Minimum-wage action is moving to the states (The New York Times)
The New York Times looks at minimum wage efforts underway in many states, and provides a handy chart showing what's happening in each state.
Social-savvy brands announce high-profile on-site locations (Twitter)
Growth in nontraditional venues is hardly limited to the industry’s largest franchise brands, as two Midwestern restaurants known for their fanatical followings in the dining room and on Twitter recently demonstrated. Chicago-based Wow Bao, a six-unit chain in the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises portfolio, announced Thursday via Twitter that it would open Friday in Terminal 5 of O’Hare International Airport. The brand known for bao, a steamed-dumpling sandwich, already has two on-site restaurants in baseball stadiums, at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Similarly, Milwaukee-based AJ Bombers unveiled its third location Monday at Miller Park, home of the Brewers, on Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. AJ Bombers’ parent company, Hospitality Democracy, also owns four other restaurant brands in Milwaukee.
How to game the tipping system (The New Republic)
Wearing red or being blonde (if you are female) can help restaurant service staff. And even crouching at the table can garner a waiter bigger bucks at that the end of the meal. The New Republic looks at the psychological research that helps wait staff up the ante.
CDC salt guidelines too low for good health (HealthDay)
A new study claims that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended guidelines for salt may be too low. According to research conducted at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, too little salt can increase risk of death just as too much can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Still, the CDC is not backing down, saying most people benefit from lower sodium levels. That’s good news for chains like Boston Market, which has reworked recipes for its core menu items with lower sodium in mind.
—Robin Lee Allen
Fake meats, finally, taste like chicken (The New York Times)
Demand for meat alternatives is growing, fueled by trends from increased vegetarianism to concerns over the environment. While meat substitutes could be lacking in flavor and pleasing texture, today’s plant-based proteins mimic meat so closely that it can be hard for consumers to tell the difference. Companies that produce such items have recently attracted investments from high-profile figures such as Bill Gates and Biz Stone and Evan Williams of Twitter. Restaurants are becoming more aware of meat-free alternatives, too, most notably Chipotle Mexican Grill, with its Sofritas tofu item.