Restaurant News Bites: McDonald’s, Au Bon Pain, White Castle

Restaurant News Bites: McDonald's, Au Bon Pain, White Castle McDonald’s saw a rise in global comparable sales of just over 3% this May. Asia, the Middle East and Africa all contributed the most with a 4.3% rise during the month. Sales in the U.S. rose 2.4%, and European sales grew by 2.3%. Systemwide sales increase by 12% during the same time. China, Russia and France created the majority of these sales.

Au Bon Pain is kicking off a national expansion push by first remodeling all of their existing cafes. This fast casual chain specializes in tasty cafe style foods served as quickly as possible. Most of the locations around New York City are completed, and the rest of the 318 restaurants will soon be finished as well. The remodel adds new equipment like a salad station and more vibrant colors.

White Castle is gearing up for their “Castles at the Capitol” event in Washington D.C. To celebrate the company’s 90th anniversary White Castle will bring fresh sliders to the members of Congress. At lunch on June 14th fresh burgers will be cooked by the top chefs with the company. During previous events Congress members have served burgers at local restaurants to their constituents.

The 2011/12 results for the Zagat Connecticut Dining Guide are now available. 902 restaurants were rated by over 4000 diners. Le Petit Cafe, located in Branford, was one of the top scorers with a 29 out of 30. Boathouse at Saugatuck won the Top Newcomer award and is located in Westport. Super Duper Weenie in Fairport was one of the Best Buys in the ratings as well.

You’ll need more than just a love of cooking to make a living in the restaurant industry. However, some people like Jennifer Vogel and Doreen Grontkowski turned their passion for fine cuisine into a successful business. These partners run the Learning Kitchen in Cincinnati where customers pay to learn how to prepare dishes like risotto. is highlighting seafood and fresh fish during their new “Behind the Menu” feature for June. Six restaurants that excel at foods featuring the bounty of the sea have been featured this month. These locations include J’s Crabshack in Connecticut, Shiro Restaurant in Michigan, and  Moshi Moshi Sushi in Washington state.

CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., has promoted a new Chief Marketing Officer. Brad Haley is now in charge of all marketing and promotions for the company. He first joined the corporation in 2000 as the executive vice president of marketing. He also spent time working on marketing for a variety of consumer products and other fast service restaurants.

Good Time Restaurants is introducing a new frozen treat just in time for the hottest part of the summer. The Go Bananas! shake begins with a hand spun base made from freshly cooked frozen custard. This new shake joins the other flavors added last month including Chocolate Banana, Peanut Butter Banana and Strawberry Banana.

To appeal to time pressed executives, many fine dining establishments have created fast lunch programs. These meals offer a complete dining experience in under 30 minutes, guaranteed. Quickly prepare foods form the base of these meals, including fish, salads and other foods that can be prepared in advance.

Some of the biggest Top Chef contestants are coming to the Eagle’s Nest Restaurant. During the weekends in August Richard Blais, Harold Dieterle and Fabio Viviani will take turns planning the menu and cooking delicious foods for guests. The restaurant serves its food in a buffet format, allowing guests to eat as much as they’d like.