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Levendary Café

Better Essays
4357
REV: FEBRUARY 26, 2013

CHRISTOPHER A. BARTLETT
ARAR HAN

Levendary Café:
The China Challenge
Levendary Café was spun out from private equity ownership in January 2011, and the following month, Mia Foster was named as its new CEO. The departing CEO, Howard Leventhal, was the beloved founder of the popular chain of 3,500 cafés. He had grown a small Denver soup, salad, and sandwich restaurant into a $10 billion business, but after 32 years was moving on to new interests.
This was Foster’s first job as CEO. Previously, the 47-year-old had been president of the U.S. business of a large American fast food company for seven years. She had started her career at a major global accounting firm, leaving to earn an MBA from
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4357 | Levendary Café: The China Challenge

The Multi-Unit Restaurant Business
In 2010, the U.S. restaurant and contract foodservice industry was a $600 billion industry with
960,000 locations.1 Multi-unit restaurant concepts represented approximately 30% of the industry by units, with independent operators as the balance. The restaurant and foodservice industry was highly fragmented, and even industry giant McDonald’s generated just 2% of total revenues.
Multi-unit concepts were generally categorized into three industry segments:


Specialty Establishments like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Baskin-Robbins primarily served snacks and beverages under $5.



Quick Service Restaurants, or so-called “fast food” concepts like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and
Wendy’s, provided counter or drive-through service with average tickets between $4 and $10.



Casual Dining included brands like Olive Garden, Applebee’s, and Outback, and offered table service for dinner entrees priced between $8 and $20. Within this group, fine dining concepts like Ruth’s Chris and Capital Grille featured entrées into the $40 range.

While some concepts had bridged these categories for years (e.g., Friendly’s offered casual dining coupled with a strong takeaway ice cream business), more recently several concepts had clustered around an emerging category often called "Quick Casual." For example, Panda Express
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