September 8, 2022
Restaurant SmartBrief
On the Front Burner
Chipotle adds menu items as part of NFL-themed campaign
The 88 Club (Chipotle Mexican Grill)
Chipotle Mexican Grill has added four menu items named for the four members of the 88 Club, an informal group of Dallas Cowboys football players who wore No. 88 on their jersey. The four athletes also appear in ads to promote the club and limited-time menu items.
Full Story: Restaurant Business (9/7),  Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (9/7) 
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Restaurant News
MOD Pizza offers back-to-school family bundle
(MOD Pizza)
MOD Pizza has launched a limited-time "Fundle" deal aimed at busy families with children heading back to school that includes a quartet of custom pizzas, salad and dessert in a carrier box with games printed on it. The company is also holding a "Most Fun Family" contest, in which families can submit photos or videos via TikTok or Instagram.
Full Story: Restaurant Business (9/7) 
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Leading Voices
Restaurant Brands International's $1 billion acquisition of Firehouse Subs in November 2021 has created buzz among RBI's current franchisees as it sets the stage for expansion. RBI spent the past 10 months integrating Firehouse into its financial and technical structure and is using lessons learned during the pandemic to tweak the latest addition to its portfolio, which also includes Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes.
Full Story: QSR (Sept. 2022) 
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Sahil Rahman prefers to use the term "emerging cuisine" instead of "ethnic cuisine" to describe his four-unit Indian fast-casual concept RASA, which is based in Washington, D.C. The concept, which Rahman said has been called the "Chipotle of Indian cuisine," aims to introduce American diners to Indian cuisine while still maintaining ties to Indian culture.
Full Story: Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (9/7) 
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Such programs as Pathways to Black Franchise Ownership and the CEO Action Pledge, as well as resource groups and advisory councils, can help restaurants foster diversity and inclusion, writes John Ramsay of Noodles & Co. "Diversity benefits everyone, from making a company more understanding of the needs of all its guests to improving the communities where diverse franchisees open restaurants," Ramsay notes.
Full Story: FranchiseWire (9/4) 
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Culinary Spotlight
Chefs across the country are providing a more casual and affordable take on the tasting menu, from the $95 meal Zacchaeus Golden creates using local ingredients at Southern Soigne in Jackson, Miss., to the $75 dinner party-style meal Amanda Shulman offers at Her Place Supper Club in Philadelphia. This new generation of tasting menus forgoes certain luxury elements in favor of more laidback surroundings and inventive fare, and the fixed menus allow chefs to reduce waste by planning for the number of diners they know they will have each night.
Full Story: The New York Times (9/6) 
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Mooncakes get a modern update with creative new flavors
Many chefs are developing creative new versions of mooncakes, the sweet pastries filled with lotus paste and egg yolks that are traditionally eaten throughout Asia to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Phoebe Chan of Phoebe's Kitchen in Hong Kong includes beef and salmon in her mooncakes, while Wendy Lieu of San Francisco's Socola Chocolatier created mooncake-inspired chocolate truffles with fillings of ube, black sesame and jasmine tea.
Full Story: Atlas Obscura (8/31),  Saveur (9/2) 
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Movers & Shakers
There are some things one remembers even though they may never have happened.
Harold Pinter,
playwright, screenwriter, director, actor, Nobel Prize winner
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