Chipotle

Pork it Over: the Meat Expands its Role on Menus

Leading restaurants are expanding the protein selection on their menus by offering more pork dishes, according to foodservice consultants Technomic.

With a 7 percent increase in menu mentions over the past year, pork is now being showcased in appetizers, entrees, and sides. This protein suits the trend of using rustic, natural ingredients, from Chipotle’s use of naturally raised pork for its carnitas to Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants’ new All-Natural Iowa Pork Tenderloin Medallions with a maple, mustard, and pretzel crust.

More than Minimum Wage

With 12.8 million workers, the restaurant industry is one of the largest employers in the country. Industry champions often boast of the distinction, and particularly now, with national unemployment at 9.1 percent, it appears as if the restaurant industry is playing a hefty role in the U.S. labor market.

Of course, people who have had their eye on the industry for a while remember a time, before the Great Recession, when it wasn’t easy to recruit quality employees or even a full staff.

Double Dip? Bring It On

Having survived one debilitating recession, restaurants feel poised to withstand another.

With the housing market still depressed, food prices on the rise, and unemployment hovering above 9 percent, some economists now fear that the nation is on the verge of entering a second round of recession, if it hasn’t already.

While the prospect of a “double dip” into recession should have restaurant operators concerned, many say the Great Recession that began in 2008 adequately prepared them for the worst.

Chipotle to Bring Food, Music, Art to Chicago in October

Chipotle Mexican Grill will host its first-ever festival celebrating food, music, and ideas on October 1 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. “Cultivate Chicago,” a one-day festival, will occur from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and feature a unique combination of live music, art, and food made with the freshest ingredients possible. Cultivate Chicago is the first festival of its kind to incorporate nationally recognized celebrity chefs, artisanal food and wine producers, and top musical acts as a way to raise awareness of the impact that food has on society.

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.

Chipotle Rewards Gold with Green

A four day-old baby, appropriately dubbed “Our Four Day Old Burrito,” was chosen as the winner of Chipotle Mexican Grill’s “Wrap What You Love” contest. The contest challenged the creativity of Chipotle’s customers who submitted photos of their favorite things wrapped in gold foil.

The company is celebrating its 18th anniversary by wrapping its burritos in gold foil instead of its signature aluminum foil to signify high quality ingredients that are “good as gold.”

The Recruitment Revolution

Are young employees still interested in quick service?

Pop culture has not been kind to the quick-service industry.

From the lovable-but-dumb employees in Good Burger to the drug-addled protagonists of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, the industry is seen as a haven for dimwits, losers, and the vaguely criminal. Thousands of high school teachers threaten low-performing students by asking them, “Do you want to flip burgers for the rest of your life?”

Bell on the Ball

A group of cartoon superheroes dubbed the Super Delicious Ingredient Force that lives in a “Fortress of Flavor” will never be the stars of a marketing campaign for Panera Bread. Chipotle CEO Steve Ells will never say that a $2.69 taco is expensive. And it’s highly unlikely that McDonald’s will issue a public statement thanking the Center for Science in the Public Interest for its legal action against Happy Meals.

Interpreting the Top 100

Every year, many of us anxiously await the release of Technomic’s Fast Casual Top 100 report. Technomic’s Darren Tristano, one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, gave me an interview and a sneak peek at the report. Here are his thoughts, followed by a few of my own.

Darren, what is the size of the fast-casual segment (2010)?

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.

Pages