The week in ideas, December 16, 2011

This week McDonald’s answers the question with a “yes, we do actually use potatoes in our French fries.” Chick-fil-A is back in the news and not for good reason. An idea for crowdsourcing restaurant ideas. And a holiday spirit-type idea from an awesome restaurant in Illinois.

Idea #1: Eat a raw potato (or, if you can’t beat Chipotle, join them). McDonald’s debuted a new TV spot to much interest this week. The 30-second commercial features potato farmer Frank Martinez peeling and then biting into a raw potato, saying how good it is, but anticipating how much better it will be when it’s a McDonald’s French fry. The attention to the commercial came most likely because people forgot McDonald’s actually uses real potatoes in its fries, or because of its eerie similarity to Chipotle’s marketing messages.

Idea #2: Don’t hire racist employees. Chick-fil-A can’t stay out of the news lately, but for the wrong reasons (associating with anti-gay groups, trying to kill a T-shirt business in Vermont). Now it’s gained the spotlight because an employee in Orange County put stereotypical racial names on two Asian customers’ order slips. Web site Grub Street compiled a helpful list of recent employee misbehavior.

Idea #3:Crowdsourced retail space.A new web site is allowing locals to decide what kind of restaurant (or other retail business) will occupy an empty storefront D.C. The site is called Popularise, and right now the choices for the space include a farm-to-table restaurant or a pizzeria.

Idea #4: Restaurants are awesome. Some jerk stole a Salvation Army donation kettle in St. Charles, Illinois. Who does that kind of thing? Local chain Colonial Café and Ice Cream is matching all donations made to recoup the money that was stolen.




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