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Poll: Who Should Be the Next Animated Chef?


First came the unsettling news of “Gordon Ramsay, At Your Service,” a stop-action-animation series in the works with Chef Ramsay tooling about on a motorcycle and sidecar borrowed from the Two Fat Ladies. Now we’re told Travel Channel next year will give us the animated  “Anthony Bourdain’s Alternate Universe.” Judging by the trailer for the six-part Web series, it’s […]

Smashburger’s Tom Ryan: Menu Locally, Grow Nationally

In 2007, Tom Ryan and partners purchased a Denver burger joint, rebranding it Smashburger for the way fresh hamburger is smashed on its hot griddle. More than three dozen locations have followed and the company says it has sold franchisee agreements that will open more than 200 over the next five years. Smashburger is the […]

Monday News-Nugget Catch-Up for 10/26

Let’s focus on just one News Nugget for this Monday: The Return of the Melt.      I may have been too hasty in bum-rushing Perkins Restaurant & Bakery’s new-menu announcement to the news column last week. It seemed at first that Perkins was being just another entry on a growing list of mid-price chains saying they’ve seen […]

Burger Chains’ Treasure Trove of Trademarks

Wendy’s new advertising slogan, “You know when it’s real,” seems to be catching on. It’s bouncy, hummable and memorable. But is it as in-your-face self-confident as “This is a burger town, pretty boy”? Wendy’s owns that phrase, too, among many others. At the bottom of Wendy’s home page, there’s a tiny-type link labeled “Legal.” Not […]

Sonic: Awaress of Value Menu Far Exceeds Its Use

Sonic Chairman-CEO Cliff Hudson made some interesting observations about consumer behavior during the chain’s October 20 earnings call with analysts. Consumers are spending less, but rather than gravitating to “Value Menu” or $1 items, they respond better to discounts on regular items, he suggested. For the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2009, Sonic’s systemwide sales rose […]

Mini Burgers, Appetizers are Keys to Ruby Tuesday Menu Test

[Nov. 9 update: Ruby Tuesday announced a rollout of the “new menu” described below as the test menu. ] Samuel E. “Sandy” Beall is excited. The chairman of the board, president and CEO of casual-dining chain Ruby Tuesday told Wall Street securities analysts during the chain’s October 7 earnings call that it has an important […]

Transform Fast Food to Gourmet Fare? McDonald’s Plays Along


The premise of the entertaining blog FancyFastFood.com is that fast-food meals can be deconstructed and reassembled into something much more appetizing. That there’s criticism of fast food on the site and not just fun is clear from the blog’s subtitle: “Yeah, It’s Still Bad for You—But See How Good It Can Look.” Recently, for example, McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets […]

Monday News-Nugget Catch-Up for 10/19

► Whoo-hoo! Burger King’s $1 double cheeseburger promotion goes national today. Remember? BK announced this limited-time price cut back on September 25. On a Friday. At 5 p.m. When it would get no news coverage. Like it didn’t want anyone—neither news media nor angry franchisees—to notice. Definitely the oddest price promotion of the year. ► […]

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