Red Lobster is in the process of switching to larger shrimp in about 70% of the dishes that feature the crustacean, an effort dubbed "Bigger, Better Shrimp" that's set to be complete by the middle of next month, President Salli Setta said. Shrimp account for 45% of the chain's sales, and the change comes in response to customer demand.
McDonald's is changing up its drive-thru process to boost both speed and accuracy, implementing an "ask, ask, tell" practice that creates three chances to make sure the order is correct and leaving bags open so customers can see the food before they drive off. About 70% of the chain's sales happen at the drive-thru window, said BTIG Research analyst Peter Saleh.
Albertsons has named Giant Eagle Information Chief Anuj Dhanda as its new chief information officer, starting next month, the company said. Dhanda will be in charge of Albertsons' information technology strategy, as traditional supermarket retailers work to catch up with the changing e-commerce market.
Specialty grocers see a lot of opportunity for expansion in core markets of the Southeast like Atlanta, Charlotte and Miami, as well as in some secondary markets, but they face challenges when it comes to finding the right space, real estate expert Bryan Belk said. "The biggest struggle developers are having is finding the right piece of land. Retail developers cannot afford the intown land costs, which is morphing a lot of traditional retail developers into mixed-use developers," he said.
Pinnacle Foods plans to add to its roster of health-focused brands with the acquisition of Boulder Brands in a deal valued at about $975 million, including debt, the companies announced today. Boulder produces brands including Evol Foods and Udi's Gluten Free.
Two teachers in a Kentucky high school are using food as a teaching tool -- a model that other educators nationwide are seeking to replicate. The program includes a class on food literacy, an after-school cooking club and lessons on sustainability.
Entrepreneurial food brands are increasingly winning over consumers who have grown wary of big brands, and the little guys' methods can set an example for major players to follow, Zenzi Communications President Julie Lyons writes. Brands must have a mission beyond boosting sales, be in step with their customers' values and value relationship-building over campaigns, she writes.
Detroit restaurateur George Dimopoulos left his Greek village to work in Athens at age 12, moved to the US when he was 23, and never forgot the times he was poor and hungry. His eatery, Senate Coney Island, hosts a free Thanksgiving dinner every year for anyone in need of food and company. "I don't ask them if they have the money. I try to feed everybody and make everybody happy," he said.
Eggs from pasture-raised hens account for a tiny sliver of the 75 billion eggs produced annually in the US, but they fall into the fastest-growing segment of the egg industry, thanks in part to restaurant chains including Panera Bread and Taco Bell that have vowed to make the switch to cage-free eggs. Standards vary widely for eggs labeled "pastured," "free range" and "cage-free," with conditions ranging from open-air pastures to crowded barns without cages, experts said.
Wendy's has launched new limited-time menu items that feature premium cheeses, including the Gouda Bacon Cheeseburger. The chain introduced the new items, which also include Bacon Fondue Fries, with a football-themed ad in which cheese comes out on top. "We thought the cheese earned at least equal if not higher status than bacon, or should," said Kurt Kane, chief marketing officer.
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