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.
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.
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.”
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.”