Some families in Washington state have cited the ongoing partial federal government shutdown in their applications for free and reduced-price school meals, says Eric Boutin, a district food and nutrition services supervisor. He says they are glad that, for the moment, there is still federal funding for school meal programs, but the district is going to develop "contingency plans," too.
Flatbreads are booming on US menus thanks to a rising interest in communal dining and Mediterranean foods. Seattle's Ciudad pairs housemade flatbreads with sauces such as smoked yogurt and black garlic aioli, while San Francisco's Sababa fills its fluffy pitas with items including Moroccan carrot salad and fried eggplant.
Consumers continue to eat more of their restaurant meals at home, and offering beer and wine delivery can allow eateries to expand high-margin alcohol sales to off-premise. Pizza Hut is expanding a beer delivery test it launched two years ago, and beer boosts Buffalo Wild Wings' average check on delivery orders by around $10.
Some schools in Illinois plan to replace snow days with digital learning days -- now allowed under state law. Mark Jontry, regional superintendent of education, says the strategy can be beneficial if school leaders get buy-in from teachers and parents.
A Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Indianapolis is one of the first in the country to unveil the chain's new look, a rebranding that includes a new menu and an interactive dance floor. The location has also eliminated animatronic robots in favor of live shows and performances by a person playing the brand's namesake character.
Washington, D.C., restaurants are feeling the pinch of the partial government shutdown and around 180 will extend participation in Restaurant Week for a second week. Other eateries are offering deals for federal employees, including Jon Bon Jovi's JBJ Soul Kitchen which will give lunch to furloughed workers in Red Bank, N.J., today.
The organization that awards the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards has made a new rule that precludes any eatery that has been named "world's best restaurant" in the past from landing on the list again. A separate program called the World Restaurant Awards, which aims to be more diverse and inclusive, will announce its inaugural awards next month.
Taco Bell's Start With Us, Stay With Us recruitment and retention program and related initiatives are aimed at helping employees grow in their careers, said executive Bjorn Erland. "The competition for talent will continue to be high, which will force us to innovate in this area and think about how we differentiate ourselves," he said.
Coupons and loyalty program rewards are key to winning loyalty from quickserve customers, according to a survey from Publishers Clearing House. Half of women and 44% of men surveyed said a coupon would entice them to try a new restaurant.
Some elementary-school students in Nevada are attending a monthly program with their families to help spread the love of reading and improve students' reading skills. "Breakfast with Books" also involves a raffle, plus story time.
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