Jordan Melnick

Jordan Melnick is <em>QSR</em>'s online exclusives reporter.
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Food Bikes Could Be Hottest New Trend

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The food truck trend has gathered so much steam that there wouldn’t seem to be enough tires left in America to get another mobile kitchen trend like the food bike rolling along.

While the number of food bikes pedaling through city streets doesn’t compare to the number of food trucks, they’re quickly becoming a go-to mobile option for urban operations.

As bike-powered foodservice concepts become more common in dense, urban areas around the country, the possibility of food trucks yielding to their two-wheeled (or sometimes three-wheeled) cousins seems more likely.

Help Veterans, Help Your Brand

A proliferation of incentive programs may recruit more military veterans into the restaurant franchising business.

On August 5, President Obama proposed several tactics that would help military veterans returning to civilian life find jobs. The president also called on Congress to re-introduce the Help Veterans Own Franchises (HVOF) Act, which was originally introduced in 2009.

The new proposals, and passage of the HVOF Act, could result in an influx of military veterans becoming quick-serve franchisees.

The Runaway Hit

Between its 1986 founding and 2002, the year it started franchising, Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened six locations, all in the Washington, D.C.-metro area near its home base in Arlington, Virginia.

Since 2002, Five Guys has opened more than 750 locations and is now mentioned in the same breath as chain-restaurant titans McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway.

The obvious question: How did these guys do it?

“The only thing we did right was stick to our guns,” says Jerry Murrell, founder and patriarch, whose five sons—the Five Guys—all help run the company.

Are Your Calorie Counts Right?

A new study suggests nutrition information on restaurant menuboards and websites isn’t always accurate.

The menu-labeling mandate that will eventually require all chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menuboards was met with optimism that the restaurant industry had turned a new leaf in nutrition. But a recent study suggests there’s a lot of work to do before restaurants’ calorie counts can be trusted.

Salsarita's New Growth Strategy

New CEO Phil Friedman says he will grow Salsarita’s presence in existing markets rather than expand to new territories.

A week after the announcement that he’d acquired Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, former McAlister’s Deli CEO Phil Friedman says his plan for the fast casual is to saturate its existing markets.

Friedman says his strategy is to “exploit” Salsarita’s presence in the Southeastern U.S., where the majority of the chain’s 80 stores are located.

“We want to create even greater brand awareness and brand commitment in our existing markets,” says Friedman, who purchased Salsarita’s from founder Bruce Willette for an undisclosed amount.

What Happened to Biff-Burger?

Former fast food empire is down to just two stores, but loyalists are trying to keep the concept alive.

On May 3, the fast food restaurant Beef Burger in Greensboro, North Carolina, celebrated its 50th anniversary by offering customers burgers for 50 cents.

“We had a line from the window all the way out the back door and all the way across the back parking lot,” owner Ralph Havis says. “I thought we’d never serve all the people waiting in line, but we just wanted to give something back to the community.”

Would Your Crew Wear Mobile Ads?

When Superior Uniform Group (sug) began manufacturing uniforms in 1920, chances are no one in the company ever thought it would launch a media division more than nine decades later. But in a sign of the times—in which more businesses than not are undergoing major technological transformations and industries are bleeding into one another like clothes in a hot wash—this is exactly what SUG did when it launched everyBODY media in early March.

The Great Salary Thaw

Restaurant chains are starting to remove salary freezes in an effort to recruit and retain employees. 

After two years of salary freezes, restaurant chains are starting to increase employee pay in an effort to secure their loyalty, according to a new survey by consulting firm Hay Group and the Chain Restaurant Compensation Association (CRCA).

The survey cites a projected median budget increase of 3 percent for all restaurant employee groups in 2011, slightly above the projected 2.8 percent increase in general industry.

How to Be a Pro at Quick Service

A new organization is trying to help professional athletes get involved with franchising.

Angelo Crowell is a big man. At 6 feet 1 inch tall and about 250 pounds, you might take the broad-shouldered 29-year-old for a football player.

You probably wouldn’t pin him as the perfect restaurant franchisee.

With the first presumption, you’d be right. Crowell played linebacker in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills, who drafted him in 2003, and later for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is now a free agent who says he keeps himself in game shape in case he gets another opportunity to play.

“I’d rather be ready than not ready,” he says.