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Spring and summer
The year was a busy one for Burger King. The Miami-based QSR chain rolled out the largest menu expansion in its 58-year history, adding about 10 new items to BK menu’s across the country. The new items included premium Garden Fresh salads, snack wrap sandwiches, fruit smoothies, strips and frappe drinks. While observers noted that QSR competitors already offered such items, a BK spokesman said the new selections were a response to consumer demand. Then in June Burger King plunged back into the stock market following the closure of a reverse merger with Justice Holdings Ltd. BK’s new parent company, Burger King Worldwide Inc., began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BKW, opening at $14.50 per share.
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to opponents of President Obama’s sweeping health care act when, by a narrow margin, the judges upheld the constitutionality of the central element of the Affordable Care Act. The justices ruled by a historic vote of 5 to 4 in favor of the law’s individual mandate, which requires that all Americans purchase health insurance. Many restaurant operators and association executives had hoped the court would overturn the law, arguing that associated costs would slice into earnings, brake growth and force businesses to raise prices and eliminate jobs.
In an effort to help address the nation’s increasing health and obesity problems, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced a proposal to establish a 16-ounce size limit on sugary beverages served at restaurants and other businesses in the five boroughs. The beverage ban, which was passed by the city’s board of health in September, established New York as the first jurisdiction in the nation to limit the sale of large, sugar-sweetened drinks. In October the National Restaurant Association and other trade groups responded by filing a lawsuit to block the implementation of the law before it takes effect next year.
Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., formerly known as OSI Restaurant Group and parent to Outback Steakhouse, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill and Carabba’s Italian Grill, returned to the public marketplace with a somewhat lackluster IPO that sold 16 million shares at $11. Those totals were below the Tampa, Fla.-based firm’s initial target of 21 million shares and per-share prices of between $13 and $15. Following Bloomin’ Brands’ underpowered market debut, CKE Restaurants and Dave & Buster’s made the decision to postpone their respective IPOs, citing less-than ideal market conditions.