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50 Great Ideas 2020

50 Great Ideas 2020

50 Great Ideas

When the coronavirus took over the U.S. in mid-March, it was like nothing restaurants had experienced before.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, recognizing that people might have fallen off the wellness bandwagon while self-quarantining, added new options to its line of Lifestyle Bowls.

Uno Pizzeria & Grill gave away virtual birthday parties to kids in the Boston area, setting them up with DIY pizza kits—something that had normally been reserved for dine-in customers—and connecting them with friends via video conference to celebrate.

Sarah Stegner of Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook, Ill., set up a hotline for novice and experienced home cooks to call with questions about recipes, baking and more.

Some Moe’s Southwest Grill franchisees organized Neighborhood Taco Kit Nights, taking orders for an entire neighborhood and then setting up a station for people to pick up their orders.

A number of restaurant operators, looking to bring the dine-in experience to people’s homes, created on-brand playlists. Red Lobster’s featured romantic tunes for date night, while Zaxby’s created a set of ambient restaurant sounds with titles such as “Friday 9:45 PM.”

For a $25 donation to help keep the restaurant afloat, Romano’s Macaroni Grill locations etched fans’ names on a heart stone placed at the hostess stand. A special ceremony will be held for all contributors later in the year.

Along with breads and other baked goods, Chicago bakery Baker Miller created colored organic play doughs to sell as a kids activity for families sheltering at home; they’re scented with herbs and spices.

Chains such as Dunkin’ and Taco Bell created Zoom-friendly backgrounds to remind consumers of their brands, even when dining rooms are closed.

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