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
Eatsa, the tech-rich, Automat-like concept expanding from the San Francisco Bay area, was named Restaurant Business’ 2016 Tech Accelerator of the Year, a recognition of the restaurant industry’s...
2
Oregon lawmakers have set scheduling regulations as a legislative priority for 2017, putting the state on track to become the first to adopt shift-change restrictions like the ones recently enacted...
3
In an effort to align with customer demand, McDonald’s next week will begin testing a breakfast version of its signature Happy Meal . The test—taking place at 73 locations in the Tulsa, Okla., market...
4
Same-store sales for the Pie Five fast-casual pizza chain fell 12% for the fourth quarter ended June 26, deepening the losses of parent company Rave Restaurant Group to $2.3 million for the quarter...
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Ruby Tuesday took more dramatic steps on Thursday to improve the casual-dining chain’s fortunes, announcing corporate layoffs and the sale of the company’s Maryville, Tenn., headquarters. The...
6
Days after Neil Naroff’s departure as chief strategic officer of American Blue Ribbon Holdings was announced, CEO Hazem Ouf revealed he was also leaving the parent of O’Charley’s, Village Inn and...
7
The main advantage of having your kitchen as close as possible to your service line is freshness—something is lost the further production happens from consumption. Without knowing too much about your...
8
Customers may have recovered from the E. coli contaminations of nearly a year ago, but Chipotle Mexican Grill is still feeling poorly. The former high flyer has tried everything short of hypnotism...
9
The parent of Dunkin’ Donuts has hired the executive formerly responsible for McDonald’s high-growth international markets to lead the doughnut chain in the United States and Canada. David Hoffman,...
10
Restaurants and other employers would be spared from costly new overtime pay regulations if 21 states succeed in the legal challenge they jointly filed yesterday. The lawsuit asks the U.S. District...