This week in supplier news

ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston is hosting a “Free Fries Fryday” July 24. Also this week: Manitowoc Foodservice, Protein Solutions, T. Marzetti Co., John Morrell & Co., Cargill Foodservice, Sunrise Foods, Foodsource, Ecolab, Ventura Foods, Simmons Prepared Foods, The Boston Beer Co., Bacardi USA, Beam Global, Derek Farley, DFPR, Group Purchasing Organization Dining Alliance, Raising Cane’s, Synergy Restaurant Consultants, PepsiCo Foodservice, Monroe College, Decision Logic.

TRI-CITIES, Wash. –– ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston, the French fry specialist and sponsor of the Columbia Cup hydroplane boat races, will be hosting a “Free Fries Fryday” July 24, to kick off the annual Water Follies weekend here. Thirty-five participating restaurants in the area will be giving away free servings of Lamb Weston French fries. Lisa Bescherer, senior director of Marketing for Lamb Weston, said, “Lamb Weston supports the communities in which we do business and this event is just one way we are giving back to the Tri-Cities.” For more information on the one-day only promotion, the company has launched a website at www.freefriesfryday.com [2]. ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston is a division of ConAgra Foods Inc.

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Manitowoc Foodservice is extending its 0-percent financing program through the end of 2009. The extension of the offer also will include the addition of other options, such as a three-year finance option at 5.99 percent and a four-year option at 6.99 percent. Equipment orders placed by Dec. 11 and shipped by Dec. 31, are eligible for the financing program. Manitowoc Foodservice is a division of The Manitowoc Company Inc., and designs, manufactures and supplies food and beverage equipment for the global foodservice market in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

CARROLLTON, Texas –– T.G.I. Friday’s USA, the casual-dining chain based here, acknowledged its top supplier partners at its annual Supplier Recognition Dinner at the Swan and Dolphin resort in Orlando, Fla., June 28. This year’s honorees were Protein Solutions, Vendor of the Year; T. Marzetti Co., Quality Excellence; John Morrell & Co., Best New Vendor; Cargill Foodservice, Dedication; Sunrise Foods, Innovation; Foodsource, Outstanding Service; Ecolab, Nonfood Vendor; Ventura Foods, Jump Through Hoops; Simmons Prepared Foods, VP Strategic Sourcing Recognition Award; The Boston Beer Co., Maniacal Execution of Outstanding Service; Bacardi USA, Purposeful Innovation; Beam Global, Outstanding Cost Control; and Derek Farley, DFPR, Be the Brand. T.G.I. Friday’s is a division of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide.

BOSTON –– Membership with the Group Purchasing Organization Dining Alliance has saved money for Boston-area members, according to Dining Alliance president John Davie. He says that in 18 months, the alliance has grown to provide “over $6 million in annual savings on over $50 million in purchases to our Boston members alone.” On average, each location has seen savings of some $20,000. The alliance works by using its combined national buying power to provide independent and small chain operators with purchasing advantages usually reserved for larger operations.

BATON ROUGE, La. –– Raising Cane’s, the fast-casual chicken wing brand based here and in Dallas, has hired Synergy Restaurant Consultants to perform a restaurant operations assessment of its Baton Rouge-area locations as well as to spearhead a menu development initiative. According to Clay Dover, president of Raising Cane’s, the company hired Synergy because of a “desire to review all of our operations systems and processes, and gain an outside perspective on ways we can improve.” Synergy will also be working with the chain’s Purchasing and Operations Team to develop several new menu items aimed at broadening the scope and appeal of the product offerings.

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. –– PepsiCo Food Service challenged students in Monroe College’s Culinary Arts Center, located here, to develop meal-time applications utilizing its Frito-Lay line of stack products. Students had a choice of six Frito-Lay products and had to include at least one in their recipes. Sophomore Christina Gonzalez of the Culinary Arts program won a first place prize of $500 for her recipe for Catfish Fingers coated in Original Frito-Lay Kettle Chips and dipped in Chipotle aioli. Second place and $300 was awarded to Culinary Arts student Rosanne Peña, and the third-place prize of $200 was awarded to Hospitality Management student Kareem David. Guest chefs from local restaurants and foodservice organizations judged the competition.

LINCOLN, Neb. — Decision Logic, the provider of web-based back office systems for multiunit restaurant operators, named John Barber president. Barber, a founding member of the company, has been with Decision Logic since 1998. Previously, he was responsible for directing the activities of most of the company’s employees.