Restaurant News Bites: Cheesecake Factory, Arby’s, Fazoli’s

Restaurant News Bites: Cheesecake Factory, Arby's, Fazoli'sMarket Force recently released a survey showing that The Cheesecake Factory is America’s favorite casual dining chain. The chain was also the top winner in last year’s survey. Over 4,500 people responded for the survey on casual dining choices.

The new Ultimate Angus Philly from Arby’s has expanded to national distribution. The sandwich was under a limited release to test it before the national release. This sandwich features thinly sliced roast beef topped with Swiss cheese, bell peppers and garlic aioli sauce.

The recent renovations made by the Fazoli’s chain has increased revenues by up to 20% in some restaurants. Changes included serving on real tableware, better menu items and improved interiors. All company owned stores have been renovated, but only 17 franchisees have.

Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits has managed to continue increasing sales and growth in the past 3 years despite rising costs. The chain enjoyed the highest rate of growth of fast food restaurants in its category. Over 500 locations are now open across the U.S., with plans for more next year.

Benihana has announced Two Chef’s Specials for the month of October. Hibachi Shrimp & Chicken for Two comes with five courses for $36, and the Hibachi Tuna Steak for One for $21.75. Both meals fit perfectly with many varieties of sake, which is brewed in Japan this month each year.

The Melting Pot is working to adapt their special fondue theme to better fit the culture of Saudi Arabia. Like many other chains trying to expand in Islamic countries, some aspects of the brand have to be adapted or dropped.

Jack Crawford has been nominated as the Chairman for the upcoming National Restaurant Association convention. He is the CEO and President of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative. The convention will be held from May 5 th to the 8th in 2012.

A new sub has been added to the D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches chain. The Italian Toasted features three Italian meats topped with mortadella and provolone cheese. Other Toasted Classics include the Pastrami Reuben and the Thanksgiving Toasted.

Corner Bakery Cafe is expanding in South Texas with new franchisee agreements. The agreements will develop seven locations within the next five years. The state is home to the chain and already features nearly 25 restaurants within its borders.

Panera Bread is celebrating the 10th year of their Pink Ribbon bagel to raise money for breast cancer awareness. The sale of the bagels has raised over $1 million dollars. The bagels are full of dried cherries and cranberries to give them a natural pink color.

To celebrate the new Ice Cream Pizza from Marble Slab Creamery and MaggieMoo’s, the chains are giving away free samples on October 24th.  Ice Cream Pizza comes in three flavors, including Chocolate Lover’s and Supreme.

Locally-owned Punxsutawney pizza store Fox’s Pizza Den raised over $31,000 for their fire department. The restaurant holds a “Pizza and Prevention” fund-raiser each year. Just the sales of the specialty pizzas raised the money that has been counted so far.

Sonic, America’s largest drive-in chain, saw a 1.8% increase in same-store sales during 2011. The chain experienced a decrease of over 7% during the 2010 fiscal year. This marks a serious improvement in the chain’s profitability and traffic.