Best seat in the restaurant? It's at the bar (The Wall Street Journal)


Restaurant bars are becoming dining destinations in their own right. The trend comes as establishments expand and upgrade their bar areas. And consumers accustomed to craft cocktails are seeking food to accompany their upscale beverages. By giving more thought to the bar, restaurants can also capture business from diners who may not always be looking for a full sit-down meal. The trend follows predictions from the National Restaurant Association for 2014, which found that bar-friendly foods such as charcuterie, ethnic dips and bite-sized foods would be popular this year.

—Marcella Veneziale

7 of the most underrated food cities in America (Thrillist)
Planning on expanding? Thrillist has done some preliminary research for you by taking a look at seven cities it deems underrated from a food perspective: Asheville, N.C.; Cleveland; Detroit; Houston; Louisville, Ky.; Minneapolis/St. Paul; and San Antonio.

—Bret Thorn

Inside Dunkin' Donuts' biggest doughnut bakery (Crain's Chicago Business)
Time to make the doughnuts: Here’s a look inside the largest Dunkin’ Donuts bakery in the country, which produces about 90 million glazed, powdered and jelly-filled pastries a year. The factory supplies about 306 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the Chicago area. By outsourcing doughnut production, franchisees have been able to grow margins and focus more on operations. Will we see more franchisees pool their finances to create such co-ops?

—Lisa Jennings

Is Congress trying to fix the wrong patent problem? (Bloomberg Businessweek)
As the Senate moves toward tackling patent reform, some people are asking if pending legislation will be enough to save businesses from so-called patent trolls — especially if it is watered down as it wends its way through the lawmaking process. Patent trolls — entities that go after other companies for infringements on patents where ownership is unclear and the violation is vague — are a growing problem among restaurant companies, leading to costly legal battles and limiting technology options. Last December, the House passed a bill that would increase clarity in patent lawsuits, increase transparency in patent ownership, and make it easier for winning defendants to recover litigation costs.

—Robin Lee Allen

Cannes Lions Festival names McDonald’s “Creative Marketer of the Year” (MarketWatch)
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has selected McDonald’s as the 2014 Creative Marketer of the Year. Since 1979, McDonald’s has won 77 Cannes Lions — the award for excellence in brand communications and advertising given each year to companies all over the world — for its marketing campaigns in more than a dozen countries. Officials for this year’s Cannes Lions programs said McDonald’s was being honored for its work across the world and across several platforms, from television to digital media. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain’s “I’m lovin’ it” campaign, for which it has won the bulk of its Lions awards, is entering its 11th year.

—Mark Brandau