There always seems to be restaurant news on the menu. Let's take a look at some of this week's more appetizing stories.

1. IHOP, you drop
Sometimes, a stock just needs a reason to sell off. Shares of DineEquity (NYSE:DIN) -- the result of IHOP snapping up Applebee's -- fell by 26% on Tuesday after its CFO resigned. Did he leave or did he get booted? The company isn't saying.

Peculiarly, although he's abruptly leaving the company to pursue other interests, DineEquity will pay him a lump sum equal to a year's worth of his salary -- as well as a car allowance and average bonus.

2. Bad to the barbacoa
Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) (NYSE:CMG-B) opened 17% lower this morning after the company warned that rising food prices and softer-than-expected traffic will cause the current quarter's profit to clock in lower than a year ago.

Chipotle's shares had been roughed up in recent months, but the company was still trading at a high earnings-based multiple relative to its peers. The premium is justified as long as growth remains healthy, but going backwards on the bottom line? The silver lining here is that comps are still clocking in positively. Chipotle's real challenge will come in the fourth quarter, when the company tries to pass on its rising food costs to its burrito-chomping patrons.

3. Sly really is the Italian Stallion now
Planet Hollywood all but completed its acquisition of distressed Italian eatery Buca (NASDAQ:BUCA) this week. 84% of the family-style eatery's shares were tendered to Planet Hollywood at $0.45 a share. With a majority of the shares in hand, paying off the balance is simply a formality at this point.

Poor Buca. The company has never quite been the same after the carb-cutting dieting craze came and went. It may not fare any better in Planet Hollywood's hands, but as long as "spaghetti western" doesn't make it to the menu, it has a shot.

4. Let them eat cheesecake
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is downgrading Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE), fearing that price-slashing casual dining competitors will eat into its fan base.

That's the rub for Cheesecake Factory, which prices its heaping portions at the high end of the casual-dining niche. If cash-strapped diners head elsewhere, the company will obviously suffer.

The analyst sees the company earning just $0.98 a share this year and next. He had previously expected a profit of $1.02 a share in 2008 and a meager advance to $1.05 a share next year.

5. The wind beneath KFC's wings
Here's one that won't sit well with barbecue foodies: Yum Brands' (NYSE:YUM) KFC walked away with the top traditional sauce prize at this month's Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, New York, as its Honey BBQ sauce beat all comers.

A fast-food chain's top showing has to sting pitmaster purists. And you just know that KFC is going to use this as major ammo in a marketing campaign -- especially after having moved its famous 11-herbs-and-spices recipe to an undisclosed location.

Also on the barbecue front, Famous Dave's (NASDAQ:DAVE) Christopher O'Donnell is stepping up from COO to become the company's new CEO. Let's hope he lasts longer than the previous CEO, who left after less than six months on the job.

Check out this week's dessert specials:

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick and a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is the rare foodie who embraces restaurant chains. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for Cheesecake Factory. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.