Cracker Barrel grew its first two virtual brands, Chicken 'n Biscuits and Pancake Kitchen, to 500 and 100 locations, respectively, in the quarter ending Oct. 29. Takeout and delivery orders accounted for 20% of the quarter's total sales, and off-premises sales for the chain have held steady even as customers return to on-premises dining.
The Copperas Cove Independent School District in Texas had difficulty finding turkeys to serve for its traditional Thanksgiving feast for students. Eventually, school staffers managed to find 1,200 pounds of turkey from an in-state plant, but they were raw and frozen, so staffers spent 85 hours cooking and preparing the turkeys for the annual meal.
The "special touch" that wineries owned and operated by families provide will make them major players in the industry for the foreseeable future, according to Paul Symington, chairman of the international association Primum Familiae Vini and former chairman of Portuguese wine company Symington Family Estates. "Good family companies personify the best of social responsibility and a more human interpretation of free enterprise," Symington said.
A new Florida law could lead to fines of as much as $50,000 for restaurants and other private-sector employers that terminate employees who fail to comply with the pending federal vaccine mandate. The law bars companies from requiring employees to have COVID-19 vaccines unless they also offer an expanded array of exemptions, including for employees who choose to wear face masks and other protective gear instead of getting vaccinated.
Casual-dining chains have fared relatively well during the pandemic and showed signs of a strong recovery this year, garnering positive customer reviews as they have fed pent-up demand, according to a report from Merchant Centric. "We believe that sustained growth is going to be had by those brands who find ways to deliver higher levels of customer service in spite of staffing and supply constraints," said Ryan Zink, CEO of 41-unit Bad Daddy's Burger Bar, which reported a 7% increase in September same-store sales over September 2019.
School nutrition professionals in Burke County Public Schools in Georgia are contending with supply chain challenges, including shortages of certain items, difficulty procuring menu items and higher prices. However, School Nutrition Director Donna Martin and her staff are working with local farmers and vendors to ensure that students continue to receive healthy, scratch-cooked meals.
A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association documented 141,905 new pediatric COVID-19 cases for the week ending Nov. 18, up by 32% from two weeks prior. There have been over 6.8 million pediatric cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and the report described the current number of cases as "extremely high."
A train ride in Italy that showcased fields of sunflowers inspired a pasta dish that chef Stefano Secchi serves at Rezdora in New York City. To create his take on the stuffed pasta called girasoli, Secchi uses both classic yellow pasta dough and dough infused with black squid ink to mirror the colors of a sunflower, and fills the two layers with a king crab mixture.
James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Dominique Ansel has announced he will open a bakery inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas next summer. The Vegas location will be Ansel's first US restaurant outside of New York City, and will serve some of his signature creations -- including the Cronut -- as well as new items inspired by Las Vegas.
In her new book, "Liguria: The Cookbook: Recipes from the Italian Riviera," author Laurel Evans features more than 70 recipes from the area, including pesto, focaccia and dishes such as the intricately stamped pasta called corzetti that are less well known outside the region. Evans discusses what sets Ligurian focaccia apart and the waste-conscious ethos of Ligurian cooking.
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