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TGI Fridays takes a chance on 'endless' appetizers

TGI Fridays takes a chance on 'endless' appetizers

(USA TODAY) -- There all-you-can eat buffets. No-limit salad bars. And even eat-'til-you-drop dessert bars.

But this may be a first for a national restaurant chain: endless appetizers.

TGI Fridays, whose signature item is arguably its appetizer line, today launches a high-profile but risky "Endless Appetizers" summer promotion that offers all-you-can-eat appetizers for $10 per person. Guests can choose one appetizer from a list of the the chain's most popular starters — including loaded potato skins, boneless buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks — and receive unlimited refills. And while sharing is discouraged, that rule will not be enforced by servers, says Brian Gies, chief marketing officer at Fridays.

"At the end of the day, our servers aren't policemen," says Gies of the promo, which runs through Aug. 24. "We're not going to slap someone's hand if they reach over and share someone else's mozzarella sticks."

IHOP offering 56¢ pancakes for anniversary

IHOP offering 56¢ pancakes for anniversary

(WXIA) -- In July of 1958, the very first International House of Pancakes opened in Toluca Lake, Calif. Today, IHOP has 1,627 restaurants in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several countries across the globe.

To celebrate its 56th anniversary, the chain will offer its signature buttermilk pancakes for less than they cost in the 1950s.

On Tuesday, July 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., IHOP customers can purchase a short stack for only 56¢. The pancakes cost 60¢ when the flagship restaurant opened.

IHOP claims it serves more than 700 million pancakes every year. Only one other flavor -- chocolate chip -- has been on its menu since 1958.

RELATED | IHOP rolls out summer menu

Visit ihop.com to find your nearest IHOP.

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

NEW YORK -- Panera says it will remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its food by 2016, a reflection of the growing distaste people are showing for such ingredients.

The chain of bakery cafes, which has about 1,800 U.S. locations, is making the pledge as part of a "Food Policy" it is unveiling Tuesday that outlines its commitment to "clean" and "simple" ingredients.

The announcement comes at a time when Panera Bread Co. is facing slowing sales growth and working to jumpstart its business.

It also underscores how positioning foods as natural has become a marketing advantage, regardless of whether it brings any nutritional benefits.

IHOP rolls out summer menu items

IHOP rolls out summer menu items

(WXIA) -- IHOP is celebrating the start of summer with new pancake recipes, lemonades, salads and sandwiches.

The chain's signature pancakes can now be ordered in three summer fruit varieties -- strawberry banana cream pie, raspberry peach and blueberry cannoli cream.

New lemonade flavors on IHOP's menu include iced tea, orange tangerine iced tea and cherry blackberry. The summer lemonades are available through July 20.

IHOP has also added menu items to its lunch and dinner offerings, including:

Citrus Chicken Pecan Salad
Grilled chicken, orange segments and candied pecans on a bed of mixed greens, tossed in orange vinaigrette dressing

Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad
Crispy chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes and crumbled Blue cheese on a bed of mixed greens and tossed in ranch dressing; also available with grilled chicken

Eat at Chili's to help Tenn. tornado victims

Eat at Chili's to help Tenn. tornado victims

(WXIA) -- Several Southern states were slammed by severe weather earlier this week, including Lincoln County, Tenn., which experienced a devastating tornado.

Those who want to contribute to the community's rebuilding fund can now do so, simply by eating at Chili's.

On Sunday, May 4, more than 60 Chili's restaurants in Georgia and Tennessee will contribute 10 percent of the day's earnings to the Lincoln County Disaster Relief Fund.

Chili's diners can also make monetary donations by adding extra money to their check totals.

Visit chilis.com to find your nearest Chili's.

Zaxby's named America's most craveable chain

Zaxby's named America's most craveable chain

(WXIA) -- Zaxby's has been named America's "Most Craveable Fast Casual" restaurant for the second year in a row.

The Athens-based chicken chain received the honor from Technomic, a market research firm that focuses on the restaurant industry.

Technomic measures more than 60 elements of a guest's experience to determine the rankings. Zaxby's craveability can be attributed to its popular Chicken Fingerz and dipping sauces, especially the signautre Zax Sauce.

"We are continuously looking for new experiences and flavors to provide our guests, but it's also exciting for us to know that some of our very first menu items are still fan favorites to this day," Zaxby's CEO and co-founder Zach McLeory said. "We're delighted to know our guests have ranked us the most craveable for a second year, and will endlessly strive to provide them with exceptional flavors they can't get anywhere else."

IHOP offering free pancakes for charitable donations

IHOP offering free pancakes for charitable donations

(WXIA) -- IHOP will once again participate in the National Pancake Day promotion on Tuesday, Mar. 4.

Customers who visit any IHOP location on National Pancake Day will be treated to a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. In exchange, the restaurant chain encourages diners to leave a donation for a number of charities, namely the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Beginning this Saturday, Feb. 1, IHOP will collect donations for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Customers can buy paper balloons that cost either $1 or $5. The balloons will hang in IHOP restaurants through National Pancake Day.

Anyone who purchases a $5 balloon will receive a $5 IHOP coupon to use on a future visit.

Learn more about the promotion at ihoppancakeday.com.