facebook pixal

50 Great Ideas

50 Great Ideas

17. Educational receipts

Hannah’s Bretzel makes sure its customers know its better-for-you stance, even after they’ve ordered. The fast casual provides health-forward information on its e-receipts for digital orders. In a “Did You Know” section, it highlights that “High intake of whole grains has been associated with help in weight management, reduced risk of heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes,” and continues with more information on grains.

50 Great Ideas

49. Picnic box

Cracker Barrel is catering to groups that don’t need a full catering order but have a group too large for individual orders. The chain introduced its picnic box offering, with large-format sides and 12 pieces of fried chicken, as an alternate off-premise option for smaller groups.

In a move that aims to set new standards for restaurants, fast casual Sweetgreen has expanded its perks for employees to include five months of paid leave for new parents. The leave extends beyond new mothers to fathers, adoptive parents, foster parents and “others with new additions to their families,” the chain said. The leave is available to all employees who have been on the payroll for at least six months.

During finals season, Panera Bread extended its hours at units near campuses, boosting off-peak traffic. The chain pushed a Brain Food Menu of protein-rich wraps and salads while offering free baked items and coffee.

Big Beach Brewing Co. in Gulf Shores, Ala., has a Mind Your P’s & Q’s wall. Customers can prebuy beer for a friend, and a small card relaying that message goes on the wall. When the friend arrives, they can redeem the drink.

Instead of having trainees sit in a back room for eight hours, Golden Corral breaks lessons into short shifts. After a trainee watches a few of these 15-minute “microbursts of learning,” the computer locks them out, forcing them to do hands-on training with a staffer.

Mexican fast casual Moe’s Southwest Grill moved to simplify delivery orders, limiting the menu to the most popular items and reducing the ingredient options to 12 from the 21 available in-store. Moe’s also eliminated sides from the delivery menu and got rid of tacos, because corn tortillas didn’t hold heat.

To encourage dialogue among staff, Brother Luck, chef and owner of Four and Lucky Dumpling in Colorado Springs, Colo., set up private group text chats for back-of-house and front-of-house employees to give encouragement and feedback to one another. “[The group chats] are where the communication happens. This is where they switch schedules, where we give high-fives and where we do corrections,” Luck said during the National Restaurant Association Show. “[The employees] hold each other accountable. They’ll post a picture [in the group chat] and say, ‘This is not how we set up this coffee station’ … and all of a sudden, they’re talking back and forth.”

The White Chocolate Grill in Naperville, Ill., provides slips of paper that say “gum” in the sugar caddies for patrons to dispose of their gum before eating. Gross? Maybe. Necessary? Yes. No more wasting the restaurant’s sweetener packets looking for a place to stash gum.

To make the popular breakfast option feel and even sound more like a dinner spot, Black Bear Diner launched a nighttime-only menu of four homestyle entrees, with additional options on the weekends. After 4 p.m., servers sport different uniforms, lights are often dimmed and restaurants play what headquarters describes as “ambiance-setting evening music.”

  • Page 5