There was a time when the only place you could find Black Angus beef on a menu was at some of the nation’s finest steakhouses. But these days, Angus burgers are served at McDonald’s, Back Yard Burgers, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, and Smashburger and are just one of many fine-dining menu items, ingredients, and techniques that were adopted by quick-service and fast-casual restaurants over the last decade.
In 2015, the single most popular dish on quick-serve restaurant menus will be a sumptuous curried goat sandwich served with fried lentils and a crispy tamarind-orange flatbread.
Shortly thereafter, thick, frosty duck confit milkshakes and turnip tots will take the fast food world by storm.
Then, by 2017, drive-thru windows will be overwhelmed by customers determined to get their hands on the latest menu sensation: big, brimming bowls of real Spanish-style paella, replete with fresh mussels and clams and saffron-infused rice.
More than a decade into the 21st century, it is safe to say we are living in a brave new world. Television, perhaps the pièce de résistance of last century, has given way to computers and, in turn, desktop computers and laptops may soon give way to tablets and smartphones.
Making one of its new menu favorites portable, Carl’s Jr. is now offering Hand-Breaded Chicken Tender Wrappers. For guests who crave a Chicken Tenders meal but want a quick bite or portable meal, the Hand-Breaded Chicken Tender Wrapper is available at all Carl’s Jr. restaurants.
Each easy-to-eat wrapper features a Hand-Breaded Chicken Tender neatly rolled in a flour tortilla with shredded lettuce and shredded cheese, then topped with a choice of Buttermilk Ranch, Honey Mustard, or Sweet & Bold BBQ sauce.
In 2004, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock released a documentary, Super Size Me, that made waves across the foodservice sector and among American consumers. By eating nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days and ordering the Super Sized version of a meal each time it was offered, Spurlock documented the negative physical toll an experiment like his could have on the human body.
Carrying on its commitment to advanced education, Carl’s Jr. announced the commencement of its 12th annual Carl N. and Margaret Karcher Founders’ Scholarship program. The scholarship application is now available online. The submission deadline is February 1.
Through the scholarship program, 60 deserving students will receive $1,000 each to the two- or four-year college or vocational school of their choice.
Sitting on the edge of the U.S.-Canadian border and taking a backseat to another, more cosmopolitan, Empire State city, Buffalo, New York, often falls into the background. The city’s beloved NFL team plays the occasional home game in Toronto, its intense winters freeze out Niagara Falls–bound tourists, and the City of Good Neighbors’ meat-and-potatoes character doesn’t incite a barrage of flashy adjectives.
CKE Restaurants, Inc., parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, launched its Happy Star Rewards loyalty program yesterday. Happy Star Rewards is a GPS-enabled loyalty program that rewards users for checking in at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s locations across the U.S. The application, available for iPhone and Android smart phones, combines location-based check-in technology with rewards, making it the first of its kind for the quick-service industry.
Restaurant operators have spent 2010 in wait-and-see mode. The economy seems to have survived the financial collapse of 2008—survived being used quite literally here, as in, not died—and is even slowly growing. But consumers are still pinching pennies, and staying afloat in the restaurant industry remains about as difficult as ever.
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Reporting by Blair Chancey, Sam Oches, Daniel P. Smith, Robin Van Tan, Barney Wolf & Lori Zanteson
1. BK Sold to Brazilian Investors
Becoming the decade’s biggest restaurant buyout, No. 3 burger chain Burger King Corp. was acquired by 3G Capital, a New York firm backed by Brazilian investors, for $3.3 billion in September. —BC
2. The Food Truck Obsession