Landry's will launch Morton's Grille, a casual and less-pricey offshoot of its upscale Morton's the Steakhouse, in a community north of Houston next week. Casual spinoffs from high-end steakhouses are catching on with other brands -- Del Frisco's Restaurant Group opened the first Del Frisco's Grille in New York City in 2011, and the chain has since grown to six units.
Delaware Chancery Judge Leo Strine threw out shareholder lawsuits against directors of Morton's Restaurant Group, which alleged that the $116.6 million price tag on the sale to Landry's was too low. "The court recognized that there isn't wrongdoing in every instance where a public company is acquired," Steve Scheinthal, Landry's general counsel.
Blogger Peter Shankman raised a big social buzz when his tweeted joke spurred Morton's to greet his plane at Newark Airport with a steak dinner, pulling off a stunt fraught with potential logistical glitches and winning big public kudos in the process. The story contrasts sharply with other chains' efforts to use services such as Klout to market to so-called social media influencers, in campaigns that more often than not miss their mark, writes social marketing strategist Nate Riggs.
Landry's Restaurants CEO Tilman Fertitta said Wednesday he has acquired 90% of the shares in Morton's Restaurants, paving the way for his company to complete its purchase of the chain without approval from Morton's shareholders, a handful of whom had tried to block the deal.
Allen Bernstein, the CEO credited with building the Morton's Steakhouse chain from nine to 69 units during his 17-year tenure, died Wednesday at age 65. Bernstein, who wrote his college thesis on restaurant branding before forging a career in the industry, took the helm at Morton's when his company, Quantum Restaurant Group, acquired the chain in 1989.