But, do we really have to tell you to not to twerk in a restaurant?

But, do we really have to tell you to not to twerk in a restaurant?

Twerking, is not what’s for dinner at TRUE Kocktails + Kitchen, playlist, notwithstanding! Or not…when a customer at TRUE Kocktails + Kitchen entertained herself by dancing suggestively on the furniture, the owner asked her to stop twice before blowing up in a now viral clip. In the clip, the owner Kevin Kelley, can be seen and heard yelling in the crowded Dallas restaurant about the desired quality and atmosphere of his upscale restaurant. Since the clip hit the web, there has been much conversation about whether or not Kelley was right to respond that way, regardless of his previous attempts to quell the distasteful situation.

© TRUE Kocktails + Kitchen

Young ladies were allegedly twerking in the dining room and one went so far as to dance on the furniture, how is that acceptable? It’s a known fact that music can and will make you lose control occasionally (according to Missy Elliot), but this is inexcusable. Let’s be clear while we’re at it, twerking should have never escaped the strip club. Somehow, it has seeped past the respectability threshold and is an everyday part of human expression. Unfortunately.

It should go without saying but, twerking and fine dining don’t mix! Initially, I was mad about the entire situation. Why would any upscale restaurant even include ratchet songs on its playlist? Plus, why use a DJ when you can use Muzak (now Mood Media) any streaming service with accompanying licenses or pay live musicians to play as customers dine in? The answer came in the form of a memory and I was reminded of one of my favorite movies, B.A.P.S (Black American Princesses). In the film, two unsuspecting women are brought in on a ruse to steal a wealthy man’s (Mr. Blakemore played by Martin Landau) fortune under the guise that they are the granddaughters of a long lost love. What the world saw as two “ghetto” women encroaching the upscale lifestyle was actually the introduction of black upscale to the masses. In short, we do upscale differently. This doesn’t dismiss the black polo clubs, gold resorts, country clubs, or swanky private societies enjoy exclusively by wealthy blacks, nor should it dismiss the everyday attempts by blacks to enjoy the finer things in life.

Back to B.A.P.S.

Nisi (Halle Berry) and Mickey (Natalie Deselle-Reid) never forgot their dreams and once they received their inheritance from Mr. Blakemore, they opened up Lily’z, a restaurant and hair salon. Their boyfriends also opened their page a cab service and hosted their fleet outside the restaurant. There are way too many gut busting moments to recount (the airplane ride, for starters), but I have always needed help off the floor when watching this particular scene. In it, AJ Johnson who plays Mickey’s boyfriend James laments that he can’t give her the finer things in life, though she is deserving of them.

…Would you mind lowering your hair…?!?

‘We Deserve Nice Stuff, Too!’

This line “…and, why you gotta wear your Sunday clothes on Wednesday?” has always brought me to tears from laughter, but I think it’s the prevailing idea for many black consumers and entrepreneurs who want their slice of the pie and corresponding taste of the good life. For centuries, black people have contributed to upscale culture in their own way. Many times this was done as luxury adjacent consumers (personal shoppers and assistants), without an outlet for black eccentricity and excellence.

Let’s explore the phenomenon of Dapper Dan of Harlem, New York. He created iconic fashion looks with international luxury brands. The problem is, he was never welcomed into the fashion houses, though his designs were world class. Only recently, have brands embraced the years of notoriety freely gifted their brands by Dapper Dan and New York black fashion culture. This may also help explain the DJ at a supposed upscale restaurant.

In the wake of the fallout, people and even the owner have suggested that diners patronize other restaurants with a dining room that doubles as an occasional dance floor. But what about the people who want lambchops, cocktails and a playlist that resembles their car ride to work, their college years, or even their workout playlist without the ratchet? Is there a limit to the acceptable blackness at even black owned fine dining establishments?

TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails has made a name for itself as a fine dining establishment with its food and drink menu and reservation waitlist. TRUE rivals its fine dining counterparts and boasts inclusion of black culture through and through, but some elements of luxury are non-negotiable and twerking is at the top of the list. I’m not talking about shuffling your way out the door when the steak house plays Earth Wind & Fire as you wait for your coat or while you wait for the valet to you’re your car forward. Who said black people don’t know upscale living?

You definitely need to get out more if you think that element of high society hasn’t made its way into the black community. In many ways, black people perfected luxury consumerism and the pretentiousness that keeps luxury brands in the black. Just a few weeks ago, Cardi B used the ever popular Birkin bag to address racism and the double standards aimed at the hip hop community and black people, at large. Hip Hop and luxury culture go hand in hand. A single mention in a rap song has proven over and over the power to make international luxury brands household names with listeners.

Don’t be surprised that these songs have made it onto the playlist at TRUE Kocktails + Kitchen and diners sing their favorite part or can’t quite keep still. Let’s face it, black upscale at times looks a little different than its white counterparts and that’s the ‘truth’ on that! It really isn’t controversial that the owner of a upscale restaurant scolded customers for besmirching his fine dining establishment, but it’s news! Now, let’s look at a few takeaways from the avalanche of publicity at TRUE.

  • Don’t confuse ambience for approval. The DJ’s song choice was not actual encouragement for you to throw that, yours or anyone else’s actual *** in a circle. Let’s talk about the song choice, too…how did that song make it onto the playlist, anyway? It’s crass and if you’re a fine dining establishment as you assert yourself to be, nothing like it should be part of the ambience of the restaurant.
  • Either we’re going to be high class or not! In fact, Magic City (world famous strip club in Atlanta) is as widely known for legs and thighs as it is for its kitchen’s wings! There’s a fine line between good or even gourmet cuisine in a club setting. TRUE doesn’t purport itself as a club, despite a playlist that may suggest otherwise.
  • Act like you got some home training…famous words from parents or last words for kids who didn’t once they entered the store of other public place. Have we devolved that much as a society that paying customers would resort to doing the most despicable dance in a public place, a restaurant, no less? Sadly, the answer is yes. If TRUE Kocktails + Kitchen wants to set itself apart from that segment of that culture, they must get real about its expectation of itself and its consumer base.

Lastly, none of us want our businesses to fail because of clientele. When you have a product that people love, it’s easy to think their patronage comes with a level of conformity. But in this case, we see how untrue that is. It’s true that Mr. Kelley asked them not to gyrate on the furniture more than once before his now viral tirade, but could he have handled it better? Yes. Will he if it happens again? Of course he will. We also hope that he now has a process or enforces the one in place to handle unruly customers, whether it’s to solve check disputes, drunk or unruly customers or other unforeseen circumstances. While being ‘true’ to himself and his establishment, there is an expectation that this teachable moment works itself out for both consumer and restauranteur.

Don’t let the Chicken Sandwich fool you…

Don’t let the Chicken Sandwich fool you…

My sandwich from Sunday. The sandwich didn’t disappoint and perhaps, never will.

Last week I had the spicy chicken sandwich from Popeye’s and it went beyond the hype, it’s the best chicken sandwich in fast-food. Since my first sandwich on Friday, I had one on Sunday and Monday of this week. There’s no argument here, because you either like chicken done right, or you don’t! This is more than a simple sandwich. This is a way of life. In the south, we eat our chicken with some form of bread, a biscuit, a roll, sandwich bread and yes, even on a brioche bun. Over the past few years, the spice from their chicken seems to have made its way to Church’s, but they’ve found it once again with this chicken sandwich. The heat from the meat plus the spicy sauce had me re-thinking that last bite…but not for long!

Despite claims from Chic-Fil-A and Wendy’s that their sandwich is better, the closest competitor is KFC, though their breast in menial in comparison to this Thanksgiving appetizer from Popeye’s. The chicken is breaded and not battered like a patty or cutlet and finishes with the same crisp as golden fried chicken, not some low frills alternative. This is a chicken breast you can take off the bun and eat with your bare hands. Or for more refined diners, you could pair it with sides and create a four-star plated meal. You would never think of doing that with a sandwich from any of the chain’s competitors.

Choose either mayo or the spicy sauce and pickles to complete your sandwich. Voila! That’s it, flavor on a bun. The recipe is so simple, not even the employees can mess it up! Since the sandwich made its way onto the menu at Popeye’s, lines have been wrapped around the building and in the lobby as customers wait for it to be made freshly when ordered.

This conundrum would normally doom a franchise, but I’m sure it’s the words “for a limited time” that keep customers from leaving in angst before experiencing the life changing, palette altering sandwich! How could we subject ourselves to this level of ineptitude and incompetence? It’s the sandwich, y’all…it’s the sandwich!

So while the sandwich is here for a limited time, the lackluster customer service Popeye’s is known for seems to be here to stay! Numerous visits to various locations in our city yield the same result, each location seems eerily unprepared for a successful day. Worse than that, the locations seem to be staffed with recent high school graduates with no semblance of the foodservice industry or basic customer service. Asking for the manager in most locations will put you in touch with an overworked, underqualified manager who is doing their best (or perhaps, not) to wrangle their staff long enough to keep them focused on the orders on the screen.

That brings me to my next point, what’s with the work staff breakdown? There’s most often one person working a single register at the front, one person working the drive-thru, a cook, and what I’ll call an “auxiliary” person. They are doing something else, just not helping on the front. Once you place an order, you’ll see one person working to fill your (and every other) order on the front. On the backside, the drive-thru orders are being filled most often by the person working the window. In some locations, the person taking your order is also the person making it and when not if you order that delicious sandwich, stand still because you just threw a wrench in the space-time continuum, exponentially increasing your  wait time and simultaneously depleting your patience.

Chick-Fil-A has been dethroned as king of the chicken sandwich but their customer service reigns supreme, a fact that may bring bird backsliders home to the gospel bird and the original chicken sandwich!

Wendy’s $1 Any Size Fry offer has been extended through Wednesday, December 26. Head to your local Wendy’s to enjoy a small, medium or large order of natural-cut, sea-salted French fries for just $1.

Let’s face it, Wendy’s knows you’re stretched for cash after splurging on all those door busters this week. But don’t fret, because there’s one more deal that’ll save your wallet. Wendy’s has extended its $1 Any Size Fry offer, so you can keep getting more, for less.  That’s right – you can still order a small, medium or large and only pay $1. * Stop in now and eat up this deal before it’s gone! 

Now until Wednesday, December 26  at participating Wendy’s restaurants. 
Visit any participating Wendy’s restaurant.

About Wendy’s
Wendy’s® was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio. Dave built his business on the premise, “Quality is our Recipe®,” which remains the guidepost of the Wendy’s system. Wendy’s is best known for its made-to-order square hamburgers, using fresh, never frozen beef**, freshly-prepared salads with hand-chopped lettuce, and other signature items like chili, baked potatoes and the Frosty® dessert. The Wendy’s Company (NASDAQ: WEN)  is committed to doing the right thing and making a positive difference in the lives of others. This is most visible through the Company’s support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® and its signature Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program, which seeks to find every child in the North American foster care system a loving, forever home. Today, Wendy’s and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people across more than 6,600 restaurants worldwide with a vision of becoming the world’s most thriving and beloved restaurant brand. Please visit www.wendys.com and www.squaredealblog.com for more information and connect with us on Twitter and Instagram using @wendys, and on Facebook www.facebook.com/wendys.

*Offer not valid with any combo

**Fresh beef available in the contiguous U.S., Alaska and Canada.


Get Church’s Chicken ‘On the Fly’ With New Delivery System

Get Church’s Chicken ‘On the Fly’ With New Delivery System

Church’s Chicken® Rolls Out Delivery Nationwide

In a move designed to further strengthen its market presence and accessibility, Church’s Chicken® confirmed that it has successfully launched their Dealivery™ Program, to nearly 650 restaurants through a partnership with multiple third-party delivery providers. According to officials, the rollout has happened over the past several months with the bulk of the restaurants coming online this month with DoorDash™, Grubhub™, Postmates™, and Uber Eats™.

“Adding delivery has been a key objective for the entire Church’s® system this year,” said Hector Muñoz, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President for the brand. “It ties directly into our brand promise of giving guests an abundance of choice, flavor, and variety at a fair price, hence the Dealivery trademark… except now we are offering it whenever and wherever our guests want to enjoy it.”

Church’s Dealivery Program is currently activating across all restaurants within the service area of at least one third-party logistics option. Restaurants served by multiple providers will allow guests to choose their provider of choice. Select Church’s locations in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, and Phoenix have menus appearing with Grubhub, Uber Eats, and others since late June. Numerous other markets have followed close behind with DoorDash and Postmates throughout the month of July. Hundreds of additional Church’s restaurants will have delivery fully online by the end of this month.

Both company-owned and franchised restaurants are participating, and many are signed on with more than one third-party partner to ensure accessibility to as many guests as possible and to allow guests to use the delivery service they prefer. In markets where the major players in the delivery service are unavailable, smaller, independent delivery providers are also being tested.

“Value has multiple meanings for our guests,” explains Pete Servold, Executive Vice President of U.S. Operations with Church’s. “For Church’s, that has always meant never placing limits on what our guests enjoy most – real food, made by real people, at a really great price. Adding real convenience to that equation just makes sense.”

The decision to partner with multiple providers was also driven with guest satisfaction in mind. “Because we make our chicken, biscuits, and other menu items in small batches throughout the day, guests get that ‘fresh-from-the-kitchen’ taste every time they visit. Having multiple delivery providers helps us avoid long waits on delivery due to too much demand on a single delivery service. It also makes it easy to scale up in response to demand for Church’s delivery or the growth of a single service in one location,” continued Servold.

The Church’s Dealivery Menu
Many of Church’s Chicken’s staple menu offerings will be available for delivery as each location comes online. Choices include Church’s fried chicken and Tender Strips®, both original or spicy varieties, Honey-Butter Biscuits™, all sides – corn on the cob, fried okra, baked macaroni and cheese, Cole Slaw, Jalapeno Bombers – desserts, fountain drinks, and iced tea. Order minimums and delivery fees (if applicable) vary according to city and provider.

About Church’s Chicken® 
Founded in San Antonio, TX in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Chicken® is one of the largest quick service restaurant chicken chains in the world. Church’s® specializes in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips®, sandwiches, Honey-Butter Biscuits™ made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, home-style sides all for a great value. Church’s® (along with its sister brand Texas Chicken® outside the Americas) has more than 1,500 locations in 23 countries and international territories and system-wide sales of more than $1 billion. For more information, visit http://www.churchs.com. Follow Church’s® on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/churchschicken and Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/churchschicken.

Hardee’s Gets a Brand Makeover under New Advertising Campaign: “Tastes Like America”

Hardee’s Gets a Brand Makeover under New Advertising Campaign: “Tastes Like America”

CKE Restaurants, Inc. to re-launch Hardee’s, featuring real people, real moments, and real food as part of its larger company strategy

CKE Restaurants, Inc. today announces they are further evolving the separation of their iconic restaurants by saying “Welcome Home to Hardee’s,” celebrating the distinct customer, food culture, and voice Hardee’s has in America.

“Hardee’s has been, and always will be a brand that ‘welcomes you home,’” said Jason Marker, chief executive officer, CKE Restaurants, Inc. “It’s an exciting time for not only the brand, but for the entire company. We will accelerate the growth of our business by providing both iconic brands the space they need to grow, putting our unbeatable quality and great tasting food at the forefront of the business.”

For the first time in nearly a decade, Hardee’s is taking center stage, celebrating America’s heartland with a brand defining campaign, Tastes Like America.

Created by Havas Chicago, Tastes Like America celebrates the values Hardee’s shares with its customers throughout the country. As one of the most beloved regional brands in America, Hardee’s will feature real people, real moments, and real food. Always focused on quality, Tastes Like America celebrates pride in process, providing customers with food the way they’d make it, and creating a true ‘comfort culture’.

“No fast food brand has ‘comfort culture’ more core to its DNA than Hardee’s,” said Jeff Jenkins, chief marketing officer, CKE Restaurants, Inc. “Just like we’re pushing ‘crave culture’ forward with Carl’s Jr., we’re going to use this new campaign to introduce customers to ‘comfort culture’ at Hardee’s, placing a heavy emphasis on local pride and quality food.”

Hardee’s defines ‘comfort culture’ as a “down home, done right” approach to food, from 100 percent Black Angus Thickburgers®, Made from Scratch™ Biscuits, Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders™, to Hand-Scooped milkshakes, and everything that surrounds it. It’s a sense of comfort and pride that comes from who you are, where you’re from, and how you do things. The new campaign features hick hop music star, Big Wet, whose voice personifies an authentic, relaxed vibe that ‘comfort culture’ is all about. His voice is featured on Hardee’s new television commercial and anthem song, which partners his musical style with real people in Hardee’s markets.

“Hardee’s is part of the fabric of a modern American culture,” said Jason Peterson, chief creative officer, Havas Creative, U.S. “It’s a reflection of a contemporary society in America that isn’t celebrated often enough.”

In the coming months, Hardee’s marketing efforts will be impossible to ignore as they build out Tastes Like America on both a regional and local level. Customers can expect to see a revived look and feel at their local Hardee’s, new menu items featuring their handmade process, and regional campaigns tailored to the unique nature of local markets across America.

Hardee’s on Facebook (www.facebook.com/hardees), Twitter (@Hardees) and Instagram (@Hardees) for the latest product news and promotional offers.

About CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.
CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (“CKE”) is a privately held company headquartered in Franklin, Tenn. CKE is not a franchisor and conducts substantially all of its restaurant activities and operations through its subsidiaries. Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC and Hardee’s Restaurants LLC own, operate and franchise the Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Green Burrito® and Red Burrito® concepts. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s operate as one brand under two names, acknowledging the rich regional heritage of both banners. After recent international openings in Chile, Cambodia and Kenya, Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC and Hardee’s Restaurants LLC now have over 3,800 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 43 foreign countries and U.S. territories. Known for its one-of-a-kind premium menu items such as 100 percent Black Angus Thickburgers®, Made from Scratch™ Biscuits and Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders™, as well as an award-winning marketing approach, the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s brand continues to deliver substantial and consistent growth in the U.S. and overseas. The Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s system is now 94 percent franchised, with international restaurants representing 21 percent of the system.

For more information about CKE, please visit www.ckr.com or its brand sites at www.carlsjr.com and www.hardees.com.

About Havas U.S.
Havas U.S. is a progressive agency focused on being the most valuable partner to the modern CMO. It offers a comprehensive mix of capabilities that aren’t what you’d expect to find in a creative firm, such as experience design, cognitive, data and technology. With Villages in New York and Chicago, Havas U.S. brings nearly 2,700 of the most talented people in the business. As the most modern, flexible and agile agency in the U.S., Havas U.S. reinforces the following five key pillars in everything it does: creativity, culture, community, consumer experience and commerce. We are creators. We are data. We are social. We are ideas.

For more information, visit havas.com or follow Havas on Twitter (@havas), Facebook (facebook.com/havas) and Instagram (@havas).

Did I just impose a Whataburger curfew on myself? I totally did.

Did I just impose a Whataburger curfew on myself? I totally did.

I love Whataburger! Now that that’s out the way, let me tell you why I have a newly self-imposed curfew on entering or ordering from the drive-thru during the hours of 11am-11pm. I just can’t. My wallet can’t. I LOVE the breakfast at Whataburger, it’s about as good as you’re gonna get from a fast food restaurant. I mean, it’s so good Pastor Fred wrote a song about it!

Their lunch and dinner menu is equally delectable, but that’s where my adulation ceases. Like most Americans, I get cheese on my hamburger. The last time I had a hamburger with no cheese, it was because my order was wrong and I didn’t inspect until I’d driven off and was on my way to another city.

I am a former employee of Whataburger, those were some of my best days in food service. The working environment, kitchen and even prep area all combine to make it one of the funnest places to clock in.  The employee meals taste even better at a discount! Once no longer employed by the orange “W” I remained a customer until a few days ago.

How good is Whataburger? Whatever you’ve heard about it, it IS that good! [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoN5lhVwheY[/embedyt]

I believe that I have paid my last $8.11 for a #1 with cheese, no onions. I just refuse to fork over that much cash for a burger combo. Don’t ask me what I’m going to do instead, I haven’t thought that far ahead. For now, all I know is that I am worthy of a Terry Tate, the office linebacker sack if you see me anywhere near the threshold of a Whataburger after breakfast! I mean, take me down!!!!

The more I think about it, the more I can’t seem to fathom paying that much ever again. Don’t get me wrong, the burgers are great but my wallet can’t handle it anymore!

I will NOT be retreating to In-N-Out, though! It’s not that bad! But for now, this season of life…I gotta stay away from my beloved hamburger chain. In the meantime, I’ll be saving up for my #1 with cheese scholarship. I’ll be able to buy one combo a month! Nothing like a little fiscal responsibility, right?!?

In the comments tell me which burger you can’t live without regardless of price or location!

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