The week in ideas, November 16, 2012

An in-house Iron Chef competition. A gracious restaurant in Jersey. A surcharge for customers in Florida. And a lot more, in this installment of the Week in Ideas.

Idea #1: Host your own Iron Chef. Landry’s, Inc., parent of chains like McCormick & Schmick’s, Morton’s The Steakhosue and Claim Jumper, decided to put the heat on its chefs. Thirty-five of them had to prepare 80 dishes in two days for a panel of nine judges. Each dish had to be prepared in eight minutes or less. The food was judged on taste, but also on how well it met the standard price point. Many of the dishes end up on one of the chains’ menus.

Idea #2: Share your restaurant. Madison, New Jersey, restaurant Rob's Bistro is sharing his space with restaurants displaced by Sandy. Robert Ubhaus: our guy of the week!

Idea #3: Pass the cost to the customer. Or maybe not. John Metz, a Denny’s franchisee in Florida, said on Thursday he would add a 5 percent surcharge to all meals to help cover the cost of health care reform. Denny’s headquarters quickly distanced themselves from Metz’s plan. And then on Friday Metz himself distanced himself from the plan.

Idea #4: Rattlesnake sausage. Or maybe alligator sausage would hit the spot better.

Idea #5: Veterans parking spot. An Applebee’s in southern Louisiana just dedicated two permanent parking spaces for military vets. “It’s a small token to thank them for their sacrifices,” said director of operations Tom Havrilla.

Idea #6: Keep gas in soy sauce containers. And yes, that would be a bad idea. A sushi chef in New York was arrested after the soy sauce container holding his gasoline ignited, severely injuring three.

Today's top stories

1
Restaurant reviewing is in a very interesting state. With the rise of consumer review sites, in some ways everyone is a critic. Big critics certainly dominate the food scene and to be sure can impact...
2
Linens have long been a thorn in the side of restaurateurs, who find themselves with little choice but to pay a premium for rental services to launder and deliver napkins, tablecloths, aprons,...
3
Two franchisee entities of Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Arizona filed for bankruptcy protection Monday. These were the second notable Valley restaurant failures within a week and attest to tough...
4
By year’s end, users of Subway’s mobile app will have the option to pay for their orders using PayPal, the sandwich chain announced Wednesday. Subway is the online-payment platform’s first customer...
5
Net earnings at Buffalo Wild Wings fell by 9.3 percent year over year in the quarter ended June 28, a result of rising food and labor costs, the company said Tuesday. Although net income slid to $21...
6
Panera Bread Co. saw net income fall 15 percent year over year in the second quarter ended June 30, the company said Tuesday. Profit declined from $49.1 million to $41.9 million, due in part to...
7
Restaurants may be out of sync with customers in their adoption of new technology, suggests a new study from the OpenTable online reservation service. A consumer survey conducted by the service found...
8
Subway to give marketing another tweak Hours after Tony Pace resigned as CMO of Subway, news leaked of an imminent change in the brand’s ad agency as well. A report by AdWeek said the world’s largest...
9
Atop the upscale E.P. restaurant sits L.P., a 5,500-square-foot open-air bar. “The rooftop adds a layer of protection for business; it’s a destination people will travel to,” says co-founder and...
10
In its first earnings report as a public company, Del Taco Restaurants Inc. Monday said it saw sales and profits increase in the quarter ended June 16. Comp sales for the Lake Forest, Calif.-based...