The week in ideas, July 29, 2011

This week’s ideas feature crazy people, Casey Anthony, good labor practices and McDonald’s culinary guru Dan Coudreaut. Plus a couple of really bad ideas (hint: one involves punching a mother in the face).

Idea #1: You can never have too many ideas. In an interview with Florida Today, Chef Dan Coudreaut, director of culinary innovation for McDonald’s USA, said his team comes up with 1,800 new menu ideas a year. They launch six or seven.

Idea #2: Crazy people are awesome. There are restaurant fans, and then there are fanatics. We love fanatics. The AP ran a story this week about a guy who drove 500 miles just to eat at a Chipotle he’d never been to; another guy who’s having the Chick-Fil-A cow as his best man; and another gent creating an app to help locate McRib sandwiches.

Idea #3: Just don’t do anything associated with Casey Anthony. We reported a couple weeks ago that a Florida restaurant had banned members of the jury in the Casey Anthony trial. Now we find that Orlando restaurant Terrace 390, where the Anthony defense team had a post-trial party, is being banned (at least by a Facebook group) and has received threatening phone calls.

Idea #4: Grade labor practices. New York City grades restaurants based on their cleanliness. Now a group in the city is launching a campaign to grade restaurants based on how well their treat their workers. The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, a workers’ advocacy group, have collaborated with restaurant owners, workers and city agencies to develop a grading system. If restaurants comply with the group’s best practices they get a sign marking them as a “High Road” restaurant.

Bad idea of the week: punching a mother at your restauarant. Tiffany Denise Allen, a McDonald’s manager in Atlanta, punched a woman in the face at the restaurant. It gets worse. The mother was there with her autistic children. The reason she got punched? Allen was mad that the mother brought the children’s service dog into the restaurant.

Runner up: Buying stolen meat. A bad idea on so many levels. The Austin American-Statesman reported this week that three local restaurants were busted this week for buying meat stolen from area grocery stores. Authorities said the main concern was health related, because the meat was unrefrigerated for an undetermined period of time. Also, the thieves apparently shoved the meat down their pants to get it out of the stores.



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