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Brand Culture FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss News Now Trending

Hooters Forced To Close Restaurants Because Millennials Aren’t That Into Breasts Anymore

America’s eating habits change quite frequently, moving from one foodie trend to the next, causing many eateries of the BBQ, chicken wing, and ice cream variation to pop up all over the place. We can’t complain because our taste buds reap the reward.

A recent study done by PornHub (Don’t worry, that link is SFW) has revealed that there has been a significant shift in the search histories of men all over America. Their insights show that millennial men between the ages of 18-24 are 19% less likely to search for breasts (or any other vernacular of the word), while ages 55-64 are 17% more likely.

What does this have to do with food? It looks like Hooters has been troubled by this recent change in trends. This change has caused the restaurant chain to close a number of its locations throughout the country since 2012.

A post shared by Hooters (@hooters) on

Despite Hooters updating their restaurants in order to attract millennials, they have struggled to keep up in the market.

Sorry Hooters, it seems that this correlation between late night searches and chicken wing preferences have made things difficult.  “Breastaurants” are no longer that appealing to most millennial Americans.  Perhaps a name change might be in order? How about “Fannys” or “Tushies?”

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Hit-Or-Miss Opinion Restaurants

What Happened When This Millennial Tried Red Lobster For The First Time

Business Insider recently released an article stating Red Lobster as the absolute, most favorite restaurant in the country amongst millennials. I’m not going to lie, I read this and nearly shit my pants. How could this be possible? To me, Red Lobster was always that sketchy restaurant on Route 1 that smelled kind of weird whenever I drove past it. Since when was that cool?

But then I began to feel a little weird myself, because I am a millennial, yet I had never been to Red Lobster before in my life. Obviously, I had to go see what the hype was about. I Googled the nearest Red Lobster location, contacted my dad and brother, the only two souls who would knowingly embark on this journey with me, and then rode the Metro for an hour, because there are no Red Lobsters within the city limits of Washington, D.C.

To say I was trepidated is an understatement. Seafood is a scary thing to me. I actually didn’t start eating shellfish until about a year ago. My mom was allergic to it, so I never had it growing up.

Admittedly, I finally heard the phrase, “How can you be a foodie if you don’t eat shellfish?” one too many times, so I dragged my ass to the doctor and got tested to see if I was allergic to it like my mother. Negative. It was like I was reborn. That first week of knowing I could eat shellfish was really special and exciting… until I went to a restaurant on a date, ate an oyster, projectile vomited all over the bathroom, and had to clean it up with toilet paper that had barely-there absorbency due to the lack of paper towels. Sexy.

With this moment embedded into my memory, I hesitantly opened the Red Lobster doors. Here is my story.

red lobster


5:56pm:
The restaurant is completely empty, save for an incomplete party in the waiting area. The dad of the group decides to be a jokester and pretend like he knows me. He says, “We’ve been waiting for you!” I am very confused. I glance to my left and see a very zealous host, impatiently waiting for me to approach the host stand. I nervously look around the lobby for my family, only to be met with a glass tank full of lobsters. They aren’t even moving. It’s like they’ve accepted their fate and are too depressed to even swim. Or they were delivered to the restaurant frozen and they’re in there just for show.

5:57pm: The cheery host leads me to my table. I sit and open the menu. The pages are all stuck together. I do not want to know what type of residue must be on them for this to happen. Where is my dad??

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6:00pm:
Dad and brother finally arrive. As soon our server approaches the table, I order the Spiked Strawberry Lemonade. The picture makes the drink look delicious, and it’s made with Absolut which is pretty impressive for a chain, and the menu says it comes in a special glass with the Red Lobster logo that you can take home with you. I am alllll about free stemware.

Here’s what I am expecting. Doesn’t that look delicious?!

6:10pm: Here is what arrives:

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As you can see, it is not in the special glass as advertised. I sadly ask my server about the glass and he says they are out. My hopes and dreams are crushed. Kidding. But then I take a sip and the result is somewhat comparable. This Spiked Strawberry Lemonade is essentially dyed sugar water you would typically feed to a hummingbird. The jury is still out on whether there is actually any vodka in it.

6:20pm: My brother is just as scared as I am, anxiously flipping through the menu, waiting for something to catch his eye. Then, we order. Dad gets a lobster for the sake of being at Red Lobster. Bro settles on the tilapia fish tacos. A safe bet. I order grilled shrimp with no butter garlic sauce (#lactardprobs), a baked potato, and steamed broccoli. I am officially the most boring person on the planet. The server asks what toppings I would like for my baked potato. I awkwardly ask for some olive oil on the side. I get a weird look. The server is uncomfortable. What is he hiding? He then announces I will also receive a side salad with my meal, and that he will be back with some cheddar biscuits.

red lobster biscuits


6:25pm:
The cheddar biscuits arrive. Honestly, they look pretty delicious. I am gluten intolerant so I can’t eat these beloved carb bombs (what is my life), but I instead hold one in my hands and shamelessly take in the cheesy, buttery aroma. My family thinks I’m weird. Probably because I am. Whatever.

red lobster salad


6:28pm:
The side salads arrive. They are extremely average, however, I am impressed with the fresh cherry tomatoes and red onion. Then I look at the dressing. I ordered balsamic vinaigrette. WTF is this? Why is it pink? Salad dressing, what are you made of?

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6:29pm:
 Actually… what are you?

6:30pm: I dip my finger in the dressing, and take a taste. I like to think I have a fairly trained palate, but I for the life of me cannot figure out what is responsible for this Easter-egg-pink hue. I give up and gingerly pour some dressing atop the crisp greens and dig in. This dressing is weird, man. I don’t even know.

6:35pm: I glance at the basket with the cheddar biscuits. There are still three left. I literally cannot remember a single incident when my brother did not devour the entire bread basket. That’s his thing. We’re that annoying family that always asks for more bread. I ask him what the deal is, and my 19-year-old brother says he can’t even finish one whole biscuit. The first two bites were apparently great, but the buttery flavor became overwhelming very quickly. I’m not sure those words have ever before been uttered in the English language before now.

lobster


6:45pm:
The main course arrives. Dad is pretty pumped about his lobster. My brother’s fish tacos look pretty amazing. I am served a pretty hefty portion of shrimp – two skewers worth – that seem kind of naked on the plate. The baked potato looks like something that was dug out of the compost because the chef decided last minute it could be salvaged. I have no complaints about the broccoli.

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6:46pm:
My dad is ready and raring to go to town on his steamed Maine Lobster, bib and all. I ask for a bite, and he is generous enough to give me part of the claw. The meat is kind of rubbery to the touch, but I go in for the kill. The lobster tastes like straight-up sea water. It tastes like I was for some reason eating a piece of rubber while being wiped out by a wave at the beach, which is not something that would ever happen but I don’t know how else to describe it.

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6:47pm:
I de-skewer all of my shrimp, and then go to grab the side of olive oil I ordered for my baked potato. I am met not with olive oil, but a conspicuous clear liquid. I perform the finger taste test again, and decide this must be canola oil. Either that, or literally the shittiest olive oil on the market. I dress my baked potato with it anyways, and add a few grinds of salt and pepper. Note to Red Lobster: the grindable table salt and pepper is a nice touch.

6:48pm: I put a piece of shrimp in my mouth. It’s pretty dry and flavorless. I know I asked for it to be made without butter sauce, but can a gal get some EVOO and salt & pepper? I then cut off a piece of the baked potato. The skin is extremely fibrous and wrinkly. It tastes like it was cooked in the microwave. I’m not entirely sure that’s how it was prepared, but that’s what it tastes like.

Disclosure: For all of you that are going to say the food in these pictures look pretty good, I would like you to know that if you have natural light and a good camera, you could make dog shit on the sidewalk look appetizing. End rant.

 

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6:50pm: My brother has yet again only eaten a few bites of his meal, and this dude can eat. Like I mentioned, he’s nineteen, but I didn’t mention he’s six feet tall. I’ve made tacos for him before, and I literally didn’t have enough tortillas for his appetite. Now he is in front of me, barely one taco deep. I take a bite and I have no complaints. They were served on corn tortillas, which is a huge plus for me, and I have nothing bad to say about them. My brother was just really not feelin’ it.

7:00pm: Our meal is pretty much complete at this point. My brother, dad, and I sit silently as we wait for the bill to arrive, generally very uninspired by the experience we just endured. We pay the bill, and leave.

7:15pm: I arrive at the Metro station to begin my trek back into the city. My phone dies. There are no trains arriving in the next 20 minutes. All of a sudden, my stomach starts acting up. It’s pissed and making noises that are probably audible to the innocent bystander next to me. These are obviously not hunger growls because I just ate. These are angry growls. My stomach is basically yelling at me for what it was just fed. It’s going to be a long ride.

As I sat on the train that finally arrived, the familiar bitterness that my body has come to associate with shellfish ravaging within me, I contemplated whether I should remove the contents of my purse and use it as a receptacle for my vomit, vowing never to step foot in another Red Lobster for as long as I lived. And that millennials suck.

 

 

Photos by: Analiese Trimber

Categories
Packaged Food

Tic Tac Creates Taste-Changing Mints For Millennials Who Can’t Commit To One Flavor

Tic-Tac-Mixers

A new pack of Tic Tacs is set to hit shelves in June. The new flavor, or flavors, will be called Tic Tac Mixers. They’re designed specifically to change tastes as it dissolves in consumers’ mouths. Y’know, for those who just can’t commit to one flavor.

Bloomberg reports, there are three specific reasons why the new Tic Tacs exist. The first is, obviously, is to freshen consumers’ breaths. The second, to have a “sweet, fruity moment.” The third, to provide consumers with…”an emotional rescue.”

Because we all buy Tic Tacs to escape, right?

The two new varieties of Tic Tac Mixers are Cherry Cola and Peach Lemonade.

 Photo: Tic Tac Facebook

Categories
Fast Food

‘The Den’ Is Denny’s New Restaurant For Millenials, Here’s What We Know

TheDen

Looks like Denny’s is going after millennials. The breakfast corportation has always catered to the young, old and in-betweens since it was founded in 1953. However, it looks like Denny’s is taking a step into the future with a new fast-casual concept they’re calling “The Den.”

Located only in college campuses, The Den appears to be exclusively catered to twenty-somethings. Its interiors look more like a quick-service restaurant similar to Chipotle or Smashburger rather than a diner like Denny’s.

While the new concept features some of the staple Denny’s menu items like the Grand Slam and Grand Slamwich, they’ve added a variety of newer items to the menu. These new options include various “hand-smashed” burgers, burritos and sandwiches. Their burgers, in particular, are known for cramming breakfast items (eggs, bacon, potatoes) between the buns.

Currently, there are 10 locations sprinkled throughout college campuses across the United States.

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Fast Food

LOOK: McDonald’s Gave Ronald McDonald a Gen Y Makeover, Including Selfies and Cargo Pants

new-ronald-mcdonald

McDonald’s favorite redhead, Ronald McDonald, underwent a makeover in order to keep the fast food chain “modern and relevant.” According to the press release, Ronald’s new fit consists of yellow cargo pants, a vest, a striped rugby shirt and a “whimsical new red blazer” and bow tie for “special occasions.” Don’t worry, he’s keeping his iconic red shoes.

 

Ronald’s new look will be implemented into McDonald’s restaurants around the world. So expect to see the re-imagined, millennial-friendly mascot in TV ads and plastered on ” in-store graphics, furniture and other design elements” at your local McDonald’s.

The best, most terrifying part? “Selfies… here I come!” said the clown.

Categories
Fast Food

McDonald’s Considers Offering Breakfast Past 10:30 AM

mcdonalds-breakfast-hours

McDonald’s is once again entertaining the idea of extending breakfast hours. The reason behind this change of heart? Apparently, millennials — the holy grail of marketing — don’t like waking up in the morning.

“We know, as an example, that breakfast on the weekend cut off at 10:30 doesn’t go very well,” Jeff Stratton, head of McDonald’s USA, told AP.

While offering both breakfast and lunch options past 10:30 was considered logistically impossible, due to tight kitchen layouts, AP reports that the chain is making a push to adapt to people’s changing eating habits — “those coveted customers in their 20s and 30s” in particular.

At the moment, Stratton remains cagey: “Well, we’re just beginning. … We’re just taking a look at it.”

Still, the move to extend breakfast hours may just be the thing McDonald’s needs to take on the competition and revive slumping sales. It’ll just require the support of their more than US 14,000 franchisees.

 

Categories
Restaurants

First Look: El Torito’s Flavors of Baja Menu Including Ceviche Tacos and Jalapeño Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp

El Torito Baja Menu Ceviche Tacos

The argument against Casual Dining-Mexican Restaurants as being the least innovative of all types of Mexican Restaurants, including Food Trucks, Fast Food, QSR, Casual Dining and Fine Dining categories, starts to make a lot of sense when you consider the innovation that’s taken place over the last 5 years.  With the likes of the Kogi Truck, Taco Bell (see Doritos Locos Tacos), and other Mexican-fusion restaurants setting the standard, Casual Dining-Mexican Restaurants have fallen behind. Heck, even the packaged food industry introduced the standing soft taco to mix things up a bit.

So it’s no coincidence that as members of a food-news publication, none of the FOODBEAST editorial staff could remember the last time they entered or covered a story for a Casual Dining-Mexican restaurant. But that may be about to change.

El Torito’s debut of its limited-time ‘Flavors of Baja’ menu that includes, Seafood Ceviche Tacos, Jalapeño Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and Carnitas en Tablita, successfully introduced new and traditional flavors that can finally attract the millennial audience it desperately needs. In fact, because of El Torito’s association with Real Mex Restaurants that owns a total number of 122 Mexican-Casual Restaurants across the country including Chevy’s, Acapulco, El Torito Grill and other smaller brands, this impressive menu may set the tone for the entire category – meaning more innovative limited time offerings (LTOs). That’s good news for the millennial consumer, giving them new (and darn delicious) reasons to come back through the doors.

The Flavors of Baja Menu also includes three cocktails, The Los Cabos Margarita, Baja Mule, Skinny Mango Cadillac Margarita, and two other menu offerings, Mexicali Enchiladas and Baja-Beer-Battered Halibut Tacos. Here’s the rundown.

Mini Seafood Ceviche Tacos: Crab, Shrimp & Halibut, $9.99 (pictured above) – This is the menu item that pulled us into the tasting due to the fact that we had never seen this executed. The crab ceviche includes red jalapeño, fennel and ginger aioli. The shrimp ceviche includes jicama, green apple, serrano chiles and guacamole. The halibut ceviche includes tomatoes, onions, cilantro and avocado. The best part may have been the perfectly flaky tortillas that are half-cooked and then deep-fried for a hard shell look, pastry-esque feel.

Jalepeno Bacon Wrapped Wild Mexican Shrimp El Torito Flavors of Baja Menu

Jalapeño Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp, $17.99 – We’ve seen a number of bacon-wrapped-everythings, but wrapping wild Mexican Shrimp (hearty, 2-bite size) with a Jalapeño, Manchego Cheese AND BACON?!?! We like where your head’s at El Torito.  Six of these bad boys are served atop a banana leaf with Baja White Rice (Mexican Rice Pilaf) and sautéed vegetables.

Beer Battered Baja Halibut Tacos El Torito Flavors of Baja Menu

Beer Battered Baja Halibut Tacos, $14.99 – I know what you’re thinking, another fish taco. But this item surprised us the most and instantly became one of our favorites. The tacos are topped with ginger aioli, cabbage, caramelized onions, avocado and served with baja white rice. 

carnitas el torito

Carnitas en Tablita, $15.49 – Served atop a Mexican platter, the pork in this dish was fantastic. And that’s coming from a guy who smoked pork shoulder for 8 hours on Sunday, just for the start of the NFL season. Healthy portion size for 1, but could also potentially feed 2 smaller, non-foodbeasts.

el torito baja mule

Baja Mule, $8.99 – To be honest, we were a bit confused about this item. The cocktail includes Russian Standard Vodka, Strawberry, and Ginger Beer. Uhhh…. Why is this called the Baja Mule? Tasty, and waitstaff communicated that this was the local top seller.

The Flavors of Baja menu is available at 57 of the 58 El Torito locations (odd) and is available until October 21, 2013. More menu details and nutritional information is available at www.ElTorito.com.

Categories
Restaurants

Olive Garden Hopes to Lure Millennials with New ‘Tapas’ Menu

olive-garden-tapas

In their latest effort to appeal to millennials, Olive Garden is introducing small, portion-controlled plates to the menu. The new dishes will include deep fried risotto balls, chicken skewers, garlic hummus and Pizza Fritta Napoli, aka fried pizza dough topped with alfredo sauce (above photo).

Apparently, this is the right step for restaurants to be taking. Millennials are “looking for items they can share, sample, that allow them to graze,” explained Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic Inc.

According to Bloomberg, Olive Garden began testing the new lineup earlier this year in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, Michigan and plans on using these dishes to gauge customer response before launching them nationwide. 

However, as the chain moves towards smaller, tapas-style plates aimed at 20 to 30-somethings, they may be in danger of alienating patrons who visit for large, family-sized dishes. While Olive Garden found success with their never-ending pasta bowl, as its boomer clientele ages, their sales have seen a significant decline in “five of the last eight quarters.” The key will be finding a menu that’s able to attract new customers, while still keeping long-time diners that made Olive Garden a family name.

Although Olive Garden hopes the shrunken portions will encourage mass “grazing,” other major chains have beat them to it. Applebee’s recently rolled out half-priced appetizer specials, while Cheesecake Factory offers their own petite plates including Ahi Tartare, Crispy Crab Bites, and Chicken Samosas. 

Personally, as a 20-something, I’m all for change. Just don’t get rid of the breadsticks, Olive Garden. If that happens, I’ll quit you.

H/T + PicThx Bloomberg