J.M. Smucker 2nd-quarter Profit Soars on Coffee

The Miami Herald reports that J.M. Smucker Co (SJM.N), best known for its peanut butter and jelly, posted higher-than-expected quarterly results, driven by strong margins at its Folgers coffee business, and raised its full-year profit view, sending its shares to a new 52-week high. Overall gross margin rise to 33.8 percent from 28.9 percent in the year-ago period. About 90 percent of the rise in gross profit was because of Folgers, the company said.

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Friendly’s Ice Cream with Your Bruegger’s Bagel?

The Boston Globe rerport that you shouldn’t be surprised to see a retail operation offering Friendly’s Ice Cream menu items along with Bruegger’s Bagels at the same airport location some day. Friendly’s, which is based in Wilbraham, and Brueggers, which is headquartered in Vermont, share a corporate parent in Sun Capital Partners Inc., a Florida private equity firm whose investment portfolio includes such other chains as Fazoli’s Restaurants, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, and Timothy’s Coffees of the World Inc.

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Dunkin’ trills about Fa-La-La-La Lattes

The staff at the Boston Globe reports that the Dunkin’ Donuts publicity department doesn’t believe much in down-time, where carpal tunnel syndrome is presumably rampant among the prolific flacks typing up all those press releases. In today’s news flash, the Canton-based coffee-and-baked-goods chain wants its caffeine-swilling public to know that its “Fa-La-La-La-Lattes” are part of its holiday promotions.

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Carlyle to Run Conn. Roadside Service Stops

Thomas Heath of The Washington Post writes that the Carlyle Group said Thursday that it has signed a deal with Connecticut to refurbish and run the state’s 23 highway service stops in return for a share of the revenue over the next 35 years. The District-based private-equity giant and its partners will invest $178 million in the state’s roadside service centers as part of the agreement, which will include putting Subway restaurants as well as Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the centers, according to a Carlyle spokesman. Dunkin’ Brands is owned by Carlyle.

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Beyond Economic Factors, Growth Depends on Leadership at the Restaurants

Chain Leader recently caught up with Applebee’s franchisee Zane Tankel, whose company, Apple-Metro, continues to open restaurants despite the downturn. And why not? His 32 Applebee’s are posting nearly twice the average volume ($2.4 million) of the rest of the casual-dining system. He plans to open five more next year. A Wharton School of Business graduate, he opened his first Applebee’s 16 years ago with partner Roy Raeburn. This year the company was named Franchisee of the Year by the franchisor.

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Coffee and Donuts Need Lobbyist Too!

Erika Lovley at Politico Click interviews Cicely Simpson, director of federal and state government affairs for Dunkin’ Brands, who has one of the most scrumptious lobbying jobs in town.

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Dunkin’ is named interactive marketer of the year

The Boston Globe reports that Dunkin’ Donuts was named the “interactive marketer of the year” at last night’s 14th annual awards competition sponsored by the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange, or MITX. A microsite created by Sapient to support Coca-Cola’s Happiness campaign was cited as best of show, and Mullen of Boston got the “people’s choice for interactive agency of the year,” MITX said.

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Small business loans: $10 billion evaporates

Catherine Clifford reports at CNNMoney.com that eight months after President Obama began prodding the nation’s banks to increase their small business lending, the loan numbers continue to move in the opposite direction. The 22 banks that got the most help from the Treasury’s bailout programs cut their small business loan balances by a collective $10.5 billion over the past six months, according to a government report released Monday. Three of the 22 banks make no small business loans at all. Of the remaining 19 banks, 15 have reduced their small business loan balance since April, when the Treasury department began requiring the biggest banks receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funding to report monthly on their small business lending.

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Ten tips for franchise due diligence

Christa Hoyland writes in QSR.com that Marianne Cintron of Glendora, Calif., thought she had done her homework. When she and her husband looked into buying a Cold Stone Creamery store from a franchisee last year, she started by trying to talk to a number of current franchisees. Of the five who returned her calls, four were selling their stores. Despite the unusually high percentage of sellers, Cintron was reassured by the good things most of them had to say about the concept.

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Starbucks on track to resume growth, CEO announces

Steve Monfort reports at NASDAQ that new instant coffee is outselling expectations and cost-cutting is helping the bottom line, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced at a conference in California. The new instant coffee, Via, is offered at U.S. and Canadian Starbucks outlets and some other stores. A pack of three Via pouches costs $2.95. Schultz called Via “not just a new product, but a new growth platform for the company.” Starbucks has yet to offer Via outside North America, but the market for instant coffee overseas is robust. Britons drink far more instant than brewed coffee, for example.

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