Photo: Boston Market
"chain restaurants" news and stories
Photo: xrrr, Flickr
When it comes to picking a favorite casual-dining restaurant, customers look to experience, convenience and food quality. But what restaurants make the grade?
According to a survey done by Boulder, Colo.-based Market Force, customers put The Cheesecake Factory on top, Nation's Restaurant News reported.
The Cheesecake Factory earned 6 percent of the favorite-restaurant vote, but when weighted for number of locations per chain, the tally rose to 13 percent, making it the clear winner. Market Force surveyed 5,000 people between 18 and 72 years old, 76 percent of which were women, NRN reported.
Filed under: Chain Stores / Restaurants
| Photo: Buffalo Wild Wings
Craft beer at corporate chains? It may seem a bit like an oxymoron, but a lot of restaurants could learn a lesson from national eatery Buffalo Wild Wings.
Franchises in the Buffalo Wild Wings family are able to stock whichever beers they like, so when Sam Hookway took over as bar manager at the Indianapolis location back in February, he had one thing in mind: "to have the best draft beer selection in the city."
Since the restaurant is part of a large, nationwide chain, Coors, Miller and Bud Light will probably always top the Buffalo sales list, but Hookway saw opportunities in other areas: "I got rid of beers like Peroni and Molson, which aren't that different from the other light lagers we sell."
The plan has worked: About half the beer they sell is craft, enticing patrons who might otherwise not frequent such an establishment. And how about beer lovers who scoff at the notion of sipping indie suds on a corporate-controlled stool? "That's a battle I've been trying to fight," Hookway says.
Food snobs who typically ignore the scattered, smothered and covered charms of Southern greasy spoons have begun flocking to former Waffle Houses, partaking of the latest trend in start-up eateries down South.
A new generation of enterprising chefs is taking refuge in the abandoned shells of retired chain restaurants, realizing their edible ambitions in the very spaces where truckers once drank too much black coffee and elderly women paid for their grilled cheese sandwiches in change. Formidable Mexican, Thai and Italian restaurants have taken up residence where eggs and hash browns once reigned.
The Southeast is dotted with former Waffle Houses and Huddle Houses (WH's cut-rate cousin), their industrial-strength kitchens still very much intact. For restaurateurs with limited budgets and a boundless appreciation of late-night Dixie dining culture, the allure is irresistible.
A weekly look at the draft selection at beer-friendly bars across the country.
I'm spending the holidays in Phoenix, Arizona. One thing I immediately noticed is Phoenix has quite an affection for big box retailers and massive restaurant chain locations. Lots of land out here I guess. Fitting then that many of the city's "top beer bars" as determined by sites such as this one are nationwide brewpubs like Rock Bottom or BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse. And though I'm sure a number of great independent beer bars exist in the Phoenix metropolitan area of which I'm guessing savvy and enraged commenters will be happy to enlighten me, I thought this a perfect opportunity to give one chain its due.
Whereas most chains' beer selections tend to lean towards the uninspired, some -- such as Yard House Restaurants -- have managed to excel. Along with locations in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada and Texas, Yard House has three locations right here in Arizona. Every location boasts between 100 to 250 beers on tap, and yes, though many of them tend to be pedestrian (you'll likely find Michelob Ultra on every list) with such a large selection even the most discerning beer connoisseurs can find something that will pacify them.
After the jump, find some insights into how Yard House selects their beers and a link to their massive draft list.
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