Jack in the Box to host a virtual prom, and other innovative ideas of the week

Restaurants continue to come up with creative ways to deal with COVID-19.
jack in the box prom
Photograph courtesy of Jack In the Box

A prom date with Jack

Proms have been canceled across the country, but Jack in the Box announced on social media that the chain will be hosting Prom 2020, a virtual event for high school seniors. It’s part of the QSR’s #StayintheBox campaign, encouraging customers to enjoy their favorite Jack’s menu items at home.

“As we all adjust to these unfortunate circumstances that are becoming more of reality, we as a brand need to genuinely ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ Now more than ever, our fans are relying on us to understand their needs,” said Adrienne Ingoldt, SVP and chief brand and experience officer, in a statement. “Even though it might be different from their traditional routine, we want to stand beside them and provide moments of comfort."

Updates about the virtual prom will be posted on the chain’s social media channels.

Dinner and a movie

With hotel business tanking, several Hilton properties in Chicago are engaging customers with in-home hotel experiences. The Drake, Palmer House and Hilton Chicago have compiled a list of movies that were shot at each hotel, each paired with a recipe for a dish suggested by the chef.

Kitty O’Shea, executive chef at the Hilton Chicago, offers a recipe for Truffle Cauliflower Mac & Cheese, recommending that movie buffs would find it comforting while watching “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Little Fockers” or “Primal Fear.” From Palmer House comes the hotel’s original brownie recipe developed by pastry chef Walleska Cianfanelli—a sweet to enjoy while viewing “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Curly Sue,” two family favorites. And The Drake suggests its Classic Martini to sip while taking in “Risky Business,” “Blues Brothers” or “Flags of Our Fathers.”

A hotel opens a butcher shop

Another Hilton property in Pensacola, Fla., is also getting creative in keeping the brand top of mind. Chef Omar Torres, director of food and beverage at H20 at the Hilton Pensacola Beach, redesigned the pantry into a butcher shop. He’s selling New York strip, filet mignon, rib-eye, veal chops and several seafood selections at low prices to consumers. Some are available sous vide-style and sealed to save on home prep. Purchasers can take photos of their home-cooked meats and fish and post on Instagram to enter a weekly drawing for a Chef’s Table dinner for two when restaurant service resumes.

Win a wedding

winter wedding

Photograph courtesy of DineAmic Hospitality

DineAmic Hospitality operates several restaurants and venues in Chicago. The restaurants are pivoting to takeout and delivery, but with cancellations of weddings and other catered parties, there’s no business on the event side right now. So the team came up with a Winter Wedding Giveaway. Through May 1, future brides and grooms can enter by donating to DineAmic’s employee fund. One couple will win a wedding package that includes a catered spread and the venue fee. The prize must be redeemed between November 2020 and February 2021.

Shelter in place with a meal and a game

Like many restaurants, SocialEats in Santa Monica, Calif. has pivoted to takeout and delivery—with a slight twist. The delivery service allows customers to order from all eight of the group’s restaurants at once. In another twist, the restaurants launched Ordersocialeats.com, an online store that offers delivery of beer, wine, snacks and board games. Also available for sale are local farmers’ produce boxes curated by chef McKenna Lelah from SocialEats’ Dialogue concept.

The convenience of kits

Tender Greens

Photograph courtesy of Tender Greens

Meal kits continue to be a popular way for restaurants to feed stay-at-home diners. For those missing al fresco meals, Tender Greens has put together an Indoor Picnic Box filled with three bottles of wine, grapes, crackers, a baguette, salami, cheeses, cornichon, preserves, mustard and olive oil for $65. The fast casual’s Morning Baking Box ($40) contains eggs, coffee, milk, flour, white and brown sugar, butter and baking soda. Also available are farm-sourced produce boxes and a pantry box.


Photograph courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen launched CPK Market across all of its 125 locations, featuring six meal kits with recipe cards. These include a Lettuce Wrap Kit with veggies, chicken and Asian sauce ($12 for four servings), a Taco Kit with steak, mahi mahi or chicken complete with all the peppers, beans, tortillas and fixings ($15-$24 for four, depending on protein) and a Kids Build-Your-Own Pepperoni Pizza ($5). CPK Market also features more than 35 food, beverage and grocery items. Customers can order online at cpk.com/market.

And Mission Taco Joint, a small chain with locations in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., is selling a 4-Person Taco Bar to go and a margarita kit. The taco bar includes two meats, two sides and a wide selection of taco toppings for $49.95, while the cocktail kit features a bottle of the restaurant’s private label tequila and fresh juices for $80. All tips go to furloughed employees to help pay for health insurance.

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