Wesley Batista, CEO of JBS Swift & Co., said that both his company and the U.S. beef industry in general will increase exports in 2010.

“JBS beef exports will increase 30 percent and the U.S. industry will export 10 percent” more beef this year than last year, Batista said at an agricultural symposium in Kansas City sponsored by the Federal Reserve, according to Bloomberg news. “We are seeing an improvement in demand in emerging economies.”

U.S. cattle prices that jumped to a 19-month high in May have eroded demand, Batista said. Futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have dropped 8.4 percent in the past month.

“Prices went up a lot and everybody slowed buying,” Batista said. “We will see prices stabilize, and buying will return.”

Source: Bloomberg, Business Week

Hardee's adds chicken strips to menu

Hardee’s is adding Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders to its menu after getting the idea from one of its franchisees. The tenders are made with all-white-meat chicken breast tenderloins, dipped in a buttermilk and egg batter, rolled in seasoned flour and then fried. The entire process takes place all day long right in the restaurants.

“The idea for doing Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders came to us from our largest franchisee, Boddie-Noell Enterprises, the same folks who pioneered the chain’s famous Made From Scratch biscuits over a quarter of a century ago,” said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee’s Food Systems. “Once we tried them, we knew consumers would find them irresistible because they represent such a huge quality leap over the mostly pre-cooked and frozen chicken strips available now. Obviously, our Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders are a lot more work to make than the pre-cooked, frozen ones, but our experience tells us that consumers will notice the difference in quality and keep coming back for more.”

Boddie-Noell Enterprises, Hardee’s largest franchisee headquartered in Rocky Mount, NC, brought the idea of introducing Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders at Hardee’s to the attention of the chain’s corporate office after introducing them in a casual dining steak restaurant it owned and seeing them quickly grow into one of the most popular items on the menu.

“Hardee’s management has always been receptive to input and suggestions from their franchise community,” said Bill Boddie, president and CEO for Boddie-Noell Enterprises. “That open communication lets us all have a voice in continuing to bring quality food and Six Dollar Service to our customers while solidifying the strength of the brand.”

The tenders are already on the menu at many Hardee’s locations and will be in all restaurants by the end of the month.

Source: Hardee’s

OSHA proposes fall protection/PPE rule revisions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a notice of proposed rulemaking to require improved worker protection from trip, slip and fall hazards on walking and working surfaces. The notice appeared in the May 24 Federal Register. The proposal is an overhaul of current General Industry standards at 29CFR1910, subpart D, “Walking-Working Surfaces.” OSHA notes that most of its existing standards for walking-working surfaces are more than 30 years old and inconsistent with both national consensus standards and more-recently promulgated OSHA standards addressing fall protection.

To view a summary of the changes proposed, go to www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/60044.
Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until August 23, 2010. The AMI Worker Safety Committee plans to draft comments regarding this proposal. OSHA has promised a public hearing on the revised changes to be held after the public comment period. To review the complete proposed rulemaking notice go to http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-10418.pdf.

Source: AMI

Bob Evans announces year-end, Q4 results

Bob Evans Farms Inc. announced financial results for the 2010 fourth fiscal quarter and fiscal year ended Friday, April 30, 2010.

The company reported consolidated operating income of $106.4 million in fiscal 2010, compared to $28.4 million in fiscal 2009. The fiscal 2010 results include the negative pretax impact of $4.1 million in net charges. Excluding the negative net impact of these charges, the Company's fiscal 2010 reported consolidated operating income of $106.4 million would have been approximately $110.5 million, or 6.4 percent of net sales.

Chairman and CEO Steve Davis said an ongoing focus on innovation and productivity initiatives in fiscal 2010 enabled the company to deliver a solid year, despite top-line challenges.

"Excluding special items, our fiscal 2010 operating income results were within our guided range," Davis said. "Productivity initiatives -- particularly in cost of sales, labor and SG&A -- helped offset negative leverage from lower sales and record-high sow costs in our fourth quarter. The food products segment's profitability for the year exceeded our expectations, due largely to a strong first half and lower full-year sow costs relative to fiscal 2009. Our diluted earnings per share of $2.28 benefited from a lower effective tax rate driven by settlements with taxing authorities and reduced interest expense due to an $80 million debt reduction in fiscal 2010.

"During the last five years, we returned to our shareholders $95 million in dividends and $250 million in share repurchases while reducing total debt by $67 million. We have also increased our adjusted operating income for five consecutive years,” he added.

The company reported consolidated operating income of $28.0 million and net income of $20.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, compared to operating income of $31.0 million and net income of $21.1 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.

Source: Bob Evans Farms Inc.

Denny's appoints chairman as interim CEO

Denny's Corp. announced that Debra Smithart-Oglesby, Denny's board chair, has been appointed interim CEO, succeeding Nelson Marchioli. Smithart-Oglesby will serve as CEO until the company completes the process of hiring a permanent CEO.

Smithart-Oglesby stated, "I am a passionate believer in the Denny's brand, and I welcome the opportunity to assume this interim role at an important juncture in the company's history. As the company nears completion of its transition to a franchise-oriented business model, we have been planning for a transition in leadership. Today's announcement will help accelerate that process and the company's ability to attract best-in-class candidates for the position of CEO. I want to thank Nelson for his dedicated service to the company and the Denny's brand; he has worked tirelessly on its behalf."

Denny's also announced the formation of a strategic team to provide organizational focus on the company's top priorities during this transition period, with particular emphasis on driving sales and guest counts and ensuring operational excellence across the system. This team will be led by Smithart-Oglesby and will consist of Mark Wolfinger, Denny's chief financial officer and chief administrative officer, Bill Cox, a large Denny's franchisee of 16 years with more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry including senior operating roles at multiple restaurant concepts, and Bob Langford, a large Denny's franchisee of 10 years with more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry including senior leadership roles at a number of concepts.

Cox will provide support related to operations until the position of chief operating officer is filled, and Langford will continue to provide support related to marketing until the position of chief marketing officer is filled. The search process for both positions is in an advanced stage.

Source: Denny’s Corp.