Reporter's Notebook

Good fortune for Mama Fu's

Fortune cookie inserts are written by guests

After winning a MenuMaster award at the Drake Hotel on Sunday, Mama Fu’s Asian House shared a bit of its good fortune.

Literally.

In addition to the banh mi sandwiches that helped the 13-unit, Austin, Texas-based chain win the menu trendsetter award, the Mama Fu’s team offered bowls of fortune cookies with something a little different inside.

Instead of the usual tacky fortunes, Mama Fu’s cookies are stuffed with predictions from their guests, with somewhat comic results, said Randy Murphy, who bought the brand in 2008.

Examples: “If at first you don’t succeed, sky diving is not for you.”

“If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at someone else.”

Or: “Smile with your mouth full, never laugh. Rice through the nose hurts!”

Now the chain is asking children to write a fortune – there’s a spot right on the kids’ menu where they can unleash their genius. The best will be printed up as cookie stuffers and winners will receive gift cards as a reward.

Fortune cookies have been in the news lately.

Frank Bruni of The New York Times recently wrote of a fortune cookie company that was producing somewhat snarky messages – some might even say cruel.

Mama Fu’s is not going for snark, but just to have fun and engage guests in the process, said Murphy.

And here’s more good fortune: The chain is expecting to more than double in size over the next 18 months, largely through franchise growth.

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