Restaurant News Bites: Morton’s, KFC, Jack in the Box

Restaurant News Bites: Morton's, KFC, Jack in the BoxChain restaurants saw a surprising amount of growth during 2010, showing an annual average rise of 1.8%. Some companies, such as Fazoli’s and many in the Steak category, turned 2009 losses into 2010 growth. Limited service restaurant chains like Pizza, Coffee & Beverages and Donuts were the fastest growing. Among full service chains Mexican and Asian showed the most growth.

Morton’s Restaurant Group, the company behind iconic Morton’s Steakhouse, may be going up for sale soon. The Board of Directors is exploring alternative methods of raising shareholder value. The company is the largest global operator of high-end steak houses. 77 Morton’s Steakhouses are currently open in seven countries.

Jack in the Box is bringing its fast food favorites out on the road in a new mobile food truck. The truck is known as Jack’s Munchie Mobile and is equipped to serve a variety of the restaurant’s menu items. It will travel throughout Southern California for the time being, with possible expansion into other states during the summer.

To celebrate their new 10-piece 10 Buck Sunday deal, KFC is planning to give away $1000 grants to 10 church choirs around the country. The grants will help struggling music programs buy gowns, musical equipment and cover travel expenses. A performance by the St. Louis Children’s Choir jump started the event at a St. Louis area KFC restaurant.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Kenny Rogers have teamed up to release Rogers’ new cd, “The Love of God”. Already at #2 on the Top Christian Albums chart and #8 on the Country chart, the cd is sold exclusively through Cracker Barrel locations. With over 600 stores or restaurants in the country, Cracker Barrel offers country music stars like Kenny Rogers a sturdy marketing base.

Patina Restaurant’s “Chef’s Apprentice” program is helping the youth of Los Angeles build real world work skills and self-discipline. The program was developed through a partnership with the A Place Called Home youth haven. Teens will learn cooking basics and menu preparation from the Executive Chef Tony Esnault.

Saladworks is expanding into Delaware after a fast start. The first fresh, tossed salad chain restaurant, the brand hopes to open their second Delaware store in the Rehoboth Beach area. Franchisee Tajesh Patel already operates a North Carolina branch of the franchise. The first Saladworks in Delaware is located in Wilmington.

Dunkin’ Donuts is planning on expansion this year, and the five new locations in Polk County, Florida attest to that fact. The first will open in 2012, with the other four following in 2016. Dunkin’ Donuts is also investigating other expansion opportunities in Florida as an alternative to the coffee shop saturated New England area.

Coca-Cola and the Buffalo Wings & Rings chain have come together to host a Final Four sweepstakes. One lucky winner will receive the grand prize of a trip for two to the 2011 Final Four showdown at the beginning of April. Basketball fans can enter at Buffalo Wings & Rings locations and by mail. Air fare, accommodations and game tickets are all included.

Bru’s Room Sports Grill is adding two new locations to their roster, reaching a total size of 10 restaurants in the South Florida area. The two restaurants will be opened in Stuart and Pembroke Pines, Florida. The brand has been a Palm Springs favorite for over two decades and is banking on that popularity for their new focus on growth and expansion.