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
A court has cleared the way for New York City health officials to start fining local chain restaurants $200 for failing to flag high-sodium items on their menus with a warning icon. Enforcement of...
2
Taco Bell says it’s prepared to give away free tacos nationwide as part of a new promotion tied to next month’s NBA Finals. With the chain’s “Steal a Game, Steal a Taco” promotion, Taco Bell...
3
As restaurants increasingly become go-to social destinations for consumers, especially younger consumers, operators are turning to creative forms of “eatertainment” to drive traffic and stand out...
4
Wendy’s has completed its previously announced change in leadership with Todd Penegor’s assumption today of the CEO title from Emil Brolick, who is retiring after turning around the burger chain...
5
Ah, graduation season! You are right to be concerned about controlling who is served at a party that includes minors. Not doing so could hold you liable and you could risk losing your liquor license...
6
Trends in breakfast? The morning meal is just eggs and bacon or toast and a cup of coffee, right? Not anymore. For today’s operators, success during breakfast means rising above today’s competitive...
7
Kahala Brands, franchisor of Cold Stone Creamery, Blimpie, Pinkberry and a number of other quick-service restaurant concepts, has agreed to be acquired for about $301 million by MTY Food Group, a...
8
Subway ’s sales and marketing difficulties haven’t turned off customers, with the chain bested only by Chick-fil-A in a new consumer rating of 19 restaurant chains by the overall experience they...
9
The attorney general of New York filed a lawsuit today against Domino’s and three of its franchisees for allegedly using the chain’s POS system to undercalculate employees’ wages. The alleged...
10
When it comes to seafood, sometimes there’s nothing better than frozen. If this sounds peculiar, think again. Frozen seafood has a lot going for it. Although the term “fresh” has connotations of...