The week in ideas, April 30, 2012

We’re back at the Heart Attack Grill this week. We look at an idea to keep illegal immigrants from working in restaurants. “Mental health code violations.” And a D.C. chef gets his Fruity Pebbles on.

Idea #1: Rebranding the bad. It’s an old marketing trick. “Fried” takes on bad connotations, for instance, so Kentucky Fried Chicken becomes KFC. After two customers in as many months collapsed and were taken to the hospital at the Heart Attack Grill in Vegas, owner Jon Basso is taking a swing at rebranding. His customers? They’re not stupid and unhealthy. They are “avant garde.” “We attract an avant-garde clientele — thrill seekers, risk takers,” he told the Los Angeles Times. Good luck with that.

Idea #2: Immigrant hiring grades. Everybody knows the health inspection score cards in restaurant windows now. Well, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in California is suggesting an addition: a color-coded score to show whether a restaurant has checked the legality of immigrants before hiring them. Under the proposal, a restaurant would receive a green card if it uses the federal E-Verify system to see whether an immigrant is eligible to work, or a red card if they don’t use the system.

Idea #3: Mental health code violations. “Server repeatedly and aggressively uses the words ‘mootz-arell’ and ‘pruh-zhoot’ with a straight face, almost as if taunting.” And other insults to our sensibilities from The New Yorker.

Idea #4: Cook with cereal. A grilled Tallegio cheese sandwich with crushed Fruity Pebbles? Or perhaps the Cap’n Crunch Seared Tuna? Chef Billy Klein at Washington, D.C.’s Café Saint Ex goes there.





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