Restaurant News Bites: Shoney’s, Pizza Hut, Dunkin’

Restaurant News Bites: Shoney's, Pizza Hut, Dunkin'’s May edition of the monthly “Behind the Menu” feature highlights seven unique Mexican restaurants across the country. Featured restaurants include Cactus Grill in Rhode Island, La Fuente in Arizona and Rock N’ Taco in Texas. The website chose to honor Mexican cuisine locations in celebration of Cinco De Mayo, which fell on May 5th.

Shoney’s is launching a new advertising campaign to help revitalize the chain after years of stagnation. The chain currently has 230 restaurants. They will also hold an 8-week special barbeque menu focus with new limited time items like pork stuffed hushpuppies, pulled pork sliders and grilled ribs. A special mini-site focusing on the campaign will give customers access to exciting coupons.

Attendees of the 2011 National Restaurant Association Trade Show in May will be able to take advantage of a new Daily Deals program. Restaurant owners and chain operators will access a group buying discount site to review a daily special from a trade show seller. If enough buyers commit to the deal, the deal will be completed before the trade show is over.

Pizza Hut is offering a special deal for pizza lovers. All of their popular Lovers line of pizza toppings, including Meat Lovers, Veggie Lovers and the Ultimate Cheese Lovers are available for just $10.99. Each of these pizzas comes in the generous large size for one low price. The chain is also running the Ultimate Lovers’ Lovers contest through Facebook.

Dunkin’ Brands, the company that is responsible for both the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands, is filing its first registration statement. This paperwork is submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is the first step in creating a public offering for selling stocks. The initial public offering, if approved, will be for $400 million dollars.

The local food revolution began in 2006 and 2007, but now a few years later it is beginning to make a big impact on the nation’s biggest restaurant chains. Local food lovers look for foods grown nearby, not in faraway locations, and these foods also save restaurant chains money on storage and transportation costs. The Mintel Menu Insights reports have identified  local food as one of the major trends of 2011.

White Castle is hosting the 11th Annual Craver’s Hall of Fame contest once again. Entries will be accepted through the end of July featuring White Castle customers’ favorite stories about their lover of the original slider. The chain is now 90 years old, so the company is looking for original and touching stories of late night White Castle visits or important life events marked by a restaurant visit.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is continuing a massive expansion push by announcing plans to open a new location in Madison, Wisconsin. This would be the company’s first franchise in Madison and the entire state. Steve Dibble, a new franchisee with the barbeque chain, will be the owner and operator. The new location is one of 60 slated for development this year.

Famous Tiki restaurant Trader Vic’s will be returning to Portland, Oregon after two decades of absence. The Polynesian interior and tropical menu offers Portland residents a break from cloudy skies. The chain invented the Mai Tai cocktail and has played an important role in Tiki Lounge culture since its founding in the 1930s.