Starbucks began testing a cash-free format at a single downtown Seattle store this week, with an eye on speeding service and learning more about how cashless payment formats affect the customer experience, a spokeswoman said. Fast-casual chain Sweetgreen has adopted a cashless format at its 75 restaurants, making it the largest chain to do so.
Students at 53 schools in a Nevada district have access to free after-school meals this year following a successful pilot program. The additional meal is funded by the USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program, school officials say.
The NRA and nine other business trade groups have created a new group called Visit US Coalition that aims to grow the United States' reputation as a vacation destination and increase the number of visits by international tourists. Traveler spending in the US dipped 3.3% last year, according to the Commerce Department.
Naf Naf Grill has changed its name to Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill as part of a larger rebranding effort that better reflects the 38-unit fast-casual chain's mission. The changes, which also include a new logo and color palette, come as the company prepares to launch a franchising program in the second quarter, Chief Executive Paul Damico said.
Leaders at a South Carolina elementary school have transformed the school store into a food pantry. The pantry so far supports about six people, and the leaders say they are working to identify other students who could benefit.
Students in Maine who are unable to pay for school meals would receive the meals without question under a proposal from state lawmakers. The bill also would ensure that meal-debt discussions involve only the school and parent, not students.
McDonald's has begun putting properties on its Oak Brook, Ill., campus up for sale as it prepares to move to its new location in downtown Chicago this spring, said spokeswoman Terri Hickey. The company sold one office property last fall and there are three remaining parcels that total about 100 acres.
Sweet potato dumplings provide a welcome balance to savory beef stew, while basil dumplings complement tomato stew, writes Sheri Castle. Stews should be brought to a boil just before adding scoops of dumpling dough to help them hold together and rise rather than spread.
The careful attention of craft bartenders has not overlooked the key role of water in cocktails, and some go to great lengths to get what they need. "I believe water quality is the starting point for all great drinks," said Steven Robbins, general manager at the Half Step bar in Austin, Texas.
Fast casual operators have to work harder to drive traffic to their restaurants in the age of Amazon Prime, as consumers make fewer visits to stores and malls, writes Meatheads Chief Executive Tom Jednorowicz. "School events, family activities and charitable endeavors are all opportunities to engage customers and create goodwill in the community," he writes.
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