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This week's restaurant nightmares: Rats, liars and Gordon Ramsay

Shake Shack's reputation might have been nibbled by rats, and that wasn't the only example of recent bad publicity for restaurateurs.

The Future 50 2007

In compiling our second annual ranking of the fastest-growing up-and-coming restaurant chains in America —the ones tallying sales between $25 million and $50 million—we were struck by how many new growth stories there were to tell. Thirty-one of this year’s Future 50 growth chains, or 62 percent, are entirely new to the list. That tells us that the entrepreneurial spirit thrives in 2007, and that the restaurant business is still where it lives.

Restaurateurs and customers shushed their inhibitions and indulged some decidedly wicked impulses this week, securing them a prime spot on Santa’s naughty list.

Great ideas we've seen from the restaurant industry.

The industry showed it's not afraid to stand up to its adversaries on important government issues, and will likely be emboldened going forward by help in the rumble from an unlikely source. It also was fearless in exploiting the opportunities afforded by the P.F. Chang's Olympics. Or something like that.

Word spread on social media about a small test of items intended as afternoon add-ons.

While many distributors say they want to help independent operators survive, Favorite Foods goes beyond lip service. This small local broadliner has turned...

Recruiting and hiring may not have been priorities last year, but if predictions for a sustained economic recovery bear fruit, the collective “help wanted” sign could go up again this year. In fact, smart companies never stop hiring and even during the downturn have been strategically working to improve their odds of luring the best candidates from a labor market that, at least for now, more resembles an ocean than a pool.

While consumers continue to hold their wallets tight when it comes to eating out, the popularity of snacking is holding steady. Snack sales have dipped only 1 percent this year, compared to losses of 5 percent and 3 percent in supper and lunch, respectively, according to data from Port Washington, New York-based market research firm NPD.

Jay Siff, Founder and CEO of Moving Targets, is committed to helping you make more money. With his 18+ years in retailing and 18+ years in direct marketing,...

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