Restaurant News Bites: Hottest Restaurants

Restaurant News Bites: Hottest RestaurantsOpenTable has used over 7 million reviews from diners to compile a list of the Top 50 restaurants in the country. 11 winners were located in Los Angeles, followed by New York with 8 and Florida with 6. The top three restaurants were Beauty & Essex in New York City, Searsucker in San Diego and Lavo-NYC in New York City. The reviews were gathered between March 2010 and February 2011.

The crispy, skin-on fries from Wendy’s were part of a revitalizing move to increase fry sales for the chain. The previous fries were mostly limp and soggy, and customers have given the new fries positive feedback measurable by sale increases. Sea salt is used on the new fry line for better taste and lower sodium.

The Give Me More Stripes loyalty campaign at T.G.I. Friday’s national chains is getting a make over says the company. New surprises and increase recognition is coming to the system, along with faster rewards. Guests can join by visiting the website or texting JOIN to 698443. One stripe is awarded for each dollar spent at a participating restaurant.

The National Restaurant Association visited Congress recently to explain how the restaurant industry works and the effect that the new health care bill passed last year will have on it. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will impact the restaurant industry negatively unless it is altered says the Association. The law will force many restaurant owners to expand the health care coverage for their employees, raising costs significantly.

Smashburger has had a very successful first three years. Since their launch they’ve grown explosively, with almost $140 million dollars in total sales. The success was a combination of a focus on quality burgers and fast service combined with a $20 million dollar investment capital that drove quick expansion.

The 3,000 international Dunkin’ Donuts location has been opened in China. The 71st Chinese location for the company, it helps put Dunkin’ Donuts in the category of one of the fastest growing quick service chains during 2010. Russia and India are next, with over 600 restaurants currently in development or planning for openings in the next 15 years.

“Baconalia! A Celebration of Bacon” is currently underway at Denny’s restaurants in the form of a new bacon-focused menu. Seven new dishes are available that feature bacon as the main ingredient. Included on the menu are treats like the Maple Bacon Sunday and Triple Bacon Sampler. One guest will also win a trip to Baconfest 2011.

Delayed by the recent icestorms, Wingstop’s World Wing Eating Championship is back on. On April 16th the world’s top competitive eaters, including number one eater Joey Chestnut, will enter the AT&T Arena in Dallas to compete with wings provided by Wingstop. Whoever eats the most wings in 12 minutes will win $10,000.

Stephen Loftis has been appointed as the new vice president of marketing for the FATZ casual southern dining chain. With over 40 locations in Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, the chain is switching its name from Fatz Cafe to FATZ as part of a re-structuring marketing campaign. New health conscious food choices will also be added to the menu.

Washington D.C.’s Silver Diner, one of the most popular modern diners in the country, has opened auditions for their new commercial. Homemade audition videos will be accepted of children between 5 and 12 years old through YouTube submission. The commercial will communicate Silver Diner’s commitment to health eating and family friendly choices.