Restaurant News Bites: Applebee’s, Carrols, Zoes Kitchen

Restaurant News Bites: Applebee's, Carrols, Zoes KitchenThe National Restaurant Association has formed a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition. The two organizations will work together to promote the new MyPlate program. The MyPlate program highlights the nutritional values of meals served at restaurants around the country.

The new restaurant health rating score system implement by the New York City Department of Health can be difficult for diners to understand. Restaurants receive points for violations, and receive a letter grade from A to C based on how many points they rack up. However, understanding what these violations were and how serious they are remains hard.

Applebee’s parent company, DineEquity, already operates more than 3,500 restaurant locations around the globe. Now the chain will be adding 10 new restaurants in Egypt. Other Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon and Jordan feature Applebees as well and the region has a total of 26 restaurants currently in operation.

Timothy Tatt has been hired by Carrols Restaurant Group to be the new Chief Executive Officer of the Fiesta Restaurant Group subsidy. The group manages the Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana brands. The company has decided to break their subsidy group off into a separate company by the end of the year and this is the first step in that process.

Palomino Restaurants across the country are celebrating the Siena festival currently taking place in Tuscany from now until August 14th. This came in the form of Siena inspired menu additions and a giveaway that will send one winner to Siena itself. The winner and one guest will visit the town for the Il Palio race during 2012.

Zoe’s Kitchen, a small chain specializing in Mediterranean inspired dishes, opened its first location in Auburn, Alabama recently. This makes a total of 8 locations in the state for the chain. The restaurant serves Mediterranean flavors in pita pizzas, healthy roll ups made with lean meats and freshly grilled kabobs.

Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q has added a new location in Killeen, Texas. The restaurant will serve a variety of the town residents, including armed forces members from nearby Fort Hood. The grand opening took place on July 23rd.  The first 100 guests received a free $20 gift card for use in the restaurant or store.

Olive Garden’s Pasta for Pennies fundraiser brought in over $8 million dollars for cancer research. Students around the country added their spare change to classroom containers over the course of three weeks. The class that collected the most at each school won a free pasta party at the nearest Olive Garden Restaurant.

Maggiano’s Little Italy also raised money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Eat-A-Dish for Make-A-Wish program let guests choose from a menu of eight dishes that all came with a donation to the foundation. The chain raised over $750,000 from menu sales and orders of Leslie’s Lemonade, a special recipe created by a Make-A-Wish Foundation recipient.