Thursday, November 16, 2006

Jack's holiday shakes and antenna ball

Jack in the Box has begun celebrating the holidays with 2 seasonal menu items and a free holiday antenna ball.

Jack has brought back the Pumpkin Pie Shake and the Egg Nog Shake. A free holiday antenna ball is yours with the purchase of either of these shakes (otherwise the holiday antenna ball is 99 cents).

Jack is proud to point out that these shakes are made with real ice cream, but a little less proud to admit that they contain trans fats (hopefully they'll eliminate those soon).

“We’ve developed an amazing array of unique shake flavors over the years, and the Pumpkin Pie and Egg Nog shakes are popular standouts in the category,” said Teka O’Rourke, director of menu marketing and promotions for Jack in the Box Inc. “We’re excited to bring them back this season, along with our Holiday Antenna Ball, as a gift to our guests.”

The shakes are available in 16 and 24 oz sizes and priced at $2.49 and $2.99 respectively.

The large (24 oz) Egg Nog Shake has 1210 calories, 510 calories from fat, 57 grams of fat, 39 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of trans fat (!), 190 mg of cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, 152 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 110 grams of sugars, and 18 grams of protein. (Divide the above by 1.39 for the approximate info for the smaller 16 oz Egg Nog Shake.)

The large (24 oz) Pumpkin Pie Shake has 1170 calories, 510 calories from fat, 51 grams of fat, 29 grams of saturated fat, 2.5 grams of trans fat, 190 mg cholesterol, 410 mg sodium, 144 grams carbs, 1 gram fiber, 123 grams sugars, and 18 grams protein. (Divide the above by 1.36 for the 16 oz Pumpkin Pie Shake.)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Is a burrito a sandwich?

Until I read about a lawsuit in Shrewsbury, MA this week I would have never imagined that question being asked.

But Panera Bread Co. feels certain that a burrito is, in fact, a sandwich... at least when it helps them limit competition to one restaurant in their fast-casual chain.

Panera sued their landlord to try and stop a Qdoba Mexican Grill from opening in the same shopping center because they had a clause in their lease preventing the landlord from renting space to another sandwich shop.

The judge ruled against Panera, deciding that a burrito is not a sandwich. Duh!

more from the AP:

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke cited Webster's Dictionary as well as testimony from a chef and a former high-ranking federal agriculture official in ruling that Qdoba's burritos and other offerings are not sandwiches.

The difference, the judge ruled, comes down to two slices of bread versus one tortilla.

"A sandwich is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice, and beans," Locke wrote in a decision released last week.

In court papers, Panera, a St. Louis-based chain of more than 900 cafes, argued for a broad definition of a sandwich, saying that a flour tortilla is bread and that a food product with bread and a filling is a sandwich.

Qdoba, owned by San Diego-based Jack in the Box Inc., called food experts to testify on its behalf.

Among them was Cambridge chef Chris Schlesinger, who said in an affidavit: "I know of no chef or culinary historian who would call a burrito a sandwich. Indeed, the notion would be absurd to any credible chef or culinary historian."


Monday, November 13, 2006

Fast food Thanksgiving at Boston Market

Boston Market is enticing families to buy their packaged and prepared holiday meals to go this year. As they say, it's "all of the deliciousness, none of the exhaustioness."

“This year, we plan to sell more than 600,000 sides in our restaurants,” said Cinnamon Combs, chef and senior director of culinary research and development for Boston Market. “If you’re planning a large party at work or at home, we’ll even cater and deliver a complete hot buffet or have it ready for you to pick up.”

The "Complete Holiday Whole Turkey Banquet for 12" is $68.95 and includes an 11 lb. Whole Turkey, Spinach Artichoke dip with crackers, Homestyle Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Cranberry Walnut Relish, Gravy, 2 Cornbread Loaves, 1 Apple and 1 Pumpkin pie.

Other meal combinations are available as are a la Carte entrees, sides and desserts.

Holiday orders placed online at receive a 10% discount. (use discount code 10WEB1HOLIDAY)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

BK sued over pot-laced burger

This isn't the first time fast food workers have tampered with cops food, but this time the cops didn't stop at arresting the offending employees. This time they're suing the restaurant.

Two Isleta Pueblo tribal police officers went through a Burger King drive-thru in Los Lunas, New Mexico on October 8th. Officers Mark Landavazo and Henry Gabaldon were in uniform and in a marked patrol car.

When they were about halfway through their burgers they discovered marijuana on the meat and used a field test kit confirm it. They sought treatment at a hospital while their fellow officers arrested 3 Burger King employees and charged them with possession of marijuana and aggravated battery on an officer, a felony.

In this photo from KOBTV, marijuana is visible on the right side of the burger.

How stupid does a person have to be to do something like this? Tampering with food is always wrong (despite what Joanna's McRules say) and should be punished, but you've got to be pretty dumb (or probably stoned in this case), to think you're not going to get caught putting pot on a cop's burger!

As to suing Burger King for their employees actions, I can certainly see where some people (like the cops) might feel that BK should be held responsible, to some degree, for their employees actions. I'm sure BK wishes they had done drug testing on their employees at this restaurant!

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Jack rolls out 'contactless' payments

Jack in the Box will be the first fast food restaurant to offer 'contactless' payment at all their restaurant locations.

'Contactless' payment allows a customer to pay without having to swipe their credit card. These contactless readers are common at gas stations and 7-11 stores. You'll have to have an American Express Expresspay, Discover Network, MasterCard PayPass™ or Visa Contactless card or device embedded with a chip that communicates with the reader via radio frequency.

“Guests no longer need to fumble for cash and coins, swipe a card or sign a receipt. Since they activate the transaction themselves by holding their cards 1 to 2 inches from the contactless reader, they can keep control of their cards while our cashiers can focus on providing great guest service," said Michael Verdesca, director of point-of-sale systems for Jack in the Box Inc.

All of Jack's contactless readers should all be installed by the end of the year.

more on contactless payments at wikipedia.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Outsourcing the drive-thru window

Some fast food restaurants are now relying on remote call-centers to take their drive-thru orders. That means the next time you speak into a drive-thru order box the person your talking to on the other end of the wires could be miles away.

Remote call-centers for order taking is just part of a comprehensive order effeciency solution offered to fast food restaurants by a company called Exit41.

Another part of the plan is a camera that takes a photo of each customer as they speak their order into the drive-thru box. This photo is then used at the drive-thru window to help the fast food employee match the right food order with the right customer (see photo above).

Exit41's system promises to provide fast food restaurants with increased drive-thru capacity, higher order accuracy and speed, and improve customer satsifaction. Their system is in place in some Wendy's, Burger King, Panda Express and McDonald's locations.

There is an animated illustration and explanation of the features and benefits of Exit41's system on their website.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chipotle advertising contest videos

Chipotle currently has a "30 Seconds of Fame" video production contest for college students at select universities. The entries are 30 second TV ads for Chipotle. The student producers are vying for a $10,000 and airtime for their ad on Chipotle's website. The student's college will also receive $10,000.

You can view all the entries on YouTube. There is a Chipotle '30 Seconds of Fame' YouTube Group where you can view, vote and comment on the video entries. Chipotle also has a page that links to each of the videos.

Here's one I enjoyed that was produced by students at Trinity University. (Something tells me you'll never see this one on TV, but it's hilarious and creative!)

Some of the colleges participating are Academy of Art, American University, Case Western, Chapman University, Indiana University, Kent State, Marquette University, Metro Denver, Rice University, Sac State, SMU, Trinity University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Dayton, University of Florida, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Richmond, University of Wisconsin-Madison, & UNLV.