Friday, August 29, 2014

Sarasota Chicken Kitchen aiming for October opening

Miami-based Chicken Kitchen is expected to open in mid-October and start hiring soon.
Rendering of the Sarasota Chicken Kitchen. Rendering Provided

The Herald reported in April how Gris Bettle and his brother-in-law Justin Mattina of West Bradenton are opening the poultry eatery inside The Market at University Town Center (formerly called University Park Center). The restaurant will be at 5215 University Parkway, beside Tijuana Flats.

Now as construction has moved along, Bettle said Friday that the restaurant is on track to start hiring in late September and hope to open mid-October, right when the Mall at University Town Center is expected to open.

Here is what you can expect from Chicken Kitchen from my April report:

"Chicken Kitchen is known for its hour-long grilling process and aims to give a more personable experience than the cafeteria-line fast food joints. The signature items include Chop-Chop, which is diced chicken dishes that customers can hear the distinct chopping sound while in line, and Wrapitos, which are grilled tortilla wraps.
"We only have all-white meat chicken, and we don't own a microwave or a freezer," said Bettle, a St. Stephen's Episcopal School graduate. "Everything's fresh, and the chicken is all natural, so it's raised antibiotic free."
Plus, the chicken shouldn't be warming in a container, waiting to be ordered.
"The food's coming right off the grill, and in 30 seconds it's right on your plate, and you're eating something that's freshly prepared," Mattina said, adding the experience gives a little bit of theater to dining."

The brothers-in-law said they hoped to tweak the operation and menu offerings a little bit to make the restaurant a better franchise model, something that the restaurant had an issue with through its history of promoting franchise opportunities and little to show for it.

Chicken Kitchen also has started a Facebook page,, which will encompass other potential Chicken Kitchen locations in Tampa Bay. The two have a five-year plan to open six restaurants in Tampa Bay.

Updated job listings for Mall at University Town Center

With Labor Day weekend here and the Mall at University Town Center opening in just under 50 days, I'm sharing the jobs information again for the mall as the original post is now buried on this blog.

Here's some basic places to search before we reach the comprehensive list I've rounded up below:

CareerSource Suncoast is listing mall jobs at Not all jobs are listed there because it's up to the store to choose to list their jobs on that site.

Some of the stores are posting on Craigslist, but you will have to search for the mall keyword a couple different ways to find all of them. Try "Mall at University Town Center" "University Town Center" "University Parkway" and "Sarasota mall."

Here is a list of all the openings we could find online with links of where to apply:

Mall at UTC staff: Customer Service ManagerCustomer Service Rep

Universal Protection Service (Mall at UTC retail security), full-time supervisor and full- and part-time officers


Aldo, various positions, send cover letter and resume to

Apple, all positions.

American Eagle Outfitters, sales associate and store management. (Search for Sarasota)

Ann Taylor, various positions

Anthropologie, management and supervisors

Art of Shaving, various positions,

Aveda, store management, retail associates,

Auntie Annes, management and staff

Bebe, various positions. Submit resume at

Bosestore manager 

Boston Properassistant manager

BRIO Tuscan Grille, various positions. (Hiring center to be set up Aug. 25 at Keiser University, 6151 Lake Osprey Drive, Lakewood Ranch.)

Brooks Brothers, tailor, visual coordinator, supervisor

Brow Art 23, open applications

Cache, various positions, email

Calypso St. Barthstore manager and assistant manager

Camicissima Milanovarious positions

The Capital Grille, various positions

Champs Sports, manager

Cheesecake Factory, all positions

Chico's, various positions

ColdStone Creamery, general manager

Crate & Barrel, all positions

Dillard's, sales associates

Edward Beiner, full-time and part-time sales associates. Can also contact Omar Ruiz, chief operating director at 786-443-9109.

Everything But Water, various positions, email cover letter and resume to

Express, store manager

FastFix, various positions full and part time

Forever21, co-manager

Godiva, store manager and sales associates

Gymboree, management and store associates

H&M, department manager, department supervisor and visual merchandiser

iAccessorize, repair technician

Invictastore manager and various positionsemail

J. Crewstore director and associate store manager 

J. Jillstore manager

Jackie Z Style Co., various positions. Send resumes and cover letters to

Janie and Jack, management and sales associates

Kona Grill, all positions

L'Occitane En Provence, part-time sales associate

Lilly Pulitzer, management

LOFT, co-manager and sales associates

Lovesac, store manager

Lululemon, educator and key leader

LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, store manager

MAC, various positionssend resume to
Deborah Brown
Executive Director, Human Resources
M·A·C Cosmetics
130 Prince St, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10012

Macy's, various positions

Mandarin Express, download application

Mayors Jewelers, management and sales (Location listed as Miami)

Moleskine, full-time and part-time sales associates and store manager

Papyrus, sales supervisor

Peter Elliot Bluesales manager and sales associate

Pottery Barn, various positions seasonal and permanent (can also fill out applications at Southgate Mall store)

Rise Pies, general manager and assistant manager

Robert Grahamstore manager

Seasons 52, all positions

Sephora, various positions (Enter 34243 in search)

Smoothie King, general manager

Solstice Sunglasses, store manager

Somavarious positions

Sophie's at Saks, line cook

StarbucksMacy's is hiring for a Starbucks inside its store. Barista positions for the kiosk at the center court of the mall have not been posted yet. 

Stuart Weitzman, sales associate

Swarovski, store manager

TINA Stephens, store manager

Tommy Bahama, store manager (When performing new search, select retail division then location for UTC jobs to appear.)

Tumi, sales associates, store manager

Vera Bradley, various positions

Victoria Secret, various positions full and part time

The Walking Company, all positions; can also send resume and salary history to, ATTN: Human Resources

Williams-Sonoma, various positions seasonal and permanent (can also fill out applications at Southgate mall location)

Yo! Sushi, head chef, sous chef, assistant general manager

Z Gallerie, e-mail inquires to ATTN: Human Resources

Zales Jewelers, jewelry consultant

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Buffalo Wings & Rings plans Bradenton expansion

Cincinnati-based Buffalo Wings & Rings is looking to expand to Bradenton within the next two years, a spokeswoman told the Herald.

No location has been announced yet.

The sports restaurant, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, offers wings, burgers, gyros and more and operates 55 restaurants including locations in Port Charlotte and North Port.

The company expects to add two restaurants in the next two years, creating 120 jobs here, according to the spokesman. The Port Charlotte location, operated by Brian Bourlier, opened Aug. 2.

The Herald reported earlier this week that another Cincinnati chain, Tom+Chee, is close to signing a deal to open a location in the Bradenton-Sarasota market.

Learn more about the restaurant and its expansion plans next week in The Bradenton Herald.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tim Hortons could be an easy sell in Florida thanks to Canadian tourists, Burger King

If Burger King can structure its company right, the Miami-based fast food chain could lead to a whopper of a Tim Hortons expansion in Florida.

Burger King confirmed Tuesday that it is making a pitch to buy Canada's Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop for $11 billion to leverage the brand's coffee and breakfast market. It's probably best because did anyone really think that burgers for breakfast was going to work?

I've always thought that Tim Hortons would be a genius move for a business in Florida despite having to slug it out with Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks, especially here in the Bradenton area.

In the last year, Manatee and Sarasota counties combined attracted about 100,000 Canadian tourists. That's just some of the 3.7 million Canadians who visited Florida. Have you not seen how many Ontario license plates roam these roads during winter? Sometimes I felt like I had to check to make sure I wasn't being tricked into thinking that I lived in the southernmost province of the Great White North.

Plus, we have a good chunk of Canadian transplants who now live here year-round. I remember first meeting Schroeder-Manatee Ranch's Todd Pokrywa last year and we struck up a brief chat about the love of Tim Hortons, or Timmy's. The Canadian native had his stash of Tim Hortons coffee in his office for a Cup of Joe that reminds him of home.

It might mean a gift basket from relatives up north or ordering online for some to get Tim Horton. The U.S. locations are predominately in the Great Lakes region stretching from Michigan to New York. For now, if you want to get a fix of Tim Hortons, you'll have to go to the Tampa Bay Times Forum and BB&T Center where a small stand sells only coffee. Sorry, no Timbits or sandwiches there.

These folks would surely line up for a box of Timbits while hoping the butter tarts are added back to the menu.

There are foodies out there who would ask why have another chain restaurant given the area's bevy of good independent restaurants, some of those being fast food. That foodtopia is never going to arrive. Vacationers often crave the familiar and affordable.

Tim Hortons made a concerted push this past year to get more American franchisees, airing prime-time ads during the National Hockey League's outdoor games earlier this year. So, they're trying. It's going to take a franchisee signing for multiple locations to make it work, and that means a lot of capital. That's where Burger King's executives could help their Tim Hortons counterparts in navigating site selection and Florida regulations as well as connecting with investors and existing Burger King franchisees looking for something new.

You'd think someone would hit up one of the retired NHLers and coaches living part time in the area including Scotty Bowman, Larry Robinson, Steve Shutt or Bobby Clarke who might have a warm place in their hearts for Tim Hortons. But really, I'd ask Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett.

Why him? Bennett once operated Dunkin' Donuts franchises and he co-owns the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex. The ice rink has a vacancy where restaurants have come and gone, the latest being a steakhouse. Bennett would like a national chain to go in there, and why not Tim Hortons? There's a fixed, dedicated audience because hockey demographics easily cross with Tim Hortons. If the space is too big, stick an urgent care in there to handle all the bumps and bruises from the ice rink, and that space would be humming.

I'd ask Mike what he would think of this, but he was tied up at the Primary Election on Tuesday looking to count votes instead of coffee beans.

Even if he doesn't go with it, I wonder if the model Timmy's uses in America's snowiest city would work here, where the coffee shop partners in the same space with ColdStone Creamery -- like Dunkin' puts a Baskin Robins in its store.

I'm rooting for the brand in Florida because it brings back some good memories of when I played travel hockey in high school and we had a chance to stop off and try a Tim Hortons. We didn't have any in Maryland. I was impressed with the clean layout and how breakfast entrees would be served with a glass plate and silverware.

I don't think I ended up trying a Tim Hortons doughnut until I interned at the Erie Times-News in 2006. At the time, Timmy's flooded the market in Erie, Pa., and there seemed to be one on every corner. Somebody brought them into work one day and I wasn't impressed at first. But then I tried it again and there's something about them that makes them worthwhile. Maybe it's the special lard, I don't know.

If Timmy's ever comes to Florida, it won't have a problem finding a familiar audience.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Taubman's technology allows Mall at UTC to be a 'smart mall'

Macy's at the Mall at University Town Center
When Taubman Centers opens the Mall at University Town Center, technology will be at the forefront of the shopping and business experience.

The company's chief technology officer Michael Osment shared in a column for research company Realcomm Conference Group that the Mall at UTC will be one of the company's "smart malls."

Shoppers will have touchscreen directories in the mall that give GPS-like directions on how to get to a store from your current location in the mall, Osment wrote:

"The value of this approach has already been demonstrated as we prepare to open the new Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, Fla. A big advantage is the ability to postpone technology decisions until late in the development cycle. This allowed time to make a firm decision for the digital directory approach until the technology matured; we will be able to incorporate state of the art touchscreen directories with built in way-finding for shoppers rather than settling for what was available when the development began almost three years ago. Think of this as being like your GPS: you put in your destination and it shows you the route from your location on a map. Having the Smart Mall infrastructure already in the plans made postponement of the technology decision possible without adding risk to the overall project."

The mall, which opens Oct. 16, will also provide free basic Internet for tenants, free WiFi for customers and Taubman officials previously announced that they were working on a way for customers to call ahead or maybe even use an app to have their valet car ready before customers head to the exit.

Osment also added that Taubman is testing more ways to use location-based technology along with low energy Bluetooth, or Bluetooth LE and Bluetooth Smart, to add to the shopping experience.

Computer manufacturer Dell wrote about what Bluetooth LE could mean for retail in a post earlier this year, saying that the technology could alert shoppers of a sale on umbrellas if it's raining outside, or pull up your order or request as soon as you approach the store. Companies like American Eagle Outfitters and Macy's -- both which will be in the new mall -- are rolling out Bluetooth Smart beacons in stores, Dell's Nick Clunn added.

Whether shoppers will use and trust the technology and security remains to be seen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Apple Store hiring for geniuses, more for Mall at University Town Center

Sarasota now on a list of job opportunities on
For those wanting to get a jump on job seekers for the new Apple Store in the Mall at University Town Center, apply now.

Apple has officially recognized its new store in Sarasota on its website, placing Sarasota on a list of job opportunities now available among other cities that are getting Apple stores.

Apple has also placed an ad on hiring for all positions this past week.

The jobs up for grabs at Apple include:

  • Sales specialist
  • Expert (customer service and sales lead)
  • Business specialist (business customer service and sales lead)
  • Business manager (district sales)
  • Service specialist (retail customer service)
  • Creative (customer training and support)
  • Genius (retail technical support)

Applicants can either apply on CareerBuilder or on Apple's website. Apple's website doesn't have positions drilled down to Sarasota yet, so applicants should apply to the postings that say "various locations."

Benefits at Apple's retail locations include health coverage, 401(k), buy company stock and product discounts. For one take on what it's like to work at an Apple store, the New York Times wrote an extensive piece in 2012. That same year, Apple gave retail employees raises. One part-time employee didn't like the varied work schedule in another Times piece last month, but liked the health benefits. (As someone who has worked in retail, varied schedules are the way of life unless you've been with a company for a long time or are a manager.)

Apple is bringing a 7,000-square-foot store on the first level of the mall across from Saks Fifth Avenue. The store will open along with the rest of the 880,000-square-foot, two-level mall on Oct. 16 off the corner of Cattlemen Road and University Parkway.

For the rest of jobs available at the Mall at UTC, read this post on the Up In Your Business blog.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mall at University Town Center launches Facebook fan page

Mall at UTC advertising its grand opening on Facebook.
Photo provided
The Mall at University Town Center is updating its official Facebook fan page as the shopping center has less than two months to go before its opening.

The page,, was created in April, but started posting updates this past week. The biggest of course, is a Facebook event invite for the grand opening party. The mall is expected to open Oct. 16, but the festivities are advertised to last through the weekend until Oct. 19.

The invite advertises live entertainment and special activities during the grand opening weekend, but no additional details yet. The mall is hosting a media preview night Oct. 15 where people who bought tickets to the event from non-profits will be able to shop that night as well and on Oct. 16, there might be a small opening ceremony, but don't expect it to last long as the doors will fling open quickly at 10 a.m.

Taubman Centers used to have celebrities show up and make a grand spectacle for its mall openings, but a former spokesperson for the company said the mall operator realized that enough people come out simply for the stores.