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The week in ideas, October 15, 2012

In The Week in Ideas: Meet the new Wendy. Same as the old Wendy. Cutting hours. Bartering. Giving away illegal food. And a new pricing model in New York City.

Idea #1: Keep the ponytails. Wendy’s updated its logo for the first time since 1983. So long faintly Old West typeface. Hello hand-lettered style. And don’t worry, Wendy is still Wendy.

Idea #2: Cut hours, avoid healthcare law. Darden Restaurants Inc. says it’s experimenting with scheduling to see if they can reduce hours enough to cut their financial outlay under Obamacare. The Red Lobster and Olive Garden parent company hopes by making more employee’s part time, the employer mandate under the healthcare reform law will not apply to them.

Idea #3: Barter. To help locals hit by the economy, but who still would like to enjoy a meal out, a Florence, Italy, restaurant has begun bartering with customers. Bring in fruits, vegetables or other kitchen items and the chefs at L’è Maiala will prepare you a meal.

Idea #4: Free foie gras. Meanwhile, 1789 Restaurant in California is helping down-and-out Golden Staters who miss foie gras. Between now and October 31, the restaurant will give anybody with a California ID a free sampling of fois gras. The state’s recent ban says you can’t sell the stuff. Nothing about giving it away.

Idea #5: Charge more at peak hours. It’s the airline model, and CBS says restaurants in New York City are going to adopt the strategy.

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