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NRN editors discuss the cult of celebrity chefs, the Wendyverse, Chipotle’s new walk-up windows, Panera’s new format

Plus, hear from CKE’s Owen Klein on new menu development around Jurassic Park Dominion


This week on the Extra Serving podcast, a product of Nation’s Restaurant News, NRN editors Holly Petre, Sam Oches, Leigh Anne Zinsmeister and Bret Thorn spoke about the cult of celebrity chefs.

Last week, on In the Kitchen with Bret Thorn, Thorn spoke with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito and the team went into what it means to be a celebrity chef and how it impacts your restaurant and your world.

The team also discussed Panera’s new prototype in Chicago that’s to-go only. The fast-casual restaurant known for soups and salads and a more sit-down friendly atmosphere is following the trends and where its consumers are – 80% of the chain’s orders in 2021 were made through off-premises channels.

Also, the team talked about Chipotle’s new walk-up windows. The chain is creating “human lanes” instead of drive-thru lanes in urban environments where drive-thru lanes are not possible. The team, mostly based in urban areas, discussed how they like the idea.

Finally, the team discussed the new addition to the Wendyverse, Sunrise City. The new element in the metaverse for the quick-service chain allows the user to play games based on the breakfast daypart. The team discussed how Wendy’s is far ahead of other companies when it comes to the metaverse.

This week’s guest is Owen Klein, head of menu development for CKE, parent to Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s, who spoke with Thorn about menu development for the chains’ new Jurassic Park-themed menus.

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