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News Briefs for January 8, 2015

January 8, 2015

•Anheuser-Busch InBev has revealed its advertising strategy for upcoming Super Bowl XLIX, detailing plans for new spots backing its Budweiser and Bud Light brands. Budweiser will be the subject of two new ads, one touting its “brewing credentials as America’s No. 1 full-flavored lager” and one featuring its mascot Clydesdales, which have appeared in Bud Super Bowl ads for nearly three decades. Bud Light, meanwhile, will be supported by a new 60-second spot that continues its “Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens” campaign, in which the brand “creates unexpected experiences” for millennial consumers. AB InBev said Bud Light’s performance improved in the third quarter of 2014 due to the launch of the new campaign, gaining share in the premium light category, although the brand’s U.S. sales to retailers still declined 2% for the quarter.

•A new restaurant reservations service called Top-Top launched this week in Chicago. It will offer only prime-time 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. dinner reservations to clients who agree to pay “no-show” penalties and also agree in advance to spend a certain minimum per seat. The owner is a Chicago commercial real estate developer, Todd Reed, who hit on the concept when he grew frustrated by popular dining destinations offering only very early or late reservations on many days of the week. Thus far he’s signed up a half-dozen local Chicago restaurants, each paying Top-Top $2.50 per seated guest. Top-Top will compete against Open Table as well as another Chicago reservations service, Tock, which is in the process of launching.

•The Michelin awards are proving to be something of a curse for many Chicago restaurants. Senza, a gluten-free farm-to-table concept which recently received a Michelin star, announced it will close January 18 after less than three years in business. That follows on the heels of Takashi, Graham Elliot and L2O, all of which closed after receiving Michelin stars. L2O will re-emerge in February with a new name, Intro, and an unusual concept under which the owner, Lettuce Entertain You, will rotate different executive chefs through the kitchen every two to three months and give them free rein over their menus. The concept is patterned after the Restaurant Ikarus in Salzburg, Austria, which has been doing the same thing since 2003. First up at Intro will be C.J. Jacobson, who is also the executive chef at Girasol in Studio City, Calif., and a graduate of the celebrated kitchen of Noma in Copenhagen.

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