ: The Best Seafood Restaurants in America, According to Yelp Arizona: The Salt Cellar Restaurant > Location: Scottsdale This subterranean Scottsdale outpost flies in fresh seafood and has an extensive New-England style menu complete with a happy hour (4 to 7 p.m.) and a reverse happy hour (10 p.m. to closing). Customers love the halibut ceviche, shrimp toast, and escargots to start, as well as the halibut cheeks, Baja shrimp, and baked stuffed lobster entrees. Arkansas: Eat My Catfish > Locations: Little Rock, North Little Rock, and five other Arkansas locations What started as a roadside seafood trailer has become a local chain in central and northwestern Arkansas, serving fresh fried catfish, boiled crawfish, shrimp (blackened, boiled, or fried), and po’boys, with sides like fried okra and hush puppies. Parties and families can take advantage of the boiling bucket deals, complete with crawfish, shrimp, crab legs, potatoes, and corn on the cob. California: Providence > Location: Los Angeles This upscale, chef-owned Hollywood establishment with two Michelin stars serves sustainably wild-caught seafood that comes mostly from American waters. The chef’s tasting menu includes six courses plus dessert and features delicately plated dishes such as uni egg with warm yolk and champagne beurre blanc and Norwegian king crab with sweet pea, sea urchin, and aged ham broth. Visit with a heavy wallet, and you will not be disappointed. Colorado: Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar > Location: Denver This upscale Colorado-based chain serves sustainable seafood in six locations including LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver). Their raw bar features a proprietary oyster – the buttery and low-salinity Emersum – bred in partnership with Virginia’s Rappahannock Oyster Co.. Customers comment on the strong drinks and superior service, and love the tuna poke, crawfish gumbo, seared scallops, and of course the oysters. Connecticut: The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood > Location: Rowayton (Norwalk) This harborside seafood market and restaurant, open year-round, has limited boat slip parking for nautical guests. The bustling atmosphere is welcoming to tourists and locals alike, and the large menu has something for everyone including huge raw bar platters, salmon and tuna tartare, chowders and bisques, steamers, crab cakes, popcorn shrimp, smoked fish dips, steamed lobsters, and other decadent entrees. 24/7 Wall St. The Worst Seafood to Eat Delaware: Feby’s Fishery > Location: Wilmington With an attached seafood market and popular all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab nights, this local favorite has a large daily selection of fish (served any way you like it), as well as fried and steamed platters, seafood pastas, lobster tails, lump meat crab cakes, and raw bar appetizers. Customers love the crab imperial and the turtle soup. Hawaii: Mama’s Fish House > Location: Paia (Maui) This family-owned restaurant is so popular it is often booked as much as six months in advance. The rotating menu features locally caught fish bought directly from fishermen (whose names are proudly printed on the menu) and prepared with Polynesian flare. Starters include oysters with mango-lilikoi mignonette and macadamia nut crab cakes, while entrees include uku (blue-green snapper) baked with coconut, sweet potato, and charred pineapple. Idaho: Fresh Off the Hook > Location: Boise A local favorite, this bustling eatery is known for its large portions and great prices. The menu boasts tons of classics like halibut fish and chips, shrimp scampi, and clam chowder, alongside house specialties like warm teriyaki shrimp salad, salmon BLTs, butter pecan trout, and crab muffins (English muffins topped with lobster and crab salad and baked until crispy). 24/7 Wall St. Best Hidden Gem Restaurant in Every State Illinois: Shaw’s Crab House > Locations: Chicago and Schaumburg Shaw’s Crab House works directly with farmers and fishermen to curate a menu that highlights fresh ingredients and lets their flavor shine. With a formal dining room and a 1940s-style diner section, guests can feast casually or fancifully on classics like oysters Rockefeller, Alaskan king crab, and parmesan-crusted haddock, or dine on a wide selection of maki rolls, sashimi, and poke bowls. Indiana: Paula’s on Main > Location: Fort Wayne A high-end establishment with a warm, rustic vibe and an attached seafood market, Paula’s on Main boasts a huge selection of fish entrees including a famous almond-crusted walleye with jalapeño tartar sauce and a blackened swordfish with horseradish, crispy shallots, and chive mashed potatoes. Customers rave about the crab cakes, Chilean sea bass, and Key lime pie. Iowa: Waterfront Seafood Market > Locations: West Des Moines and Ankeny With two locations in the Des Moines metro area, this fresh seafood market and restaurant sources its catch directly from fishermen and will serve any market filet in the restaurant, cooked however you like it. The large menu features sushi, raw bar appetizers, fried baskets, pastas, po’boys, and house favorites like halibut royale and Maryland-style crab cakes. Kansas: Mad Jack’s Fresh Fish > Location: Kansas City (KS) This down-home takeout counter and market specializes in fried fish by the pound while also selling fresh fish filets, shrimp, lobster, scallops, and even alligator meat. Fried catfish and basa are popular menu items, as are the frog legs and red snapper. All fish by the pound is served with hot sauce and bread, and add-ons include hushpuppies, fried okra, collard greens, and mac and cheese. Kentucky: River House Restaurant & Raw Bar > Location: Louisville A sprawling new American eatery with a riverside patio and great views, River House serves “regional cuisine with a Southern flair.” The excellent bourbon selection and complimentary cornbread set the mood, but the Monday night all-you-can-eat crab legs special steals the show. Try the blackened ahi tuna with tomato ginger chutney over a crispy parmesan grit cake, or the crispy grouper cheeks over crab and chive risotto with bok choy and smoked shrimp vinaigrette. ALSO READ: The 35 Best Restaurants in the South Louisiana: Pêche Seafood Grill > Location: New Orleans This James Beard award-winning restaurant in the Warehouse District specializes in open-fire cooking inspired by the cuisines of South America, Spain, and of course the Gulf Coast. Guests love the steak tartare with oyster aïoli from the raw bar and the baked drum with mushroom broth and calas (rice fritters). Groups can order a selection of small plates, like spicy ground shrimp with noodles and catfish with pickled greens and chili broth, then dig into a whole grilled fish. Maine: Eventide Oyster Co. > Location: Portland A true New England-style oyster bar, Eventide offers a rotating selection of local Maine oysters, crab claws and clams on ice with all the fixings, and such fare as lobster stew, clam chowder, New England clam bake, and a famous brown-butter lobster roll. Some Asian-fusion items including steamed bao buns and tuna tartare with nuoc cham round out the menu. Maryland: The Oceanaire Seafood Restaurant > Location: Baltimore This high-end chain serves ten U.S. locations including Baltimore’s Harbor East. A selection of East and West Coast oysters starts the menu, while the raw bar includes Maine lobster cocktail and sturgeon caviar. The crab cake appetizer is a customer favorite, and if the extensive chef specials and buttery seafood entrees don’t cut it, there’s also a steak menu. Massachusetts: Neptune Oyster > Location: Boston This intimate high-end oyster bar in Boston’s North End may draw long lines, but the wait is worth it. Start with a raw bar platter or perhaps a scallop crudo or johnnycake topped with honey butter, smoked bluefish, and sturgeon caviar. For an entree, choose between such offerings as spicy cioppino with shellfish saffron rice, whole mackerel with Basque pepper stew and fennel, or sea scallops with fava beans, pancetta, and kelp butter. Michigan: Joe Muer Seafood > Locations: Detroit and Bloomfield Hills A fine-dining dress-code establishment on the Detroit River, Joe Muer in Detroit boasts some of the best seafood in the Midwest. The menu features sparkling cocktails, happy hour specials, and sophisticated takes on classic flavors, with appetizers like deviled crab balls and lobster corn dogs, as well as enticing entrees like tiger shrimp with shaved garlic, roasted fennel, fingerling potatoes, duck confit, and sambal oelek butter. Don’t miss the coconut cake for dessert. A second location in Bloomfield Hills opened in 2017. 24/7 Wall St. 30 Easy Ideas for Shrimp Minnesota: Smack Shack > Location: Minneapolis, Bloomington, and Roseville A smack is a lobster boat, but this mini-chain of Minnesota seafood restaurants celebrates sustainable fish and shellfish of all kinds. Boiled dinners – with prawns, shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, or, yes, whole Maine lobster, served with potatoes, Polish sausage, and corn on the cob – are a specialty, but the menu also offers everything from red snapper ceviche to sesame ahi tuna to fish & chips.   Mississippi: Caet Seafood / Oysterette > Location: Ridgeland A vibrant restaurant with patio, dining room, and oyster bar seating, Caet offers a variety of tapas-style plates and raw-bar fare as well as a huge wine selection and a steak menu. Seafood entrees include the popular shrimp and grits with tasso, corn, and mushrooms and jumbo scallops with white truffle risotto, green tomato pico, and tomato parmesan broth. Missouri: 801 Fish > Location: Clayton This chic upscale St. Louis restaurant is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion (think wedding anniversary or promotion), with Russian osetra and American hackleback caviar on the raw bar menu and $50 entrees. Expect everything to be impeccably on point, from the cocktails to the perfectly seared tuna and scallops to the creamy and decadent lobster tail risotto. Montana: Feast Raw Bar & Bistro > Location: Bozeman Known for its intimate atmosphere, stellar service, and great wine list, this new American eatery in Bozeman utilizes mostly sustainably grown and caught seafood. Customers come for the oysters on the half shell and the daily ceviche special, and rave about the crab cakes, bison carpaccio, and halibut with jasmine sticky rice, mango salsa, and coconut sauce. Nebraska: Plank Seafood Provisions > Location: Omaha Plank – which also has an outpost in Austin – is a bustling oyster bar and restaurant with a popular happy hour, offering a huge selection of shareable starters, seafood entrees, and even family sized meals that can feed four. Guests can’t get enough of the oysters Rockefeller, crispy alligator, blackened catfish with dirty rice and creole beurre blanc, and walleye puttanesca. 24/7 Wall St. The Best Seafood Restaurants in America, According to Yelp Nevada: Lakeside > Location: Las Vegas With views of Wynn’s Lake of Dreams, this stylish Vegas restaurant offers sustainably wild-harvested fish and seafood from around the world, including Hawaiian mahi mahi, Ligurian octopus, and Mediterranean pink rock lobsters. Bring a date and enjoy a lake light show and other live entertainment alongside the best seafood in Vegas. New Hampshire: Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café > Location: Portsmouth With an atmosphere of casual sophistication and a menu featuring both locally caught and exotic seafood, Jumpin’ Jay’s is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. The house cocktails and superb wine list perfectly accent the diverse menu of raw bar fare, crispy appetizers, seafood pastas, and pan-seared daily catches. Customers love the scallops with lobster risotto and broccolini, haddock piccata, and New England clam chowder. New Jersey: Sol-Mar Restaurant > Location: Newark This Portuguese restaurant has a high end, formal dining room as well as a casual bar dining room. In addition to a wide selection of turf fare (veal, lamb, steaks, pork, and chicken), Sol-Mar specializes in seafood dishes like paella, clams in garlic sauce, octopus salad, and bacalhau à Brás (salt cod with matchstick potatoes, scrambled eggs, and black olives).   New Mexico: El Zarandeado > Location: Albuquerque An authentic Mexican seafood restaurant, El Zarandeado specializes in whole fried mojarra, molcajetes (dishes served in a volcanic stone mortar), ceviche and other cold seafood appetizers, shrimp combination plates, and caldo de siete mares (fish stew). Customers love the large portions, great prices, and the house salsa. New York: Le Bernardin > Location: New York City With more James Beard Awards than any other New York City restaurant as well as three Michelin stars, Le Bernardin has upheld a tradition of excellence for over 20 years. Combining French culinary techniques with global influences (think thin-sliced yellowfin tuna layered with foie gras or baked striped bass with baby leek mousseline), the kitchen offers multiple seafood-based tasting menus. ALSO READ: The Worst Seafood to Eat North Carolina: Captain Tom’s Seafood Grill & Bar > Location: Kernersville Serving down-home cuisine including fried platters with hush puppies and cole slaw, Captain Tom’s is a classic seafood joint with a casual, neighborhood vibe. The flounder filets and popcorn shrimp are breaded to perfection, the portions are large, and the she crab soup is the best around. North Dakota: Beer & Fish Co. > Location: Fargo At a place called Beer and Fish Co., you’d better believe the beers are cold and the fish and chips are perfect every time (the chips are fresh cut and the fish options include walleye, halibut, and cod). The menu also features tacos, fish sandwiches, and fresh grilled steaks and seafood. Customers rave about the oysters, lobster rolls, and bang bang shrimp. Ohio: Frank’s Fish & Seafood Market > Location: Columbus This seafood market has a fry cook and both indoor and patio seating. Pick up some fresh, frozen, or smoked seafood to take home, and stay for a fried platter, po’boy, or gumbo. The lobster bisque, salmon salad, and clam chowder are always fresh, and the menu often includes gator sandwiches and frog legs. Oklahoma: Brent’s Cajun Seafood & Oyster Bar > Location: Edmond A New Orleans-themed restaurant with a patio and weekend brunch specials, Brent’s boasts a huge menu featuring all the Cajun staples including boudin, crawfish, shrimp etouffee, seafood jambalaya, gumbo, and po’boys. Guests love the fried alligator, Gulf shrimp, perfectly breaded catfish filets, and of course the red beans and rice......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstNov 13th, 2023

Restaurant roundup: New steakhouse and seafood restaurant opening in South Jersey; Geno"s Steaks debuts in Live! Casino

Elsewhere in the region, a Mexican-fusion fast-casual concept is expanding in Montgomery County and a ski lodge-inspired pop-up returns to Center City......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 5th, 2023

McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript October 3, 2023 McCormick & Company, Incorporated reports earnings inline with expectations. Reported EPS is $0.65 EPS, expectations were $0.65. Faten Freiha: Good morning. This is Faten Freiha, VP of Investor Relations. Thank you for joining today’s Third Quarter Earnings Call. To accompany this call, […] McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript October 3, 2023 McCormick & Company, Incorporated reports earnings inline with expectations. Reported EPS is $0.65 EPS, expectations were $0.65. Faten Freiha: Good morning. This is Faten Freiha, VP of Investor Relations. Thank you for joining today’s Third Quarter Earnings Call. To accompany this call, we have posted a set of slides on our IR website. With me this morning are Brendan Foley, President and CEO; Mike Smith, Executive Vice President and CFO; and Kasey Jenkins, Chief Growth Officer. During this call, we will refer to certain non-GAAP financial measures. The nature of those non-GAAP financial measures and the related reconciliations to the GAAP results are included in this morning’s press release and slides. In our comments, certain percentages are rounded. Please refer to our presentation for complete information. Today’s presentation contains projections and other forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those projected. The company undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events, or other factors. Please refer to our forward-looking statement slide for more information. I’ll now turn the discussion over to Brendan. A close-up of spices, herbs and seasoning mixes in a colorful array, highlighting the company’s range of products. Editorial photo for a financial news article. 8k. –ar 16:9 Brendan Foley: Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. Let me start by saying how pleased I am to join you today for my first earnings call as President and CEO. Just over one month into my new role, I am energized by our underlying business trends, which reinforce our competitive advantages and differentiation. Let’s turn to our results. We drove another quarter of strong performance, reflecting sustained demand and effective execution of our growth strategies across our Consumer and Flavor Solutions segments. Our results were in line with our expectations across our business, notwithstanding challenges for our Consumer segment in Asia Pacific, or APAC, where the pace of China’s economic recovery been slower than previously anticipated. Let me start with the highlights for the third quarter. We delivered solid constant currency sales growth. We continued to realize effective price realization, and importantly, volume performance, excluding China, has improved each quarter throughout the year. We continued to see top-line momentum in our business, positioning McCormick for sustained growth. We drove meaningful year-over-year margin expansion, underscoring our focus on profit realization. Year-to-date cash flow from operations more than doubled relative to the prior year due to higher operating income and working capital improvements. Our performance demonstrates the strength of our business fundamentals and the effective execution of our proven strategies while leveraging the sustained demand for flavor. Turning to Slide 5. In the third quarter, we drove 6% sales growth in constant currency, demonstrating the strength of our broad global portfolio. Our constant currency growth reflected strong business performance, with an 8% contribution from pricing and a 2% decline in volume and product mix. This decline in volume was driven by two factors: a 1% volume decline attributable to the impact of a slower-than-expected economic recovery in China; and a 1% decline related to the divestiture of Kitchen Basics, the exit of our Consumer business in Russia, and the pruning of low-margin business to optimize our portfolio. All other underlying volume and mix performance was flat for the quarter, which is a sequential improvement from the second quarter where total underlying volume growth was down approximately 1%. I would like to now share a few highlights on gross margin and operating income for the quarter, which Mike will cover in more detail. We drove strong gross margin improvement year-over-year, reflecting continued recovery of the cost inflation our pricing lagged last year, and cost savings from our CCI and GOE programs. We remain focused on improving our margins over the long term and believe that our recovery will be a continuous build. And we expect to return to historical levels and believe there is a runway beyond that, recognizing it will take some time. Higher gross profit for the quarter was partially offset by lower-than-expected performance in China as well as higher SG&A. As planned, we continue to build back incentive compensation and increased brand marketing investments. The net impact was a 5% increase in adjusted operating income versus the prior year. Overall, we are pleased with our execution and results year-to-date. These results, combined with the strong demand we continue to expect across our portfolio and our focused approach to optimizing our cost structure, reinforce our confidence in our growth trajectory during the fourth quarter and beyond. Moving into the fourth quarter, we can continue to expect top-line momentum across our portfolio, including growth in China, as we lap the COVID-related disruptions. China’s growth, however, is expected to be less than originally anticipated, which, when combined with its year-to-date performance, has led to a lower full year 2023 benefit than we originally expected. Despite this impact, however, we are reaffirming our sales outlook and now anticipate our results will be closer to the middle of our guidance range. We are reaffirming our operating income outlook, which highlights stronger than originally expected profit realization on our business, excluding China. Demand is strong. We are driving improvement in our margin profile and are optimizing our cost structure effectively. Now for our performance by segment. Starting with our Consumer segment on Slide 7. We saw solid results across the Americas and EMEA, which were tempered by our APAC region due to China, as I mentioned earlier. Notwithstanding China, we are pleased with our underlying performance. Now for some highlights by regions. First, in the Americas. Our total U.S. branded portfolio consumption as indicated by our IRI consumption data and combined with unmeasured channels grew approximately 4%. Excluding the year-over-year impact of the Kitchen Basics divestiture and the exit of DSD, Direct-Store-Delivery, of our bagged Hispanic spices. There is a minor difference between our sales and consumption, which is attributable to listing fees for a significant increase in new distribution and new products. For example, our new Cholula and Stubb’s items and Tabitha Brown line extensions. Importantly, our categories remain advantaged in terms of growth relative to overall macro trends, and we are well positioned to drive future growth. The fundamental strength of the spices and seasonings category is evident as cooking at home has remained elevated since pre-COVID and consumers have an increasing demand for flavor. U.S. spices and seasonings growth is continuing to outpace the total edible category in units and dollars. We have the right plans in place and are taking the right actions to grow market share in this very attractive and competitive category. We have made progress and shown improvement relative to the beginning of the year. We continue to restore distribution, which was lost because of supply issues. As we look at our performance and our trends, we are happy to see total distribution point growth in the third quarter. We also continue to be pleased that our assortment on shelf is more productive than pre-COVID. In addition, we have significant new distribution and innovation that is starting to come online as customers reset their shelves. As we’ve said before, restoration will take some time and we expect to drive growth as we continue to progress. In addition to driving distribution gains, we have a continued focus on supporting our brands and optimizing pricing. As you would expect, this has become a more important part of our category management efforts in recent years. Our diverse portfolio allows us flexibility to optimize our pricing effectiveness. We look at both our everyday price and our promotional returns, as well as use innovation, including price pack architecture to drive growth. Our efforts are yielding results. The renovation of our U.S. core everyday spice and herb portfolio is rolling out according to plan. At the end of the third quarter, we have shipped about 40% of our renovated SKUs. And notably, products that have transitioned on shelf have seen high-teens improvement in velocity. And our significant brand marketing campaign featuring the benefits of the new packaging ramped up at the end of the third quarter leading into the holiday season. Our larger-size Super Deal herbs and spices continues to gain share. We saw strong performance in the third quarter, driven by pricing and higher unit volume. Expanded distribution has been a major driver for our performance, as well as consumers that are seeking value and trading up to larger sizes. We have the right assortment in this environment. Our household penetration on larger sizes is greater than pre-COVID. We are confident this product line will continue to drive growth as we expand distribution further and launch new line extensions. Our grilling performance was strong this quarter, supported by our Fire Up campaign as well as contribution for new product launches that we discussed on our earnings call in June. Frank’s RedHot sauces, French’s mustard and Stubb’s Bar-B-Q sauces and rubs, as well as Lawry’s marinades, all delivered significant growth in the third quarter relative to the prior year. We drove double-digit sales growth with contributions from pricing and volume across our total grilling portfolio. And we drove market share gains in mustard, barbecue sauce and marinades in the third quarter. Our expansion into the fast-growing Mexican aisle with new Cholula taco recipe mixes and salsas is continuing to build distribution and performance to date is outperforming our expectations. Finally, in the Americas, we continue to drive double-digit consumption growth in e-commerce led by spices and seasonings. We are realizing high returns on our investments, gaining new customers and growing with new products. Turning to EMEA, where we delivered a great quarter, our strongest quarterly sales performance in more than two years with double-digit sales growth. Notably, in the UK and France, we drove volume growth as pricing remained elevated. In both countries, we delivered significant growth in the discount channel, driven by expanded distribution with new and existing customers. In other parts of the region, we are also making meaningful progress in this fast-growing channel. We grew our business in the discount channel by over 30% across EMEA in the third quarter. Our grilling activations with key retailers in France and our promotional activities in the UK along with brand marketing support, drove strong third quarter growth across the growing portfolio. E-commerce also contributed meaningfully to our growth in both countries. Consumption data continues to indicate that the consumer is holding up well in our categories, with consumption trends continues to accelerate across the region. We grew share in herbs, spices and seasonings for our total EMEA business, with the UK, Eastern Europe, Italy and France all contributing. France grew share for the first time in two years. And UK recipe mixes, we extended our leading share position during the third quarter. New products and effective in-store promotions drove share gains. We also continued to drive hot sauce category growth in the UK, with Cholula leading to growth in the third quarter. And we are also building distribution of Cholula in France. In our APAC region, while the pace of recovery in this business has been slower than expected, we continue to believe in the long-term growth trajectory of our business in China. Notwithstanding the slower recovery in China, in all regions, in our Consumer segment, our investments in brand marketing, category management initiatives and new products are proving to be effective, and driving strong growth across our categories. We are making sequential improvement on volume, advancing our heat platform, and are pleased with our performance. We continue to fuel our growth with the power of our brands and increased innovation and brand marketing. We are also forming strategic partnerships to reach and enhance brand awareness with loyal built-in audiences. Building on the success we have with our Tabitha Brown partnership in light of new products in the U.S., where growth continues to accelerate, we are partnering with Nadiya Hussain, a celebrity British chef who won the sixth series of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off in EMEA. We are launching a delicious range of short seasonings, recipe mixes, and meal kits with Nadiya and are helping build the confidence of UK consumers in the kitchen with cook-along videos and recipe ideas. We are thrilled to partner with Nadiya and preliminary results are very positive. We are looking forward to working with her on various future initiatives across the region to expand our brand awareness and accelerate new product growth. Our brand marketing efforts continue to drive awareness and strengthen our brands. As you may have seen in July, we partnered with Mars and launched a limited edition French’s mustard-flavored SKITTLES. The objective of the campaign was to create top-of-mind awareness for French’s through a buzzwordy moment to further strengthen the power of our brand. And of course, you can always have fun with mustard. We are thrilled that this was our most successful earned campaign to date with a record 5 billion impressions. It is also a perfect example of how we leverage our strengths across both segments, underscoring their complementary nature. Our Flavor Solutions team created the mustard flavor for this limited-edition product, which built awareness for both our consumer and foodservice businesses. Our segments are working together to further bolster French’s success. I am passionate about how our two segments, Consumer and Flavor Solutions, complement each other, reinforcing what differentiates McCormick and enabling us to drive sustainable growth. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, we are excited about the holiday season and our related brand marketing plans across all regions. Importantly, with our supply issues resolved, we are better positioned than we were last year entering this season. We are increasing our merchandising levels, to one similar to pre-COVID and are supporting our portfolio with holiday brand marketing campaigns across all regions. We are expecting a strong holiday season. Wrapping up the Consumer update, our year-to-date results bolster our confidence that we will continue to drive sales growth as we have in the past. The supply issues we experienced last year are resolved and we are using our strength in category management to increase distribution and drive McCormick and category growth. We believe the execution of our growth plans will be a win for consumers, customers, our categories and McCormick, which differentiates us even more and strengthening our leadership in our core categories. Now turning to Flavor Solutions on Slide 10. Our growth momentum in this segment continues to be exceptional. The third quarter marks our 10th consecutive quarter with double-digit constant currency sales growth. Our growth was led by pricing actions in all three regions. We are priced to cover current year inflation and are continuing to recover the cost inflation our pricing lagged the last two years. We remain committed to restoring our Flavor Solutions’ profitability. And in third quarter, we again drove significant margin expansion versus prior year, and expect continued progress toward our objective to build back our margin in this segment. Let me turn to our highlights by region. Our Americas’ third quarter strong sales growth was led by pricing, with an increase in volume contributing as well. Both the flavors and branded foodservice product categories grew by double digits. With flavors, our seasonings growth was strong, including volume growth related to new products. We are helping our customers grow with the strength of our brands. Our continued success with providing the seasoning for co-branded items included new ones with Frank’s RedHot and Stubb’s this quarter, contributed to our growth. Strength in our customers’ iconic products also contributed to our seasonings’ growth, particularly related to our heat platform. We also have strong momentum in flavors for performance nutrition beverages and health and market applications. Our growth is outpacing the market, fueled by the advantages of our proprietary technologies. Importantly, we are winning with new products for existing and new customers, largely across our mid-market customer base, who are category leaders in specific markets or are high-growth innovators, and whose growth is outpacing larger customers. We continue to have a robust pipeline of new products and our conversion rate is strong. We are creating preferred flavors, enabling our customers to continue to win in the marketplace. In branded foodservice, we gained share in spices and seasonings this quarter. Additionally, our recent new products, Frank’s Mild sauce and Frank’s Nashville Hot seasoning, are performing very well and are exceeding our expectations. They have both been well received by our customers, reinforcing that the demand for heat is growing at both the mild and hot end of the spectrum. We are excited for continued growth in these items as well as the overall breadth of opportunity in heat. Moving to EMEA, we continue to drive broad-based growth across the portfolio with strong growth in both our quick-service restaurant and packaged food and beverage customers. Pricing drove the growth as some of our customers in both channels continue to experience softness in the volume within their own businesses. As we continue to prune low-margin business in our Flavor Solutions segment, while it did not impact the third quarter, I want to mention that we divested a small canning business which was part of our Giotti operations in Italy. This divestiture allows us to focus our resources on our core flavors product category and drive further growth. Mike will have more on the future impact of this divestiture on the EMEA region in a few minutes. And in APAC, while the economic recovery in China was not as strong as anticipated, China contributed to the regional pricing and volume growth. Across the region, we benefited from our QSR customers’ increase in promotional activity. The strength of our Flavor Solutions portfolio and capabilities, including our differentiated customer engagement and culinary-inspired innovation, are driving outstanding Flavor Solutions momentum. Our flavors product category, our 100% focus on flavor, our breadth and reach, our unrivalled consumer insights, and our proprietary technology platform gives us an advantage and positions us well to continue to win in the technically-insulated and value-added part of our portfolio, driving growth and advancing our flavor leadership. And in branded foodservice, we expect new products, increased menu penetration, culinary partnerships, and our expertise in heat to drive continued growth. Our robust growth plans in Flavor Solutions and effective execution of our proven strategies bolster our confidence in continuing our growth trajectory and driving our Flavor Solutions leadership as well as margin restoration. Now, I’d like to turn it over to Mike to provide details on our financial performance. Mike Smith: Thanks, Brendan, and good morning, everyone. Starting on Slide 13. Our top-line constant currency sales grew 6% compared to the third quarter of last year, reflecting 8% from pricing, partially offset with a 2% volume and mixed decline. As Brendan already mentioned, there were impacts of volume related to the slower-than-expected recovery in the China Consumer business, the divestiture of Kitchen Basics, the exit of our Consumer business in Russia, and strategic decisions we made related to optimizing the profitability of our portfolio. As a result, at the total company level, excluding these items, underlying volume performance was flat for the quarter and improved sequentially from the second quarter. In our Consumer segment, constant currency sales increased by 1%, reflecting a 5% increase in pricing actions, partially offset by a 4% volume decline. Included in this volume decline are: a 2% decline due to a lower-than-expected recovery in China; and a 2% decline attributable to the Kitchen Basics divestiture, our business exit in Russia, and the Hispanic product DSD exit to optimize margins. On Slide 14, Consumer sales in the Americas increased 2% in constant currency and included a 4% increase from pricing actions, partially offset by a 2% volume decline due to the Kitchen Basics divestiture and DSD items I just mentioned. In EMEA, constant currency Consumer sales increased 10%, with a 13% increase from pricing actions, partially offset by a 3% volume decline primarily from exiting Russia. Excluding Russia, sales growth was broad-based across all markets and categories. Constant currency Consumer sales in the APAC region decreased 11%, driven by a 15% volume decrease, primarily due to a slower-than-expected recovery in China. Also contributing to the decline was the impact of lapping strong China demand in the prior year following significant extended lockdowns during the second quarter of last year. Turning to our Flavor Solution segment in Slide 17. We grew third quarter constant currency sales 11%, reflecting a 10% increase from pricing and a 1% increase from volume and product mix. Our volume growth was partially offset by the pruning of low-margin business. In the Americas, Flavor Solutions constant currency sales rose 10%, reflecting a 9% increase from pricing and a 1% volume and product mix growth. Growth was broad based across the portfolio, with strengths and flavors, including seasonings and specialty flavors, as well as branded foodservice. In EMEA, constant currency sales increased 15%, with pricing actions partially offset by lower volume and product mix, including a 1% impact from exiting the private label product line mentioned earlier. Outside of this product discontinuation, volumes declined due to softness in some of our customers’ volume within their own businesses. Regarding the divestiture of the Giotti canning business Brendan mentioned earlier, we expect this divestiture to impact EMEA Flavor Solutions by approximately 3% starting in the fourth quarter of 2023 to the third quarter of 2024. For the total Flavor Solutions segment, we expect an approximately 1% impact, and for the total company, less than 1%. In the APAC region, Flavor Solutions sales grew 13% in constant currency with a 7% contribution from pricing and 6% volume growth, driven by our customers’ promotional activities and limited time offers across the region. As seen on Slide 21, gross profit margin expanded 150 basis points in the third quarter versus the year-ago period, reflecting our steadfast focus on increasing profit realization. Favorable drivers in the quarter were our CCI and GOE programs, and the continued recovery of the cost inflation our pricing lagged over the past two years. We expect to finish 2023 meeting the cost recovery plans we set as we entered the year. We are very pleased with our gross margin expansion for the quarter. Historically, our third quarter gross margin has been higher than the second quarter. This year, however, they were comparable at approximately 37% because we realized our highest level of both pricing and cost recovery from prior years in the second quarter. We expect to continue to drive margin improvement in the balance of the year. And as evident by our full year outlook and year-to-date results, we expect a higher gross margin in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter of this year as well as expansion from the fourth quarter of 2022. Now moving to Slide 22, selling, general and administrative expenses, or SG&A, increased relative to the third quarter of last year, as higher employee incentive compensation expenses and distribution costs were partially offset by CCI-led and GOE cost savings. Brand marketing also increased compared to the third quarter of last year and we continue to expect a low single-digit increase in brand marketing for the full year. As a percentage of net sales, SG&A increased 160 basis points. Strong sales growth and gross margin expansion, partially offset by higher SG&A costs, resulted in a constant currency increase in adjusted operating income of 5% compared to the third quarter of 2022. In constant currency, adjusted operating income in the Consumer segment, which was impacted by the slower China recovery and brand marketing investments, declined 5%, and in the Flavor Solutions segment, adjusted operating income increased 42%. Turning to interest expense and the income taxes on Slide 23. Our interest expense increased significantly over the third quarter of 2022, driven by the higher interest rate environment. And quickly touching on tax, our third quarter adjusted effective tax rate was 21.4%, compared to 21.2% in the year-ago period. Our income from unconsolidated operations in the third quarter reflects strong performance in our largest joint venture, McCormick de Mexico. We are the market leader with the McCormick-branded mayonnaise, marmalades, and mustard product lines in Mexico, and the business continues to contribute meaningfully to our net income and operating cash flow results. At the bottom-line, as shown on Slide 25, third quarter 2023 adjusted earnings per share was $0.65 as compared to $0.69 for the year-ago period. The decrease was driven by lapping a favorable impact primarily related to an optimization of our debt portfolio included in other income in the third quarter of last year. This impact is also a headwind to our full year results. On Slide 26, we’ve summarized highlights for cash flow and the quarter-end balance sheet. Our cash flow from operations year-to-date was very strong, $660 million in 2023 compared to $250 million for the same period last year, a 164% increase. The increase was primarily driven by higher operating income and working capital improvements, including lower inventory. We returned $314 million of cash to our shareholders through dividends and used $187 million of cash for capital expenditures through the third quarter. We expect 2023 to be a very strong year of cash flow as evidenced by our 2023 year-to-date cash flow from operations of $660 million, which is already slightly higher than our full year cash flow in 2022. Our priority is to continue to have a balanced use of cash, funding investments to drive growth, returning a significant portion to our shareholders through dividends, and paying down debt. We remain committed to a strong investment-grade rating. With our improving gross margin and lower inventory, we are well positioned to continue paying down debt, and we now expect to de-lever to approximately 3 times earlier in 2024 than we originally expected. Now turning to our updated 2023 financial outlook on Slide 27. Our 2023 outlook reflects our continued positive top-line growth momentum and, with the optimization of our cost structure, increased profit realization. We expect to drive margin expansion with strong sales and adjusted operating income growth. Adjusted operating income growth is expected to be partially offset by higher interest expense and a higher projected effective tax rate. We also anticipate minimal impact from currency rates, although there will be a timing aspect as we realize an unfavorable impact year-to-date through the third quarter and project a favorable impact in the fourth quarter. We are reaffirming our sales and operating profit outlook for 2023 despite a slower recovery in China. We no longer expect a 1% contribution to our sales from lapping last year’s COVID disruptions in China. And we’re also revising the benefit from a China recovery to our operating income from 300 basis points to 100 basis points. At the top-line, we continue to expect 5% to 7% growth, and anticipate our results will be closer to the middle of our guidance range given the lower-than-expected China recovery. The wrap of last year’s pricing actions as well as the impact of new ones in 2023 are the primary drivers of growth. Several factors are expected to impact our volume and product mix for the year, including: price elasticities, which are consistent with 2022 at lower levels than we have historically experienced, but in line with the current environment; the divestiture of our Kitchen Basics business in August of last year and the exit of our Consumer business in Russia during last year’s second quarter; the continual pruning of lower-margin business from our portfolio; we continue to estimate the Americas Consumer segment DSD exit and the EMEA’s Flavor Solutions private label discontinuation to be approximately a 1% impact on the year, which began to impact us in the second quarter of 2023; and finally, the divestiture of Giotti’s canning business, which closed on the first day of the fourth quarter, will have a minimal impact on total company sales for the year. We continue to plan to drive growth through the strength of our brands, as well as our category management, brand marketing, new products, and customer engagement plans. Our 2023 gross margin is projected to range between 110 basis points to 140 basis points higher than 2022 compared to our prior guidance of 50 basis points to 100 basis points. This gross margin expansion reflects a favorable impact from pricing, cost savings from our CCI-led and GOE programs, and portfolio optimization, partially offset by the anticipated impact of a low- to mid-teens increase in cost inflation. It also reflects more than offsetting cost pressures with pricing actions, as we recover the cost inflation or pricing lagged the last two years. Moving to adjusted operating income. We continue to expect 10% to 12% constant currency growth. There are some discrete items expected to impact our 2023 adjusted operating profit growth. First, remaining consistent with our prior outlook, we expect our GOE program to have an 800 basis point favorable impact and the Kitchen Basics divestiture to have an unfavorable 100 basis point impact. Next, I already mentioned the expected 100 basis point benefit related to China, which is lower than the originally anticipated 300 basis points. Finally, we expect a 900 basis point unfavorable impact from building back incentive compensation, slightly ahead of our prior projection of 800 basis points, given the increase in earnings expectations since the beginning of the year. The net impact of these discrete items is an unfavorable 100 basis points as compared to a 200 basis point favorable impact in our previous outlook. The reaffirmation of our adjusted operating income outlook despite the unfavorable change in the impact from discrete items highlight stronger than originally expected profit realization on our underlying business, which is now expected to be 11% to 13% growth compared to 8% to 10% growth previously. We are reaffirming our low single-digit increases in brand marketing investments, our CCI-led cost savings target of approximately $85 million, our interest expense outlook of an estimated range from $200 million to $210 million in 2023, and our 2023 adjusted effective income tax rate projection of approximately 22%. We are increasing our income from unconsolidated operations projection to a 30% expected increase from 2022, reflecting the strong performance we expect in our largest joint venture, McCormick de Mexico. To summarize, our 2023 adjusted earnings per share expectations reflect strong underlying business growth of 14% to 16%, above our prior projection of 10% to 12%. Combining this 14% to 16% underlying growth with a 1% unfavorable impact from the discrete items on adjusted operating profit and the combined interest and tax headwind of 9% results in an expected increase of 4% to 6% or a projected guidance range of adjusted earnings per share in 2023 of $2.62 to $2.67. We are projecting strong operating performance in 2023 with continued top-line momentum, significant optimization of our cost structure and strong adjusted operating profit growth, as well as margin expansion and strong cash flow. We remain confident in the underlying strength of our business and delivering on the profitable growth reflected in our 2023 financial outlook. Brendan Foley: Thank you, Mike. Before we turn it over to Q&A, I would like to provide some closing comments. Global demand for flavor remains the foundation of our sales growth, and we have intentionally focused on great fast-growing categories. Our alignment with long-term consumer trends, healthy and flavorful cooking, trusted brands, increased digital engagement, and purpose-minded practices continue to create a tailwind for growth. McCormick is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this demand for great flavor. With the breadth and reach of our strong global flavor portfolio, we are end-to-end flavor for our consumers and customers. We remain a different kind of CPG company, one differentiated by our growth platform, the results that we have achieved over the last years and our culture. We play in great and fast growing categories. Our two segments, Consumer and Flavor Solutions, complement each other, reinforcing our differentiation. The scale, insights, and technology that we leverage from both segments are meaningful in driving sustainable growth. We continue to leverage the strength of our culture and the power of people to drive success. I want to thank McCormick employees worldwide as their energy and excitement for the business is coming through in our results. Now to recap the key takeaways as seen on Slide 30. Our third quarter performance was strong, reflecting sustained demand and the effective execution of our growth strategies. And our volume performance, excluding China, continued to improve. We drove meaningful year-over-year margin expansion, underscoring our focus on profit realization. Our year-to-date cash flow from operation results was strong, already equal to our full year 2022 results. Our reaffirmed sales and operating profit guidance, despite lower-than-expected China recovery, highlights the growing strength of the rest of the business. The strength of our business model, the value of our products and capabilities, and execution of our proven strategies bolsters our confidence in our growth trajectory over the long term. Now for your questions. Operator: Thank you. We’ll now be conducting the question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Thank you. And our first question is coming from the line of Andrew Lazar with Barclays. Please proceed with your questions. Andrew Lazar: Great. Thanks very much. Good morning, everybody. See also 15 Stocks Billionaire Seth Klarman Likes the Most Now and The 10 Largest Gambling Stocks of 2023. Q&A Session Follow Mccormick & Co Inc (NYSE:MKC) Follow Mccormick & Co Inc (NYSE:MKC) We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Brendan Foley: Good morning, Andrew. Mike Smith: Good morning. Andrew Lazar: Good morning. I guess maybe to start off with McCormick obviously as you mentioned saw some sequential volume improvement in Consumer Americas in the fiscal third quarter and you’re lapping an easier — and even easier I guess down 11% volume decline in the year-ago period in the fourth quarter. So, I guess my question is would you expect volume in the Consumer Americas segment to flip positively in the fourth quarter? And if not, I guess, what would be the key factors that would keep you from doing so, obviously all in the context of an industry volume backdrop that remains kind of subdued? Brendan Foley: Well, thanks Andrew for your question. Just to maybe speak first to last year’s fourth quarter. I think our sales growth back in 2022 was down about 1.7%, I think, on sales. And that was up without Kitchen Basics. And we were lapping the 2021 retail inventory build in a high level. I think we, as we talked about on that call, entered the 2022 holiday with just a lot stronger inventory than we were counting on or predicting or forecasting. So, the way we’re looking at it is the net sales impact really was up about — a little over 4% in the fourth quarter last year. So, we’re not seeing that necessarily as an easy comparison overall, but just talking to dollars first, that’s kind of our view is just we’re still looking at a pretty robust fourth quarter from a year ago just knowing that we had that comparison in the fourth quarter. Now, when we look at this year’s fourth quarter, as we said on the call here earlier, you will see the impact of that DSD continuation in our Hispanic bagged spices part of our business. It just tends to be — that business tends to be heavier in the fourth quarter because of the holidays, so that will be a little bit stronger then. But to our spices and seasonings business, we continue to see improving trends in that part of our portfolio. And you should expect to see that in the fourth quarter, that sequential improvement in performance overall. And we feel like we’re going to have a strong holiday. I mean, I think the reasons why we feel good about the direction of that part of our portfolio is, and you heard it on the call, we’re gaining share and we’re gaining distribution on Super Deal, Herbs & Spices. On the Lowry’s opening price point platform, we’re still getting really good performance for that, but still also building out distribution. And we have one value retailer that we’ve only begun just starting shipments on, and they’ll start to build out and fill out more store locations because we have like just in that one particular account, 85% of the locations still yet to come. So, we still see distribution build happening behind Lowry’s overall. And that renovation that we launched here this year, we talked about in the second quarter, is doing really well where we see it getting on shelf. Now we shipped about 40%, but what’s appearing on shelf is probably just a little bit different because we don’t really have that data. But what we’re seeing with when we see that new package come on shelf is that [Indiscernible] improves quite a bit. So, we’re really encouraged by our performance there. And we’re definitely seeing strong consumer reaction to the new package. And so that will obviously continue to build in the four quarter. And we’re also turning on our media right now, advertising the benefits of the package. But then we’re also having holiday campaigns starting to run too. So, we feel like there’s a lot of good momentum in the pipeline. Obviously, a lot of that will carry into 2024, but we still feel really good about the strength of that part of our business going into the fourth quarter. What’s also helping us though is that our core categories are performing a little bit stronger than overall total edible in the grocery store. So, we see continued strength there just from a category standpoint. We have good performance across other core categories like recipe mix, condiments, and sauces. So, we expect pretty good performance there. But there are some categories where we participate along with our food peers, it’s probably at a much smaller scale. But these are categories like frozen or the Asian category where we see more volume decline like we’ve seen in the rest of center of store in that part of our business. That’s just one part of it. The portfolio I just gave you some color on that we’re seeing definitely the type of softness that you’re seeing in other categories. But the fundamental trends have not shifted. Despite this recovery in China being a lot slower, U.S. and Europe are performing as expected. And as you heard in the call, we kind of reaffirmed our guidance on sales despite China, which is meant to indicate that we still see a strength in the performance of our business overall. Andrew Lazar: Great, thanks. I’ll pass it on and leave it there. Thanks so much. Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Alexia Howard with Bernstein. Please proceed with your questions. Alexia Howard: Good morning, everyone. Brendan Foley: Good morning. Alexia Howard: Can I ask about the market share trends that we’re seeing in Americas Consumer? It’s obviously been under pressure for some time because of the distribution losses and so on. But I’m wondering if there is light at the end of the tunnel in terms of when either the comparables get easier or innovation helps to turn it around. I’m just wondering what the outlook is there. And then, I have a follow-up. Brendan Foley: Thanks, Alexia. Yeah, I think as we take a look at our performance overall in terms of shares, et cetera, just talking maybe specifically to spices and seasonings, the dollars are a bit tricky because we are seeing private label and our competitors take more price right now in the last couple of months to catch up to the pricing that we’ve taken in the marketplace. But this is helpful obviously because it starts to close price gaps. And so, I think you’re seeing some stronger dollar performance there. But from a unit standpoint, we believe we’re performing even better. That lag is even less. And so, as we then look to the pipeline of activities that we have going on, much like I just mentioned on the previous question, whether it’s parts of our product line that are really starting to build momentum or distribution that builds momentum, we see a strong pipeline across that part of our portfolio as well as just stronger overall marketing initiatives now that we have really a shared supply across all of our portfolio. So, when we talk about light at the end of the tunnel, we just see sequential improvement over the course of time as we fall back on distribution points, which we’ve grown this quarter, as well as just the pipeline of activity and renovation that we have across our portfolio. You’re seeing a good view of that right now, but there’s more to come. And so, we do feel pretty confident about our ability to continue driving sequential improvement, whether it’s in spices and seasonings or across other categories. Mike Smith: I think, too, we think some of the same things we’ve done in Europe, for example, where we had, as we mentioned today, a really good share performance and volume performance in markets like UK and France, which are similar to the U.S. So those types of activities we are doing, whether it’s innovation, upgrading, renovating the line, have had success over there too......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyOct 5th, 2023

G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. (NASDAQ:GIII) Q2 2024 Earnings Call Transcript

G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. (NASDAQ:GIII) Q2 2024 Earnings Call Transcript September 7, 2023 G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.4, expectations were $0.02. Operator: Good day, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the G-III Apparel Group Second Quarter Fiscal 2024 Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in […] G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. (NASDAQ:GIII) Q2 2024 Earnings Call Transcript September 7, 2023 G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.4, expectations were $0.02. Operator: Good day, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the G-III Apparel Group Second Quarter Fiscal 2024 Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the speakers’ presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Please be advised that today’s conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Neal Nackman, Chief Financial Officer. Please go ahead. Neal Nackman: Good morning, and thank you for joining us. Before we begin, I would like to remind participants that certain statements made on today’s call and in the Q&A session may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal Securities laws. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results of operations or the financial condition of the company to differ are discussed in the documents filed by the company with the SEC. The company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements. In addition, during the call, we will refer to non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP net income per diluted share, and adjusted EBITDA, which are all non-GAAP financial measures. We have provided reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to GAAP measures in our press release, which is also available on our website. I will now turn the call over to our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Morris Goldfarb. Morris Goldfarb: Thank you, Neal, and thank you everyone for joining us. We registered another strong quarter well exceeding our top and bottom-line guidance. The second quarter caps off a strong first half for G-III, demonstrating our ability to navigate what remains a dynamic environment. This gives us confidence as we look ahead to the balance of the year and accordingly, we’ve raised our full year guidance. As a global leader in fashion, we remain focused on strong execution of our business while pursuing our many opportunities for growth. For the second quarter of fiscal 2024, net sales were $660 million, an increase of 9% from $605 million last year, well above our guidance by approximately 10% or $65 million. Non-GAAP net income per diluted share was $0.40, exceeding our guidance by $0.40. Similar to what we experienced in the first quarter, second quarter gross margins were better than last year’s second quarter. Our freight costs have moderated and we’re now beginning to anniversary last year’s significant one-time logistics costs, which primarily occurred in the third quarter. We are very pleased with the progress we’ve made to rightsizing our inventory, which was $805 million, down 23% compared to $1.04 billion in last year’s second quarter. We remain disciplined in our approach to future inventory buys and have appropriately adjusted our warehousing needs as our inventory levels have aligned. Our new inventory purchases are coming in at much lower freight cost. We are well-positioned for the second half. We ended the quarter in a strong financial position with $825 million in cash and availability, which is after repaying $75 million of debt. Year-to-date, we’ve repurchased 1.6 million shares, returning $26 million to shareholders. Further, our Board replenished our stock buyback capacity to 10 million shares. The strength of our balance sheet continues to remain a top priority and provides us with the flexibility to invest in the future growth of our own and new businesses — our own brands and new businesses. Let me begin by discussing the development of our three recently announced growth opportunities, all of which remain on track to launch with first deliveries next year. These include the repositioning and expansion of Donna Karan, which will be more widely distributed in better department stores, digital channels, and our own Donna Karan website in North America and internationally. We will launch in over 200 partner doors and we will build 150 branded shop-in-shops. The new collection has been well received. Our long-term license for Nautica in North America, which will begin with the jeans category and follow with a broad range of additional categories. Our jeans will launch in over 200 partner doors and we will build 60 branded shop-in-shops. Orders are already in from retailers who think the product looks great. Our 25-year agreement as the master licensee of Halston for a full range of products across our global distribution network. The brand is globally well-recognized but currently has limited North American distribution and almost no international distribution, presenting multiple avenues of growth. We also have the ability to act as a licensor for additional categories, creating another income stream. The agreement also includes an option to purchase the brand. Additionally, this morning we announced our new multi-year license with HanesBrands to produce outerwear for Champion, an iconic American brand that has wide global recognition. We will create quality heritage pieces that expand Champions’ lifestyle offering. This license aligns perfectly with our core competencies and will fit seamlessly into our already well-developed outerwear divisions. The product will be distributed through our diverse channels in North America as well as Champions’ global network with first deliveries available for fall of 2024. We remain steadfast in our focus on expanding our owned and licensed brands as well as bringing in additional brands that fit our long-term vision. Supporting this growth is our well-developed corporate foundation, which consists of our high-performing forward-thinking team and experienced senior leadership, our strong merchant expertise in product development, our dominance across a broad range of product categories, our well-developed sourcing and supply chain infrastructure across diverse geographies and our diversified distribution network of retail partners to reach an even broader range of consumers. This foundation has enabled G-III to unlock the value of more than 30 licensed and owned brands in our portfolio, including some of the most sought-after names in global fashion. We’ve built entirely new product lines for our brands across a diverse range of core categories. Our work has enabled them to reach wider audiences, realize tremendous sales growth and is essential to elevating their lifestyle appeal. Our demonstrated track record continues to make G-III a partner of choice for brands and for retailers. Over the years, our entrepreneurial and nimble culture has always enabled us to deliver results. Agility is at the heart of everything we do at G-III, and we continue to evolve regardless of external factors. Since announcing changes to our Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger licenses in December, we moved quickly to create the four new strategic initiatives I just discussed with more to come. In doing so, we’re creating additional shareholder value. Now let me update you on some of our progress this quarter against our strategic priorities. Our first priority is to drive our power brands across categories. Our results continue to be led by strength in outerwear as well as dressier categories including sportswear, dresses, and suit separates across our key brands DKNY, Karl Lagerfeld, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Levi’s. We also saw strength across denim, footwear and team sports. Looking ahead at our third quarter, the order book looks good and our inventory is aligned appropriately. We’re well-positioned for the important fall and holiday season. As we look to the future, we think about several key brands as being important growth drivers for our business including DKNY, Donna Karan, Karl Lagerfeld, Vilebrequin, Nautica and Halston, each of which have unique propositions. The varying aesthetic appeal to wide range of customer segments and lifestyle needs, creating opportunities across an even greater number of retailers. DKNY is inspired by the energy and attitude of New York. This brand provides a modern wardrobe to carry you from day to night that attracts the younger consumers looking for contemporary products. While Donna Karan is a modern system of dressing created to appeal to a woman’s senses on every level, it addresses the full lifestyle needs of women in search of sophisticated products from one of the most recognizable American brands. Karl Lagerfeld, an iconic name in fashion, embodies the aesthetic of its namesake fused with a contemporary forward-looking spirit. The product features Parisian-inspired classics with a rock-chic attitude for high fashion. Vilebrequin, our status swimwear brand, cultivates a spirit of refinement and fantasy, staying true to the casual charm with perfectly tailored and always-in-style product for a top-tier clientele. Grounded in classic Americana, Nautica is a lifestyle brand with nautical-inspired designs that’s iconic and modern with a casual fit, feel and function, which appeals to shoppers in search of a more relaxed style. And Halston, our most recent key license, stands for simple and classic elegance that will offer an easy modern approach to dressing and appeals to consumers seeking aspirational style. Our brands offer a range of price points, have tailored distribution strategies and dedicated teams that design for their specific positioning. Each of our core brands complement one another and bring a distinct point of view to our portfolio which broadens our distribution opportunities. Growing our owned brands including DKNY, Karl Lagerfeld, Donna Karan, and Vilebrequin remains a key strategic priority as they represent an important longer-term profit driver by generating higher operating margins and providing licensing income for G-III. They also enable us to further extend our global reach. This year, with the ownership of the whole Karl Lagerfeld brand, our international sales will be up 20% to last year. With $1.3 billion in annual revenue last year, we believe we can grow this business to over $3 billion in annual revenue over time. Our DKNY and Karl Lagerfeld businesses registered solid year-over-year growth in the second quarter. It has now been a year since our acquisition of the full Karl Lagerfeld brand. The integration of this business was seamless and it had a great transitional year. We launched Karl Lagerfeld jeans in Europe, a new key growth category for the brand. We will have two stores dedicated to just the jeans line, one in Paris and the second in Madrid. DKNY’s fall marketing campaign will be focused around the same DKNY For You, which explores the uniqueness of New York from a number of perspectives. This campaign will be amplified through a robust mix of media, including digital, premium outdoor placements as well as social and influencer partnerships across the US and key international markets. Coming off the momentum of the Met Gala, Karl Lagerfeld’s fall campaign will be brought to life through high-impact marketing activities around the globe. The campaign will roll out across channels with a focus on digital, including innovative NFTs, augmented reality filters, creative collaborations and more. We continue to capitalize on opportunities to leverage our own brand’s recognition through highly profitable licensing arrangements. This quarter, we secured renewals from some of our key licenses, which is another good indicator of our brand strength. Additionally, we are in the process of adding licenses in entirely new categories, exposing our brand to a wider audience. Extending our global reach is another important priority. We have unique partnerships for Karl Lagerfeld that drive notable international exposure. Last month, the brand officially opened its first five-star luxury hotel in Macau, with 271 opulent guestrooms and a restaurant featuring a Michelin-starred chef. This project represents Karl’s design vision as he personally worked on it for six years prior to his passing. The grand opening was hosted with Academy Award winner Michelle Yeoh, and attended by other internationally renowned VIPs and 2,000 other guests. This hotel is a sophisticated luxury endeavor, creating another major brand experience and attracting a global audience. In June, we announced a second Karl Lagerfeld Hotel Tower at The Sail development in Malacca, Malaysia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is rapidly emerging as an international tourist destination. It will feature the tallest nine-tower linked structures in the world and resemble a ship. The official summer opening of Vilebrequin’s new beach club, La Plage, has been a major success, offering guests an elevated beach experience. This summer, the club quickly became a destination for international vacationers as the brand hosted several high-profile celebrity and corporate events at the beach club during The Cannes International Film Festival. This concept has enabled us to rapidly replicate the model to franchise and licensing opportunities for beach clubs. We’re actively working on additional opportunities as we continue to create more Vilebrequin experiences, which will increase global awareness, enhancing the status appeal of the brand. The brand also opened two new international stores during the quarter, one in the Bahamas and a second on Paris’ Rue de la Paix, which will offer a higher penetration of our luxury line, enabling us to increase our store AURs by double digits. We continue to build our DKNY international business. In Europe, our Milan office has been working to expand the brand’s presence. Our franchise partners continue to open stores and have already opened three to date with additional openings to follow. We continue to invest in resources in our digital and omni-channel expansion, which remains an important priority to drive growth for our brands. Our North American digital business with our pure-play partners and our owned DKNY and Karl Lagerfeld Paris sites was up over 60%. Our work with Amazon, Fanatics, and many sites operated by them as well as other digital-only retailers is paying off, and these investments have created digital capabilities that we are leveraging across our entire portfolio. We’re excited about the opportunities ahead with these partners and believe this is just the beginning of the digital growth that we can create. Our brick-and-mortar business across our department stores and our wholesale accounts is key. As customers continue to shop in-store, our teams have done an incredible job of getting the right product and the right channels at the right time to maximize sales as evidenced by our strong performance in the quarter. Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com We’ve created a differentiated business model to support our success at wholesale. Our teams are uniquely comprised of strong planners and merchandisers who partner with our designers to create data-driven designs, which deliver desirable products. And on the sales side, they work hand in hand with our retailers to plan their buys, again, informed by our data, ensuring the appropriate product is in their stores and is well positioned on their floors on a timely basis. Our investments in analytics enable us to design and continually revise our lines to capitalize on the needs of the retailer. Additionally, our proven formula for building each category line creates a strong mix of products that meets consumer demand, creating some of the strongest sell-throughs that ensure we drive our retail partners and our business successfully. This makes us a best-in-class partner to retailers. Lastly, I’m pleased with our Board refreshment efforts, which — with three new Independent Directors having just recently joined us. Overall, we’ve added six new Independent Directors over the past four years. Our impressive list of new Board members includes Bob Johnson, Founder and Chairman of RLJ Companies and Founder and Former Chairman of BET; Victor Herrero, the CEO of Australian brand Lovisa and Former Chief Executive Officer and Director of Guess?; Patti Ongman, Former Chief Merchandising Officer of Macy’s and currently a leading fashion consultant; Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President of the Fashion Institute of Technology; Michael Shaffer, recently retired Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of PVH Corp and an external advisor to a number of fashion businesses; and Andrew Yaeger, Global Head of Jefferies’ Strategic Equity Transactions Group. Each of them along with our current Board members and management team provide independent, diverse and valuable perspectives to G-III. Having new points of view during this time in our company’s evolution is important to better position us for the future. In conclusion, we’ve done a great job successfully executing our strategic priorities, and I feel great about our product, strength across our wholesale segment, digital increases and our prudent inventory management, financial discipline and enthusiasm of our team. Based on the strong second quarter performance and our order book, we have confidence to raise our fiscal 2024 outlook. We now expect fiscal 2024 net sales of $3.3 billion. We are raising our non-GAAP net income per diluted share to be in the range of $3.20 to $3.30 compared to $2.85 in fiscal 2023. I will now pass the call to Neal for a discussion of our second quarter financial results as well as guidance for the third quarter and full year fiscal 2024. Neal Nackman: Thank you, Morris. With respect to our results of operations, the comments I’m about to make are on a non-GAAP basis. A full reconciliation of our GAAP to non-GAAP results are included in our press release issued this morning. Net sales for the second quarter ended July 31, 2023, increased approximately 9% to $660 million from $605 million in the same period last year, and were approximately $65 million above our guidance. Included in our sales for this quarter was $38 million of additional sales of the acquired Karl Lagerfeld business, which became a wholly-owned subsidiary on June 1, 2022. Accordingly, the results of the Karl Lagerfeld business were included in our results commencing with the last month of the prior year’s second quarter. Net sales of our Wholesale segment increased approximately 9% to $639 million from $588 million last year. This segment now includes the acquired Karl Lagerfeld business results. Net sales of our North American Retail segment was $34 million for the second quarter compared to net sales of $31 million in last year’s second quarter. Our gross margin percentage was 41.9% in the second quarter of fiscal 2023, compared to 37.8% in the previous year’s second quarter. The Wholesale segment gross margin percentage was 40.6% compared to 36.2% in last year’s comparable quarter. As we have stated before, the acquired Karl Lagerfeld business operates at a higher gross margin percentage than the rest of our Wholesale segment. Their inclusion in the quarter resulted in increased wholesale gross margin percentages of approximately 150 basis points. The remainder of the increase in gross margin percentage is a result of a decrease in inflationary pressures in product and transit costs. The gross margin percentage in our Retail Operations segment was 50.5% compared to 51.6% in the prior year. Non-GAAP SG&A expenses were $237 million or 36% of net sales compared to $186 million or 30.7% of net sales in last year’s second quarter. SG&A grew by approximately $29 million, primarily related to the inclusion of the acquired Karl Lagerfeld business in our results for the additional two months in the quarter. In addition, we had increases in compensation and warehousing costs as well as overall inflationary pressures. Non-GAAP net income for the second quarter was $19 million or $0.40 per diluted share compared to $19 million or $0.39 per diluted share in last year’s second quarter. Driven by the higher sales we achieved and the associated gross margin flow through, this was significantly above the midpoint of our guidance of a breakeven quarter. Turning to the balance sheet, we made good progress with respect to our inventory levels. As compared to last year’s second quarter, inventory levels were $805 million, decreasing approximately $236 million or 23% from last year’s $1.04 billion. We have tempered our buying this year and are well set up for the fall and holiday shipping season. We expect our lower inventory levels this year as compared to the prior year at both the end of the third and fourth quarters. We ended the quarter in a net debt position of approximately $268 million compared to $424 million in the prior year. This decrease in net debt is primarily a result of cash flows from operations as well as the large decrease in our inventory levels, offset by $36 million used for stock repurchases. We had cash and availability under our revolving credit agreement of approximately $825 million at the close of the quarter. This was after we repaid $75 million of debt in the quarter. We expect strong positive cash flows this year that will continue to reflect our normalization of inventory levels. We believe that our liquidity and financial position provide us the flexibility to invest in our future growth. As for our guidance, I will provide non-GAAP guidance. Again, a full reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP results is available in the press release we issued this morning. Based on our performance in the second quarter and our current view of the second half of the year, we are raising our guidance. For the full fiscal year 2024, we now expect net sales of approximately $3.3 billion. On a non-GAAP basis, we expect net income for the full fiscal year 2024 of between $152 million and $157 million or between $3.20 and $3.30 per diluted share. This compares to non-GAAP net income of $139 million or $2.85 per diluted share for fiscal 2023. Full year fiscal 2024 adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $284 million and $289 million compared to adjusted EBITDA of $266 million in fiscal 2023. For the third quarter of fiscal year 2024, we expect net sales of approximately $1.13 billion compared to $1.08 billion in the same period last year. On a non-GAAP basis, we expect net income between $96 million and $101 million or between $2.03 and $2.13 per diluted share. This compares to non-GAAP net income of $66 million or $1.35 per diluted share in the third quarter of fiscal year 2023. As a reminder, last year’s third quarter included significant one-time demurrage charges of approximately $27 million or $0.40 per diluted share. We do not expect to anniversary these costs in this year’s third quarter. Let me add some context around modeling. We expect continued gross margin improvement during the balance of fiscal year 2024, and anticipate ending the year with gross margins up approximately 450 basis points compared to the fiscal 2023 rate. The second half of fiscal 2024’s gross margin will benefit from a few factors. As I just mentioned, we do not expect to repeat significant one-time logistics costs and additionally, freight costs have significantly moderated. While we are anticipating improved operating margins in both the third quarter and fourth quarter, we anticipate SG&A will de-lever as we continue to expect elevated warehousing costs as well as continued inflationary pressure on costs. We expect non-GAAP interest expense to be approximately $45 million for the full year. We are estimating a tax rate of 28% for the balance of the year. We have not anticipated any potential share repurchases in our guidance. That concludes my comments. I will now turn the call back to Morris for closing remarks. Morris Goldfarb: Thank you, Neal, and thank you all for joining us today. We’re seeing the results of our performance. Closing out the second quarter, well exceeding our top and bottom-line guidance and our order book gives us confidence in our raised outlook for the full year. The strength of our balance sheet affords us tremendous financial flexibility to invest in our business and consider additional opportunities. Our diversification is a testament to the stable business model and solid foundation we’ve created, enabling us to navigate any environment. I’m very excited about the new opportunities we’ve secured, which our team is working hard to bring to market. We have strong plans in place to drive G-III with our focus on our strategic priorities and these new growth drivers. I’d like to thank our entire organization, our many partners, and all of our stakeholders for their continued support. Operator, we’re now ready to take some questions. See also 25 Cities with the Most Beautiful Women in the World and 10 Best Gold Stocks to Buy for Portfolio Diversification. Q&A Session Follow G Iii Apparel Group Ltd (NASDAQ:GIII) Follow G Iii Apparel Group Ltd (NASDAQ:GIII) We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: [Operator Instructions] The first question comes from Will Gaertner with Wells Fargo. Your line is open. Will Gaertner: Hey, guys. Thanks for taking my questions. Maybe we could talk a little bit about the guidance. So you guys beat by $65 million, but the flow-through was only $10 million on the top-line. Can you just — is that just a matter of being conservative or can you just kind of put some more color on that? Neal Nackman: Yeah, Will, that’s — so looking at the order book, we go through a very thorough process throughout the company in terms of the future forecast. We speak to every division. Again, we look at the order book that’s in place. So those are just refinements, most of that really came out of our internal fourth quarter expectations. Will Gaertner: Got it. And just one more follow-up. On Champion, is this going to be similar economics to the other licenses you had previously? And maybe just frame out how big you think that this licensing deal could be for you. Morris Goldfarb: So, yeah, the framework of the Champion licenses is very much the same as our other coat license. The added feature is — for Champion, there is demand in the athletic stores for the brand in the outerwear sector. DICK’s and Foot Locker are potential opportunities for us, where our fashion brands really don’t have that audience in those venues. So — and it is not — it won’t be our largest business, but it will be an important business in our portfolio, and it will function alongside with approximately the same sales volume as our other brands that include Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s and DKNY, and Karl Lagerfeld. So it’s in this same scope, same scale. That’s the plan. Will Gaertner: Just the economics are the same from like a — from an EBIT margin perspective? Is it similar economics? Morris Goldfarb: It is, and we reported yet another — I’m sorry, what I left out is, Hanes has agreed to give us exposure in most of their global venues. So hopefully, we can build an international business out of that whereas Calvin, Tommy, we were limited to just North America. Will Gaertner: Got it. Thank you. I’ll pass it along. Operator: Please standby for our next question. The next question comes from Mauricio Serna with UBS. Your line is open. Mauricio Serna: Great. Good morning, and thanks for taking my question. I just wanted to get a little bit more detail on — I think like the implied growth for the second half of the year is around 5%, 6%. Just want to understand, like, how much of that is driven by Wholesale versus Retail. And in general, like, during this quarter, like, what can you tell us about the performance of the key brands, like, which one had, like, a stronger performance which one is maybe you saw some underperformance? And I don’t know if you mentioned this, but did you provide any, like, long-term expectations on how much the Champion business could reach over time in the long-term? Thank you. Morris Goldfarb: Thank you, Mauricio. Thanks for your question. I’ll start with the last one. We generally don’t provide a dollar value or dollar number for classification brands. But it fits right in the mix of our other brands and with additional opportunity. But we’re planning it similar to all our co-brands. Your question on the growth, the growth is primarily through the wholesale distribution that we have, which are department stores and the typical distribution that we have. It is not — it doesn’t have an aggressive retail plan. Retail will be flat to last year and we have a very small retail business. As it relates to your question on brand’s performance, we’re — we don’t have any losers. We have — a standout might be considered Karl Lagerfeld......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeySep 8th, 2023

I tried the same steak at Texas Roadhouse and LongHorn and can see why the younger brand is more popular — even though it didn"t have the better meal

LongHorn vs. Texas Roadhouse: I tried the same steak at both and can see why one chain is more popular, even if it didn't have the better steak. The great Texas steak-off: I went to LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse to see which chain does the best bone-in rib eye.Dominick Reuter/Insider LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse are two chains serious about serving the best meat. I visited both chains to see how each handles the ultimate steak lover's cut, the bone-in rib eye. Even though LongHorn delivered the better meal this time, I'd sooner go back to Texas Roadhouse. It's no secret that Americans love steak.Look no further than the booming growth of national chains like LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse, which have both seen substantial gains in new locations and sales in the past year, boosting the share prices of their respective parent companies.Although neither brand has actual origins in the Lone Star state — LongHorn was founded in Georgia in 1981 and Texas Roadhouse in Indiana in 1994 — both have adopted Texas-inspired identities and a mission to serve the best meat.To put the two porterhouse powerhouses to the test, I visited both chains to see how each handles the ultimate steak lover's cut, the bone-in rib eye.This prime cut is one that every grill master worth their seasoning salt takes great care and pride in getting right, making it a sure measure of a kitchen's talent. Of course, that's only one (obviously important) piece of the puzzle in the restaurant business.I started off with LongHorn Steakhouse.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThis location is open for lunch on weekdays, unlike the newly opened Texas Roadhouse nearby.I was promptly greeted and seated by an exceptionally friendly staff.Dominick Reuter/InsiderMy server took my order and quickly brought me ice-cold sweet tea and bread to snack on.As a Southerner, I like my iced tea with a pronounced flavor, a lot of sugar, and a fresh lemon. LongHorn gets it right.Sweet tea and bread at LongHorn.Dominick Reuter/InsiderI had to resist stuffing myself with the bread, which was a warm, fresh multigrain loaf served with whipped butter.The dimly lit dining rooms in the 562 locations the company operates look about the same.A LongHorn dining room.Dominick Reuter/InsiderDarden Restaurants, which also owns Olive Garden, opened 16 LongHorn locations in the past year.The decor evokes a Western ranch lodge, with cowboy chaps and bull horns adorning the walls.LongHorn decor.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThe styling feels a bit dated compared with recent refreshes at other brands, but other diners seemed comfortable with the consistency.I was impressed by the size and heft of the steak knife — it was huge!A LongHorn steak knife.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThe blade was a bit cumbersome for spreading butter, but it definitely got me in the mood for meat.My medium-rare bone-in rib eye landed with a sheen of lemon butter and a side of corn on the cob. It smelled delicious.A LongHorn rib eye.Dominick Reuter/InsiderI had intended to get fries on the side for a better comparison and to keep the focus on the steak, but this corn simply looked too good to pass up.The color and char looked just right, and I carved off a large piece to check the temperature.A medium-rare LongHorn rib eye.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThe pink was more on the "medium" side of "medium rare," but still within the range of what I'd expect from a major chain.With the first bite, my taste buds were hit with juicy steak flavor, enhanced by bright notes from the peppery rub and citrus butter.A closeup of the rib eye.Dominick Reuter/InsiderDubbed the "Outlaw Ribeye," this steak packs a whopping 1,250 calories (790 from fat), per LongHorn's nutrition guide. The LongHorn 22-ounce LongHorn porterhouse is slightly larger but leaner.The texture was nice and firm, with bits of grill char and marbled fat complementing one another.Dominick Reuter/InsiderTurning the bone over, I noticed it was cut to reveal the marrow, which helps transfer some flavor to the meat.The fire-grilled corn was laden with a crème sauce and panko seasoning and paired nicely with the steak.The fire-grilled corn at LongHorn.Dominick Reuter/InsiderOther sides that caught my eye included the crispy Brussels sprouts, steakhouse mac and cheese, and fried okra. I'll have to go back for those.Having eaten my fill, I requested the check and a box for the remaining steak.The bill at LongHornDominick Reuter/InsiderThe steak cost $29.29, plus the tea and a markup for the corn, for a total of $35.47 before tax and tip.After a genteel pause — about two hours to digest and catch up on emails and phone calls — I headed to Texas Roadhouse for round two.A Texas Roadhouse.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThis location is one of seven new ones to open this year, bringing the total to 620, with several more on the way.Even though it was before dinnertime, the well-staffed restaurant was getting busy with diners.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThe average Texas Roadhouse location does roughly $150,000 in weekly revenue, significantly higher than LongHorn's $91,000 average.The famous display of hand-cut steaks, which are prepared in-house daily, stood near the entrance.Texas Roadhouse's famous display of steaks.Dominick Reuter/InsiderI didn't see a rib eye on display, but the offerings looked tempting.A host grabbed a basket of warm sweet rolls and led me to a booth.A booth at Texas Roadhouse.Dominick Reuter/InsiderEach table had an electronic mini kiosk for ordering, paying, and even playing video games.The dining-room ambiance was more New Country than Old Western, with exposed wood and neon signs instead of leather and paintings.The vibe was New Country.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThe layout was centered around a U-shaped bar, with plenty of TVs showing sports, as well as one playing music videos of the country hits booming over the speakers.My server brought over an iced tea, which was plenty sweet but less flavorful than the one at LongHorn.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThe rolls were also sweeter and less flavorful than LongHorn's loaf, and the steak knife was disappointingly basic, too, but I digress.My medium-rare bone-in rib eye arrived quickly, with servings of corn and green beans on the side.Dominick Reuter/InsiderI went with corn to try to match the LongHorn meal, but unfortunately, it was not served on the cob. The green beans were generously flecked with pieces of bacon.The steak had a lighter color and less char than the Longhorn version and larger portions of fat.Dominick Reuter/InsiderRib eyes get most of their flavor from the marbling of fat, but that can cause the steak to have more gristly bits than some diners like.A similar initial cut revealed a temperature that was more on the "rare" side of "medium rare."Dominick Reuter/InsiderI interpreted the rareness as a sign the chef was averse to overcooking a steak.The first bite was phenomenally tender, with an aroma and flavor that had a more pronounced garlic and onion profile.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThe seasoning was also a bit salty for my taste, and the sides were somewhat bland.The restaurant's manager stopped by my table a few minutes later to see how I was enjoying the meal and told me he had cooked my steak personally.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThe manager later told me the saltiness of the seasoning is a common critique, but it's one of the only food items that is delivered as is, rather than made from scratch in-house. He also said meat prices have been going up, but he's doing his best not to pass that on to customers all at once.I could also see how the same seasoning and cooking process that would give a lift to a more common cut of steak could be a bit of overkill on one as rich as the rib eye.Dominick Reuter/InsiderPlus, I'd bet the seasoning pairs nicely with one of the restaurant's signature margaritas.At the end of the day, LongHorn came out on top in terms of preparing a more satisfying meal for die-hard steak lovers.LongHorn's steak.Dominick Reuter/InsiderLongHorn's seasoning allowed more of the meat and fire flavors to take center stage, plus the sides were more interesting.The knife wasn't bad, either.Dominick Reuter/InsiderSeriously, just look at that thing.But when I think about which one I'd rather come back to first — and bring my kids — my choice would be Texas Roadhouse.Dominick Reuter/InsiderThe difference between the rib eyes wasn't dramatic, and the prices were comparable. The Texas Roadhouse steak cost $28.99 with two sides — $0.30 less than Longhorn — and the tea was $2.99 for a total of $31.98 before tax and tip. Beyond price, Texas Roadhouse felt more lively and welcoming, with a wider variety of menu options to try for different diners.That could be why, even as both chains post strong growth, Texas Roadhouse is ahead and extending its lead.Irene Jiang / Business InsiderFor the most recent quarter, Texas Roadhouse saw same-store sales increase by 9.1%, compared with LongHorn's very respectable 7.1%.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 28th, 2023

Full House Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLL) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

Full House Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLL) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript August 9, 2023 Operator: Greetings, and welcome to the Full House Resorts Inc. Second Quarter 2023 Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is […] Full House Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLL) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript August 9, 2023 Operator: Greetings, and welcome to the Full House Resorts Inc. Second Quarter 2023 Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Lewis Fanger, CFO of Full House Resorts. Please go ahead. Lewis Fanger: Thank you, and good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our second quarter earnings call. Before we begin, we did post some slides on the website. So if you go to investors.fullhouseresorts.com you’ll see that bronze banner. And if you hover over company info, you can go to the presentation section and find some of the slides that we’ll discuss today, including a bunch of current photos of some work going on at Chamonix. As always, before we begin, we remind you that today’s conference call may contain forward-looking statements that we’re making under the Safe Harbor provision of federal securities laws. I’d also like to remind you that the Company’s actual results could differ materially from the anticipated results in these forward-looking statements. Please see today’s press release under the caption Forward-Looking Statements for the discussion of risks that may affect our results. Also, we may make reference to non-GAAP measures such as adjusted EBITDA. For a reconciliation of those measures, please see our website as well as the various press releases that we issue. And lastly, we’re broadcasting this conference call at fullhouseresorts.com, where you can find today’s earnings release as well as all of our SEC filings. And with that said, ready to go, Dan. Dan Lee: All right. It’s kind of a complicated quarter, so I’m going to figure out where to start. But we’re busy these days and the business kind of falls into four categories. One is still ramping up the temporary. This was its first full quarter of operations, and it did well and it is getting better. The table games is starting to be a bigger factor, and we’re still hiring more dealers. We now rank third in the state and table games as of the July numbers that came out yesterday. Our steakhouse should arrive in late September. It’s disappointingly late. It’s basically a large diner. It’s coming in seven trucks, and they’re trying to line up the permits to bring these oversized trucks from Florida to Illinois. And it’s got to be assembled and opened. So it probably doesn’t get open until sometime in the fourth quarter. The sports book should be up and running in September. So we’re still pulling it together and still hiring people, but the trends are pretty good and it’s profitable. So it’s going very much the way most successful new casinos go. Second big task is completing construction of Chamonix in Colorado. It’s pretty unusual for a company our size to undertake two things at the same time, but we didn’t pick the timing in Illinois, and that’s how it ended up. And so we’re preparing for it to open on December 26. So it’s not only completing the construction, which is a job in half, but also preparing for the opening. Along those lines, we made some pretty good progress with the staff, the high-end restaurant, which we intend to be one of the best, if not the best restaurants in the entire State of Colorado. We’ve done a deal with Barry Decadence from Barry’s Prime Down at Circa. They used to run the 9steakhouse at the Palms. And before that, Barry was with REO, which is Charlie Palmers Company and was Manhattan and he moved to Las Bases, opened the one at Mandate quite a few years ago. But this is a guy who’s had Michelin Stars before. He knows how to run high-end restaurants and high-end restaurants in casino setting. So we’re excited to have them as part of the team. It’s an outside chef deal, very much like most of the restaurants at Bellagio, where they get a percentage of revenues and percentage of profit for running it, but it’s our restaurant, but they’re motivated to make it their restaurant as well. We have pretty — a small part of the overall business, but [indiscernible] pretty important, we have a prominent jewelry store on the property. We have a consultant from Santa Fe, who’s got a successful business there called Rock & Feather, and she’s helped them pull together how to make our jewelry store special. And in terms of new hires, we just hired Brett Modell, who I think, started work actually today. And that’s a pretty important hire. He’s Director of non-gaming operations. Recognize that this is a high-end hotel that we’re building here. And our team there has not operated a lot of this high-end stuff before. And so we needed somebody with that experience and Brett grew up in New York City, but he’s actually fluent Mandarin. He’s fully American his wife is from China, but he trained at Wynn Macau in Macau and then he helped open casinos in Vietnam and Nepal. He worked for Aman Resorts for a while in Bhutan. Aman is probably the highest end hotel chain that’s out there. And after working in China, he was running a hotel in crested view, which is where we found him. And he and his family were relocating to our part of Colorado, and we’re excited to have him on board and he can make sure that the hotel, the spa, the meeting and space, the food and beverage, all lives up to the expectations that the high-end customers expect. So he’s an important hire, and he starts today. So then the third thing, of course, is we have an existing company with existing properties, and that’s had some challenges. And in particular, in this quarter, the Silver Slipper had some cost issues. The payroll went up quite a bit and the revenues didn’t and that had an impact on the bottom line, and we’re getting that back under control. We’ve got a freeze on any was we’re looking at staffing numbers and we’ll get it under control. At in Tahoe, there was a huge winter in Tahoe and the snow has been gradual going away that caused the people to delay their return for the summer and the summer is pretty important up there. And now we’re in the heart of it, and it’s doing better, but in the second quarter that affected it. It’s an off-season quarter for the Tahoe property, and so it was down. In Colorado, the construction of Chamonix has been affecting Branco Billy’s for quite some time. That continues to be the case. [indiscernible] banalities because of Chamonix doesn’t have any parking. We try to operate Valley parking as best we can, and we shuttle from an outside lot, but all of our competition is on-site parking. And we don’t — we also don’t have an on-site hotel. We have a Battenberg two blocks away. All of that will change when Chamonix opens. But at the moment, Bronco Billy’s is making money in the summer, but it wasn’t in the second quarter. And then Rising Star and Indiana is doing okay, especially considering that there is a competitor that didn’t exist a year ago. And that’s the Churchill Casino at Sharp Park and I think Deco it’s a mature market. So when somebody adds a casino in a mature market like that, it becomes a market share game, and I think we’re holding our own. Then the fourth task that we’re busy with is, frankly, designing the permanent American Place. We’re incorporating a lot of what we’ve learned from the temporary. We’ve learned quite a few things. We haven’t started construction yet. There’s no — but we are actively designing it, which cost some money, but it’s — now there’s a lawsuit out there from the Potawatomi tribe, who is a competitor of ours to our north, and they filed a whole bunch of lawsuits not against us, but against the city and the state, that may end up delaying our start of construction and financing. I think ultimately, the suits will end up being resolved and everything go forward. But at the moment, it’s something — it just happened last week. We thought this soup was pretty much gone, and they had appealed something and the appellate court sent it back to a lower court. And so that puts it back into flux a little bit. And so that’s on the permanent. There’s a bunch of unusual stuff because we have a lower tax rate in Indiana than most of the other casinos because we’re the smallest one, and there’s — there’s a progressive tax rate in Indiana. There is an amount of free play that you’re allowed to deduct every year. We have found it makes sense for us to sell our free play to guys in a higher tax bracket, and we’ve done that every year for about five years now. And we did that this year in the first quarter for $2.1 million. We did it last year as well for $2.1 million, but it was in the second quarter last year. So looking at the year-over-year high results that kind of affects it. Generally, we’ll do it early in the year as possible because you never quite know during the pandemic year, for example, when we were closed for three months, fortunately, we had sold the free play before that period because with everybody being closed for three months, we might not have sold it for as much as we were able to sell it for. And so then on the sports books, Churchill got out of the online sportsbook business in the second quarter of last year. And when they did that, they had paid us an upfront fee plus a percentage of the revenues. The upfront fees of these deals go into deferred revenue when they pulled out of the deal that accelerated the unamortized deferred revenues, there was about $1 million of revenue and income in last year’s second quarter. Now one of those sports books that they backed out of, we now have a deal with a new company who paid us a new upfront fee and is paying us on a regular basis. But the big number there is the sports book operation in Chicago, where we repaid $5 million upfront, which again is deferred revenue. And we will receive a minimum of $5 million a year from that. And that starts in the middle of August, whether the sports book is actually up and running or not. But we do expect them to be up and running pretty soon. And if they’re very successful, we will get more than $5 million a year. But the minimum of $5 million starts in mid-August, and that’s by far the biggest of these. So Illinois, Indiana and Colorado, in Indiana, each casino has allowed three websites. In Colorado, each casino is out of one website, but we actually have three licenses. So we end up with three there as well. And there’s quite a few small casinos in the state, each of which gets a license. In Illinois, there’s, I think, 13 total casinos, if I remember correctly. And each gets one website. And of course, the population of Illinois is much bigger than either Colorado or India, actually bigger than Colorado and Indiana combined. So each website is worth much more. So that’s why our agreement in Illinois at the very important and coming on stream in a month and a week, I guess next week. Then there was some accounting issues and not unusual in a new casino, you find, you start up and then you’ll find some little things. And so for example, our progressive our slot machines, a number of them have a progressive type jackpot on them. You don’t start those at zero, you could have started them at something else because it’s not very exciting to look at a progressive jackpot at 0. And that amount, when you open, would be a charge to preopening costs and it’s a liability. And so I forget whether it’s a debit or a credit on the old T accounts. But it’s — there was about $300,000 that we missed. So we took that charge in the second quarter. We have a new finance person who helped us discover that. And we moved him from rising sun, and we think we have everything straight down now, but that was a little bit of a surprise for us. We do continue to have training costs in Illinois because we are trying to hire more dealers, and we we’re on our own dealer school, and we pay dealers their wage in order to go to the dealer school, we will also pay relocation costs to get dealers. And we’re gradually getting there. We have enough dealers now to operate 30 games on Saturday night, we’re allowed to have 50. And as people get more experience, we can also increase the table limits right now, we go to $5,000 a hand. One of our key competitors have got to $20,000 a hand. We don’t want to do that until we have our experienced dealers. And so that’s going on. And then I guess that’s the main unusual stuff. All of this stuff is going to get cleared up in the next few quarters. And a year from now, now we should be pretty mature at both of the new properties and generating a lot of free cash flow. So if we go to the presentation we put online that Lewis mentioned everything I just said, I meant to be kind of a summary, but I guess I went into a little more detail than a summary. But on the presentation that’s online, it notes that our revenues increased 34%. That’s really the temporary, which is most of that, in fact, more than all of it. Adjusted EBITDA declined, but a good chunk of that is the timing of the free play, the $1 million that I mentioned from the deferred revenue and the temporary actually made $4.1 million despite that accounting charge I mentioned. There’s a couple of other small accounting charges, it was closer to 4.5% to 5% if you back out the accounting charges. Which is — it’s not where we expect it to mature at, but for the first full quarter of operations, that’s respectable. And then we start getting sports guns here shortly. And part of the reason for my comfort with the results in Illinois is the next few slides. If you look at admissions, they’ve been trending up very nicely since April. Now when we first opened, you get a lot of tourists coming into town, what Mike Edson used to refer to as Lucky loose. People come in and look at the casino, but they don’t gamble a lot. And over time, you build a mailing list and you start replacing tourists with gamblers. And so since April, we’ve had a steady trend of admissions going up — and you can see, as a result, on the next slide, you can see our slot coin-in. Likewise, is steadily going up. And our table games drop steadily going up. Now on table games, it’s also affected by the fact that we are offering more tables at any given time, and we’re operating them more hours of the week than we had before, and we are also allowing larger bets over time. And so if you if you had these charts on the same scale, you’d see that table games drop is actually growing faster than the slot coin in, and that’s a result of adding more tables over time. And so a lot of our growth is coming from tables at the moment, but we’re continuing to show growth in slots. Slots will always be the preponderance of the business here, but tables are going to be meaningful in some of the markets, they’re not very meaningful. So going way back when we opened this is on Slide number 8, we had 28 table games by middle of May, we were at 36%. By now, we have 48, but we don’t have enough dealers to operate all 48. So we have about 30 open on weekends. But of course, we pull people from potential ships during the week in order to have more tables open on weekends. So as we hire more dealers, it helps how many tables we have open on a weekend, but it also helps some new tables we can open during the week. Generally, we — our table games or $15 minimum bet we might have during some times of the week $110 table as kind of a loss leader out there. But generally, we’re a $15 minimum table and up. And as mentioned in July, we were third in the state, which is pretty good for a place that’s only been open a few months. And then we expect to extend our week and table games hours to 4 a.m. Currently, it’s closed at two, and so we’re picking that up. The guest database, you can see, has been building. We’re now at about 40,000 people in our database. That’s pretty important. We started at zero. And this allows us eventually to be more efficient on our marketing costs. We are still spending quite a bit of money on marketing and advertising, getting our brand out, letting people know we exist and so on. But over time, we gradually are already being more targeted and that will continue to be more targeted as we have a more — a bigger debt base. It’s almost like — we were talking about the advertising agency. It’s like showing up at a lake in Wisconsin to go fishing, you’ve never been there before, and you don’t really know where the fish are. And so you end up going out in different places and dropping your bait. And over time, you start to realize that certain bays, certain death, certain areas have more fish and you start going back to those areas more and more. And that’s effectively what happens when you open a casino in a market where you haven’t been before. You gradually figure out who gambles and who doesn’t gamble and how to incentivize the people who actually gamble. So that’s Marketplace. On Chamonix on Page number 10, we show the original renderings of the project. It’s very large by Cripple Creek standards. I remind myself sometimes that it’s about 10% of the size of the casinos we built in Las Vegas 20 years ago, but is — we’re also a small company. So this has a pretty big impact on us. And — it’s $250 million. It’s a very high-end casino, 300 guestrooms. I remember Steve Wynn, when he opened the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, it had 500 guestrooms. And it was doing $100 million a year of income 25 years ago, 35 years ago, right? So if you get the right people and the guestrooms, you can make a lot of money. I mentioned the steakhouse. We’ve got a rooftop pool on spot, a nice parking garage and opens December 26. We’ll be having playnits that construction will get turned over to us early in December, and our employees will be practicing and doing playnits. And then we’ll send the employees home for Christmas with their families and open the day afterwards. So — like most families, I find you get together with your family and you all see a great Christmas and the day after Christmas was like, what the do we do now and you end up doing something else. Well, hopefully, we’re there something else. So we hope that we can have a lot of people there. And then we’re planning a significant party on December 31, which is both kind of an opening party and obviously, New Year’s Eve celebration. Page number 12 shows the front of the facade and all that fancy brick work is actual brick. Some of our competition one in particular use like a brick veneer, which is now peeling off. So ours looks really nice. We did spend the money that has some pretty fancy brick work which fits very well with the old buildings in town and then the hotel — a lot of the hotel rooms are in that glass thing up on top, which is designed to kind of meld in and reflect the clouds in the mountains and kind of masked the size of what the building really is. That one square rectangular building you see in front, the one story building has got a ladder leaning against it. That’s a jewelry store. And when we get the cities permission, it closed Second Street because this building squat right across Second Street. One of the commissioners said they didn’t want a big gap in the facade along the street. They thought that would take a wave, and there was some suggestion that we could take an old street car and put it there. There’s an old car at the street that uses tourist information both. We didn’t want to do that, but we said we’d build a jewelry store there that’s the size of a street car. So that’s what that is. Jewelry scores go very well with casinos. People will win money and then they have to bring home and voluntary jewelries someone wants called it. And so we think the jewelry store will be a nice amenity and it fits very well. And it was important to the city in order to get permission to close Second Street. So we addressed it in a good way. The high-end restaurant is those windows to the left. You can see a chimney there. That’s because where there’s valet pickup, where you have an outdoor fireplace that keep you warm while you’re waiting for your car. This is a cold climate and the main Valley entrances behind the jewelry store. The parking garage is on the back of the building. The next page shows the main part of the casino, the table games part. The other those tall windows will be shaded and they have curtains on the inside because you don’t want a lot of daylight into the casino, but we wanted the outside to look Regal. So we put these windows on the outside, but on the inside, they will not bring in a lot of light, but it looks right on the outside. The next page shows… Lewis Fanger: Dan, really quick. And then on Slide number 13 as well, important thing is just to see those blue warnings there. That’s existing probabilities. And so some of you that have never been to town often ask us how — just how tightly are they integrated. The answer is very tightly. You won’t have to leave the Bronco casino to go into the Chamonix casino. As you can see there, they’re essentially attached. Dan Lee: Yes. It’s a lot like going from Tomorrowland to fantasy land at Disneyland. I mean — it’s a different theme. You have to go through an arch in one direction and says, welcome to Bronco Billy’s, the other direction is as well from Chamonix. Your points are good from one to the other, but it has a different theme. Chamonix has more modern European sophisticated effect the tagline is European elegance with Colorado Comfort. And Bronco Billy’s is more WildWest historic Cripple Creek, like a lot of the casinos there are. On Page number 14, this is the back of the property. This is our parking garage, you can look down the back Quentin’s garage and it drops right down on the back of the casino. There’s some decorative stuff that goes up on this bare concrete that’s not up yet. But otherwise, it’s pretty far along. And as you can see, the sola there. we could use it if we could get occupancy permits and so on, except that the elevators from the parking garage go into the back of the Chamonix casino. And so I can’t use the garage to help Bronco Billy’s in the next few months because there’s not an easy way to get from those elevators into Bronco Billy’s. Page number 16 shows the table games pit. This is what I mentioned earlier, the big window on the outside, well, that’s one of those on the right in Tennessee, and that will get curtains. But the table games pit are quite elegant, very intricate molding going in here. To the left, you can see that steel door that’s closed, that would normally be open. That’s a fire door that goes from the new building, which is Chamonix to a historic building. And the very first historic building will also be partial, we have to have a firewall in between. And if you go through that and keep going, you end up in Bronco Billy’s. I’m not sure why Lewis included a public restroom other than. Lewis Fanger: Just, you can see that they look quite nice. That’s… It’s quite nice. Yes. Dan Lee: They’re better when they actually have toilet, but the finishes are quite nice. Page number 18, the escalators, which are in, they’re covered to protect them during construction, but there’s a set of escalators that goes up to the meeting space on the second floor. And we have significant surface parking space that you access of the second floor. And — and so that’s going to be pretty important. Moldings are going up on the meeting room space. We have a nice skylight there as well. And we’ve got on Slide number 19. Slide number 20 is the main ballroom, which is large by Colorado standards. And this is an important difference between us and Monarch, for example, we have pretty significant meeting space, Monarch really doesn’t. Ameristar does. And I think it’s important to helping Ameristar fill in the midweek and it’s going to be important for us midweek as well. And so we have a very nice meeting space that. Our site — I mean, Monarch did a nice job and they have a nice casino, but they’re in a very narrow lot. We’re not. We sprawl out better. And that allowed us to have a meeting room space that’s not wedged into a hotel tower. And that’s important for [indiscernible], even if you have entertainment or you have some function. And so that’s important. You see the meeting courtyard. This court courtyard actually serve several purposes. One is those are meeting rooms of the left. And obviously, we could have a high to party outside and so on, if it’s a nice day, which it often is there. And — but that’s also a quarter from the surface parking lot going those doors at the back and you’re right at the top of the escalators that feeds you down to the casino. And so it works very well. Next page is one of our guest rooms. Not all of our guest rooms have both the shower and bathtub, but quite a few do. That’s the shower behind the glass door in the back and a nice freestanding bathtub in the front, and toilets are in every case, in a water closet and nice stonework and so. Page number 24 shows we have quite a few rooms like this where there — you can see the headboard or where the bed is eventually going to go that sofa there is actually a Murphy bed. And that thing pulls down from the wall and that sofa kind of holds out of the way and supports the bed. And so it’s a pretty cool Murphy bed arrangement. So this room can be rented to a couple that went the extra space is kind of a sitting area or if you rented it to 2L couples traveling together, they have two coin-sized beds. So pretty nice room. And then Page number 25 is a picture of part of one of the suites. And number 26. We have two of these two story suites, there’s an upstairs, downstairs element, which is pretty cool and a lot of glass, a lot of views of the mountains and the gold mine and historic town, every room in our place or almost every room in our place has a nice view the handful that don’t, we’ve actually put nice patios on them, so you can at least sit outside, and that will be popular with people who might want to be able to smoke because you can’t smoke in the building in Colorado, but you could have a patio where you could. And then you can see on number 27, when I said we closed and bridged across Second Street, well, this is looking down second street. And this is the view from one of our suites. And then our pool deck, it’s a rooftop pool deck. Now the pool will be heated and open year-round, as is not uncommon at ski areas in places like Colorado. We have a pretty high-tech insulated cover that goes over it at night to try to reduce the heat loss, but the pool is as much an advertisement because from the competing casinos that you see in the background, that’s the Century Casino with the yellow ones there. And to the left of that is Triple Crown. They’ll be looking at the steam rising off our pool. It will be kind of visible throughout the town. And it’s one of those hey, look, they have a pool up there. There’s a pool that. And one wall of the pool that’s kind of in the foreground is actually plexiglass. So you could actually, from certain angles, see people actually swimming in the pool. And it’s not a huge pool, but it’s enough to give it a pull deck and the pull deck be a great place for events and parties and could even be — and if you have a warm summer day, you could turn it into a kind of almost a night club out there. So the pool is pretty important. We opted to let it be outside, let this team go off it. Pretty common at ski areas, whereas both Monarch and Ameristar have indoor pools on their highest deck, which is when the weather is nice, I’d much rather be outside. And frankly, if you want to have a polar plunge, we have a son, a couple of Sonos, not far from the pool and you can get warm a go jump in the pool in February — that’s always right. So then Page number 29 is just segment results. Lewis Fanger: You don’t need to go over the rest of the… Dan Lee: And we’ve already talked through it, I guess, and on that, I think I’m ready to take any questions. Right, if I missed anything? A – Lewis Fanger: No. We’re ready for questions, operator. Q&A Session Follow Full House Resorts Inc (NASDAQ:FLL) Follow Full House Resorts Inc (NASDAQ:FLL) We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: Thank you. We will now be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] One moment please, I will poll for questions. Our first question comes from Jordan Bender with JMP Securities, please go ahead. Jordan Bender: Good afternoon, thank for taking my question. I want to start on the funding for the permanent casino in Illinois. So I guess looking at my model at least, it looks like you’ll need to raise the permanent funding sometime in the middle of next year. I was just trying to get an update on when you guys are thinking about that timing as well as kind of the optionality behind the sources of where that money could come from. Thank you. Dan Lee: Well, we’ve always said that, that would be roughly the timing we’ve looked at our existing bonds become callable in February. And so refinancing the bonds gets a lot cheaper from February on, that’s still seven months away. The bond market has its ins and outs. It’s not a great bond market today. It’s not a horrible one. And we now have this lawsuit that came back again, and that will be something that factors into it. The fact is on our license, there’s no deadline of when we have to be open. And there are some limitations on how long we can operate the temporary. It’s possible that could be revisited. We would like to move forward as quickly as possible. We think the permanent makes quite a bit more than a temporary. We are continuing to refine the design, as I mentioned. But you’re not wrong in saying you’d like to finance it in the middle of next year, but if somebody says, “Well, it’s going to cost you 20% interest or something, then you’d say, well, maybe that’s not the best way to do it. We do still have a standby facility with a large private equity firm that’s there. It’s kind of expensive. We hope we can do it cheaper than that some other way. We think our stock at these prices is extremely cheap. And so that would probably be the most expensive way to do it. And so I can pretty much assure you there’s no issuance of equity being contemplated. And not pretty much, I can assure you that there’s no issuance of equity being contemplated. We could do a REIT deal as they have for the downtown project where a REIT provides most or all of the financing. And of course, the — once we get Chamonix open, we should be generating quite a bit of free cash flow. And so the longer it takes us, the easier the financing is. Now we would still like to move sooner rather than later. But delays aren’t all bad because it does make the financing easier. And so that’s where it is. I mean I don’t have an answer, but we have really a year to figure it out. So… Jordan Bender: Okay. Great. And then just turning to Colorado, the property historically has done about 10% to 20% margins just given the year, is that property ramps up, is it fair to assume that it should exceed that 20% margin? I guess how should we think about what the ultimate margin profile of that property looks like in fully ramped? Thank you. Dan Lee: Yes. I think we can have pretty high margins there as Monarch does. The gaming tax rate in Colorado is a progressive rate, but it caps out at 20%. And — so for regional gaming properties, it’s actually a pretty acceptable tax rate. Also, in general, if you’re the leading property in a market, if you’re the best property in a market, you usually have better margins. You don’t have to market quite as much. And I remember one time a long time ago, the CFO of MGM called me up when I was at Mirage Resorts and wanted to know what we spent on advertising. And I went and looked up the number and it was like $5 million. And he said, that’s not possible. MGM spends $30 million. And I said, well, does that include all the billboards for Sage Roy? I said, well, it’s a good question. Let me go check. And I went back to us, I said, yes, the preponderance of that is actually the billboards for Sage Roy. That’s still not possible. I said, “You know what, we had a volcano that was a really big attraction in a ton of palm trees, and they had a second plastic lion on their front door that nobody wanted to walk through. So of course, you have to spend money on marketing, and we didn’t. And so we will have, by far, the best property in Cripple Creek, and I think the best property in Colorado, one of the best properties in the Midwest. And I think that I’m not right away. It takes a while to get there. But long term, that will play into good margins and a great return. Lewis Fanger: A little more color for you, too. Another way to think about it is over in in Mississippi with Silver Slipper. Before we had that hotel, what you would see is a casino that would largely die out at 7:00 p.m., 8.00 p.m. really earlier than that midweek, maybe a little bit later than that weekend. But largely because you had people that didn’t want to drive home an hour on the roads and be too tired or drunk or all the things that we don’t want them doing either. And so when you have all of a sudden 300 rooms attached, you end up getting much better utilization out of a lot of your existing assets, whether they be the slot machines, the restaurants and all that other jazz. And so the margins, you should see a pretty meaningful move just from that alone. Jordan Bender: Great. Appreciate it. Thank you. Dan Lee: Yes. Monarch does not break out Reno from Black Hawk, but you can look back to when before they got Black Hawk opened, and it’s — and at what they were earning in Reno and so on, they only have the two properties. And it’s pretty clear they’re making at least $100 million a year there, and they have 500 [indiscernible]. Now they are an hour west of Denver, we’re in our west of Colorado Springs, but they have significant competition as well, including Ameristar. And we kind of don’t really — I mean the Golden Nugget has bought the Wildwood and is doing some minor fixing up, and it has 100 rooms in kind of a Hampton n-type hotel. They’re a good operator. I expect they’ll fix it up better. And so down the road, we’ll have better competition. But that’s five years away. We’re going to have a big lead on anyone else. And it’s not easy to assemble land in Cripple Creek. It took us years. So for somebody else to try to assemble something that would compete with us will not be easy. So I think we’ll be the leading casino there for quite some time. Jordan Bender: Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Lewis. Operator: Next question comes from Ryan Sigdahl with Craig-Hallum Capital Group, please go ahead. Ryan Sigdahl: Good afternoon, guys. You’ve covered a lot. So I’m going to ask two more specific questions here, both related to the temporary, but curious how much the cost burden is related to the dealer school in totality. I get it’s necessary, but curious of that cost. And then second, a lot on the revenue side, but curious how the margins have trended over the past couple of months and then into July with the ramp-up in revenue. Dan Lee: Yes. The dealer school is not huge. It’s probably including the people we’re paying to actually be trained and their instructors. It’s like $30,000 to $50,000 a month. But there’s other training of other job titles as well. But the dealer school is something. It is a drain, it’s not huge. The margins will get better. One of the main things driving it is we’ve still got a pretty robust advertising and marketing campaign. And as we get a bigger database and get more focused, we’ll be more efficient with the marketing. And so — I mean, listen, we’re comfortably profitable in our first full quarter of operations. And a lot of casinos are not. I mean I can tell you back when Liveris open in Lake Charles, the first full quarter of operations, it didn’t make much money at all, and then it’s made $100 million a year ever since. Bellagio, the first quarter of operations was so-so, and everybody is like the same question you’re asking me now, and Bellagio has done $400 million a year of income for 25 years now. And so we’re off to a good start No, the revenues aren’t where we expect them to be. The profits aren’t where we expect them to be. The margins where we expect them to be, but they’re okay and trending in the right direction. I should also mention, you’ll notice — I realize investors primarily look at EBDIT, which is appropriate in this industry. But sometimes newspaper reporters get caught up with the net income and operating income that accountants and their delusional craziness make us point be more prominent because the temporary is operating for three years, there’s a whole bunch of stuff we’re depreciating over three years. Now some of that will probably have ongoing value like the parking lots and so on. But that’s why you see such a large depreciation charge over the three years. Now for tax purposes, it’s not yet clear how fast we can depreciate it. But when we close it in three years, we’ll get an abandonment charge. So if you noticed a very big jump in depreciation, that’s because accountants take a very conservative assumption that the stuff like, for example, the restaurant stuff restaurant equipment and all this stuff, they just assume after three years, it’s worthless. And it probably is not worth us. And we have two air stream trailers that are mounted in the middle of the casino floor that are like food trucks. And it turns out they’re pretty popular. And so one of the things we’ve done is said, “Hey, let’s keep using those trailers, they’re not going away. So they’re going to be in the permanent and yet we’re, I believe, depreciating them over three years currently, which is a very conservative approach. Lewis Fanger: Maybe helpful to give you a little bit more there. So right now, the EBITDA margins are running in the high teens. One of the things that Dan hinted out is we are spending quite a bit more on marketing. One of the things that one casino should do, but one of the things that we had been hearing from players that had not gone into our facility is that they would see pictures of the tent and think why would I want to go to that, I’ll wait until you have the real thing. Now I think what anyone would tell you once they go inside the doors is it is unbelievably beautiful on the inside, not what you would expect from looking at on the outside. And so we’re spending a little bit more to try and drive more players into the building itself, trying to build up that database. And that’s going to be extended here for a little bit of time. There’s a new ad campaign that’s getting ready to roll out. So you at least see that for another quarter. But the — maybe the right takeaway for you guys is that the trends are all there. They’re upward. If you look at the month of July, we did $7.8 million or $7.9 million of gaming revenue in the month, that was up about $1 million from the prior month. And so the trends are there, and we’re feeling pretty good. Dan Lee: We recognize most of the casinos in the state have operated for 20 years. Rivers has operated for, I think, 12 years. And the only other recent one is the one in Rockville that’s been open a year longer than us, Rexford. And for us, all already after only a few months, we’re number three in table games and number six or number seven overall is pretty remarkable, given that everybody else is like a 20-year head start on this. Lewis Fanger: I’ll give you one more data point, and I’ll shut up. The — if you take the first full month of Rivers Casino is annualized the first full month of gaming revenue, you would have gotten to a number that was around $409 million or so. If you were to look a year later and look at the actual trailing 12 month of revenues, it was like $406 million or something. But once you cross that point, you start to see some pretty big increases in that overall revenue line today, as you probably know, it’s doing close to $600 million a year in gaming revenue. Now they’ve gotten more positions since then as well. But even in those early years, you saw a pretty meaningful upward move in overall gaming revenue. That’s no different than what we’ll have here. It’s been a pleasant surprise to see how well, how quickly we’ve gotten to number three for the table games revenue line. And the slot business always takes a little bit longer because you need that database, you need the free play to go out. And so that’s why we’re so focused on marketing and making sure that database builds up. Ryan Sigdahl: Great. Thanks, Dan, Lewis. Good luck, guys. Lewis Fanger: Thank you. Operator: Next question comes from Chad Beynon with Macquarie, please go ahead. Chad Beynon: This is Sam on for Chad. Thanks for taking the questions. I was hoping you guys could speak to any consumer trends or change in the promotional environment that you saw during the quarter and into August? Dan Lee: Yes, we’ve got so many big things going on that, that almost seems less important. But certainly, on the Silver Slipper, the property complains about the competitive impact they’re getting from a competitor down the road. But when we really got into the numbers, it was more of our own costs being up. And so we’re trying to get that more under control. Now I’m not saying that it is in a competitive environment, I believe it is. But does that mean there’s a recession in Mississippi, but it’s hard for us to know. And then like in Indiana, the revenues are a little soft. Is that a recession? Well, you get a new casino across the river in Boone County, that’s probably more important. And so I don’t see anything that I can point out and say that’s a recession. I would call on the clip side, our contractor in Illinois is telling us that construction costs have not come down. And so there’s a cytome that’s been hoping for a recession because maybe construction costs would get lower. You could argue that we would benefit more from a recession because of what it would save us in construction costs going forward. And — but the short answer is we’re probably the wrong people to ask. We’ve got so many things going on. It’s hard for us to tell. Somebody like Penn National has got 25 casinos all over the country and doesn’t build much. It’s probably a better company to ask that question, too. Chad Beynon: Fair enough. Lewis Fanger: Yes. I was going to say, like, if you look at Silver Slipper in particular, and to Dan’s point, we do have a little bit going on. Our admissions are down, but we also have a ’21 and over policy today that we didn’t have a year ago. You have to enter the casino to go to the buffet as an example. So you would expect admissions to be down. Wind per admission is up. But again, the denominator is down, so you’d expect that number to go up as well. Rated play seems to be pretty solid. We are seeing more rated players these days versus unrated players. So maybe some of the froth of the unrated play is going away, but it feels like the rated customer is still hanging in there for what it’s worth. Chad Beynon: Okay. Good to hear. I guess for a follow-up, any updates on the strategy for your remaining sports betting skins and potentially any future iGaming ones that you might acquire in the states that you operate? Dan Lee: We have one still outstanding, which is in color. Indiana, one of the Churches ones in Indiana, and we have been looking for somebody to take it on. We haven’t found anybody yet in terms that make sense to us. If iGaming comes to the states we’re in, and I think it will eventually, we will look at whether we do a similar thing with outside parties kind of writing on our license or do we take it up ourselves. And it’s quite possible we’ll do both. In other words, if gaming is legal in a state and we have three skins, we might keep one for ourselves and licensed others. Most of you know this. We didn’t get into the sports betting business ourselves because as a small company, you can end up upside down on that if one of the teams in the Super Bowl is from a market we’re in, but the other team is not, we would be out of balance. And we could move the line, but then we would not be providing as good a terms to our customers as our competition. And so we decided early on to leave it to people that have more experience in that field and just take a percentage of revenue. And that’s a reflection that there are certain games and notably the Super Bowl and basketball merged madness that are a very large part of the sports betting business. So you tend to have a lot of concentration on those events. In iGaming, where you’re allowed to play a slot machine online, that’s a large number of independent statistical events that’s the normal business we’re in. We’re comfortable with that. And you can lease or buy the software that allows you to run that website, the games themselves are owned by the slot companies, and they’ll license those pretty readily. We would have to hire people who specialize in marketing websites, but there’s a lot of those people available. So it is a business we could do on our own, but it’s not yet legal in any market that we’re in. So if it becomes legal, it’s a business we’d look at pretty seriously. And we don’t — it’s also not something you don’t have to be giant like you don’t have to be a draft Kings or find to make money in it. I mean we do have mailing list in each of these markets. And so you go to people and say, “Well, if you can’t come in, if you’re one of the 40,000 people in our database in Illinois and you can’t come in or you ended up in the hospital or you ended up in a nursing home or you’re on vacation, but you still want to play your slot game we have a way for you to do it. And so having that database of a physical casino gives you a market to advertise to. And you can go the other way around two and say, look, when you gamble online, you’re accumulating points that allows you to come and get a stay at our hotel. So we would — we don’t have to be a giant market share for it to be a profitable business for us. And so if it does become legal in the markets we’re in, we would probably try to do it in a financially responsible way. Chad Beynon: Okay. Great. Thanks for the color, Dan and Lewis. Operator: Next question comes from Edward Engel with ROTH MKM. Please go ahead. Edward Engel: Hey, thanks for taking the question. On the dealers in Bocian, just curious if you have any time line when you could be closer to being able to operate 40 to 50 tables on the weekends. Could that happen by the end of the year? Or is that kind of just an issue goes on progression? Dan Lee: We’re probably a month away to be able to have 40 to 50 tables in a week. We’re getting there. So recognize that the — where we are, the people who had dealer experience were already well embodied at rivers in the [indiscernible]. And so we’ve had to reach out and be creative. So we are paying relocation costs for dealers who are experienced and might live in the middle of Wisconsin or something, and we’re training dealers from scratch, and we are getting there. And by the way, we’ve learned from that in Colorado. So we’re trying to get ahead of the game in Colorado. But in Colorado, the existing dealers at existing casinos are looking at our building, which kind of is pretty impressive in the town and drilling over the tips that they make at our casino. So it’s probably an easier task. But even there, we are reaching out to dealers who might work at tribal casinos in Oklahoma and New Mexico, and so on. And so we’re trying to be ahead of the game, so we make sure we have enough dealers to operate the full table game pit when we open in December. Edward Engel: Helpful, thanks. And then for winter sport, the Serta Sportsbet opened in September, just curious if there’s kind of any marketing events planned and I would assume that would be on their expense some rain yours? Dan Lee: Well, the online — the in-house circuit place, we share the income from it. And we haven’t really worked out the details, but we would certainly publicize it and have some sort of event, but I don’t think it would be particularly expensive. So… Edward Engel: Helpful, thank you. Dan Lee: Yes. I mean we’d be silly to open it and not publicize it, but it’s not $1 million marketing cost. So Probably have time for one last question. Operator: Time for all the questions, and it comes from John DeCree with CBRE. Please go ahead. John DeCree: Hi, Dan. Hi, Lewis, thanks to squeeze in me here. Maybe two questions. And just to circle back to the topic today, which is the margin at Lachegan. I wonder if you could speak to where you think you can get the margin to at the temporary. And in that outlook, what’s kind of the order of operations? Is it more cost normalizing on labor, preopening and marketing and some of the things that you’ve talked about? Or is the bigger driver of getting that margin up really the additional revenue that you’d expect as the facility continues to ramp? Dan Lee: A little bit of both. I mean, as the revenues continue to go up, and you can see from the numbers, the number of admissions are going up, the revenue per admission is going up. That affects our gaming tax, of course, higher revenues, the higher gaming tax, but it doesn’t really affect the payroll very much. You have the same number of security goes. The slot machines are — the revenues on the slot machines could go up 50%, and our payroll probably wouldn’t go up 10%. And then on the marketing side, you gradually get more efficient. I mean marketing never goes to zero. But right now, we’re trying to tell people in this new campaign that you can’t judge a book by the cover. If you looked at the outside of the tent, you got to come inside and look at it. So there’s that. And actually, in my last question, I want to point out that one of the challenges in Illinois is the way the regulatory system works is they go through lots of different checks and balances and so on. And all of a sudden, they’re likely to say, okay, you can open the sport book. And so I didn’t want to give the impression that we would have a great big party on the operated sportsbook. It’s like literally you open the sportsbook and then you figure out how to advertise to people that you have it open. And so there will be some cost involved. I think the person who asked the question kind of says is they’re going to be a marketing event. There’ll be some marketing dollars. I don’t know if there’s necessarily an event. But it — this all takes time. You also — the other thing that happens in any new casino is you tend to have quite a bit of turnover. And you’ll open — I can’t remember when we opened Bellagio, we had 10,000 employees. And within months, you lost 1/3 of them, and it’s because they find that they didn’t really want to wear high heels all evening and serve cocktails or they didn’t really want to be a dealer or they didn’t really want to be a wait or whatever it is. And so those people leave and you have the recruiting and training costs to replace those. And then some portion of those leave and you have recruiting and training costs to replace those. And so it takes a few iterations before you kind of normalize into a stable workforce. And so even at the Silver Slipper, we have about — out of about 500 employees. It’s about 300 who are with us year in, year out, who have lots of tenure with us and they’re happy and we’re happy and they’re the core and there’s like 200 that turns over every year or two. And so we’re trying to figure out that core. And in the meantime, you do incur additional costs with recruiting and training and so on. And so over — it’s all part of the maturation. I think if you had total access to all the data in the entire industry, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a casino whose margins reached their highest point in their first full quarter of operations. Just it’s never the case. Your margins, in fact, sometimes you have no margin in your first quarter operation. And two years later, you get to kind of a normalized margin. And in this case, normalized margin is probably 30% in Illinois. And that’s — it’s not higher than that because of a very high tax rate there. And with the gaming tax in Colorado, it could be higher than that. John DeCree: That’s a good point, Dan, on the time to get to stable margins. I appreciate that color. Maybe a more detailed question, just to sneak one in to the extent you guys can comment as you spoke to the database a little bit as that ramps up. Curious if you could give us any insight into kind of your rated play mix at the property now and at least maybe some primers, how has that ramped over the last, call it, quarter and maybe where is it relative to what you’d expect at stable or some of your other operations to kind of give us some insight as to how much more runway you have to really get that database working for you? Dan Lee: Well, we’re already in the high 60s in Illinois. Some other markets were in the 80s. John DeCree: For rated play? Dan Lee: Rated play versus total play. But that doesn’t — what am I trying to say, as you attract more people, you get more rated players as well and recognize that the 40,000 people, that’s the total names we have. Eventually, you start to figure out some of those names don’t come back, right? And other ones come in all the time. And so you — even within the 40,000 people, you start to figure out, well, there’s 10,000 of these people that are pretty important. It’s like any other business, 80% of the revenues come from 20% of the customers. And so you keep getting smarter and smarter at figuring it out. And we have customers at some of our properties who are with us more than 100 days a year, they’re in our casino. And you gradually learn who they are and what they like and what appeals to them and what’s important to them. And a lot of times, they’re either independently wealthy are retired, and it’s just what they do for their entertainment. And — but until you know who those people are, you’re flailing around a little bit. And — but that’s part of the normal maturation of a new casino. So just like any other new business, I suppose, I mean, if you open a clothing store just because somebody came in and bought a tie, it doesn’t mean you’re going to see them every month. I don’t know if does anybody buy ties anymore. But any way, you get the deal. John DeCree: Thanks, Dan. Appreciated. Thanks, Lewis. Lewis Fanger: I think we’re done. Dan Lee: Okay. Thank you, John. Thank you, everybody. We’re very busy. And over the next six months, this will all normalize out. And we’re very excited to get Chamonix open and then eventually to get going on permanent, but we’ll get going when the time is right. So thank you. Operator: This concludes today’s teleconference. You may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation, and have a great day. Follow Full House Resorts Inc (NASDAQ:FLL) Follow Full House Resorts Inc (NASDAQ:FLL) We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyAug 11th, 2023

Every American city wanted to be cool. Now they"re all just boring copies of each other.

Small American cities used the same playbook to attract big-city refugees: walkable downtowns, craft breweries, and cheap homes. Remote work caused a flood of new arrivals to small and midsize cities. And now those cities all look the same.Chelsea Jia Feng/InsiderHow every American city became exactly the sameCities across America are undergoing big changes. The shift to remote work early in the pandemic allowed wealthy residents to ditch big cities in droves and set up shop in smaller cities and towns nearby. This mass reshuffling caused huge spikes and dips in populations, and nearly every locale across the country has felt the impact at some point. For instance, the Hudson Valley — the constellation of small cities and towns north of New York City — saw a massive influx in 2021 of over 30,000 residents who ditched their Manhattan apartments for farmhouses. Midsize cities across the US like Austin, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina have seen a similar boom in newcomers. Now that the dust is settling, increased rents and the stickiness of working from home have pushed small and midsize cities to adjust to a new normal.While the surging costs of housing and the new freedom of remote work helped trigger this mass migration, small cities have been laying the groundwork over the last decade to entice these big-city refugees. The new playbook for up-and-coming metros, which I detailed in my book, "The City Authentic: How the Attention Economic Builds Urban America," is to engineer the entire city to produce the kind of amenities that middle- and high-income workers have come to expect from an urban neighborhood — walkable downtowns, diverse restaurants, craft-brew pubs — at a fraction of the price. These cities want to convince potential transplants that they can have it all. "To a growing degree," the New York Times recently reported about those leaving large metros, "what they left behind they can find in Charlotte, Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas or Louisville." But these urban-renewal projects come with a dark side. Sure, they have been successful in attracting young professionals to what were once considered second- or third-tier cities, but they have also turned cities across the US into replicas of each other. In their attempts to stand out, many places have started to look exactly the same. A fight over the creative classMost people don't think of the 1988 Tim Burton film "Beetlejuice" as a tale about urban development. But the Deetzes, a family who moves into a newly-haunted house, are a classic 1980s striver couple — a real-estate agent and a self-described artist — who can't help but transform everything in their sleepy Connecticut town into some sort of consumable experience for city folk just like them. While perhaps a bit overdone, the Deetzes are the perfect pop-culture example of the type of people cities have been trying to attract for the past 40 years.As America's manufacturing jobs shifted abroad and city governments cut back on investment in the 1980s and 1990s, the finance, insurance, and real-estate industries emerged as the biggest business concerns in urban America. Unlike factory work, these businesses employed fewer, better-paid, white-collar office workers who had much more flexibility in where and when they worked. This burgeoning "creative class," as the urban-studies theorist and professor Richard Florida called them in his 2002 book, "The Rise of the Creative Class," was composed of graphic designers, web developers, and marketing professionals. The most creative and economically successful cities, Florida argued, were ones that catered to the lifestyles of these highly mobile professionals. In response, cities across the globe sought to establish cosmopolitan downtowns that would be welcoming to upper-class creatives.Smaller cities, meanwhile, struggled to attract good employers and develop successful entrepreneurs. In 2017, Florida wrote "The New Urban Crisis," which admitted that the approach he spearheaded had significantly contributed to a "winner-take-all urbanism": Big cities grew, but small and medium cities withered.Then came the pandemic, and remote work suddenly made small cities a viable home for wealthy professionals. The New York Times reported in May that the middle class was being priced out of big cities, which, collectively, lost over 200,000 people in 2021. After a 40-year march to a few major urban centers, the eyes of the "creative class" began to wander across the map. Many workers relocated to cities of less than a quarter of a million people, a class of city that hasn't seen a net increase in population in over a decade. But the cities that were able to capitalize on this shift were the ones that executed on what I call the "city authentic" playbook. The rise of influencer citiesBeyond jobs, cities also have the ability to attract residents by being, well, attractive. At the turn of the 20th century, the "city beautiful" movement launched: Governments and businesses built massive, ornate buildings in an effort to attract further investment. For example, the Washington, DC we know today — from the grand National Mall to the iconic neoclassical buildings — wasn't formally laid out until 1902 as part of this movement. The second such movement was the "city efficient" model, which leveraged Space Age technologies to modernize cities with precise engineering and strict use-based zoning laws. The national-highway system is perhaps the most transformative example, but this movement also gave us the modern steel-and-glass skyscraper. For the past two decades, cities have turned to an economic development strategy I've deemed "the city authentic." The new movement is largely predicated on nostalgia and the fetishization of "the local." The pitch that cities using the "city authentic" playbook make, regardless of their particular amenities, is fairly similar: Their city is the "thrift-store find," compared to the mainstream brand of major metropolises. They have old architecture that has been transformed into new, trendy offerings — all for a cheaper price. The aging buildings' authenticity reassures millennials that they are not living in their parents' cookie-cutter suburbs. They are experiencing something real. Their brunch means something.An ad from the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, or IDA, in upstate New York highlights its "historic, grand buildings that feature distinctive architecture, 100-year-old brick, and hardwood floors, surrounded by plentiful and free parking." In a Southern Living write up from last year, Athens, Georgia — a town of 120,000 — boasts that "an old tire company is now a favorite brewery and farmers' market. A kudzu-covered former cotton warehouse returns as an arts district," while the Athens Quality of Life Guide emphasizes that median rents are "$200 less than the national average." Tulsa, Oklahoma even offered $10,000 to anyone who would move there for remote work — touting the city's "revitalized Arts District that boasts hip coffee shops, vegan taco joints, steakhouse speakeasies, whiskey bars, art galleries, coworking spaces, and a software-development school." In other words, these cities offer relative affordability without sacrificing the hip feel of an urban neighborhood. In a post-industrial economy such as ours, whether a city can attract new residents and investments can mean life or death for its local economy. But the challenge for cities following this playbook is balancing uniqueness and approachability. There is immense pressure to, paradoxically, fit in and stand out. Most square this circle with predictably unique cultural offerings: Craft breweries that offer the same litany of IPAs and lagers, but with each one named after something local; food halls with the same overpriced plates and decadent bloody marys, but everything is made locally; and, as Fulton county's IDA would like us to remember, it is all contained within beautiful brownstones and Victorians that were spared urban renewal's bulldozers. Years of neglect are turned into an asset because the aging buildings' authenticity reassures millennials that they are not living in their parents' cookie-cutter suburbs. They are experiencing something real. Their brunch means something.This industrial-looking restaurant could be found in almost any US city. This one is in Saint Paul, Minnesota.DAVID BREWSTER/Star Tribune via Getty ImagesAnd, because so much of how we persuade and influence each other happens online, cities are increasingly making that case on social media with the help of influencers. Whether a dive bar or an entire neighborhood is perceived as unique and on-trend has a lot to do with how it circulates online. Social media and its attendant influencer industry have significantly changed how cities promote themselves. Ignoring the conflicting struggles that characterize the history of America's downtowns, the city authentic weathers that history down to a safe, entertaining story told through predictably unique experiences, menu items, and interior designs. All of which are meant to both stand out just enough to recognizably fit into the categories, genres, and vibes organized by social media's algorithms.  Real-estate agents now feel the pressure to up their Instagram game to promote not just their properties, but an entire market. It's considered a dereliction of duty if your downtown Business Improvement District doesn't have a social-media plan and someone to execute it. And, whether they're home-grown or hired from an agency, being featured on an influencer's account is a common tactic to raise a city's profile among young professionals. When the influencer chef Alison Roman needed to escape both COVID and a high-profile spat with Chrissy Teigen, she decamped for upstate New York, and subsequent interviews touted her investments in out-of-the-way Bloomsville, New York. Some influencers have even gone so far as to make their own apartment sponsored content.Tired replicasWhile there is economic relief for those leaving the big cities for chic and affordable spots, it's not all rosé brunches and glamping. There are real challenges and even a few dangers to using the "city authentic" playbook. As big-city high-earners move into town, landlords and restaurateurs immediately move to cater to them, raising prices and accommodating new tastes, which pushes out locals. As I demonstrate in my book, in upstate New York, Rensselaer county's population only went up 1% between 2010 and 2019, but median gross rent went up 25% over the same time span. It spiked even more during the pandemic when change of addresses from New York City jumped a whopping 787%.I used to rent a one bedroom for $600 a month when I first moved to Troy, in Rensselaer County, in 2010. Since then, the availability of housing in that price range has gone down by 36%. And this trend is happening all across the US, threatening to make it impossible for essential workers like nurses, cooks, and teachers to live anywhere near where they work. The nine counties immediately north of New York City may have absorbed a lot of high-earning city folk, but even more people left the region due to rising prices, resulting in a small net loss of population between 2019 and 2020. Craft breweries are popping up all across the US as part of the "city authentic" playbook.John Greim/LightRocket via Getty ImagesAnd as the local haunts are replaced by Instagramable cafés and art galleries, the city feels less like home and more like someone else's lifestyle brand. The pressures to be predictably unique can suffocate the distinctive identity that begat a region's success in the first place — turning cities into tired replicas of each other. And none of this guarantees financial success, either. City governments, eager to win the all-against-all fight for capital investment, are happy to offer tax-break enticements to developers. So while construction cranes may signal economic success and there may be an influx of cash from building permitting and new residents' spending, cities will eventually find that there's no money to repair the roads and pipes that lead to all this new development. All the emergency calls and trash these new apartment buildings generate need to be dealt with too, and that costs money. It is worth saying that there is nothing wrong with enjoying your weekend farmers-market jaunt (I know I do). Making a city that's exciting, fun, and inviting is an unalloyed good thing. But the default way cities do it now is creating unaffordable and uninspired cityscapes. To avoid these challenges, some cutting-edge cities have gotten creative. Newark, New Jersey set up a revolving loan fund to convert privately held small businesses into Employee Stock Ownership Plans, which have been recognized as a great way to keep money in a community after a business owner retires. Other cities could reverse a trend that began in the 60s where satelite communities and suburbs formed their own (usually whiter and wealthier) municipal governments, splitting city resources. Reconsolidating cities would reduce overhead costs of running them and increase the quality of the essentials: water, public safety, and waste disposal. Housing is also a crucial piece of the puzzle. While some cities definitely need to increase supply, research suggests that this "will never supply adequate housing for low- and moderate-income households." Rent control and public housing are important tools here, but another option that may be less politically contentious is the formation of a neighborhood trust. Unlike renting, neighborhood trusts like the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston allows residents to manage permanently affordable housing on their own terms while also building up a bit of equity. Regardless of their approach, cities that have borne the brunt of the large-city exodus will need to manage their sought-after growth sustainably. If they don't, the hype of America's new Generic Towns is certain to fade. David A. Banks is a lecturer and Director of Globalization Studies at University at Albany SUNY. He is also the author of "The City Authentic: How the Attention Economy Builds Urban America," and the officer for contingent faculty for his union, UUP. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJul 25th, 2023

Every city in America looks exactly the same now

Small American cities used the same playbook to attract big-city refugees: walkable downtowns, craft breweries, and cheap homes. Remote work caused a flood of new arrivals to small and midsize cities. And now those cities all look the same.Chelsea Jia Feng/InsiderHow every American city became exactly the sameCities across America are undergoing big changes. The shift to remote work early in the pandemic allowed wealthy residents to ditch big cities in droves and set up shop in smaller cities and towns nearby. This mass reshuffling caused huge spikes and dips in populations, and nearly every locale across the country has felt the impact at some point. For instance, the Hudson Valley — the constellation of small cities and towns north of New York City — saw a massive influx in 2021 of over 30,000 residents who ditched their Manhattan apartments for farmhouses. Midsize cities across the US like Austin, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina have seen a similar boom in newcomers. Now that the dust is settling, increased rents and the stickiness of working from home have pushed small and midsize cities to adjust to a new normal.While the surging costs of housing and the new freedom of remote work helped trigger this mass migration, small cities have been laying the groundwork over the last decade to entice these big-city refugees. The new playbook for up-and-coming metros, which I detailed in my book, "The City Authentic: How the Attention Economic Builds Urban America," is to engineer the entire city to produce the kind of amenities that middle- and high-income workers have come to expect from an urban neighborhood — walkable downtowns, diverse restaurants, craft-brew pubs — at a fraction of the price. These cities want to convince potential transplants that they can have it all. "To a growing degree," the New York Times recently reported about those leaving large metros, "what they left behind they can find in Charlotte, Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas or Louisville." But these urban-renewal projects come with a dark side. Sure, they have been successful in attracting young professionals to what were once considered second- or third-tier cities, but they have also turned cities across the US into replicas of each other. In their attempts to stand out, many places have started to look exactly the same. A fight over the creative classMost people don't think of the 1988 Tim Burton film "Beetlejuice" as a tale about urban development. But the Deetzes, a family who moves into a newly-haunted house, are a classic 1980s striver couple — a real-estate agent and a self-described artist — who can't help but transform everything in their sleepy Connecticut town into some sort of consumable experience for city folk just like them. While perhaps a bit overdone, the Deetzes are the perfect pop-culture example of the type of people cities have been trying to attract for the past 40 years.As America's manufacturing jobs shifted abroad and city governments cut back on investment in the 1980s and 1990s, the finance, insurance, and real-estate industries emerged as the biggest business concerns in urban America. Unlike factory work, these businesses employed fewer, better-paid, white-collar office workers who had much more flexibility in where and when they worked. This burgeoning "creative class," as the urban-studies theorist and professor Richard Florida called them in his 2002 book, "The Rise of the Creative Class," was composed of graphic designers, web developers, and marketing professionals. The most creative and economically successful cities, Florida argued, were ones that catered to the lifestyles of these highly mobile professionals. In response, cities across the globe sought to establish cosmopolitan downtowns that would be welcoming to upper-class creatives.Smaller cities, meanwhile, struggled to attract good employers and develop successful entrepreneurs. In 2017, Florida wrote "The New Urban Crisis," which admitted that the approach he spearheaded had significantly contributed to a "winner-take-all urbanism": Big cities grew, but small and medium cities withered.Then came the pandemic, and remote work suddenly made small cities a viable home for wealthy professionals. The New York Times reported in May that the middle class was being priced out of big cities, which, collectively, lost over 200,000 people in 2021. After a 40-year march to a few major urban centers, the eyes of the "creative class" began to wander across the map. Many workers relocated to cities of less than a quarter of a million people, a class of city that hasn't seen a net increase in population in over a decade. But the cities that were able to capitalize on this shift were the ones that executed on what I call the "city authentic" playbook. The rise of influencer citiesBeyond jobs, cities also have the ability to attract residents by being, well, attractive. At the turn of the 20th century, the "city beautiful" movement launched: Governments and businesses built massive, ornate buildings in an effort to attract further investment. For example, the Washington, DC we know today — from the grand National Mall to the iconic neoclassical buildings — wasn't formally laid out until 1902 as part of this movement. The second such movement was the "city efficient" model, which leveraged Space Age technologies to modernize cities with precise engineering and strict use-based zoning laws. The national-highway system is perhaps the most transformative example, but this movement also gave us the modern steel-and-glass skyscraper. For the past two decades, cities have turned to an economic development strategy I've deemed "the city authentic." The new movement is largely predicated on nostalgia and the fetishization of "the local." The pitch that cities using the "city authentic" playbook make, regardless of their particular amenities, is fairly similar: Their city is the "thrift-store find," compared to the mainstream brand of major metropolises. They have old architecture that has been transformed into new, trendy offerings — all for a cheaper price. The aging buildings' authenticity reassures millennials that they are not living in their parents' cookie-cutter suburbs. They are experiencing something real. Their brunch means something.An ad from the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, or IDA, in upstate New York highlights its "historic, grand buildings that feature distinctive architecture, 100-year-old brick, and hardwood floors, surrounded by plentiful and free parking." In a Southern Living write up from last year, Athens, Georgia — a town of 120,000 — boasts that "an old tire company is now a favorite brewery and farmers' market. A kudzu-covered former cotton warehouse returns as an arts district," while the Athens Quality of Life Guide emphasizes that median rents are "$200 less than the national average." Tulsa, Oklahoma even offered $10,000 to anyone who would move there for remote work — touting the city's "revitalized Arts District that boasts hip coffee shops, vegan taco joints, steakhouse speakeasies, whiskey bars, art galleries, coworking spaces, and a software-development school." In other words, these cities offer relative affordability without sacrificing the hip feel of an urban neighborhood. In a post-industrial economy such as ours, whether a city can attract new residents and investments can mean life or death for its local economy. But the challenge for cities following this playbook is balancing uniqueness and approachability. There is immense pressure to, paradoxically, fit in and stand out. Most square this circle with predictably unique cultural offerings: Craft breweries that offer the same litany of IPAs and lagers, but with each one named after something local; food halls with the same overpriced plates and decadent bloody marys, but everything is made locally; and, as Fulton county's IDA would like us to remember, it is all contained within beautiful brownstones and Victorians that were spared urban renewal's bulldozers. Years of neglect are turned into an asset because the aging buildings' authenticity reassures millennials that they are not living in their parents' cookie-cutter suburbs. They are experiencing something real. Their brunch means something.This industrial-looking restaurant could be found in almost any US city. This one is in Saint Paul, Minnesota.DAVID BREWSTER/Star Tribune via Getty ImagesAnd, because so much of how we persuade and influence each other happens online, cities are increasingly making that case on social media with the help of influencers. Whether a dive bar or an entire neighborhood is perceived as unique and on-trend has a lot to do with how it circulates online. Social media and its attendant influencer industry have significantly changed how cities promote themselves. Ignoring the conflicting struggles that characterize the history of America's downtowns, the city authentic weathers that history down to a safe, entertaining story told through predictably unique experiences, menu items, and interior designs. All of which are meant to both stand out just enough to recognizably fit into the categories, genres, and vibes organized by social media's algorithms.  Real-estate agents now feel the pressure to up their Instagram game to promote not just their properties, but an entire market. It's considered a dereliction of duty if your downtown Business Improvement District doesn't have a social-media plan and someone to execute it. And, whether they're home-grown or hired from an agency, being featured on an influencer's account is a common tactic to raise a city's profile among young professionals. When the influencer chef Alison Roman needed to escape both COVID and a high-profile spat with Chrissy Teigen, she decamped for upstate New York, and subsequent interviews touted her investments in out-of-the-way Bloomsville, New York. Some influencers have even gone so far as to make their own apartment sponsored content.Tired replicasWhile there is economic relief for those leaving the big cities for chic and affordable spots, it's not all rosé brunches and glamping. There are real challenges and even a few dangers to using the "city authentic" playbook. As big-city high-earners move into town, landlords and restaurateurs immediately move to cater to them, raising prices and accommodating new tastes, which pushes out locals. As I demonstrate in my book, in upstate New York, Rensselaer county's population only went up 1% between 2010 and 2019, but median gross rent went up 25% over the same time span. It spiked even more during the pandemic when change of addresses from New York City jumped a whopping 787%.I used to rent a one bedroom for $600 a month when I first moved to Troy, in Rensselaer County, in 2010. Since then, the availability of housing in that price range has gone down by 36%. And this trend is happening all across the US, threatening to make it impossible for essential workers like nurses, cooks, and teachers to live anywhere near where they work. The nine counties immediately north of New York City may have absorbed a lot of high-earning city folk, but even more people left the region due to rising prices, resulting in a small net loss of population between 2019 and 2020. Craft breweries are popping up all across the US as part of the "city authentic" playbook.John Greim/LightRocket via Getty ImagesAnd as the local haunts are replaced by Instagramable cafés and art galleries, the city feels less like home and more like someone else's lifestyle brand. The pressures to be predictably unique can suffocate the distinctive identity that begat a region's success in the first place — turning cities into tired replicas of each other. And none of this guarantees financial success, either. City governments, eager to win the all-against-all fight for capital investment, are happy to offer tax-break enticements to developers. So while construction cranes may signal economic success and there may be an influx of cash from building permitting and new residents' spending, cities will eventually find that there's no money to repair the roads and pipes that lead to all this new development. All the emergency calls and trash these new apartment buildings generate need to be dealt with too, and that costs money. It is worth saying that there is nothing wrong with enjoying your weekend farmers-market jaunt (I know I do). Making a city that's exciting, fun, and inviting is an unalloyed good thing. But the default way cities do it now is creating unaffordable and uninspired cityscapes. To avoid these challenges, some cutting-edge cities have gotten creative. Newark, New Jersey set up a revolving loan fund to convert privately held small businesses into Employee Stock Ownership Plans, which have been recognized as a great way to keep money in a community after a business owner retires. Other cities could reverse a trend that began in the 60s where satelite communities and suburbs formed their own (usually whiter and wealthier) municipal governments, splitting city resources. Reconsolidating cities would reduce overhead costs of running them and increase the quality of the essentials: water, public safety, and waste disposal. Housing is also a crucial piece of the puzzle. While some cities definitely need to increase supply, research suggests that this "will never supply adequate housing for low- and moderate-income households." Rent control and public housing are important tools here, but another option that may be less politically contentious is the formation of a neighborhood trust. Unlike renting, neighborhood trusts like the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston allows residents to manage permanently affordable housing on their own terms while also building up a bit of equity. Regardless of their approach, cities that have borne the brunt of the large-city exodus will need to manage their sought-after growth sustainably. If they don't, the hype of America's new Generic Towns is certain to fade. David A. Banks is a lecturer and Director of Globalization Studies at University at Albany SUNY. He is also the author of "The City Authentic: How the Attention Economy Builds Urban America," and the officer for contingent faculty for his union, UUP. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 25th, 2023

Small Plates: "Top Chef" contestant opening French eatery; Downtown tower getting new steakhouse

Check out the latest morsels of Central Texas restaurant news in ABJ's Small Plates feature. An expanding retailer is bringing along a chef with reality TV credits to her new outpost in Hyde Park, while a California-based hospitality group is starting construction on its first Austin eateries. Plus, Chick-fil-A is opening soon in Round Rock, Manor and Kyle......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 12th, 2023

Small Plates: Valentina"s Tex Mex BBQ heads south, Second Bar + Kitchen heads north

A couple of well-known restaurants are preparing to expand, while an experienced private chef is getting his own brick-and-mortar spot. Catch up on the latest Central Texas restaurant news in ABJ's Small Plates roundup......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 1st, 2023

I went on MSC Cruises" Meraviglia now sailing year-round from NYC — see what it"s like aboard the 5,700-guest vessel

New York is now MSC Cruises' third US home port after Florida's PortMiami and Port Canaveral. The cruise giant is looking to rapidly expand in the US. The MSC Meraviglia is now sailing out of New York's Brooklyn Cruise Terminal year-round.Brittany Chang/Insider MSC Cruises' Meraviglia is now sailing year-round out of New York's Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. It's MSC Cruises' third US home port after Florida's PortMiami and Port Canaveral. See what it's like aboard the six-year-old ship with a F1 racing simulator, six pools, and a chocolaterie. MSC Cruises is continuing to make a big splash in the US cruise market with its latest stateside home port.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd this time, it's not in cruise magnets like Florida, Texas, or California.Brittany Chang/InsiderInstead, the MSC Meraviglia has homeported in New York City.Brittany Chang/InsiderIn late April, the cruise giant launched year-round itineraries on the Meraviglia from New York's Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe 1,033-foot-long vessel began service in 2017.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: MSC CruisesSince then, it has homeported in destinations like Barcelona and Marseille, France.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: MSC CruisesAnd now it's temporarily calling New York home, bringing its up to 5,714 guests on six to 11-night sailings to the Bahamas, Florida, Bermuda, Canada, and New England.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis is the first MSC ship to home port year-round out of New York and one of five vessels currently based in the US.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: InsiderBesides New York, MSC also has a presence in Florida's PortMiami and Port Canaveral.Brittany Chang/Insider"Our success here in the US is important to our continued growth," a spokesperson told Insider in March.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: InsiderWhen I first boarded the Meraviglia just days after it docked in New York, I was immediately greeted with live music and sparkling crystal-embedded staircases.Brittany Chang/InsiderThese striking stairs are a trademark of the cruise brand, a spokesperson said during the tour of the ship.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut besides these unique stairs, the 19-deck vessel has many amenities that overlap with other large family friendly cruise ships.Brittany Chang/InsiderUp the crystal stairs, visitors will find an indoor promenade topped with a 262-foot-long LCD ceiling, shown below.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis 315-foot-long walking strip is similar to Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas' promenade.Brittany Chang/InsiderHere, stores, restaurants, bars, and live music stem from the main walkway.Brittany Chang/InsiderIt's the place to grab gelato, tartare at the Ocean Cay restaurant, and some sweet treats from pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury's chocolaterie.Brittany Chang/InsiderOverall, the ship has 20 bars and 12 dining venues, a mix of complimentary and specialty restaurants.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe latter includes a steakhouse and a joint sushi and teppanyaki restaurant, all of which have been popular additions on several new cruise vessels.Brittany Chang/InsiderFor traveling families, there's also children's and teens' clubs and an outdoor water park with amenities like three water slides.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: MSC CruisesThis area doesn't include the other activities that will likely be a hit with children, such as the indoor sports court, bowling alley …Brittany Chang/Insider… and a virtual reality ride, flight simulator, and Formula 1 race car game.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe Meraviglia also has the typical cruise amenities like pools, a gym, a spa, and a theater.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe theater — which puts on least six shows per itinerary — seats 985 people.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: MSC CruisesBut it's not the only show venue aboard the vessel.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere's also the 400-guest Carousel Lounge where you can see performances like MSC's acrobatic House of Houdini. However, entry is not included in the base fare.Brittany Chang/InsiderAs for the pools, travelers have their pick: There are six public swimming holes.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis includes a traditional pool deck lined with lounge chairs and a separate outdoor pool space that has a club-like atmosphere at night.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: MSC CruisesAs for the staterooms, the vessel has 2,244 cabins and 10 cabin styles ranging from 129-square-foot staterooms …Brittany Chang/Insider… to 635-square-foot suites with an outdoor hot tub.Brittany Chang/InsiderMany new cruise ships have spaces reserved for travelers staying in suites and the Meraviglia is no different.Brittany Chang/InsiderHere, there's the MSC Yacht Club, which gives these higher spending travelers access to amenities like butler service …Brittany Chang/Insider… and a private restaurant and outdoor lounge.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe ship is now sailing out of New York through September 2024.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: MSC CruisesItineraries include 7 to 11-night sailings to Florida and the Bahamas, including a stop at MSC's private island …Brittany Chang/Insider… five to six-night sailings to Bermuda …Brittany Chang/Insider… and 10 to 11-night cruises to Canada and New England cities.Brittany Chang/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 28th, 2023

Help Wanted!

  Nonfarm payrolls came out Friday, and once again they impressed with their underlying strength: 236,000 new workers were added in March, with February NFP revised upward to 326,000, as the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%. But there remains nearly two job opening for each unemployed worker, and despite rising wages, lots of decent positions… Read More The post Help Wanted! appeared first on The Big Picture.   Nonfarm payrolls came out Friday, and once again they impressed with their underlying strength: 236,000 new workers were added in March, with February NFP revised upward to 326,000, as the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%. But there remains nearly two job opening for each unemployed worker, and despite rising wages, lots of decent positions remain unfilled. We have repeatedly discussed the issues surrounding the labor force: – Why there is a shortage of workers; – How low-end wages have lagged; – Why Return to Office has not gone well. Perhaps we should consider another issue that tends to get too little ink: Workers exiting sectors of the service industry permanently. Fundamental changes are taking place in the labor economy, especially within the service sector. This is most notable in various career choices, ranging from food service to retail to construction and manufacturing. Perhaps a few anecdotes1 might illuminate this: We tend to cook during the week and go out to eat on weekends. Spend any time dining out and you cannot help but notice how short-staffed restaurants are. It doesn’t matter if they are cheap & cheerful local joints (breakfast tacos!) or expensive dining establishments, they need cooks, busboys, dishwashers, bartenders, and waitstaff.2 These were once entry-level positions that high school or college students would take to pick up some extra cash. We have our favorite spots, and I always make a point to ask the owner/head chef/restaurateur how their staffing issues are going. None are happy, they range from “okay” to “not great” to “awful.” It is affecting their businesses in all sorts of ways: Closing Mondays is a given, and now Tuesdays and Wednesdays are on the table, as is renegotiating rents. It’s even forced reduced menu options, as it takes less staff to prepare a smaller more focused menu. Speak to any local craftsman – mechanics, builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, landscapers, etc. – they will tell you they not only are having a hard time hiring but are having difficulty finding apprentices and mentees who might one day take over the business. Then there is retail. Again, this is only anecdotal, but it seems to be an area that is really struggling to find employees. We have previously discussed the role of low wages in this issue, but it is readily apparent to be about more than just wages. The shortage of workers has led to a shift in the balance of power between capital and labor, which sent wages higher. The labor market is radically changing, and we see this manifest first in the career choices of high school and college graduates and other new entrants into the labor markets. Store hours have been reduced; Sundays are closed. Training for sales is time-consuming, and margins are razor thin, even in high end stores that are known for fatter profits. It’s become difficult enough that some otherwise profitable stores are closing – they simply cannot get enough bodies to cover the floor during store hours. Lots of folks are worried about the employment impact of ChatGPT and other forms of AI, but the more imminent concern is simply younger people leaving entire industries permanently. We are in a major period of transition, and we really have little idea of how this is going to play out. Think about this the next time you walk into a restaurant or a retailer and wonder why it’s so difficult to get any service…       Previously: The Radically Changing Labor Market (October 8, 2021) Elvis (Your Waiter) Has Left the Building (July 9, 2021) The Puzzle in the Labor Data (July 8, 2019) Wages in America   See also: Nobody knows how many jobs will “be automated” (Noahpinion, April 10, 2023)     __________ 1. While it is often stated that the plural of anecdote is not data, the professor who coined that phrase actually meant the opposite: when you see a few anecdotes connected you should use it as a leaping off point for more research. Meaning, don’t ignore the anecdotes but see if they point to a broader underlying data set. 2. Immigrants used to fill the gap but we seem to have reduced the total number of legal immigrants over the past decade (some recent data suggests that’s improving).                   The post Help Wanted! appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureApr 11th, 2023