Friday, December 15, 2006

Creepy fast food mascots

Fanpop has posted a list of the top ten creepiest fast food mascots of all time.

Burger King's admittedly creepy king tops the list, but I don't think he's quite as creepy as Quizno's rat/hamster and Domino's 'Noid' which are way down at positions 9 and 10.

What was Quinzno's thinking when they decided to feature a rat-like creature in their television ads? Obviously someone with an ounce of common sense knocked some sense into them pretty quickly since the campaign was fairly short-lived, but how could it ever have happened in the first place?!?! Well, this is the same company that doesn't see anything wrong with being the only fast food chain to not supply nutrition information for all of their food.

Here's a Quizno's ad feature the 'rat':

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Popeyes new fast-casual concept

QSR Web reports that Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits has announced the opening of a fast-casual hybrid concept, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

According to a news release, the restaurant expands upon Popeyes' rich history and entices guests with a variety of authentic Cajun and Creole flavors, while offering the convenience of a quick-serve restaurant.

From the expanded menu to the atmosphere to the aromas, flavors and images, we hope our new restaurant provides our guests with that 'little something extra' the Cajuns call lagniappe," said Ken Keymer, president and chief executive of Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits.

The first Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen location opened Dec. 12 in Norcross, Ga. A second restaurant, in Fayetteville, Ga., is planned for early 2007.

Both locations will offer Popeyes' traditional menu items, along with new recipes such as New Orleans- style BBQ shrimp, Voodoo BBQ Ribs, Red Bean & Sausage Soup served in a bread bowl, signature Cajun burgers, Bayou Blackened Catfish, Big Easy Grilled shrimp skewers and N'awlins Bread Pudding. Guests also can customize their meal at the Sauce Bar.


Friday, December 08, 2006

2007 Chick-fil-a Cows calendar

The 2007 incarnation of the (in)famous Chick-fil-a Cow Calendar is ready for you to pick up at your local Chick-fil-a restaurant. A perfect stocking stuffer priced at just 5 bucks.

This is the 10th year that Chick-fil-A’s “Eat Mor Chikin” Cows have taken on some entertaining roles as stars of the chain’s annual Cow Calendar – from super heroes to secret agents to television stars. The theme for the 10th edition of the calendar, "The Good, The Bad & The Hairy", has the Cows donning boots, spurs, lassos and 10-gallon hats.

You can get yours at your local Chick-fil-a or at

Here's an inside look at the calendar:


Business professor learns from a McJob

A SUNY-Buffalo Management professor went to work at low-paying McJobs (McDonald's and Burger King) and learned some valuable lessons. His new book is called My Secret Life on the McJob: Lessons from Behind the Counter Guaranteed to Supersize Any Management Style.
Once upon a time, a Ph.D. went to work at Mickey D's and what he found was illuminating. Jerry Newman, a college professor at SUNY who has taught business courses for nearly 30 years, went undercover as a bottom-rung worker for the biggest names in fast food, including McDonald's and Burger King. Newman found that fast-food chains were the perfect petri dishes for covert research: High-pressure, high-volume businesses with high-employee turnover. The pecking order was also crystal clear, from fry cook all the way up to store manager.

He learns powerful truths about what makes businesses great… From minimum-wage floor sweepers to corner office kings, anyone with a job can learn something from Jerry Newman's experience behind the counter at major fast food restaurants. My Secret Life on the McJob reveals brilliantly simple “Supersized Management Principles” that many Fortune 500 bosses still haven't grasped.
Quite a different perspective from Joanna's McRules!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

NYC trans fat ban finalized

The proposed ban on trans fat in New York City restaurants I wrote about in September is now a reality.

NYC health officials approved the ban on artificial trans fats in city restaurants on Tuesday. The Big Apple is the first US city to impose such a ban, although Chicago has talked about it, too.

NYC's ban, unanimously approved by the city Board of Health, requires restaurants to stop frying with oils containing artificial trans fat within about six months and to keep it out of all foods by July 2008.

Trans fats are terrible for you and restaurants shouldn't be using the hydrogenated oils that put them in food, but do we really need the government telling us what to eat? I agree that restaurants should definitely be required to disclose prominently that their food had trans fats, but I'm not sure laws banning them altogether are necessary.


Monday, December 04, 2006

E. Coli Outbreak; 8 Taco Bells Closed

UPDATE: Officials say 29 People Being Treated For E. Coli Symptoms; 18 Test Positive For Bacteria Across State

Two more Taco Bell restaurants were closed on Long Island for cleaning on Wednesday amid an outbreak of E. coli bacteria that may have sickened more than three dozen people in Nassau and Suffolk counties and dozens elsewhere around the country.

Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi said at a late-afternoon press conference that officials have confirmed three E. Coli cases and were investigating an additional 26 cases of people showing symptoms. In Suffolk County, officials reported one confirmed case on Wednesday, bringing its total to 12. Three other potential cases were being investigated across New York state.

Three patients in Nassau County remained hospitalized; at least one remained hospitalized in Suffolk.

Officials say in total, now 18 people have tested positive in New York state for the bacteria. Single cases were confirmed in Clinton, Oneida, and Otsego counties.

Taco Bell has ordered scallions removed from its 5,800 U.S. restaurants after tests suggested they may be responsible for the outbreak.

Breaking News from WCBS-TV, New York:
At least 14 people in two counties on Long Island have been affected by the recent E. coli outbreak that was first reported in central New Jersey. Officials say three people in Nassau County and 11 people in Suffolk County are being treated in the outbreak, though there is no confirmation yet as to whether the outbreak in New Jersey and the one in New York are related.

Eight Taco Bell restaurants on Long Island have temporarily shut down as part of the investigation -- four from each county. The restaurants closed voluntarily after their respective counties asked them to do so.

The four restaurants shut down in Nassau County include: 1 Broadway Mall, Hicksville; Penninsula Blvd, Hempstead; Front St, East Meadow; Roosevelt Field Mall.

CBS 2 has learned an 11-year-old boy ate at both the East Meadow and Hempstead locations and has been in the hospital for a week. According to the Nassau County Health Commissioner, none of the Nassau cases have been linked to the fatal 0157 strain, but the tests are still early.

The four Taco Bell restaurants temporarily shut down in Suffolk County include: Taco Bell at 174 Medford Ave in Patchogue; 1937 Deer Park Ave, Deer Park; 4349 Nesconset Hwy, Port Jefferson Station; 185 Old Country Rd, Riverhead.

Officials are still investigating the food distribution to see if that is the common thread, and Dr. David Graham, acting commisioner of the Suffolk Co. Health Services, says nine of the cases from that county have eaten at a Taco Bell restaurant recently.
read the whole story and watch video updates at WCBS-TV.


More McDonald's to offer DVD rentals

I first wrote about McDonald's DVD rental program back in June of 2005. Apparently the model is starting to take off and McDonald's plans expand the number of locations offering DVD rentals via Redbox.

From a Redbox press release:
Redbox, the nation’s leader in automated DVD rental services, and McDonald’s USA, LLC, today announced an agreement to offer fully automated DVD rental kiosks to a growing number of McDonald’s restaurants nationwide. Redbox kiosks will begin appearing in McDonald’s restaurants in select new U.S. markets early next year, offering McDonald’s customers the latest DVD titles for only $1 per night. The agreement follows a two-year test with McDonald’s.

McDonald’s began testing redbox fully automated DVD rentals in 2004 in Denver. Redbox offers the latest titles, quick, self-service transactions, a $1 per night price point and a convenient rent-and-return anywhere policy. Today redbox kiosks are featured in more than 800 McDonald’s restaurants in the following six markets: Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and St. Louis.

Each fully automated redbox DVD rental kiosk holds more than 500 DVDs, representing over 70 of the newest movie releases, with new titles available every Tuesday. Consumers 18 years of age or older can use a touch screen to select their favorite movies, swipe a valid credit or debit card and go. Customers can keep the DVD for as long as they’d like for $1 per night plus tax, and return their DVD to any redbox kiosk nationwide. For added convenience, customers can visit to choose their favorite title online and pick it up immediately at the redbox location of their choice.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

McDonald's tries to patent the sandwich!

FoxNews reports:
If McDonald's gets its way, breaking out the mayo to garnish that favorite sandwich might be more than unhealthy. It could also violate a patent.

The fast-food giant has submitted patent applications in the U.S. and Europe for the "method and apparatus for making a sandwich."

The restaurant chain wants exclusive rights to certain ways of making specific sandwiches and hamburgers, maybe the same ones millions of Americans make at home everyday. With the goal of keeping their speedy-preparation methods out of the hands of their competition, the company may not realize what this means to the average Joe who packs a lunchbox everyday.

Contained in the 55 page application are instructions for various sandwich types, including a "Method of Making Various Toasted Deli-Style Sandwiches." These include the proper order of adding garnishes, the preferred way to heat the "filling" (meats and cheeses), and the specifics of how such "components" are added to bread.
Utterly ridiculous, but yet somehow not at all surprising!

Arby's reduces trans fats

Arby's has finally reduced the trans fat in their fries.

In a press release, Arby's announced that they have "has started serving French Fries with zero grams of trans fat as calculated under FDA nutrition labeling regulations. The company is switching to a zero grams trans fat cooking oil, and has worked with its French Fry suppliers to eliminate the use of hydrogenated oil during the par-frying process at the supplier level. This makes Arby’s the first national fast food chain in the U.S. to announce the elimination of trans fat oils in French Fries from supplier to restaurant."

“We are committed to meeting our customers’ needs through great tasting and innovative products,” said Roland Smith, CEO, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. “In the case of trans fats, we are not only switching to a zero grams trans fat cooking oil in our restaurants, we have also removed trans fats from the French Fry par-frying process at our suppliers’ processing plants. This is exceptional for us because we can do this while maintaining the great French Fry flavor our customers expect.”

Menu Item                      Original TFAs         New TFAs
3-Pack Chicken Tenders 2 0
5-Pack Chicken Tenders 3 0
Small Curly Fries 3 0
Medium Curly Fries 4 0
Large Curly Fries 6 1
The new French Fries and cooking oil are scheduled to be in all U.S. Arbys locations by May 1, 2007.

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