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
TGI Fridays hopes to stoke some friendly customer competition with its new “buy a burger, give a burger” promotion, the chain says. Starting Wednesday, Fridays customers who buy a burger and enter...
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Restaurants that have not yet abided by New York City’s new ban on polystyrene takeout containers are likely to discover what early adjusters learned weeks or months ago: Compliance comes easy, but...
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Minimum wage earners in Chicago will see a $1.75 hourly bump. A city law raising the minimum wage to $13 by 2019 in increments will take effect Wednesday. The first increase will be from $8.25 to $10...
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Destination salad chain Sweetgreen has closed a $35 million Series F round of funding, led by funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price. Existing investor Steve Case’s venture capital firm,...
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Chicago restaurateur Larry Levy completed his purchase of the Del Taco Mexican chain, announcing plans to compete with other major fast-casual chains by accelerating location growth nationwide...
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McDonald’s jaw-dropping localization example If you feel the earth shudder, blame 30 McDonald’s units in Detroit, where the featured fountain soda isn’t one that starts with a “C.” In one of the more...
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An Orange County restaurant is using compressed air instead of water to clean their dishes. The air blasts away food from dishes before they're placed in the dishwasher. "We are a large user of water...
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