July 30, 2021
Restaurant SmartBrief
On the Front Burner
Union Square Hospitality Group will require all dine-in customers to show proof they're fully vaccinated for COVID-19, CEO Danny Meyer said Thursday. The move comes as restaurants around the country enact similar policies where the law allows, in response to rising numbers of cases due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Full Story: CNBC (7/29),  The New York Times (7/29) 
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Restaurant News
Yum Brands' sales top pre-pandemic levels
(Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Yum Brands reported a 30% jump in second-quarter same-store sales at KFC, which saw soaring demand for chicken sandwiches. Yum also owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Habit Burger Grill, and same-store sales at all four chains were up compared to the same period in 2019.
Full Story: Restaurant Business (7/29),  Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (7/29),  Reuters (7/29) 
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McDonald's teams with Saweetie for new celebrity meal
Following up on its popular collaborations with musicians including J Balvin and Korean pop group BTS, McDonald's has revealed the latest collaboration in its "Famous Orders" campaign: a limited-edition meal named for hip-hop artist Saweetie. The meal, which will be available starting Aug. 9, will come in "icy" packaging and feature "Saweetie 'N Sour" sauce.
Full Story: TIME (tiered subscription model) (7/29),  Adweek (7/29),  Ad Age (tiered subscription model) (7/29) 
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Connecting the digital + physical worlds in retail
While the recent surge in digital interactions will remain, consumers now crave in-person interaction – which makes connecting the two more important than ever for retailers. This on-demand webinar explores the implications of the Covid-19 digital surge for retailers and how reimagining retail digital transformation can augment human interactions. Watch now
Leading Voices
In addition to its almost 60 golf courses, Drive Shack operates four golf-centric eatertainment venues and is poised to open its first smaller-format concept in Texas this summer. In the "Buzzworthy Brands" podcast, CEO Hana Khouri talks about prospects for the return of concepts that combine dining and games.
Full Story: Restaurant Business (7/28) 
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Consumer behavior changes, including more people working from home and cooking at home, are key factors to consider as restaurants navigate the pandemic recovery, David Portalatin of The NPD Group says. Portalatin predicts a shift toward "different kinds of communities that are smaller, that offer a little more space and flexibility."
Full Story: Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (7/27) 
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Minnesota chefs Christina Nguyen and Yia Vang joined forces in response to the rise of anti-Asian violence in the US to raise funds and awareness through a series of cooking videos featuring other Asian American chefs from the Twin Cities. The series of videos, called Minnesota Rice, is available to viewers for $100, and the project has raised more than $100,000 for the Coalition of Asian American Leaders in St. Paul.
Full Story: Food & Wine (7/29) 
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The $20,000 Birthday Bash is underway!
Don't miss Taylor's 95th Birthday Bash—you could win up to $20,000 in free equipment and other cash prizes! All you need to do is come up with a special birthday treat. Enter to win and join the party while it's still hopping!
SmartBrief Originals
Most Clicked: Take a look at this week's hottest food and beverage industry stories with SmartBrief's Top 10 list.
McDonald's creation of a customer experience team to focus on growth and the promotion of longtime executive Manu Steijaert to lead it caught SmartBrief readers' attention this week. Campbell's Soup's redesigned labels and its sale of 100 nonfungible tokens to support Feeding America topped this week's Top 10 list.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Food & Travel (7/30) 
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Time-saving menu inspiration
Fully cooked meatballs are a cost saving solution that can help operators keep up as restaurant visits ramp up. Home Market Foods' Chef Owen explores the versatility of putting meatballs on the menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
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Happy Hour
Hi, I’m New Here.
For 75 years I've been a trusted household name. Now you can serve customers my Johnsonville quality and delicious versatility in your restaurant. From brats to breakfast, we're excited to provide new menu solutions with attention to quality and safety at every level. Welcome to Johnsonville.
Culinary Spotlight
The Japanese rice balls called onigiri may be a humbler food than the fish-topped nigiri found in sushi restaurants, but several shops in Los Angeles are giving the compact, portable dish its due. At Jichan's Onigiri-ya, fillings range from pickled eggplant to fried chicken, and Super Rich serves simple flavors such as ume shiso or hemp and chia seed.
Full Story: The New York Times (7/27) 
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The fermented African lotus beans called iru are used to season many traditional Nigerian dishes, which get a tangy, cheeselike flavor from the fermented and dried beans. New Orleans-based Nigerian chef Tunde Wey is working to popularize the versatile ingredient by making jarred iru available in the US.
Full Story: The Economist (tiered subscription model) (7/31) 
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And that's the world's biggest problem: the future is seen as someone else's concern.
David A. Sinclair,
biologist, professor of genetics
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