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Operations

Restaurants’ growth plans get stuck in red tape

Operators have increasingly aggressive growth plans and are proposing more complicated restaurant formats than ever. But permitting and construction delays are slowing it all down.

Food

How Panda Express’ Jimmy Wang spreads Chinese culture through food

As executive director of culinary innovation for the 2,500-unit chain, Wang creates dishes that tell a story—a mission that takes on extra importance during Lunar New Year.

Forget about celebrity hangouts and hot new dining spots, Chain House is booked solid for its dinners that spotlight Chili’s menu.

Plus plenty of new shareables, snacks, salads, soups and sandwiches as October begins.

When strategizing for fall and winter promotions, restaurants should be sure to include sports programming in their offerings. Happy hour deals may draw people in, but quality programming on televisions will encourage guests to indulge in more appetizers and another round (or two) and more.

Fall’s in full force at Cracker Barrel, BD’s and Miller’s Ale House and a continuing deluge of pumpkin spice drives menu launches.

Taste Tracker: Sweet sipping at Jamba and Wendy’s; Dog Haus goes Hawaiian; Piada shops the farmers market; BD’s and Gott’s take to the street; fried pickle snacks at Zaxby’s and Sonic; and more menu news of the week.

The next McFlurry debuts at McDonald’s; Saladworks showcases superfoods; Noodles & Co. does Asian broth bowls; Wing It On stuffs dumplings with chicken; and frosty drinks star at Sonic and BWW.

Black Bear Diner does Easter brunch and dinner; a dozen new dishes for Friendly’s; Mellow Mushroom takes a detour from pizza; and donuts, hot dogs and ice cream get dressed for the holiday.

Taste Tracker: Chimichurri at Sweetgreen and Cubanos at Potbelly; chicken gets a jolt of spice at Moe’s; Dairy Queen rolls out Stackburgers; Sonic’s slush ring, Dog Haus' cocktails and more menu newsmakers of the week.

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