May is National Burger Month, a relatively recent designation aimed at helping eateries promote signature burgers in the lead-up to Memorial Day and the start of the summer cookout season. Nationwide, burger joints are celebrating with promotions and specialty burgers.
We might never know the reason May was chosen to celebrate the meaty sandwich, but RestaurantNews.com has published a fun history of the burger, from its origins in the 1600s as steak tartare in Hamburg, Germany, to cooked beef patties on a bun that grew popular among U.S. workers at the beginning of the 20th century because they were easy to eat on the go, to today’s proliferation of chains and independent burger joints with offerings including fast food and gourmet burgers.
Meanwhile, at BurgerBusiness, it’s always about burgers, but editors have shared specials for National Burger Month, including regional, 10-unit chain Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant’s plan to introduce a different burger each day and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville’s competition to have chefs’ creations featured for one of the five weeks in May. (read more…)
Earlier this year, the annual “chicken wing prices are on the rise as the Super Bowl approaches” stories included worries that supplies were likely to remain stretched after the big game and shortages might persist into the spring as wings enjoyed unprecedented popularity and the prices of chicken as well as beef and pork were on the rise after last summer’s drought.
It takes less time to refresh flocks than herds, though, and this spring the wing tales have switched to stories pondering the importance of size — specifically, why are wings getting bigger? Years of breeding bigger chickens are a boon to sellers of breast meat by the pound, but the trend can prove problematic for eateries that sell wings by the piece, Time reported last month.
What’s a wing chain to do? Diversify. Restaurants are serving up a wider mix of chicken dishes than ever before, and a recent Technomic report revealed that consumers are looking for more and varied poultry options. (read more…)
Do chicken and ribs go together like steak and lobster? Boston Market’s two years of research and tests show they just might. The chain will launch St. Louis Ribs at all 471 of its restaurants today, starting an eight-week experiment that’s likely to become a permanent menu addition, if previous tests in Buffalo, Norfolk and Baltimore are any indication, said CEO George Michel.
The fast-casual chain will sell a quarter rack of spare ribs with two sides and cornbread for $10.99, and it will promote the spare ribs with a multichannel ad campaign set to break next week and a promotion tied into tax day on April 15.
The new menu items come nearly three years after Boston Market began a turnaround effort aimed at raising the level of service and introducing higher-end touches including china and silverware into the fast-casual concept. Now, the chain says, it’s the only fast-casual concept in the country to pair rotisserie chicken and ribs. (read more…)
By Janet Forgrieve on March 26th, 2013 | 39952Comment on this postMAD+Greens+in+Colo.+goes+the+extra+mile+to+offer+local+goat+cheese2013-03-26+12%3A00%3A31Janet+Forgrievehttp%3A%2F%2Fsmartblogs.com%2F%3Fp%3D39952
Denver-based MAD Greens, which last year switched to locally grown lettuce, is continuing its quest to offer guests the best local fare with the addition of goat cheese from Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy in nearby Longmont, Colo., as the 11-unit chain’s exclusive chevre.
As a business reporter in 2007, I had a chance to visit Haystack Mountain at a time of transition — founder Jim Schott was preparing to retire, the company had just won a $50,000 grant from Whole Foods and the retailer had added the company’s award-winning goat’s milk cheese to its shelves. Not long afterward, Haystack Mountain realized that its goats couldn’t make enough milk to supply the growing demand. Creating a patchwork of suppliers would prove expensive and labor intensive, as trucks would need to be cleaned between each delivery, and the company would open itself up to consistency issues, said sales and marketing director John Scaggs. (read more…)
Chefs and home cooks alike can find new ways to innovate without busting the budget or spending all evening in the kitchen, with speed-scratch methods that combine frozen, canned, shelf-stable and even leftover ingredients into yummy and seemingly gourmet dishes.
Perhaps no foodservice organizations are more ripe to reap the benefits of new speed-scratch cooking methods and recipes than school kitchens, where parents and health advocates are pushing for more fresh-food options, budgets are as tight as ever and introducing children to new foods can be a challenge.
Using familiar shelf-stable ingredients may help school cafeterias transition students to healthier fare, perhaps avoiding a repeat of the early travails in Los Angeles when schools threw out all the chicken nuggets, corn dogs, pizza and other familiar foods at once and switched to dishes including vegetable curry, pad Thai and lentil and brown rice cutlets, as the alternative weekly BeyondChron reported last year. (read more…)