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The week in ideas, October 14, 2011

The week of October 14th will be remembered as a week of strange ideas: some bold, some bad, some counterintuitive. But at Week in Ideas, we don't discriminate. We report, you decide.

Idea #1: Ban the American flag. Hey, it’s an idea. A bad idea, but an idea. An Alabama Olive Garden refused to allow a Kiwanis Club meeting at the restaurant to display the flag. The restaurant said it was operating under a chain policy that no flags or banners can be displayed unless a group is in a banquet room. Needless to say this didn’t go over well. Corporate issued an apology saying it had not communicated the policy correctly.

Idea #2: Ban men peeing standing up. This is a good idea that seems an awful lot like a bad idea. Here’s the story: A Vancouver Sun reporter ate at local restaurant Edible Canada. When he went to the co-ed bathroom he saw stickers showing a man peeing standing up with a slash through it: no peeing standing up, in other words. He blogged about it, people went nuts, the restaurant got all kinds of attention. Well, turns out there isn’t a ban on any type of urination style at the restaurant. The owner just thought the stickers were funny. Now his restaurant has more traffic and he even sells the stickers at the register.

Idea #3: Tell everybody a waiter has Hep A. Telling the truth these days can seem like a pretty novel idea. But Lauro Dutan, owner of Allentown, PA restaurant Pasta Alla Rosa, didn’t hesitate to tell public health officials one of his workers had Hepatitis A, a viral disease that attacks the liver. The local health bureau issued a public alert that people who had dined at the restaurant recently needed shots. Needless to say, business is off, but Dutan’s conscience is clear.

Idea #4: Sell your restaurant to employees. Ok, this was last week, but we missed it, and it’s a neat idea. Hospitality maven Danny Meyer is selling his Manhattan restaurant Eleven Madison Park to the restaurant’s chef and general manager. The employees, chef Daniel Humm and manager Will Guidara, told Meyer they wanted to open their own restaurant, but keep working at Eleven Madison Park. Meyer saw that as a conflict of interest, but instead of simply firing them and having to start over with a new team, he decided to sell the place to them.

Idea #5: Break news in a cookbook. Also, Meyer made the news public in the foreward to the restaurant’s new cookbook. 

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