Chick-fil-A lands behind McDonald’s as second-highest-grossing fast-food chain

Chick-fil-A is the second-highest-grossing fast-food chain in the United States. The fast-food chain, after seeing a 13 percent sales growth to more than $11 billion in 2019, has surpassed Taco Bell and Burger King to land a slot just behind McDonald’s, according to data from Restaurant Business Magazine’s annual list of top 500 restaurants. Compared to McDonald’s 13,846 U.S. locations, Chick-fil-A has 2,470, Taco Bell has 6,766 and Burger King has 7,346. During the same period last year, McDonald’s had $40 billion in sales growth. Taco Bell and Burger King grew by $11 billion and $10 billion, respectively. Last year, Chick-fil-A ranked seventh, behind each of the above food chains. The company’s climb at a time when many businesses are struggling to stay afloat because the coronavirus pandemic has forced people to stay at home. In April, Chick-fil-A announced a measure to fight the economic standstill caused by the outbreak. The chain’s relief effort, anchored by a $10.8 million fund, is dedicated to supporting local franchisees. The funds, distributed through a network of more than 1,800 independent owner-operators, will be made available through June 2020. In addition to donating to essential workers and employees, the chain is also helping feed others. More than 5,000 meals have been donated to school systems, health care workers and others on the front lines in Atlanta, Georgia, where the company is based.

Congrats to Chick-fil-A!!   Excellent!!      🙂

Steak ‘n Shake permanently closes nearly 10 percent of its restaurants amid coronavirus crisis

When it comes to dining options, there will be fewer steaks and shakes to be had. Steak n’ Shake, the fast-casual restaurant chain, has been forced to close 57 of its locations due to the “adverse effect” of the coronavirus health crisis on its operations. Steak n’ Shake’s parent company, Biglari Holdings Inc., announced the closures in its latest earnings report. “The COVID-19 pandemic had an adverse effect on our restaurant operations, thereby resulting in the evaluation of company-operated restaurants for recoverability,” Biglari Holdings wrote in the report, adding that 51 company-owned Steak ‘n Shake locations, as well as six franchise-owned locations, were shut down in the first quarter of 2020. At the end of 2019, Steak ‘n Shake operated 610 locations globally, though the vast majority were located within the United States. Biglari Holdings did not specify where the 57 shuttered Steak ‘n Shake restaurants were located. News of Steak ‘n Shakes closures follows the chain’s recent “We’re All Essential” initiative, which aimed to support workers in essential industries — as well as “all Americans during these challenging times — by offering free fries to all customers, along with special meal deals for families. “In such challenging times, we would like to do our part for our communities by giving out free fries to all,” said Sardar Biglari, CEO of Steak ‘n Shake, said in an April press release.

Just awful news!!!   I went to college in Bloomington, IL; a mile from the original Steak ‘n Shake, and grew up with Steak ‘n Shake in West St. Louis, County.  Hopefully they can recover once this craziness is all over.  For more on this sad story, click on the text above.

White Castle releases ‘Top 10 Slider-Based’ recipes ‘just in time for National Hamburger Month’

Nothing quite says good old home cooking like White Castle. The family-owned fast food chain has released even more recipes, including its first-ever list of “Top 10 Slider-Based Recipes,” which will be launched “just in time for National Hamburger Month,” according to a press release. While the recipes are not all entirely new — as the brand pointed out “some of the recipes in the Top 10 list have been around for years” — they were recently deemed to be most suited for the “Craver Nation.” The list includes recipes developed by Phillip Bach, White Castle’s head chef and director of product innovation, as well as recipes submitted by customers. The only defining characteristic of each is that they all incorporate White Castle’s Original Slider, or a version of it, in the recipe. “We have 50 amazing recipes on our website, and our in-house chef chose these Top 10 for their taste, simplicity and popularity among the Craver Nation,” said Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle, of the list. Featured on the Top 10 list are appetizers like the Castle Con Queso, or the punny White Castlerole, which can work for either breakfast or dinner. Surprisingly, the White Castle pate – which is on the restaurant’s website – did not make the list.

Click on the text above to see several White Castle recipes.  Enjoy!!      🙂

Wendy’s offers free chicken nuggets as part of ‘GroupNug’ promotion amid coronavirus pandemic

Wendy’s is taking a page out of Taco Bell’s playbook with plans to start handing out its signature menu item amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — completely free of charge. On Tuesday, Wendy’s announced that participating restaurants across the country will be giving away orders of 4-Piece Chicken Nuggets to anyone who visits the drive-thru this Friday, April 24. The company says the promotion, called “GroupNug,” was inspired by the chain’s team members and restaurant crews who have been “going above and beyond” to help out their communities. “Wendy’s restaurant teams across the nation have been living out one of Wendy’s most important values — Do the Right Thing — by helping their communities wherever they can during this unprecedented time,” said Carl Loredo, the chief marketing officer of Wendy’s U.S, in a press release. “These actions shine a light on so many individuals both in Wendy’s and across the nation doing good for others. We want to show our appreciation with our GroupNug offer for the entire country.” Wendy’s has also been sharing news of its exceptional team members to its Square Deal Blog, which has been documenting instances of Wendy’s franchisees providing free meals to front-line workers, first responders and those in need. “We’re extremely proud of all the efforts we’ve seen and we know there are more out there,” the blog reads. “It’s people like those above who shine bright and keep us going at times like these.” In honor of the GroupNug promotion, the Wendy’s Twitter account is even taking a break from its usual snarky self to instead honor the workers and citizens who “deserve some shine right now.” Wendy’s GroupNug promotion kicks off at participating restaurants this Friday, April 24, at 10:30 a.m. No purchase is necessary, but orders of free nuggets are limited to one per vehicle.

Very cool!!   🙂

Chick-fil-A to add handwashing stations to drive-thrus, curbside pick-up areas

Chick-fil-A has committed to installing outdoor handwashing stations at all drive-thru and curbside locations by April 11, the company said. The fast-food chain confirmed in a press release that it would be supplying the stations in accordance to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ), noting that handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way to reduce risk of infection of COVID-19, which continues to spread across the United States. Due to the pandemic, Chick-fil-A was forced to close all dining rooms, but remains open to drive-thru and curbside pick-up, according to the restaurant’s press release. For those employees who serve customers outside or work outdoors, the company is adding handwashing stations for team members to “wash their hands a minimum of every 30 minutes and every time they interact with cash.” Customers have been asked to swipe their own cards or use mobile ordering and in-app payment, to limit interactions. The chain added that it has also provided Purell Wipes for its employees to “regularly sanitize their hands,” and has been placing emphasis on team members frequently disinfecting any other items they touch. This step comes after Chick-fil-A put into place social distancing protocols, and limiting physical contact between guests and employees. “These certainly are unprecedented times; yet we remain grateful…grateful for the tremendous work of those providing care for the sick, grateful for the opportunity to be a source of comfort and hospitality, and grateful for our Team Members, our Operators and the communities they serve,” wrote Tim Tassopoulos, the president and COO of Chick-fil-A in a statement released the same day the handwashing stations were announced. “On behalf of our more than 1,800 independent Owner-Operators and their 150,000 Team Members living throughout your communities, know we care for you and your health and are here for you now and in the years to come.”

Wendy’s giving away Jr. Frosties with drive-thru orders

The people behind the Wendy’s Twitter account took a short break from skewering rival fast-food chains to announce a bit of good news for anyone who could use a treat during the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, Wendy’s confirmed that it would be giving away a free Jr. Frosty — either chocolate or vanilla — with every drive-thru order, beginning that day at participating restaurants. The promotion will run for a “limited time,” according to the chain. “The little things can make all the difference sometimes,” Wendy’s wrote in a Tweet shared Monday. “Get a free Jr. Frosty with every Wendy’s drive-thru order starting today.” Wendy’s, meanwhile, has suspended all dine-in services amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, although drive-thru and carryout service will still be available, depending on the location. Food is also available for delivery via DoorDash, Grubhub and Postmates. “With the rapid pace at which things are changing around us, we are continually adapting to best support the Wendy’s Family, including our team members, franchisees, customers and all of our Company employees who have been providing unwavering support to our franchisees and restaurant teams during these difficult times,” said Todd Penegor, Wendy’s president and CEO, in a statement shared Sunday. “While there is much uncertainty right now, we do know that our restaurants are essential to feeding our communities, and we are doing everything possible to keep our restaurants open, while following public health guidance and the evolving guidelines from national, state and local governments.” Wendy’s is just one of dozens of national restaurant chains to modify service in response to health and safety guidelines.

Chick-fil-A closing dining rooms, allowing only takeout, drive-thru or delivery amid coronavirus outbreak

Chick-fil-A still wants its customers to “eat mor chickin” — just not in the dining room. On Sunday, Chick-fil-A announced that it would be closing the dining areas of its restaurants to limit “person-to-person contact” amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Restaurants will instead be offering alternate options, such as delivery or takeout, for the time being. “Our highest priority continues to be the health and well-being of everyone who comes into our restaurants,” reads a news release shared to Chick-fil-A’s press site. “As we navigate the evolving impact of coronavirus on our communities, we are temporarily closing our dining room seating to help limit person-to-person contact,” the statement continued. “Some of our restaurants may only offer service through our drive-thrus, while others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options. “Thanks for your patience. We know these are challenging times, but we’ll continue to do our best to serve you.” In the week leading up to Sunday’s announcement, Chick-fil-A had heightened its cleaning protocols and warned of modifications to service, staffing and hours of operation. By Friday, the chicken chain had closed all of its playgrounds, and started serving all meals in take-out containers, regardless of whether guests were dining in or eating out. Chick-fil-A president and COO Tim Tassopoulos had also assured guests that Chick-fil-A restaurant operators had been instructed on proper health protocols from local health departments, and that the chain was operating under the recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Chick-fil-A, meanwhile, is just one of several national chains taking action to stem the spread of coronavirus. Taco Bell, for instance, announced on Saturday that the company was preparing restaurants to go takeout or drive-thru only, should the need arise. And on Sunday, Starbucks revealed it would be opting for a “to-go” model at its stores in the U.S. and Canada, allowing customers to order or pick-up at the counter and drive-thru, but not use the shops’ dining areas or patio spaces.

For more on what Chick-fil-A is doing in response to the Wuhan virus situation, click on the text above.

Chick-fil-A to sell bottles of dipping sauce at stores as part of first retail endeavor

The Chicken Sandwich Wars are back, and they’re getting saucy. Chick-fil-A – one of America’s favorite fast-food chains and a recent contender in the infamous “chicken sandwich war” with fast-food rival Popeyes – has announced its first-ever retail endeavor: selling bottles of its famous dipping sauces in stores. The chicken chain will be selling 16 fl. oz. bottles of its signature Chick-fil-A Sauce and Polynesian Sauce starting this April and May, allowing customers to “dip, drizzle and marinate to their delight, right at home,” the company shared in a press release. “Chick-fil-A Sauce and Polynesian Sauce are our two most popular sauces, so we are extremely excited to offer them at select retail stores outside of the restaurant,” said Michael Patrick, principal program lead, Beyond the Restaurant. “And because our Team Members are truly our ‘secret sauce’ to creating a positive experience in our restaurants, each time a customer purchases a Bottled Sauce at a participating retailer, the Chick-fil-A profits will support Team Members through our scholarship program.” While the dipping sauces will only be sold for a limited time as part of a pilot program in Florida, the brand did mention the possibility of a nationwide roll-out in the future, contingent on the performance of the Florida testing. The bottles retail for $3.49 at participating stores in Florida, such as Publix, Target, Walmart and Winn-Dixie, with 100 percent of the profits going to fund the brand’s Team Member Scholarships. According to the press release, $17 million in scholarships will be awarded to 6,700 restaurant team members in 2020. For the rest of you Chick-fil-A Sauce lovers, you’ll just have to stockpile the smaller packets you get with sandwiches — and wait to see how Popeyes responds.

Hopefully it goes well!   For more, click on the text above.  Go Chick-fil-A!!     🙂

Panera Bread starts unlimited coffee subscription for $9 a month

Ever wished you could pay a flat fee for endless coffee on the go? Panera Bread has brewed up a hot project with that very pitch, offering an unlimited coffee subscription for $8.99 a month. Starting March 2, the bakery-café will serve unlimited coffee across its nearly 2,200 locations for those who sign up for the company’s free loyalty program and pay the $8.99 monthly subscription fee, plus tax. The promotion offers one cup of hot drip coffee, hot tea or iced coffee every two hours during regular Panera hours, in addition to free refills of the same drink at other locations. “We’re changing the game for coffee drinkers across the country with our no compromises, unlimited subscription service — great coffee at an amazing value,” Niren Chaudhary, Panera CEO, said in a statement on Thursday. “We are eliminating the price barrier and the false choices between convenience and quality – between good coffee and craveable food. At Panera, there’s no more compromise — and your cup is always full.” However, those who enjoy their daily cuppa in the form of cold brew iced coffee, espresso or cappuccino won’t be too happy to hear that those beverages are not included in the program, USA Today reports. Though Panera claims to be “the first national restaurant company” to offer an unlimited monthly coffee subscription program, the premise is not entirely new. Last March, Burger King tested an unlimited coffee program, good for one small hot coffee a day for $5 at any time. The trial was ultimately discontinued a few months later. Nevertheless, the coffee news from Panera had fans buzzing with excitement. One Twitter user even claimed to have gotten their first sip of their first “big ol free subscription coffee” on Thursday. With over 160 million American adults drinking coffee every day, per Panera, the coffee cup has never looked quite so half-full.


Chick-fil-A meets goal of antibiotic-free chicken at all restaurants

Chick-fil-A announced this week that it has made good on a goal it set in 2014 – to no longer serve meat that has been raised with antibiotics. The No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) initiative was started in 2014 with the fast-food chain aiming to offer only antibiotic-free chickens in all of its roughly 2,400 restaurants by the end of 2019. Though the restaurant stated in its blog, The Chicken Wire, the brand has been serving only NAE chicken at Chick-fil-A restaurants since May, the packaging will not reflect the change until the beginning of October. According to the restaurant, serving NAE chicken means the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ensures no antibiotics are administered to the chicken beginning with the egg. “We know consumers care about how their food is made and where it comes from, including the use of antibiotics. Because it was important to our customers, it was important to us,” said Matt Abercrombie, director of menu and packaging. “Chick-fil-A has always been committed to serving customers delicious food made with high-quality ingredients and offering No Antibiotics Ever chicken was the next step. Our goal was to pursue the highest standard and partner with the USDA to verify it.” Chick-fil-A claims it is the largest fast-food restaurant franchise to achieve such a feat. Most recently, Chick-fil-A found itself embroiled in a viral “chicken war” with Popeyes after the Louisiana-style fried chicken chain launched its new chicken sandwich to stellar reviews. However, despite the mass success of Popeyes’ sandwich, Chick-fil-A has still been rated America’s favorite fast-food chain for at least three years in a row. The brand is also on track to become the third-largest fast-food chain in the country.