The week in ideas, April 6, 2012

Waitresses take the spotlight this week. Along with a D.C. operator struggling with what to name his new restaurant. And an “upcycling” idea from those crazy guys over at Chipotle.

Idea #1: Servers, get that order right. Always a good idea, but even more important at this Red Lobster in Fairview Heights, Ill. A just-released video shows a waitress getting beat up by four customers when she accidently delivered the wrong food. After appealing to the public for help in identifying them, the customers have been ID’d and charges have been filed.

Idea #2: Take the money and run. We wrestled with what lesson to take from this next item. Waitresses shouldn’t brag about big tips? Waitresses shouldn’t accept tips over $10,000 delivered in a box? At any rate, a Minnesota waitress is suing cops after they seized a box she says was left for her as a tip, containing $12,000. Cops claim it’s drug money. The waitress, Stacy Knutson, says a customer left a to-go box on her table at the Fry'n Pan restaurant. When she followed the customer out to return the box the customer said, “No, I am good, you keep it," the lawsuit claims.

Idea #3: Crowd-sourced name. A D.C. restaurant owner has turned to a local blog and its audience to help name his new place. Check out the contenders in the comment section.

Idea #4: Recycled marketing. Chipotle is at it again. The socially-conscious burrito chain has come up with a nifty plan for Earth Day. Keeping with its sustainability values, it will “upcycle” its old billboard posters, turning them into reusable lunch bags. Fans who buy a bag between March 26 and April 14—selling exclusively on Chipotle.com ($18)—will receive a barcode with the bag that’s redeemable for a free Chipotle menu item (burrito, bowl, salad or taco) on Earth Day (April 22).

 

Today's top stories

1
The nation’s first surtax on sugared soft drinks has significantly cut consumption of the beverages and pushed consumers to drink more water, as advocates had promised, according to a just-released...
2
Despite recent efforts to simplify drive-thru menu boards, 59% of consumers say the rosters of options are difficult to read, especially when cars are lined up to order. That’s one of the findings of...
3
Romano’s Macaroni Grill has named a former Noodles & Company executive its new vice president of marketing. Holly Wagstaff-Bellomo, who had served as vice president of marketing at Noodles &...
4
The struggling Cosi fast-casual chain said it has fired CEO and President RJ Dourney and accepted the resignation of CFO Miguel Rossy-Donovan. The franchisor says Rossy-Donovan will continue in his...
5
Punch Bowl Social has brought on chef Hugh Acheson as culinary partner of the eatertainment concept, which has been working to build out its culinary team. Acheson, who runs four restaurants in...
6
Starbucks bumped up the number of postings for tech positions just three months after it announced plans to hire 100 tech workers. Now, most of those 100 positions have been filled, and the coffee...
7
The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe chain. Tropical Smoothie...
8
Today, flavor plays a big part in differentiation. Any foodservice operation that wants to distinguish itself from “the place down the street” needs to come up with flavors that are distinctive,...
9
Year No. 2 of a pumpkin shortage is upon the foodservice industry—at the same time restaurant chains are whipping up pumpkin LTOs earlier than ever. The PSL battle isn’t holding off until the fall,...
10
Guy Fieri could bring his signature Donkey Sauce to the home of Disney World, as the celebrity chef is creating a specialty menu for Planet Hollywood’s Orlando revamp. This fall, Planet Hollywood’s...