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September 7, 2012
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On the Front Burner 
  • Checkers/Rally's finds new look for signature design
    Checkers/Rally's has unveiled three remodeled restaurants in Ohio, part of a group of 10 test sites that will sport the new design by year's end. The new look incorporates traditional signature elements including neon signs and checkerboards in a more modern way, and sports a new logo as part of a larger push to shake up the chain's image, says VP Jennifer Durham. (9/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Restaurant News 
  • Darden workers file federal wage lawsuit
    Attorneys for two former workers at Darden Restaurants' LongHorn and Olive Garden chains in Florida and Georgia have filed a federal wage lawsuit against the parent company, and they're looking to represent thousands more employees across the country. Darden says its eateries are in compliance with federal and state laws governing pay for tipped workers. Orlando Sentinel (Fla.) (9/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • The Melt aims to create a fleet of mobile diners
    Fast-casual grilled cheese chain The Melt plans to put 100 buses-turned-mobile-eateries on the road in the next few years, taking the chain's full menu and free WiFi to towns across the country. The San Francisco-based chain, which also plans to rapidly expand its brick-and-mortar operations, said the buses will give it the flexibility to serve the busiest parts of cities throughout the day. USA TODAY (9/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Other News
Happy Hour 
Leading Voices 
  • New tech tools aim to boost restaurant sales
    Five innovative new technologies are making their way into restaurants as proprietors look to increase sales and service levels, including touchscreen food vendors and tablet-based management systems. Additionally, webcam-enabled monitoring systems help eateries ensure compliance with food-safety codes, and biodiesel converters offer an eco-friendly way to turn used oil into fuel. Entrepreneur online (9/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Fast-food restaurants work hard to shed unhealthy image
    Fast-food restaurants have taken some heat over America's obesity epidemic, but many are overhauling their menus by offering more nutritious options, giving customers the ability to customize their meals with healthier toppings and condiments and reducing portion sizes. “Many fast-food operators ... have taken steps to decrease the level of sodium in their products,” says Maeve Webster, director at food industry market research firm Datassential. “It’s not often something that’s necessarily broadcast out there or marketed to the consumer, but they have been actually taking those kinds of steps.” (9/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Does making patrons wait spell success?
    Limiting the supply of seats can help boost demand and keep a restaurant popular and able to command higher prices, writes business consultant Dale Furtwengler. "Our natural 'belief' is that growth means serving more and more people when, indeed, it involves increasing demand by limiting supply." Price increases, he adds, are also more accepted by patrons when they feel the amount of value they put on their restaurant choice is confirmed by the number of people waiting to be seated. (9/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Culinary Spotlight 
  • Tasting menus move into new markets
    Tasting menus created by chefs to give guests a sampling of the eatery's signature dishes have been growing in popularity in major markets including New York and Chicago, and the concept has begun to catch on in other U.S. cities. "The appeal is probably that you get to try different things that wouldn't be on a normal menu," said Chef Joseph Heidenreich, of Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room in Indianapolis, which does tasting menus once a month. The Indianapolis Star (9/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Why Arab diners love cheeseburger pizzas
    Pizza Hut raised eyebrows recently by launching a cheeseburger pizza -- yes, a pizza studded with mini cheeseburgers -- in restaurants in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The episode highlights the Middle East's extraordinary appetite for U.S.-style fast food, experts say, with classic American quick-serve chains encountering strong demand. Knowledge@Wharton (9/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Featured Content 

Movers & Shakers 
Editor's Note 
  • From the SmartBrief Library: "The Tasti D-Lite Way"
    How did the dessert chain with a cult-like following become a market leader in social media as well? SmartBrief is pleased to share an excerpt from "The Tasti D-Lite Way: Social Media Marketing Lessons for Building Loyalty and a Brand Customers Crave." The book explores how the company -- ranked as one of Mashable's Top 40 Brands on Twitter -- leveraged blogs, Twitter and an innovative rewards system to not only grow customer affinity but revenue, too. In return for updating your SmartBrief subscriber profile, we will send you an excerpt from the book, absolutely free. LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Food for Thought 
The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions."
--Antony Jay,
British writer, broadcaster, director and actor

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