New on the Menu: Jack in the Box’s Late-Night Proposition

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“Jack in the Box is expanding its “french fries in a box” concept to two more potato, fat, and dairy concoctions that would make any cardiologist squirm. In the company’s defense, they’re going to try just about anything to keep their franchisees happy right now. Also in Jack’s defense? It doesn’t have the meal in this installment that must worry doctors the most.

Every few weeks Skift Table will wrap up the latest seasonal and new items on chain restaurant menus in the United States. We don’t call out everything (sorry limited-time Pumpkin Spice something), but we will call out items that are notable for what they mean to a chain, the season, or consumer habits.”

See more here.

Fast Food Prices Rise to Better Reflect True Costs

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“Dollar cheeseburgers and discount nuggets are getting Americans in the door at their favorite fast-food joints, but the savings end there.

Even as the recent fast-food discount wars rage on, with Burger King advertising 10 chicken nuggets for $1 and Pizza Hut offering $5 pies, fast-food items that don’t make it onto value menus are actually climbing in price. Median fast-food hamburger prices have jumped 54 percent over the last decade to about $6.95, according to menu researcher Datassential. Chicken sandwiches are up 27 percent. Both surpass overall U.S. price inflation during that same time.”

“McDonald’s Corp., the world’s biggest restaurant chain, recently started touting a $6 meal including a burger, fries, a drink and a pie, but it’s also offering plenty of items at the other end of the price scale. Its honey-barbecue glazed chicken tenders are more than $6 without any drinks or sides, and the new Bacon Smokehouse Quarter Pounder meal runs nearly $9 in Chicago.”

Read more here.

Bark Hot Dogs Closes Up Shop

10435790_10152728392254916_3747257176259248714_n.0.0.jpgAfter a brief stint with a second location in Greenwich village last year which closed after six months, the 7 year-old Bark Hot Dogs will officially close up shop completely on February 7th. Bark was a Park Slope standby for many years, and owner Joshua Sharkey had previously talked about plans to open a different Manhattan location in a new neighborhood. That now seems unlikely, although Sharkey has been vague on the exact reasons for closure, stating only that (unlike the Greenwich Village location), rent was not the primary factor.

In honor of their final week, Bark’s popular homemade condiments will be available in bulk for $5 a pound. Stock up now for Superbowl Sunday, and get one last dog before they’re gone.

To read more, click here.

Competitors See Opportunity in Chipotle’s Troubles

The Chipotle food-safety saga has been impossible to ignore for the last few months, as everyone from hungry college students to Wall Street traders are forced to reckon with the chain’s downfall. For other fast-casual and fast food restaurants, however, the news is an opportunity to snatch some new guests. As we wrote earlier, Sweetgreen has already earned the moniker “the new Chipotle” to some, and they’ll undoubtedly benefit at least somewhat from the Mexican chain’s decrease in sales. Others are hoping that they can improve their image by highlighting food safety practices – and surreptitiously reminding everyone that they haven’t caused any norovirus outbreaks recently.

Canadian chain Freshii is twisting the knife by offering half-priced Mexican food while Chipotles everywhere are closed for an all-hands meeting and regroup. They claim that this is to “help consumers through these dark hours,” and that “the least [they] could do was look after their customers while Chipotle paused to recalibrate.”

White Castle, while not a direct competitor of Chipotle, has decided now would be a good time to launch a website devoted entirely to advertising their food safety practices. The website is unambiguously named http://www.WhiteCastleClean.com, and it showcases their commitment to “promoting food safety, cleanliness and transparency.”

Chipotle meanwhile is struggling to recover while their stocks are in free-fall. CEO Steve Ells has made repeated statements about their new food safety practices, and promised that they will release any information about the source of the outbreaks last year. This Super Bowl, they are offering $50 currency card and a limited-edition gift from the makers of Tabasco sauce to anyone who uses their catering service.

To read more, click here and here.

 

Chick-Fil-A Rings in New Year by Getting Shut Down

wrewr435345fdssdfsd.jpgAfter a December Health Inspection that earned the fried chicken chain a damning C grade, the midtown Manhattan Chick-Fil-A has closed for five days in order to make improvements to operations and hopefully earn a higher grade on re-inspection. “Grade Pending” currently hangs in their window until the update is complete.

This New York branch of the controversy-ridden chain earned a total of 59 violation points on their December 24th inspection, and 39 on an earlier December inspection. Those include a number of “critical” violations for things like the presence of filth flies and improper food storage. They are allowed to leave the “Grade Pending” sign up until their appeal is heard at an Office of Administrative Trials and Hearing Health Tribunal.

To read more, click here.

Fight for 15 in Action

New YorkFight-for-15 City’s fast food worker minimum will rise to $15 by 2018 and the rest of the state by 2021. The increase in wages is in efforts to improve the lives of chain restaurant employees whose wages can keep them reliant on taxpayer-subsidized welfare programs. This policy will apply to not only company-owned restaurants with thirty or more nationwide locations but to franchise locations as well. As wages increases, labor costs increases resulting in price hikes for consumer goods. In a recent survey of 924 fast food businesses in New York, 70 percent were “very likely” to raise prices in response to the increase in minimum wages, and 83 percent of respondents claimed they were very likely or “somewhat likely” to reduce hours of staffing levels. This increase in higher wages could potentially prompt competitive salary increases throughout the hospitality and retail industries to avoid drama of workers who’ll suddenly find fast food jobs more attractive.

The New York City minimum wage increases are scheduled to occur on December 31st of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 at $10.50, $12.00, $13.50, and $15 respectively. While the changes to the New York State minimum wages will be broken down from 2015 to 2021, at $9.75, $10.75, $11.75, $12.75, $13.75, $14.50 and $15 respectively.

To read more, click here.