This week's edition is the first to mandate a parental warning. Just don't get any ideas about spanking the messenger. Here's a roundup of developments that might have otherwise slipped past you in recent days, including one you may want to keep Mom from seeing.
1. Wendy’s opts for smaller breasts
Of the chicken variety, that is. The chain disclosed this week that it will source smaller birds going forward because the meat is juicier and more tender.
The birds will be 20% smaller, but the size of Wendy’s chicken sandwiches won’t change, the franchisor explained. It did not divulge what if any effect the switch will have on prices.
The end goal is a tastier sandwich, it stressed, noting that the changeover will cost $30 million. Wendy’s noted that it has already altered its cooking process for the chicken used in some iems, including the relatively new Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The meat is now thawed before being grilled, enabling the cook to put a sear on the meat, Wendy’s said.
2. Whopper, orgasm on the side?
With the industrywide downturn in traffic, restaurant chains have shown they’re willing to go to extremes for additional sales. But none in the United States have yet tread the ground Burger King explored this week in the Israel. For Valentine’s Day, the chain offered a dinner-only Adults Meal, complete with an adult toy of the customer’s choosing.
The options included a lace-trimmed satin blindfold, a feather duster that was obvious intended to brush something other than a dusty shelf, and what’s described as a scalp massager, a device that looked inspired by “50 Shades of Grey.” We suspect that it might have other uses, but don't want to speculate.
To satisfy other appetites, the packaged deal also included two beers, two orders of fries and two Whoppers.
The meal was offered only after 6 p.m., and solely to patrons over age 18.
3. A restaurant assessment of Trump’s inaugural crowd
Exactly how many people turned out for President Trump’s swearing-in ceremony has been a controversial matter, with the president insisting pictures and press reports grossly understated the size of the crowd. The White House has declared that the throngs were larger than the ones President Obama drew for his inaugurations.
Now comes a definitive assessment from an unlikely source, the Potbelly Sandwich Shop chain. Washington, D.C., is and has been one of the concept’s major markets through several administrations.
“The bellwether of inaugurations was the first Obama [ceremony] and that was tremendous for businesses in D.C. including ours,” CEO Aylwin Lewis told the investment community this week. “Everything else pales to that. So the inauguration of Trump was very disappointing.”
But, he added, the chain enjoyed a nice sales pop two days later from a women’s protest march on the capital. “It was a great weekend,” Lewis said.
4. Carrot and stick for good parenting
A flashpoint for many restaurant customers is the misbehavior of fellow customers’ children. Restaurateurs have tried a variety of ways to avoid the friction, from outright bans on youngsters to seating families in a special room where the kids can scream as much as they want.
Add to the list a tactic that drew considerable attention on this side of the Atlantic to a restaurant in Padua, Italy. Chef-owner Antonio Ferrari is offering families who visit his namesake restaurant a 5% rebate on their bills if children in the party behave themselves, as adjudged by the restaurant’s staff.
The policy was adopted six months ago, but only came to light on a global basis this week. Having a run that long suggests its working.
Also in place for awhile is the policy stated on the wall of Cherries, a combination deli and ice cream stand in Stoneridge, N.Y. A sign in the dining area alerts patrons with children that unruly youngsters will be sent home with an espresso and a puppy.
5. The other show of immigrant’s importance
Among the week’s biggest stories was the nationwide boycott of restaurants and other businesses by immigrants, a concerted effort to demonstrate their importance to the industry and other pillars of the American economy. Lesser noticed was the one-man campaign for the same goal from New York City chef Mark Simmons.
The onetime Top Chef contestant added a note to guest tabs at his Kiwiana restaurant in Brooklyn. “Immigrants make America great (they also cooked your food and served you today),” it read.