FINANCE

Survey: Valentine’s Day timing to benefit restaurants

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — A survey released Monday by online reservation firm OpenTable found that, when Valentine’s Day bookends a weekend, it tends to benefit restaurants.

Valentine’s Day, which falls on a Thursday this year, will likely be celebrated beyond the official day, as diners continue to celebrate over the following weekend.

The Valentine’s Day survey also found that the projected check average this year is $139, which is 63% higher than the typical OpenTable check average of $85 per couple.

On Valentine’s Day, “diners prefer a la carte ordering in a classic three-course meal where they can personalize their experience," said Caroline Potter, chief dining officer, OpenTable.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • 51% of respondents said they plan to dine out on the Thursday, Feb. 14, while 36% said they plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Friday, Feb.15, or Saturday, Feb. 16;
  • 5% of diners said they plan to celebrate on Wednesday, February 13;
  • 8% plan on dining out more than once for Valentine’s Day;
  • Respondents indicated that the top three factors in selecting a restaurant for Valentine’s Day are positive reviews (34%), romantic ambience (27 %) and service (16%);
  • Less important attributes included restaurant location (14%), special Valentine’s Day menus (8%) and the quality of the wine list (1%); and
  • When presented with menu options, diners said they prefer A la Carte (67%) over Prix Fixe (33%) menus.
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REAL ESTATE

OfficeMax to open smaller format

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — OfficeMax has become the latest retailer with a smaller-store, urban format either open or in the wings.

The retailer will unveil its smaller concept sometime in 2013, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The new format will range between 5,000 sq. ft. and 15,000 sq. ft., the report said.

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FINANCE

Safeway names former Starbucks finance chief as CFO

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Pleasanton, Calif. — Safeway Inc. announced Monday that it has named Peter J. Bocian as EVP and CFO, effective Feb. 19.

Bocian, who will report to Safeway president Robert Edwards, spent a year with Starbucks as the coffee purveyor’s CFO and chief administrative officer. Most recently, he was head of real estate finance for JP Morgan Chase.

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