There always seems to be restaurant news on the menu. As I do every week, let's take a look at some of this week's more appetizing stories.
1. Fade to blackened
In a pairing as logical as peanut butter and chocolate, Chili's parent Brinker International
The $50 combo pairs a $25 gift certificate at Regal with a $25 gift card redeemable at any Brinker concept, which includes Chili's, On The Border Mexican Grill, and Maggiano's Little Italy. It's a match made in dating heaven, even if the target market for the card remains a bit dubious. Will folks in a relationship really gift the "movie and meal" duo to their respective partners or does it send an awkward message?
2. Charles in charge
This is naturally a tricky time for a casual dining concept to pass the baton, but maybe fresh thinking is just what can get O'Charley's out of its rut. The stock is trading 87% below its 52-week high.
3. Not so dirty Landry's
The operator specializes in seafood eateries, but has an eclectic collection of other properties in its portfolio, including the Rainforest Cafe chain of theme restaurants and the Golden Nugget casinos in Nevada.
4. It's all about the buns
An Arkansas McDonald's
It all started when a customer left behind a cell phone in a Fayetteville Mickey D's this summer. Employees found the phone, only to discover nude snapshots of the customer's wife. They then proceeded to put the digital photographs online.
The couple is suing McDonald's for $3 million. The franchisee is claiming that it was the customer's negligence in leaving behind the phone and that it should not be liable for the actions of its employees. It's going to be an interesting legal battle, that's for sure.
5. Chipotle bites back
Cutlery cuts both ways. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Normally, a company doesn't issue a press release indicating what it won't do, but Chipotle had little choice in the matter. A week ago, Cereplast claimed that "a systemwide rollout of up to 800 Chipotle locations is expected in the near future" after striking a deal to provide its environmentally sustainable utensils at a single Chipotle location.
Not so, according to Chipotle. "Chipotle currently has no plans to expand its relationship with Cereplast," the fast-growing quick-service Mexican food chain notes in this week's release. In relationship terms, this is the equivalent of a one-night stand where one of the participants tells the world that they're getting married.
Sorry, Cereplast. Maybe there's a "movie and meal" gift card duo waiting for you.
Check out this week's dessert specials:
Chipotle Mexican Grill is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Chipotle Mexican Grill is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. The Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, 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. 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.