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50 Great Ideas

50 Great Ideas

18. Off-peak loyalty

To drive delivery before peak times, Cornerstone Restaurant Group offers loyalty points or perks such as free delivery for orders placed during off-hours. It has been effective, Director of Operations Elizabeth Tomlinson said at the Food On Demand Conference.

50 Great Ideas

50. Formalizing innovation

Starbucks is launching its 20,000-square-foot Tryer Innovation Center with the goal of bringing new ideas to life in 100 days. The incubator-style lab will look at store design, beverage platforms and customer experience, said CEO Kevin Johnson in April.

When guests are seated at Granite City Food & Brewery, each diner gets a coaster printed with an icebreaker such as “What’s the worst lie you ever told your mother?” that the server must ask the guests to answer. It’s one of several things servers have to do under the concept’s new image, designed to be more “fun.”

Shake Shack was testing a four-day work week in Las Vegas locations as part of a recruitment and retention strategy.

Fast casual B.Good is playing to consumer interest in delivery, especially in busy urban markets, with delivery hot spots in office settings that serve as a common pickup spot for lunch orders. The first one launched in July in Jersey City, N.J.

Former Chili’s COO Kelli Valade starts conversations with line employees by asking them about their tattoos. It establishes an instant rapport, she says, and serves as a good conversation starter between hourlies and corporate officers.

To build business during its slower dinners hours, fast-casual chain Fresh & Co. in New York City is testing Fresh & Co. After Dark, an exclusive delivery dinner menu that customers can’t get in stores. The curated, scaled-down menu includes composed salads prepped for delivery as well as entrees, a few desserts and small plates.

Around Valentine’s Day, Corner Bakery Cafe created shareable cards highlighting certain menu items. The cards, with messages such as “I Ham Yours” and “Avacadon’t Ever Leave Me,” were shared across multiple social media platforms. “We really drove guest engagement via social during this time,” said CMO Donna Josephson during the National Restaurant Association Show.

Chuck E. Cheese’s built a business on kids birthday parties, and now it’s bringing that home. Available through a third-party delivery company, the chain’s Pizza Party Packs include three large pizzas and a cake, plus decor and other supplies, for $124.99.

As more brands make sustainability a pillar, it’s playing out beyond the menu. Walmart’s new employee vests, for example, are made partly from recycled plastic bottles.

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