Friday, January 16, 2015

Freebie Friday 1.16.15: Fast Casual in the News

Carnitas lovers went into a state of shock this week when Chipotle pulled pork from the menu at hundreds of its restaurants. According to AP, it was the first time the chain stopped serving one of its toppings. 

Chipotle prides itself on serving “Food with Integrity,” a commitment to “finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment, and the farmers.” One supplier violated the standards and Chipotle decided to remove pork from the menu rather than offer a conventionally raised substitute. A spokesperson for Chipotle did not disclose the details of the violations, but he did state that “most of the issues related to the violations concerned housing for the pigs.”

This news should not keep devotees away from the chain. There is still plenty of beef and chicken for meat eaters. According to PETA, there are six ways to be vegan

And, what better reason could there be, for everyone from vegans to carnivores, to accept Chipotle’s special incentive to try Sofritas, the most recent addition to their topping menu, on January 26? Sofritas is a topping made with organic tofu sourced from Hodo Soy that is shredded and braised with peppers, chilis, and spices. The details of the special offer can be found here. [Note: The Sofritas are rather high in sodium, so when you build your menu item you might want to hold the salsa.]

Panera also introduced a new offering to its menu this week — Broth Bowls. They come in a number of variations, with a base of either soba noodles or quinoa, and toppings that include lentils, kale, and cage-free eggs.

If you are a Panera card holder, be sure to watch at least three of the short videos about the new bowls – “How to Eat Adventurously” – to receive $5 off any broth bowl purchase. If you watch all six, a bonus of a free beverage will also be added to your card. [Note: The videos are silly, but mercifully short.] These bowls look delicious and are lower in calories than many other Panera items, but they are still somewhat high on the sodium.

There you have it — one BOGO, one $5 off with an freebie for your patience, and two excellent reasons to venture out in the cold. Get moving!

TGIF. Have a great weekend. 

FYI Why a piƱata? Just like a blog link, until you open it, you won’t know what’s inside.

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