Industry News

Top 10: Lidl named top retailer, Fat Brands to buy Johnny Rockets, Baby Nut comes of age

News about restaurants and chefs caught SmartBrief readers’ attention this week, including Fat Brands’ deal to buy 1950’s-themed casual dining chain Johnny Rockets for $25 million. The parent of Fatburger will grow to more than 700 units with the acquisition, which is slated to close in September, and the new owner expects to update the Johnny Rockets’ menu with new vegan and plant-based options, Reuters reported.

In other burger chain news, Whataburger announced plans to take its show on the road next year with the rollout of a food truck created in partnership with Cruising Kitchens. 

Los Angeles chef Sang Yoon’s Korean-style chicken sandwich recipe whetted readers’ appetites for culinary news this week, as did chef April Valencia’s method of using fruit and vegetable juices to create pink-hued tortillas. 

The US division of German discount grocer Lidl landed on top of the National Retail Federation’s list of Hot 100 Retailers, a story that also took the top spot in this week’s Top 10. The NRF list, compiled by Kantar, included 33 other grocery retailers including Amazon, Grocery Outlet, ALDI, Wegmans Food Markets and Costco. 

Kroger’s plans to grow online sales with the launch of a new marketplace that will include third-party sellers also proved popular with readers this week. 

CPG brands also made the news this week, including General Mills’ announcement of new diversity and inclusion goals. The company aims to double its roster of Black managers and take other steps to step up diversity both in the company and among its vendors. 

The aging of new Planters’ mascot caught readers’ attention as well. Born during this year’s Super Bowl, Baby Nut has now turned 21 and been renamed Peanut Jr.

Read the entire Top 10:

  1. Lidl US tops list of Hot 100 Retailers
  2. L.A. chef breaks down his Korean chicken sandwich recipe
  3. General Mills sets diversity, inclusion goals
  4. L.A. chef's rosy tortillas are a feast for the eyes
  5. Candy producers shift Halloween game plan
  6. Fat Brands to pay about $25M to buy Johnny Rockets
  7. Kroger to roll out new e-commerce marketplace
  8. Whataburger's food truck to hit the road in 2021
  9. Planters' Baby Nut hits major growth spurt
  10. Proper technique is key to shapely sourdough loaves

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