Web & Data Editor/Reporter
OC’s Bar Scene Is Growing Up
A tech guy walks into a bar. He owns it. Not much of a joke, but Gary Jabara’s not kidding with Chihuahua Cerveza, a taco joint he opened in the former Crow Burger Kitchen spot on Balboa Peninsula.
Stitch Fix Inc. named Liz Williams, president of Taco Bell International, to its board, noting her experience with branding and foreign markets.
Shares in Lake Forest-based Del Taco Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: TACO) rose 6.4% after reporting fourth quarter preliminary results and issuing a 2019 forecast.
Two new events at Anaheim Convention Center reflect efforts by area tourism marketers to play to the city’s strengths and bring larger or higher-dollar events to the venue.
Chain’s Popularity Grows As CEO Avoids Limelight
When business is about tortoises and hares, Habit Restaurants Inc. Chief Executive Russ Bendel is quite content to be the turtle.
Home Franchise Concepts in Irvine on Jan. 1 bought AdvantaClean in Huntersville, N.C., on undisclosed term, its fourth home-improvement franchise system. It already owned Budget Blinds, Tailored Living and Concrete Craft.
REAL ESTATE: Grippo jumps on board
Bellwether Financial Group’s naming of Irvine Co. veteran Ralph Grippo as a principal provides a signal on the future direction of the company’s coastal projects, including a $338 million renovation of Dana Point Harbor.
John Wayne Airport passenger traffic declined about 5% year-over-year in November to 850,000. Year-to-date passenger totals are up about 3.3% to 9.8 million.
Passenger traffic at Long Beach Airport declined 18% in October and 9% in November compared with the same months last year, to 270,000 and 293,000, respectively.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) in Newport Beach named Roger Theodoredis chief legal officer and Tabassum Zalotrawala chief development officer.
Buena Park-based Simply Fresh Foods was sold to Lakeview Farms LLC in Delphos, Ohio.
Taco Bell Corp. of Irvine signed its second franchiser for Australia and New Zealand, more than doubling the number of units it plans in the two countries to 110.
Bellwether Financial Group in Newport Beach named Ralph Grippo a principal, the company said.
Local hotels, countering some expectations that the hospitality market was cooling, kept up a year of strong performance in October in the county overall and seven OC submarkets.
Disneyland Resort Senior Vice President of Operations Stephanie Young will replace Hong Kong Disneyland Managing Director Samuel Lau Wing-kee, reporting to Michael Colglazier, president and managing director of Walt Disney Co.’s parks and resorts in Asia.
INNOVATION: Duo has subscription and store
Santa Ana-based Shots Box LLC is like a chocolate-of-the month club—for booze.
Long Beach Airport Director Jess Romo will retire effective Jan. 31.
Habit Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: HABT) said a new franchisee to its system, Bloomfield, Mich.-based Tremendous Brands Group LLC, will open 20 locations in Illinois and Indiana, with the first to come by mid-2019.
John Wayne Airport had 907,000 passengers in October, down 2.5% year-over-year; commercial flights declined 1.4% to about 4,000.
Anaheim’s Biggest Shows to See 31% Rise in Attendance
2019 promises to be a blockbuster year for Anaheim’s tourism industry. And while next summer’s opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is far, far away the biggest reason, it’s not the only one.
Indexes spiked higher in midday trading on comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that interest rates are near-neutral, neither spurring nor hindering economic growth.
Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCO) named Hector Muñoz chief marketing officer ahead of an expected spring 2019 relaunch of the brand.
Indexes continued declines that began yesterday as a technology sector sell-off continued.
September passenger traffic at John Wayne Airport was up 0.4% year-over-year to 857,000 while commercial flights were down 0.7% to about 3,800 for the month.
Harbor Hotels LLC, an Arizona family investment group affiliated with Cornerstone Hotel Group LLC in Buena Park, bought the Courtyard by Marriott near Long Beach Exchange, a shopping and entertainment development, from Delaware-registered Mach II Chartres Long Beach.
Pendry Hotels plans to build a ski resort in the Canyons Village area of Park City, Utah, about five miles from Montage Deer Valley, a resort run by Pendry sister company Montage Hotels & Resorts.
RESTAURANTS: New name, execs; no debt
The former Real Mex Restaurants Inc. has a new name, chief executive and owner. It also has fewer locations and no significant debt.
Walt Disney Co.’s parks and resorts division, which includes Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort, said fourth quarter profit climbed 11% to $829 million as revenue rose 9% to $5.1 billion from the same period a year earlier.
Orange Coast College named Kevin Ballinger interim president while it searches for a permanent replacement for retiring President Dennis Harkins.
Several Orange County hotel submarkets in September showed lower average daily rates and revenue per available room year-over-year, and five of seven showed lower occupancy, which also fell countywide to 77% from 80% for the same month last year.
Newport Beach-based American Vanguard Corp. (NYSE: AVD) reported third quarter sales climbed 24% to $111.8 million while net income jumped 60% to $6.5 million.
Broadcom cofounder Henry Samueli kicked off OCTANe’s 2018 med-tech forum with tales from the early days of the chipmaker you’d likely never heard—and hints on what industry today he believes may be ripe for disruption.
Habit Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: HABT) in Irvine added Karin Timpone to its board of directors, which now has eight members.
El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCO) in Costa Mesa reported third quarter net income of $6.8 million on revenue of $106.7 million, compared with a loss of $4 million on revenue of $101.2 million in the same period a year ago.
Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp. sales rose 8% to $2.6 billion in its most recent quarter, making it the top-performing chain in Louisville-based parent company Yum Brands Inc. (Nasdaq: YUM) portfolio for the period.
Indexes were up following Facebook’s earnings report and a general lift in technology stocks.
Long Beach Airport passenger declined 5% year-over-year in September—the first monthly decline this year.
Two down, three to go: Duck Donuts plans five locations in Orange County; two are open, in Huntington Beach and Irvine, the latter at Trade Food Hall.
Habit Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: HABT) in Irvine reported a $600,000 net loss, including a one-time charge, on revenue of about $105 million in its most recent quarter, compared with $400,000 in net income on revenue of $85 million, year-over-year.
BJ’s Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: BJRI) in Huntington Beach earned nearly $9 million in net income on $270 million in revenue in its most recent quarter, up 257% and 10% respectively.