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Sleeper stories of the week

Santa Claus does exist. He’s just morphed into a mysterious figure who calls himself TipsForJesus, and he’s not waiting for Dec. 25 to delight waiters and waitresses all over the nation. Ask the server who was tipped $2,500 on a $530 bill at Crudo in Phoenix. The anonymous do-gooder has also left gratuities of up to $1,000 in Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. He reveals his name, sometimes by stamping it on the establishment’s copy of the receipt, but nothing else, including any sense of his motive. It’s fueled a level of excitement within the foodie community that hasn’t been seen since the Cronut’s debut.

Can-crushing breasts are now an asset of a Hooters’ minority stakeholder and overseas franchisee. There is a business angle to this. Really.  Chanticleer Holdings, an investor in Hooters and operator of outlets in South America and eastern Europe, has been on an investment tear.  After buying the five-unit Just Fresh juice chain, the company announced that it’d purchased an interest in Beacher’s Madhouse, a Las Vegas dining and entertainment facility whose attractions include Busty, a woman who can crush things between her surgically enhanced breasts. As if that’s not enough of a draw, there’s the human and feline magic team, and the World’s Oldest Male Stripper. More recently, Chanticleer inked a deal to buy Chef John Tesar’s Spoon Bar & Kitchen in Dallas.

Comps in excess of 20 percent were posted by seven Krispy Kreme franchisees, the chain’s executives recently bragged to investor. One was just a hair under 30 percent, said CFO Douglas Muir. That’s just freakish.

A $400 menu shouldn’t be a surprise, especially when you learn that it’s being offered by Nobu, the temple of sushi mastery, and it’s a packaged truffle deal.  It’s probably the Nobu version of McDonald’s Dollar Menu and More.

Limited-edition gift cards will be more limited this year for Starbucks fans. Last year, the chain instantly sold all 5,000 of its $400 gift cards via a high-end website (at $450 a pop). This year, the coffee leader is dropping the number of the metal cards to 1,000. 

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