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Watching the Weather


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Bad weather can be an appropriate scapegoat. If you were in the boat business as I was in the wake of 2014’s “polar vortex,” blaming the weather for poor sales made sense. But what if you’re Famous Dave’s, and it’s 2015? Because publicly traded companies owe the world an explanation four times per year, blaming the weather for poor results requires additional supporting evidence.

I was digging into executive statements for Famous Dave’s previous quarterly report as part of research for an upcoming story on Dave Anderson’s (the man himself) new BBQ concept that he started following the expiration of his non-compete agreement this spring.

While announcing another quarter of disappointing results, FD CEO Ed Rensi cited “unusual weather patterns” and an early start to Lent compared with 2014. I’m no Jim Cantore, but I can see most regions have been experiencing some pretty standard weather so far this year. Hoping to hear a plan and a good explanation for poor results, blaming the weather seemed like a red herring.

That’s not to say weather isn’t an important factor in many industries. If it won’t stop raining, snowing or tornado-ing, people will remained tucked away at home in the safety of their basements or days-long TV binge watching.

Heading into summer, expect to hear more about a strengthening El Niño (warmer Pacific waters) that will bring cooler, wetter weather to the southern part of the country, drier weather in the Pacific Northwest and generally warmer conditions in the northern states. This is one weather event that could have a big impact on bottom lines in a wide variety of categories across the globe.

With persistent droughts causing drastic rises in certain product and protein prices (read more HERE), perhaps a drastic shift in the long-term weather pattern is a good thing. Then again, that could be inviting chaos to the party. Again, I’m no Jim Cantore.

 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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