Peter Romeo

Editor at Large

Articles by
Peter Romeo

Page 370

Why I don't fear zombies

You may be surprised to learn the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has devoted a section of its website to preparing for a zombie apocalypse.

Be on the lookout

One of our colleagues is convinced he should cap off an outstanding publishing career by opening a restaurant with a partner he barely knows. We’re still planning the intervention, but at least his kids are safe.

People of a certain vintage tend to harbor special appreciation for star performers of an advanced age. I, of course, wouldn’t know about that, but I bet the coots in your business are all but jumping out of their spats after seeing the Methuselah of restaurant marketing make another comeback. Yes, McDonald’s Monopoly sweepstakes has been re-introduced this week for its 26st annual appearance.

For a political sideliner, Phil Kafarakis is playing a heavy role in the industry’s lobbying efforts.

This has been a week of jaw-dropping restaurant blunders. Consider, for instance, Wendy’s inadvertent lapse into pimp-speak during an otherwise routine promotion.

The restaurant business changed during the 20-plus years that Jean Birch logged at several major chains, but she seems to doubt that casual dining was paying full attention.

Forget Edward Snowden, the Syrian revolution, Egypt’s echo-revolution, or who’ll win “America’s Got Talent.” The big news last week for anyone in this business has to be the closing of Brennan’s.

Technomics’ 2013 Trends & Directions conference abounded in business-building ideas. Here’s a sampling.

The McDonald’s at JFK International Airport had an inventory discrepancy after I recently ate there. If it reconciled sales of the just-added Strawberry Pie with how many pies were still on hand at the end of the day, the count would have been off by one. So would the tally of satisfied customers, because I never got the pie—despite a wait of easily 30 minutes (hey, the restaurant was by my gate.)

If you’re unfamiliar with a restaurant creation called the Cronut, there’s probably not a bit of black clothing in your wardrobe. And don’t embarrass yourself by asking youngsters on the staff if Daft Punk is sort of like The Sex Pistols.

One of the downsides of my job is watching the very public divorce of a chain and a top executive whose proven abilities have earned your respect for years. Few of those breaks have been as painful to witness as Wednesday’s parting of Cosi and its CEO for just a short stretch, Carin Stutz.

If you’ve ever wanted to start a “Jerry Springer”-style show for the restaurant industry, this is the week to do it. Insults and chairs will be flying before you can say, “I caught my spouse cheating.”

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