Restaurant News Bites: Burger King, Subway, McDonald’s, IHOP

Restaurant News Bites:  Burger King, Subway, McDonald's, IHOPHurricane Grill & Wings, currently operating 43 stores in the United States, has signed seven new development agreements that will turn into 223 new restaurants. A number of other wing restaurant companies, including Wing Man Development, ROC Wings and The Brendon Group have all signed contracts with Hurricane Grill & Wings to expand growth into 15 states in 2011. The franchise restaurants offer 30 different wing sauces, as well as salads, burgers and micro-brew beers.

Domino’s Pizza has started a new collegiate sports marketing partnership with the NCAA. This makes them the “Official Pizza of the NCAA” and gives them access to highly publicized events like the NCAA March Madness and the Men’s College World Series. Coca-Cola, a long time sponsor and supporter of college basketball, will also work with Domino’s to develop joint projects involving the NCAA.

While other restaurants are focusing on domestic growth, California Pizza Kitchen is growing in India. They are working on opening their second restaurant in the country, located in the heart of busy Mumbai. The restaurant chain is known for salads, pizzas and pasta dishes inspired by the cuisine of California, and their most popular dishes in America will be featured in their new Indian restaurant. This particular branch will feature a presentation kitchen so guests can watch their food being prepared.

Burger King is rounding out their popular $1 Value Menu with the addition of a beef, bacon and cheese BK Stacker. Customers can add additional beef patties for $1 each, making the BK Triple Stacker only $3. Representatives from the company say that the move is motivated by the popularity of both the BK Stacker line and the $1 Value Menu.

The competition to be the world’s largest restaurant chain is fierce, and Subway has become the frontrunner by surpassing McDonald’s. With over 33,000 restaurants around the world, Subway’s focus on franchise growth has paid off. McDonald’s is not far behind with over 32,000 restaurants. All top restaurant franchises have been looking for opportunities for new overseas growth, especially in Asia, due to the market saturation in the United States.

Jaws Jumbo Burger, the movie tribute restaurant located in Michigan, has released their new “I Want a Sandwich Named After Me” Dave Letterman burger to accompany their Thank You Jay Leno burger and We Miss You Conan O’ Brian burger. Solely focused on food tributes to movies and other pop culture, Jaws Jumbo Burger fulfilled Dave Letterman’s recent request for his own named sandwich. The burger features two 1/3rd pound patties, two types of cheese and plenty of toppings.

Chicken and waffles, a truly Southern combination, is coming to an IHOP near you for a limited time. The meal will combine four chicken breast strips, battered and deep fried, with four Belgian waffles. While a number of small franchises specialize in this dish, they are limited to the South-Eastern United States. IHOP plans to feature the new meal in their restaurants across the country.

Irish themed offerings like green tinted beer and Irish stew are expected to drive diner’s choices on St. Patrick’s Day this year, according to the National Restaurant Association. Over one fourth of the people recently surveyed plan to dine out on the holiday. While one third said they would choose a favorite restaurant regardless of a holiday theme, another third are looking for bars and restaurants featuring St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

McDonald’s saw rises in sales across the board in February. U.S. Sales were up 2.7% despite the recession. The company saw the biggest gains in overseas markets, especially in Europe with a rise of 5%. Part of these European rises come from the Premium Beef campaign in France and the Big Tasty campaign in Britain.

Qdoba Mexican Grill has recently released new miniature street tacos in 500 of their locations across the country. The tacos use authentic corn tortillas and slow cooked pork, and come three to a meal with a side of Qdoba’s signature beans for $4.99. High quality and gourmet twists on traditional street food are a fast growing trend in the restaurant industry, and Qdoba hopes to take advantage of some of this popularity with their new offering.