McDonald’s details sustainability goals at franchisee conference (Chicago Tribune)
At its biannual owner-operator convention this week, McDonald’s Corp. outlined several ways in which it hopes to further its goals for more sustainable sourcing and business practices. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company’s corporate social-responsibility goals include moving all of its fiber-based packaging to sources that are certified as wholly recycled; increasing its recycling efforts to 50 percent of waste at each unit; and doubling the amount of fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains it sells. McDonald’s also will publish goals next year for reductions of sodium, sugar, saturated fat and calories across its menu.

—Mark Brandau

Red Robin to buy 32 franchised restaurants for $40M (Denver Business Journal
Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. said Wednesday it plans to acquire 32 franchised restaurants in the U.S. and Canada for about $40 million. The restaurants are owned by 5B Investments Inc. under the names Mach Robin LLC and Red Robin Restaurants of Canada Ltd.

—Lisa Jennings

Orange County, Calif., considers color-coded restaurant health ratings (Los Angeles Times)
Orange County, Calif., supervisors agreed Tuesday to explore a color-coded restaurant inspection system that would alert would-be customers of what to expect at restaurants by using green, yellow and red signs. If county health officials move forward with the plan, it would align them with restaurant rating signs in Sacramento and Alameda Counties, but not neighboring Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside Counties, where a letter-grading system is used. The traffic-light style was proposed in a grand jury report that criticized the county's current system as confusing.
—Ron Ruggless

Fine dining embraces Middle Eastern flavors (The New York Times)
Middle Eastern ingredients have made significant inroads at independent restaurants across the country. Julia Moskin explores that phenomenon in New York City.

—Bret Thorn

Chicago restaurant transforms grilled cheese into luxury indulgence (MarketWatch)
Deca Restaurant + Bar in the city’s Ritz-Carlton hotel serves a "Zillion Dollar Grilled Cheese" — actually priced at $100.

—Marcella Veneziale