Boston Market Faces Extinction, And Other Top Restaurant News

Plus, The Melting Pot's comeback, Panera's cost-cutting, and Noodles & Company's new menu.

This was a consequential week for the restaurant industry, as the news was jam-packed with headlines about the big moves being made by major chains. Panera's new menu might contain more antibiotics than before, while Noodles & Company is renaming and revamping its signature dishes. Little Caesars debuted bite-sized Crazy Puffs filled with cheese and pepperoni, and Starbucks vaulted over Subway to become the world's second most prolific fast food chain. Read on for more of the top restaurant stories of the week.

Are Little Caesars’ Crazy Puffs Crazy Delicious?

Little Caesars is always innovating, and this week the chain has released a new limited-time offering: Crazy Puffs. These little handheld bites of pizza dough, sauce, and cheese, drizzled in buttery garlic flavor and sprinkled with dry herbs, come in both a plain cheese and pepperoni variety, and a four-piece order is priced at $3.99. The press release promises "layers of complexity that will tantalize taste buds everywhere." – Dennis Lee Read More

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This Restaurant Chain Is Plotting Its 2024 Comeback

When it comes to running a restaurant, playing on diners' sense of nostalgia is always a good bet. Lately we've been seeing this type of marketing mostly play out in the fast food sphere, as discontinued items and promotional characters make their way back to a menu near you. But now, Eater reports that a once popular sit-down restaurant is aiming to convince us that its retro-chic cuisine is perfect for any night of the week. That restaurant is The Melting Pot, and it wants to make sure you know its signature fondue is great for sharing among friends or splitting with your date. - Dennis Lee Read More

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Only 27 Boston Markets Are Still Standing

Boston Market is hanging on by a thread, and it looks like the strands are only getting thinner. Restaurant Business reports that following a bankruptcy filing, countless legal woes, and yet another (attempted) bankruptcy filing, the quick-service rotisserie chicken chain is down to its last 27 locations, and it might only survive another few weeks or months. - Angela L. Pagán Read More

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New Mexico’s Fast Food Hits Different

This year, I drove across the country to sample America's lesser known burgers, fries, sandwiches, and deep-fried delicacies—and of all the U.S. states I've driven through, New Mexico contained the most enticing fast food. They have Whataburger, In-N-Out, the severely underrated Blake's Lotaburger, and tons of little food stands. One fan favorite in Albuquerque is Mac's Steak in the Rough, a fast food drive-in known for its deep-fried steak fingers. - Danny Palumbo Read More

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Starbucks Just Became the Second Biggest Restaurant on Earth

The U.S. may feel at times like the fast food capital of the world, but the global scale of these businesses is downright mind-blowing. The top restaurant chains are always in competition to get into more stomachs worldwide, and Restaurant Business reports that Starbucks just pushed past Subway to become the second largest restaurant chain on earth. - Angela L. Pagán Read More

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Panera Might Be Lowering Standards to Skimp on Costs

As Panera Bread ushers in its "new era" with a new menu, the hope is that its food quality would only improve. However, recent reports indicate that the bakery-café chain might be cutting corners in the name of efficiency and penny-pinching. – Angela L. Pagán Read More

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McDonald’s Wants to Go Bigger Than Its Biggest Burger

Everything about McDonald's is big. It's a big business with more than 40,000 locations globally, and it's undergoing some big, bold renovations to future-proof that business. Its signature burger is the Quarter Pounder, and for years the chain offered customers the option to Super Size their meals. But now, McDonald's has decided that big is simply not big enough. Restaurant Business reports that the fast food behemoth is making plans to test out larger burgers in some global markets. - Angela L. Pagán Read More

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Noodles & Company Plans Full Menu Revamp

With a new leader in charge, Noodles & Company is looking to give its menu a major makeover, Restaurant Business reports. Drew Madsen, a former exec at Panera Bread who was named CEO of Noodles & Company this month, noted on a recent call with investors that besides a smattering of promotional menu items, the brand's core offerings haven't really been refreshed for quite some time. It looks like 2024 will be the year for overhauling the chain. - Angela L. Pagán Read More

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As Restaurants Thrive, Dining Suffers

When the pandemic began, I was still at my former job as a restaurant cook. It was a surreal time, and I'll never forget how shutting down the line indefinitely after that last service felt. I was convinced I'd never cook in that kitchen again. After a few hairy months, we stoked the fire in the oven and made some really great pizza again. Fast forward to 2024, and you've probably noticed that the restaurant industry has made quite a comeback—but that revival comes at a cost. – Dennis Lee Read More

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A Brief History of Irish Coffee

While Joe Sheridan may not have been the first-ever Irishman to add whiskey to coffee, he's widely credited with popularizing the drink we now know as Irish Coffee, enjoyed by countless St. Patrick's Day revelers each year. According to legend, the invention had much less to do with mixology and more to do with simple hospitality. - Andrea McHugh Read More

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