Late Easter to bring record spending

American shoppers are expected to spend a record $18.4 billion on Easter this year — largely because of the holiday’s later-than-normal date, according to the National Retail Federation.

Easter-related spending is expected to climb by 6 percent over last record level of $17.3 billion, the federation said.

RELATED: Hoffman’s plans Easter factory tour; egg hunt

Those celebrating the holiday plan to spend an average of $152 per person, up 4 percent from last year’s record of $146, according to the trade group.

“Most consumers have almost an entire extra month to shop for Easter this year, and by the time the holiday comes the weather should be significantly warmer than last Easter,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “That should put shoppers in the frame of mind to splurge on spring apparel along with Easter decorations. With the economy improving, consumers are ready to shop and retailers are ready to offer great deals whether they’re buying Easter baskets or garden tools.”

According to the federation, consumers will spend $5.8 billion on food; $3.3 billion on clothing; $2.9 billion on gifts;, $2.6 billion on candy; $1.2 billion on flowers; $1.1 billion on decorations; and $788 million on greeting cards.



Hoffman’s plans Easter factory tour; egg hunt

Hoffman’s Chocolates plans to hold a “Hoppy Easter Celebration” on April 8 at its Greenacres chocolate factory, shoppe and ice cream parlour.

The celebration will include Eastr egg hunts, photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny, food trucks, entertainment and other family-friendly activities.

Here is the schedule of events:

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and Chocolate Factory Tour and chocolate activity – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

This festive, first-time event will include breakfast with the Easter Bunny featuring an all-you-can-eat, buffet-style breakfast with offerings such as eggs, bacon, sausage, cheesy hash browns, bagels, pastries, juices and coffee. The morning will also include photo opportunities with the bunny, a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the famous Hoffman’s Chocolates Factory, a special, create-your-own chocolate bar activity and an Easter egg hunt. The egg hunt will feature approximately 5,000 eggs filled with goodies, redeemable vouchers and one extra-special egg will contain a voucher to claim a 3-foot Chocolate Bunny (valued at $299.95).  Guests can also take part in the other activities later that day. The cost for this event is $34.95 for adults, $17.95 for children ages 2-12, and children under 2 are free but will not be assigned a seat. To register visit Price of admission also gives all guests first access to the Easter egg hunt following the breakfast. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Hoppy Easter Celebration – 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Hoffman’s Chocolates will celebrate Easter with a family-friendly afternoon including Easter egg hunts (for ages 2-12), photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny, food trucks, magic shows, entertainment, crafts and other activities in Hoffman’s beautiful Gardens. The cost for entry is $5 per person (children under 2 are free). Ice cream, Easter treats, gourmet caramel apples and other chocolates and confections will be available for sale in both The Sweet Shack in the Gardens and in the Factory Store. Tickets can be purchased at Hoffman’s Chocolates the day of the event. Please don’t forget to bring your own Easter basket.



Wawa in Palm Beach County: 3 stores open next week

Wawa, a family-owned chain of convenience stores known for its fanatical following, will open three stores on Thursday, marking its first push into the South Florida market.

The chain, which is headquartered in Wawa, Pa, has earned a reputation for serving up hot coffee and tasty sandwiches along with its gas sales.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Steve Abrams and Mayor Shelley Vana with a Wawa mascot.

In Palm Beach County, die-hard fans will be treated to giveaways, discounts and deals as part of the triple-header grand opening celebration.

RELATED: City commissioner: Wawa wants to open in Boynton Beach

Wawa is opening two locations in Palm Springs and one in Riviera Beach on Thursday.  All doors open at 8 a.m.

Here is the ribbon cutting schedule:

9 a.m.

3950 South Congress Avenue in Palm Springs

12:30 p.m.

1771 South Congress Avenue in Palm Springs

3 p.m.

7289 Garden Road, Riviera Beach

All three locations will be serving up free coffee for 10 days following the opening. The first 100 customers at the 3950 S. Congress Ave. location will receive special giveaway items.

RELATED: Wawa says Hello to Palm Beach County

Wawa announced in 2015 that it planned to open dozens of stores in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

Wawa opened its first Florida location outside of SeaWorld in Orlando in 2012.

This local eatery now serving up items at PBIA

Paneterie, a European bakery and cafe with locations in West Palm Beach and Delray Beach, is now offering “grab and go” items at Palm Beach International Airport.

photo provided

A number of sandwiches, salads, snack boxes and sweet treats, are available at the Flagler Gourmet Market, which is located in Concourse B.

RELATED: This store just opened at the PB Outlets

Palm Beach County Airports Director Bruce Pelly said passengers are looking for fresh and local food options, adding that all airport eateries are required to offer “street pricing.”

The Flagler Gourmet Market is run by the Paradies Shops, the Atlanta-based company that operates the stores at the airport.


Hurricane Grill & Wings brand to expand new restaurant concept

The West Palm Beach-based Hurricane Grill & Wings brand plans to open 49 new restaurants as part of a new fast-casual concept it unveiled last year.

The company said it would expand its Hurricane BTW concept,  (burgers, tacos and wings) over the next 3 1/2 years, adding as many as 11 new locations by the end of the year.

Hurricane BTW’s lab store opened in Ft. Lauderdale in April.

The company said it plans to open the first Hurricane BTW prototype location in Skokie, IL in late April.  Between 8 and 10 more locations will open by the end of the year, the chain said.

““While the restaurant industry, specifically fast-casual, is down as of late, we have seen two trends: single entrée menus have driven brands (i.e. burgers, pizza, wings), and there is an overall drive for higher quality and higher average tickets,” said Brooksy Smith, Chief Brand Officer for Hurricane AMT (Hurricane Grill & Wings, Hurricane BTW and Hurricane Dockside) as well as President of Hurricane BTW. “At BTW, we are focusing on the three most popular single entrée items other than pizza and including them on our menu, and we are pricing our average ticket at $10. We feel that now is the right time for a broad menu with a value proposition in a casual market. And that’s why we are confident BTW will excel.”


Need a job? This company is hiring in Palm Beach Gardens

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants,  a wine bar and “upscale casual” restaurant, plans to hire nearly 200 workers to staff its soon-to-open location in Palm Beach Gardens.

The company plans to open its first Palm Beach County location in April at The Gardens Mall on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens.  Cooper’s Hawk said it needs to fill 196 new jobs before the doors open.  Positions range from servers to line cooks, bartenders to wine tasting room attendants.

Cooper’s Hawk, a winery and restaurant, will open in the second floor of The Gardens Mall, 3101 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens, by the end of March 2017. (Sarah Peters/The Palm Beach Post)

To fill the openings, Cooper’s Hawk is holding a hiring fair on Monday and Tuesday (March 13 & 14). The event, which runs from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., will take place at the chain’s Palm Beach Gardens location inside The Gardens Mall (3101 PGA Boulevard).

“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the growing job base in Palm Beach County,” said Tim McEnery, founder and CEO of Cooper’s Hawk. “We are currently looking to staff team members with a passion for wine, food and first-class hospitality and look forward to meeting and working with many great members of the community.”

The Palm Beach Gardens restaurant will become the chains 8th Florida location.

Interested candidates who are unable to attend the hiring event may also apply online by visiting apply at

Wawa sets opening date for first Palm Beach County locations

Wawa, a family-owned chain of convenience stores known for its hot coffee and tasty sandwiches, has announced which locations it will open in a triple-header grand opening celebration set for this month.

The company said it will open three stores on Thursday, March 23.  They include two locations in Palm Springs and one in Riviera Beach. Here is the ribbon cutting schedule:

Palm Beach County Commissioner Steve Abrams and Mayor Shelley Vana with a Wawa mascot.

9 a.m.

3950 South Congress Avenue in Palm Springs

12:30 p.m.

1771 South Congress Avenue in Palm Springs

3 p.m.

7289 Garden Road, Riviera Beach

RELATED: City commissioner: Wawa wants to open in Boynton Beach

RELATED: Wawa says Hello to Palm Beach County

Wawa announced in 2015 that it planned to open dozens of stores in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

Wawa opened its first Florida location outside of SeaWorld in Orlando in 2012.


Del Taco chain coming to Palm Beach County

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. plans to open both franchised and corporate locations in Palm Beach County, as well as southern Georgia and the greater Atlanta area.

A recent development deal will bring 10 Del Taco locations to the county. The first locations will open in 2018.

The Lake forest, Calif.-based company said it is partnering with franchisee Angelo Freites. Freites experience in fast food spans 33 years, and includes Wendy’s locations, the company said.


In southern Georgia, the franchise deal is for six locations led by franchisee Nishant Patel, is slated to open in Warner Robins this spring, followed by planned development in Macon, Albany and Tifton. This franchise growth, the company announcement stated, will bolster Del Taco’s “existing corporate footprint in the Atlanta area,” where there are currently eight corporate-owned restaurants, with a ninth location due to open in Kennesaw.

Del Taco owns more than 550 locations in 15 states.

McDonald’s unveils high-tech, super straw

McDonald’s has re-engineered the straw in an effort to maximize the flavor of its St. Patrick’s Day milkshake, but only a handful of lucky customers will get to test out the new invention.

photo provided
photo provided

McDonald’s hired two engineering firms to develop the straw — which is designed to deliver the perfect ratio of chocolate and mint flavor in the restaurant’s new layered Chocolate Shamrock Shake.

RELATED: Fast food faster: McDonald’s also woos customers with ordering kiosks 

The company has dubbed its invention the “Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdraw” — an acronym for straw.

McDonald’s produced 2,000 of the snorkel-like straws and is giving them away at select locations across the country.

RELATED: This national chain is coming to Palm Beach Outlets

Currently there are no giveaways planned in the Palm Beach County area.

But you still have time to get your hands on a Chocolate Shamrock Shake.



Should your neighborhood Outback, Bonefish or Carrabba’s close?

Outback Steakhouse
Outback Steakhouse

More than 40 Outback, Bonefish or Carrabba’s restaurants will be closing. Should your neighborhood place be one of those?

Bloomin’ Brands Inc., which owns the chains, said last Friday that it will close the restaurants located in various parts of the country.

In Palm Beach County:

Outback has six locations in Jupiter (103 A-1 US 1), Palm Beach Gardens (10933 N. Military Trail), Royal Palm Beach (11101 Southern Blvd.), Lake Worth (6266 Lantana Road), Delray Beach (1300 Linton Blvd.), and Boca Raton (6030 SW 18 Street).

Bonefish Grill has four locations in Palm Beach Gardens (4635 PGA Blvd.), Wellington (9897 Lake Worth Road), Boynton Beach (1880 N. Congress Ave.) and Boca Raton (21065 Powerline Road).

Carrabba’s Italian Grill has five locations in North Palm Beach (11201 US 1), Royal Palm Beach (11141 Southern Blvd.) Boynton Beach (1999 N. Congress Ave.), Delray (355 E. Linton Blvd.) Boca Raton (6909 SW 18 St.)

So, tell us, is your neighborhood location busy or dead? Would it be foolish to close it?

Bloomin’ Brands has not yet released a list of the restaurants that are to be closed. But, if you’re wondering what are the odds your local spot will be among the 40, the company owns more than 1,500 restaurant locations.