The week in ideas, January 16, 2012

Indianapolis generates some ideas in anticipation of the Super Bowl. Pizza gets sexy. Some New York City restaurants start calling themselves supermarkets. An Oregon restaurant comes up with a unique funding stream. And, Luke, come to the Dark Side of the bun.

Idea #1: How to deal with the Super Bowl. The onslaught of visitors to Indianapolis has local restaurateurs brainstorming on ways to handle all the challenges. St. Elmo Steak House has an employee monitoring Twitter to get a heads up on any VIPs who might mention the restaurant before showing up. Scotty’s Brewhouse plans to bus employees in, cause there’s not going to be any parking available downtown. Local distributor Piazza Produce plans to make some deliveries from small utility vehicles to get around street closings. And two words for everybody: third shift.

Idea #2: Sexualize pizza. It’s not that hard to do, but New York pizza place L’asso went all out for its 2012 pizza calendar. Check it out.

Idea #3: Call yourself a supermarket (and skip a health inspection). Some New York City restaurants have figured out a way to avoid the city’s new letter-grading system of health inspections: register with the state as a supermarket or wholesaler. If they sell some products to grocery stores or are attached to one—or are one Dunkin Donuts location in Queens—bingo, they’re a supermarket, and thus regulated by the state and not the city.

Idea #4: Sell shares to customers. Tom Benson, owner of the recently shuttered seaside Oregon restaurant Cactus BBQ & Grill, is instituting a unique plan to raise capital to reopen. Customers can invest in the restaurant in exchange for half-priced meals “I ran it by the people who were in the restaurant," Benson told the Eugene Register-Guard. "Six of the eight tables said 'Oh yeah, we'll do it.'"

Idea #5: The Darth Vader burger. In time for the release of The Phantom Menace in 3D, a French fast food chain introduces a black bun, and generates huge PR.




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