Restaurant News Bites: Cheesecake Factory, Cracker Barrel, Cosi

Restaurant News Bites: Cheesecake Factory, Cracker Barrel, Cosi The Cheesecake Factory has grown to be one of the country’s most successful casual dining chains. The oversized portions and simplified dishes from a wide range of cuisines have attracted a wide variety of demographics. Along the way, it became one of the nation’s most profitable restaurant chains, with annual sales of $1.6 billion.

Cracker Barrel has responded to Biglari Holdings’ announcement that the company plans to start a proxy fight. The chain says that they have tried to work out a deal with Sardar Biglari that did not involve him being part of the board of directors. He is continuing to demand that he becomes part of the committee.

It may sound like a joke, but FEMA uses the Waffle House Index to help measure damage in disaster affected areas. When the restaurants in the area are serving the full menu, the index is green. Limited menus are marked yellow and indicate the use of generators for power and dwindling food supplies. Closed locations are red and are a sign that serious damage occurred.

Cosi Inc., a premium convenience restaurant chain company, is undergoing some executive management team changes. The former CEO, James Hyatt, resigned recently to pursue another opportunity. The chairman of the board Mark Demilio will step in as the interim CEO until a suitable replacement is found.

There are two Chef’s Specials at Benihana for September, giving guests more choices. The specials include the Filet Mignon and Hibatchi Chicken for Two and the Hibachi Mango Salmon For One. Both involve five courses including salad, appetizers, and hot tea.

Six restaurants that were formally part of the George Webb chain are now joining the Griddlers Cafe brand instead. The restaurants failed to renew their franchise agreements with George Webb Corporation. The Griddlers locations will serve a variety of soups, sandwiches and a full breakfast menu.

Many thousands of homes across the Southeast have lost power due to Hurricane Irene. Diners are using the power and free wi-fi offered by many restaurants to email loved ones or charge their cell phones. Some restaurants are running out of food every night due to increased traffic. Restaurants are also keeping storm victims fed as cooking without power in the home is challenging.

Jay Justilian won the Tasti D-Lite “Healthy Habit” weight loss contest and the local Houston contest. He lost nearly 50 pounds while integrating the Tasty D-Lite frozen yogurt into his diet. Each local restaurant runs a monthly weight loss contest that awards $1000 to winner and free gift cards for the chain.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is opening another new restaurant location in Rowlett, Texas. The newest location is owned by country singer and songwriter Guy New. He’ll ensure that the restaurant offers an authentic barbeque restaurant experience to all diners. The chain now has two locations in the town.