You might not be surprised to find that a sketchy dive bar is refilling its empty bottles of liquor with cheaper booze, but many consumers probably don’t expect a chain restaurant to get involved in such underhanded hanky-panky. And yet, 15 of the 29 places caught in yesterday’s sting by New Jersey liquor regulators are outlets of national chain eateries — and almost all of those were TGI Fridays. [More]
Darden, parent company of ubiquitous chain restaurants such as Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and LongHorn Steakhouse, likes to cluster its restaurants near each other. So it makes sense that in smaller markets, they would pair a Red Lobster and an Olive Garden in one building, with a shared kitchen, bar, waiting area, and rest rooms. This seemed like totally amazing news until we learned that customers will not be able to order off both menus. Then what’s the point? [More]
The idea behind chain restaurants is — or at least it should be — to provide customers with dependable, consistent food and service at multiple locations. And many chains succeed in at least trying to fulfill these goals. But according to a recent survey of nearly 48,000 Consumer Reports readers, some chains are struggling to maintain a mediocre level of service and quality. [More]
In a mass message sent out to its “e-mail club” subscribers, Chili’s revealed its service provider sprung a leak in user data, letting loyalists know first and last names, email addresses and birthdates went up for grabs. [More]
If you’re a fan of using frozen Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice and South Beach Living meals to control your caloric intake — you might be interested to know that a news study says the dinners have eight per cent more calories than the labels said. [More]
Three TGIFridays in California have mysteriously closed, says the SF Chronicle. Employees are stunned.
Reader Jamie’s Applebee’s dinner came with an interesting ingredient: an expiration date sticker. Understandably grossed out, Jamie asked Applebee’s for some new food. They agreed, fished out the sticker and brought the old food back. Ick.
At the risk of inviting another pointless “this pizza is better than that pizza” debate in the comments, we feel it is necessary to inform you that Uno has run into some nasty looking debt problems and some people are speculating that they may be the next restaurant chain to go under.
Texas Roadhouse says that it will accept now-defunct Bennigan’s gift cards, even though the chain’s parent company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We’re not sure if this offer applies to all Texas Roadhouse locations, so you’ll want to call first and confirm. The offer ends August 30th.
Bennigan’s all around the nation have abruptly closed today, after the chain’s parent company filed for bankruptcy. The Chicago Tribune
Some deep thoughts about the existence of Lobsterfest and “the dreaded “market price,” which is so astronomical it can’t even be listed, and is at the manager’s cruel whim.” [Because I Told You So]
According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, menu labeling legislation is gaining momentum in the California State Assembly. The menu labeling law “would require chain restaurants to list calories on menu boards and calories, saturated and trans fat, sodium, and carbohydrates on printed menus.”
The move comes as mid-priced sit-down restaurants are trying to pull themselves out of one of the industry’s worst slumps in several years. A second consecutive summer of high gasoline prices, coupled with declining home values, has eaten into the wallets of the middle-class customers on which Applebee’s built its dining empire.
IHOP is planning on selling all 500 company owned Applebee’s and other real estate in the hopes of cutting costs and to offset some of the debt they had to take on in order to purchase Applebee’s.