Darden to pay $780M for Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen | Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Hardee's rank high with customers | McDonald's, Cossette show Chicago what goes wrong when you skip breakfast
March 28, 2017
Restaurant SmartBrief
On the Front Burner
Darden to pay $780M for Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen
Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants will acquire 165-unit Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen for $780 million, the companies said Monday. Texas-based Cheddar's operates casual dining eateries in 28 states, with menus that feature entrees priced at less than $10.
Orlando Sentinel (Fla.) (tiered subscription model) (3/27) 
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Consumers want chicken raised without antibiotics on menus, and Brakebush has many terrific RWA options – including fully cooked sliced or diced breast items and ready-to-cook IQF breast fillets, tenderloins and chunks. Learn more today.
Restaurant News
Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Hardee's rank high with customers
Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Hardee's rank high with customers
(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Chick-fil-A ranked highest in a customer experience survey of limited-service restaurant chains by the Temkin Group. Chipotle Mexican Grill and Hardee's tied for second place in the survey of 10,000 consumers, and Subway and Arby's rounded out the top five.
QSRMagazine.com (3/27) 
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McDonald's, Cossette show Chicago what goes wrong when you skip breakfast
McDonald's is reminding consumers in its hometown of Chicago and the surrounding area to "Make it a Mickey D's Morning" with a campaign that includes TV, social, out-of-home and radio ads. A humorous TV spot from Cossette shows a woman who skipped breakfast apply black marker instead of eyeliner as she gets ready for a morning meeting.
Advertising Age (3/27) 
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Profitable Menu Trend: Gluten-Free Chicken Sausage
With more consumers turning to a gluten-free diet, restaurants have an opportunity to stand out from the competition by offering gluten-free menu choices. That's where Jones Chicken Sausage comes in. Our four gluten-free options are made from natural ingredients and offer a great taste you can't get anywhere but Jones. Need inspiration? Start with a gluten-free recipe, like our White Chicken Sausage Chili.
Leading Voices
Noodle concepts struggle to find a fast-casual niche
Noodles & Company launched in 1995, two years after Chipotle Mexican Grill, but the chain and other pasta-centric startups have struggled to catch on and build loyal followings. A new wave of chef-driven concepts including Porano Pasta in St. Louis and New York City's forthcoming Pasta Flyer are aiming to find the sweet spot for fast-casual pasta with high quality ingredients and speedy service.
Eater (3/27) 
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Fitness, healthy food brands find an audience on Instagram
US consumers' attitudes toward fitness have evolved to focus on overall health and nutrition, and Instagram and other social sites are raising awareness of the latest workout plans and meal services. "Until a few years ago, people learned about the latest workout or plan in the magazines, but now they more likely than not found it on Instagram," said Stephen Boidock of branding agency Drumroll.
Digiday (3/28) 
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Rosati's Pizza president: "Don't take no for an answer"
Marla Topliff, who became president of Rosati's Pizza in 1999, discusses her journey through the restaurant industry and shares her advice for aspiring female leaders. "Believe in yourself, and don't take no for an answer," she said.
FastCasual.com (3/27) 
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Featured Content
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SmartBrief Originals
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Culinary Spotlight
Live fire cooking catches on with Texas chefs
Chefs in Houston are trading their gas and electric grills for wood-fueled fires that add char and smoky flavor to dishes. Cooking over live fire is "modernized primitive cooking," said chef Ronnie Killen, who cooks steak, lobster and vegetables on a wood-burning grill at Killen's STQ.
Houston Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (3/24) 
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Md. chef's pantry is an ode to local foods
Chef Spike Gjerde has a growing restaurant empire in and around Baltimore, and his canning operation, Woodberry Pantry, specializes in pantry staples sourced from the area. Gjerde uses local ingredients, such as salt sourced from beneath the Appalachian Mountains and verjus -- the sour juice from unripe grapes that stands in for imported citrus, to create canned items that are used and sold in his restaurants.
Saveur.com (3/24) 
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