A lawyer near Washington, D.C., has received more than 350 texts from people who thought they were requesting a free burrito from Chipotle Mexican Grill. The restaurant promised free food for customers inconvenienced by its late opening Monday, asking them to text RAINCHECK to 888-222. The lawyer's phone number is similar, leading to a flood of entreaties for burritos.
Stories about Super Bowl spots that introduced KFC's newest Colonel Sanders portrayer and unveiled Taco Bell's latest menu item proved popular with SmartBrief readers this week. Mondelez's decision to prioritize online sales also made the top 10, as did Kroger's plans for its fledgling Main & Vine concept and Chobani's decision not to sell a majority interest to PepsiCo.
Panda Express parent Panda Restaurant Group has recently invested in small chains Pieology Pizzeria and Just Salad, in a push to grow and diversify after building the biggest Asian-themed chain in the US. "We are able to share our experiences with a young restaurant chain, and we are able to help them grow. Along the way, we're also learning from them," said Panda co-owner Peggy Cherng.
Cooking makes San Francisco sous chef Ryoji Kajikawa happy, and that happiness helps him stay calm and centered amid the craziness of the restaurant kitchen. "I used to cook just to pay my rent, but now I want to get better, get more skills. I'm not thinking about rent or anything; I'm just thinking about respect for the food," he said.
The Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis sells plant-based meats including steaks, chops, ribs and pastrami, all of which food writer James Norton says come close to the flavors omnivores expect from animal proteins. The shop resembles a traditional butcher shop, and the owners take a culinary approach that helps it stand out from other vegan food efforts that sacrifice flavor in the name of health and ethics, Norton says.
Corn varieties native to Mexico are growing increasingly popular with US chefs and restaurants striving for authenticity, a trend that may reverse declining production after two decades. Corn is a staple in the Mexican diet and farmers there grow about 59 different varieties, but hundreds of thousands of small growers gave up during the past 20 years. "If corn really takes off, you could get a repeat of the quinoa story," said chef-turned-supplier Jorge Gaviria.
Heart-rate monitors are credited with completely changing physical-education classes at an Iowa elementary school. Students wear the devices and can see data on their heart rate in real time. "I honestly feel like this is the future of P.E.," said Heath Mueller, a physical-education teacher.
A UK report showed that more use of existing vaccines would reduce antibiotic use and help combat drug-resistant superbug infections. Treasury Minister Jim O'Neill said universal coverage with a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine could mostly prevent the 800,000 annual Streptococcus pneumonia-related deaths in children younger than 5 and prevent more than 11 million days of antibiotic use.
Burger King will beef up its menu with grilled hot dogs, a new menu item that can be cooked on the same equipment that turns out the chain's signature flame-broiled burgers, the company said Wednesday. The chain began experimenting with hot dog recipes about 18 months ago in response to customer requests, and it tested the all-beef frank in five cities before rolling it out nationwide, said Alex Macedo, president of the company's North America division.
Today's category management has become stagnant and is too product-focused and narrow for today's consumers, according to a report by FMI, Deloitte Consulting and Winston Weber Associates. Eighty-five percent of retailers have made no changes or only moderate changes to their category management processes, while 100% of respondents in the study said at least some change is needed in category management. "We are calling for an industry transformation to adapt to today's new consumer," said Mark Baum, FMI's chief collaboration officer.
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