Denny’s is spicing up its $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu with five intriguing new items that are sure to pack ‘em in. We’re talking pounds, not customers. The menu item that’s generating the most Internet buzz is the new Fried Cheese Melt, which is basically a glorified grilled cheese sandwich. It’s made with four fried mozzarella sticks and melted American cheese grilled between two slices of sourdough bread. The dish is served with fries and a side of marinara sauce, all for 4 bucks. Hard to argue with that. But this is America, so of course someone is going to make a stink. “Compared to the other diet-destroyers introduced by national restaurant chains in 2010, this sandwich is kind of an underachiever. Where’s the mayonnaise and bacon?,” gripes one blogger. “Not worth the calories,” screams another. At least one blog had some insightful commentary on the Fried Cheese Melt. “While not necessarily a breakthrough in the field of sandwich… the Fried Cheese Melt does have one thing going for it: it offers a rift in the temporal fabric, fusing appetizer (the mozzarella sticks) and main course (grilled cheese and fries) into one singular dish.” Temporal fabric? We’re not exactly sure what that means, but we wish we’d said it first.
Pass the heart pills. Now here’s a novel concept in the fight against artery-clogging fast food. Cardiologists in the U.K. want Burger King, McDonald’s and other burger chains to offer heart pills to customers. The idea is to place cholesterol-lowering pills at the condiment counter to encourage people to pop one after they eat. “It makes sense to make risk-reducing supplements available just as easily as the unhealthy condiments that are provided free of charge,” says Dr. Darel Francis, who actually published a paper on the topic in the American Journal of Cardiology. “It would cost less than 5p per customer, not much different to a sachet of ketchup.” But not everyone in the medical community, much less the fast-food community, is embracing the idea. “Let’s get real. We should be encouraging healthy lifestyles, not pill popping,” said Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners. “The danger of this research is that some people will become even more complacent about eating fatty food… and might even increase their intake of them.” Yeah, like us.
Going global. You can’t be a self-respecting franchise chain these days without global ambition. The latest company to blaze an international trail is Quiznos, which recently announced plans to invade Southeast Asia, Central and South America, the Middle East and Scandinavia. The sandwich company, which plays second fiddle to Subway, says it will tailor its menu to local tastes. Lutefisk on wort loaf, anyone? We didn’t think so.