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. From coffee to cutting back
Where have you gone, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)? Moody's warned that it may downgrade the company's credit rating last night. The news came a day after Starbucks posted another disappointing quarterly report.

Same-store sales are down. Layoffs and store closings are percolating. Remember when this used to be a growth stock?

In an opportunistic move to kick Starbucks while it's down, Caribou (NASDAQ:CBOU) announced that it will be giving away free 12-ounce cups of decaf coffee from noon until closing today. This follows Starbucks' announcement that it will no longer require baristas to automatically brew decaffeinated coffee after noon. Coffee will be made as ordered, adding about four extra minutes to a customer's wait time.

2. It's in the Cards
It's Super Bowl weekend, a busy time for the pizza-delivery chains. All of the pie tossers are angling for the halftime order, and that means flooding media channels with sometimes-hokey press releases.

For instance, did you know that 59% of the customers at Domino's (NYSE:DPZ) predict that the Pittsburgh Steelers will win? Do you care?

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) is also getting in on the action, and I'm not talking about a new pizza topping. The company's Pizza Hut chain is letting everyone know that it expects to fill 2.5 million orders on Super Sunday, 55% more than on a typical Sunday.

Papa John's (NASDAQ:PZZA) is also back with an outlandish promo. If the opening kickoff is returned for a touchdown, folks who pre-register at the wordy TheCountdownToKickoff.com will get a large pizza for just $0.25. It sounds like a neat deal, but what are the chances of that happening? Even promo spokesman Desmond Howard didn't do it. His kickoff return for a score 12 years ago was in the third quarter. In the meantime, Papa John's will be there collecting email addresses, names, addresses, and birthdates.   

3. Buffalo didn't even make the playoffs this year
Another popular item during the big game is chicken wings. So maybe it wasn't much of a surprise to see Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) CEO Sally Smith presiding over Nasdaq's closing bell ritual on Tuesday.

Smith went in style, taking the "Wing Mobile" to Times Square and dispensing miniature footballs. How far do you think Kurt Warner can heave one of those things?

4. Let them eat cheesecake
Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE) is another company that is diving heavy into the promotions to help turn comps around. It's  celebrating its 30th anniversary with an interactive contest for fans. Folks will be able to submit their fantasy flavors, and the winner will get a few prizes as the dessert gets added to the already massive menu.

But why stop at just one promo? Cheesecake Factory will also spend the next two weeks awarding complimentary cheesecake slices for every $30 spent at the restaurant. The catch is that the free treats have to be claimed on a return visit, so the company is hoping to stir up repeat traffic during an otherwise challenging time for the industry.

Check out this week's dessert specials:

Buffalo Wild Wings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Starbucks is an Inside Value recommendation. Starbucks is a Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of Starbucks and Buffalo Wild Wings. 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, 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.