In-N-Out Burger

50 Great Ideas 2008: 21-30

Great ideas we've seen from the restaurant industry.

Milking it

Recently, unpredictable market fluctuations and price volatility have made dairy buying a wild ride. But dairy products are an essential purchase; many operators rely on them—especially cheese—to add value and excitement to the menu. What’s the key to making smart buys that will satisfy your customers and your bottom line? Here are some answers.

The broad category of "traditional North American" has grown by 26% since 2008 and is now the most popular cuisine type listed on menus, according to Mintel Menu Insights, a resource that tracks flavor and ingredient trends in leading chain and independent restaurants.

Expert advice on how to make a good impression on young restaurant diners.

Mobile loyalty programs are popping up faster than dandelions in springtime, even though just over one third of consumers (36 percent) say they participate in a restaurant-based loyalty program, according to a Technomic Market Intelligence Report on loyalty marketing. However, notes the report, 80 percent agree they would sign up if the restaurant they visit most often offered a program.

With a name like ChocoChicken, you’d expect there to be chocolate everywhere. But that’s not the case for the latest concept in downtown Los Angeles from restaurateur Adam Fleischman of Umami Burger and 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria fame. “It’s a fried chicken sports bar,” says Fleischman.

Levy Acquisition Corp, the blank-check acquisition vehicle of Chicago restaurateur Larry Levy, is in advanced talks to acquire Del Taco Inc, a U.S. fast food chain specializing in Mexican cuisine, according to people familiar with the matter.

The chain will soon roll out a bigger Quarter Pounder patty with more pronounced sear marks, according to an internal document.

The franchisor says it’s already spent more than $1 million to defend itself against “joint employer” complaints that would levy $50,000 in penalties.

Until recently, consumers considered Chipotle one of the most trusted limited-service restaurant brands. After its food safety incidents, Chipotle now scores in the bottom six for brand trust.

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