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Shaquille O'Neal buys Krispy Kreme store

WSB-TV contributed to this report.

Shaquille O'Neal just took ownership of an Atlanta-area Krispy Kreme store.

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The basketball Hall-of-Famer and sports and entertainment superstar announced Monday that he has become the owner of the Ponce de Leon location, which has been there for more than 60 years.

O'Neal, who has previously admitted to loving Krispy Kreme doughnuts, has compared his visits to the restaurants to a kid's experience in a candy store.

"In addition to Shaquille's status as a sports and entertainment icon and businessman, he is known for spreading joy, which aligns with our positioning and mission," said Tony Thompson, president and CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. "We are confident this partnership will have a big impact for us in Atlanta and around the world."

O'Neal will also assume the role of a global spokesman for the doughnut company.

"Krispy Kreme prides itself on spreading joy and supporting local communities, and that's a cause that I am thrilled to be a part of," O'Neal said. "Our goal is to help people find their happy place, and what better way than with a box of delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts."

For a limited time, Krispy Kreme is offering the "Shaq-or-Treat" promotion in which anyone who tags a social media post with #ShaqOrTreat will be eligible to win Krispy Kreme prizes or paraphernalia autographed by O'Neal. The promotion takes place Oct. 28-31.

Here's how to get free Chipotle today

Play a game and win free food. 

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 Chipotle lovers can score a free burrito, burrito bowl, salad or order of tacos by visiting the website for "Chipotle: A Love Story" and clicking "play now."

Users will be faced with a grid of 16 cards and a minute on the clock to match ingredients in a memory game. Click on the cards to flip them over and match garlic-to-garlic, cilantro-to-cilantro and so on. When users click the cards with additives, the time is reduced by five seconds every time they're clicked.

Even players who don't win the game have an opportunity to win the buy-one-get-one-free coupon. The coupon is valid until Nov. 30.

The game is based on the company's animated short film "A Love Story," which aims to show how, over time, competition between restaurants has caused food to become increasingly processed and filled with additives -- thus the reason the additives dock you valuable time in the game.


Chick-fil-A bringing back its original barbecue sauce

When the popular Atlanta-based chain replaced its classic barbecue sauce with the smokehouse barbecue sauce, some Chick-fil-A fans were not pleased.

But on Tuesday, the restaurant announced the return of the original sauce.

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"You asked for it, and we listened. The original Barbeque Sauce is coming back," the franchise posted on its website.


After fans' responses on social media, a few petitions against the smokehouse sauce and an all-out grassroots campaign to #BringBacktheBBQ, Chick-fil-A decided the good stuff is finally back.

The original sauce will replace the smokehouse flavor nationwide, Chick-fil-A announced in its Tuesday press release.

"We thought we were introducing a bold, new flavor you would love," the company told consumers. "We heard (your feedback), so we're bringing back the original Barbeque Sauce in November."

Read more at Chick-fil-A.

Chipotle adds chorizo option to menu

Chipotle is now offering chorizo at locations across the country after finding success testing the product at select markets earlier this year.

The offering became widespread in the U.S. starting Oct. 4, National Taco Day.

"The reaction to chorizo in the cities that have had it has been overwhelmingly positive, so we're making it available in all of our restaurants across the country," said Chipotle founder, chairman and co-CEO Steve Ells.

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The fast food chain first tested the meat at Chipotle locations in Kansas City, Missouri; Ohio, New York City, California, Colorado and Washington, D.C.

According to the company, Chipotle's chorizo is made with a blend of pork and white-meat chicken and is seasoned with paprika, toasted cumin and chipotle peppers.

In June 2015, Chipotle's Corporate Chef Nate Appleman told The Kansas City Star that he had been been "beating the drum" for the company to offer chorizo for years.

"It was one of the first things I worked on,"he said. 

Customers can request chorizo in any of the company's burrito, taco, burrito bowl and salad offerings.

"Since we opened the first Chipotle 23 years ago, our menu has changed very little, and our focus has been on constantly improving the quality and taste of the food we serve," Ells said earlier this year. "While we have never been opposed to changing our menu, we only do so when we think there's an opportunity to add something that is really unique but that fits within our overall menu, and where we can find ingredients that meet our high standards."

Chipotle's chorizo has received mixed reviews.

Many customers haven't given rave reviews of the new addition.

One Facebook user called Chipotle's chorizo "disappointing," Business Insider employees called it "chewy" and "mediocre," yet "passable," and Insider described it as "dense and dry."

Other customers were fans of the new addition, calling it "amazing" and "darn good."

Some have described Chipotle's chorizo as "spicy."

Chick-fil-A 'statistically the most polite chain'

Betsi Flores contributed to this report.

Business Insider said Chick-fil-A is "statistically the most polite chain in the restaurant business," after a QSR Magazine report showed positive attributes of customer service at the chicken chain.

The annual drive-thru report, released Monday, showed employees made eye contact with customers 87.9 percent of the time, said "please" 61.8 percent of the time and had a pleasant demeanor 93.9 percent of the time. Employees also smiled 90.9 percent of the time and said "thank you" 95.2 percent of the time.

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The report included data from 15 fast food chains and data from 1,948 visits.

Among the other restaurants included were Arby's, Panera, McDonald's, KFC, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Burger King and Wendy's.

Employees at Chick-fil-A were the most likely of the 15 chains surveyed to say "please" and "thank you" and to smile at drive-thru customers.

The only chain that had workers more likely to have a pleasant demeanor than Chick-fil-A was PDQ, a Tampa-based company known for its chicken tenders. PDQ has locations in less than 10 states.

"It's all about speed and accuracy, but we know our customers appreciate that we can be nice while being fast and accurate," Mark Moraitakis, senior director of hospitality and service design, told QSR. "Eye contact and smiling go a long way in the drive-thru experience."

>> Chick-fil-A to test 5 new menu items, including quinoa bowls, healthy breakfast options

QSR said data was collected and tabulated by SeeLevel HX. 

For each visit to each restaurant, a trained data collection specialist surveyed the drive-thru lane and then entered the line the same as any other customer, QSR reported.

The company said a minor special request was also made with each order, such as requesting beverage with no ice.

Panera's pink-ribbon bagels to raise funds for breast cancer awareness

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Panera Bread Co. is teaming up with local organizations to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.

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During the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the company will sell its signature Pink Ribbon Bagel, a twist on the Cherry Vanilla Bagel, a mix of cherry chips, dried cherries, honey, vanilla and brown sugar. A portion of the proceeds of the Pink Ribbon bagel will be donated to local nonprofits across the country. 

Erin Barnhart, community relations manager for a Panera Bread franchise based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said each participating market has its own breast cancer partners.

"The partner really does make a difference," she said. "We appreciate our local partners, as their support can make all the difference in achieving our goals of building awareness and raising funds for treatment and research."

Panera has more than 1,600 locations in 41 states and the District of Columbia. 

Select markets offer a 100 percent donation day, during which the entirety of that day's sales of Pink Ribbon Bagels is donated to breast cancer focused organizations, according to Panera's website.

In Dayton, Ohio, proceeds will be donated to local nonprofit Pink Ribbon Girls and the Miami Valley Hospital Foundation.

"We make this campaign a priority every year for a reason," said Sam Covelli, owner and operator of Covelli Enterprises, the Ohio-based franchisee of Dayton-area Panera Bread restaurants. "The funds raised by the Pink Ribbon Bagel are helping to save the lives of local women with breast cancer. There's no better feeling than knowing you can help make difference."

Pink Ribbon Girls provide free direct services to patients and their families undergoing breast and other women's reproductive cancer treatment through their programs.

Mikki Clancy, chief operating officer of Miami Valley Hospital, survived breast cancer and said she benefited from the services of Pink Ribbon Girls and the hospital.

"Pink Ribbon Girls and Miami Valley Hospital were a godsend in my treatment and recovery," she said. "Supporting these community assets serves hundreds of local patients in their fight against cancer."

Twelve participating West Virginia area Panera locations will donate to Susan G. Komen West Virginia.

"We are so excited to partner with Panera Bread for the sixth year to raise funds and awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness month," said Donna DeHart, executive director West Virginia Susan G. Komen. "The Pink Ribbon Bagels are always a big hit with our survivors, volunteers, grantees and supporters. Money raised from the October campaign will be used to provide uninsured and under-insured West Virginians with life-saving screenings and awareness."

According to the Panera website, the franchise has raised tens of thousands of dollars for breast cancer partners through Pink Ribbon Bagel campaigns in the past 10 years.

"It's not a hard sell," Barnhart said. "People want to be involved in whatever way they can. That's what's so great about the Pink Ribbon Bagel. People might say, 'I can't write a check, but I can buy a bagel.'"


Here's why Chipotle doesn't sell queso

Moe's, Willy's, Barberito's, Chipotle and Qdoba all offer similar items -- menus laden with burrito products and other Tex-Mex options.

But one of those is not like the other. 

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Chipotle differs from the other restaurants in that it does not sell cheese dip. 

And many customers aren't happy about it.

So why not sell the liquid gold?

A video released by the fast food chain says that the company stands by producing "food with integrity" and that queso, which has to be made with "artificial stabilizers" to keep the cheese in liquid form, does not fall under the chain's quality standards.

"Ever head of all natural liquid goopey cheese?" a faux marketing representative asks in the video. "Do you think there's a cow that squirts queso out of its udders?"

link at the end of the video offers viewers to read more information about Chipotle's dairy standards.

Chemical stabilizers are needed to keep cheese at a semi-liquid state for queso and to prevent it from becoming too thin or too thick. Artificial colors are often added as well. 

"Queso is something that we do get requests for from time to time, but it's very difficult to do it in a way that is consistent with our food philosophy," Chris Arnold, Chipotle's communications director, told MUNCHIES in June. "To make queso in a way that is stable on the service line pretty much requires artificial ingredients (such as stabilizers to keep its consistency). That's just not what we do."

Chipotle offering freebies to win back customers

In an effort to regain customers after declining sales and a hard hit to the company's reputation, Chipotle is offering deals that appeal to students and families.

>> Read more trending stories  

The first deal appeals to parents, who can receive a free kids' meal with the purchase of an adult entree. The deal is only valid on Sundays in September.

A second promotion allows high school and college students to receive a free drink with the purchase of an entree if they show a valid school ID.

"It's back to school time and students -- particularly high school and college students -- have always been such loyal customers, so we thought a promotion directed specifically to them would be a great way to help them ring in a new school year," a Chipotle spokesman said.

The company's Chiptopia loyalty program promotion, which awards free food and merchandise when customers achieve a certain amount of points, lasts until Sept. 30.

Chick-fil-A to test 5 new menu items, including quinoa bowls, healthy breakfast options

Chicken chain Chick-fil-A will introduce new, healthy items to its menu, including quinoa grain bowls and a protein smoothie.

>> Read more trending stories 

Two new items will hit test markets across the country on Monday.

The first of many new options to hit select menus are the Harvest Kale and Grain Bowl and the Egg White Grill Grain Bowl.

The Harvest Kale & Grain Bowl features a hearty blend of red quinoa, white quinoa and farro, roasted butternut squash and diced apples on a bed of chopped kale, according to a Chick-fil-A press release. It is topped with a goat and feta cheese blend and tart dried cherries, served with a blend of roasted nuts and a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 

The Egg White Grill Grain Bowl includes the same grain blend of red quinoa, white quinoa and farro, plus scrambled egg whites, grilled chicken and a Monterey jack and cheddar cheese blend.

"While we will always serve the classic menu items we're known for, we are also excited to try new ingredients that we hope will satisfy our customers' requests and allow us to stay on-top of new flavor trends," said David Farmer, vice president of menu strategy and development. "Our new Harvest Kale & Grain Bowl and Egg White Grill Grain Bowl are nutritious, hearty options for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We hope customers in the test markets think they're delicious; we can't wait to find out what they think to help determine if these items should be added to menus nationwide."

The Egg White Grill Grain Bowl and the Harvest Kale & Grain Bowl will be offered at participating restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Tampa, Florida, and Huntsville, Alabama.

Three other breakfast items will be offered at Chick-fil-A locations in New York, New Jersey, San Diego, Columbia, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. later this year.

The Hash Brown Scramble, which can be served in either a bowl or as a burrito, the Egg White Grill Bowl and the Berry Protein Blend breakfast smoothie will be offered for a limited time during breakfast hours this fall. 

The Hash Brown Scramble includes Chick-fil-A Hash Browns, scrambled eggs, a Monterey Jack cheddar cheese blend and a choice of sliced Chick-fil-A Nuggets or sausage. It is served with jalapeño salsa. 

The Egg White Grill Bowl contains freshly scrambled egg whites, a Monterey Jack cheddar cheese blend and sliced grilled chicken. It is also served with jalapeño salsa. 

The Berry Protein Blend is a breakfast beverage made with chia seeds, ancient grains, mixed berries and yogurt. It is handspun with a small amount of Chick-fil-A's Icedream ice cream and topped with granola. 

"More people are eating breakfast away from home, and we want to meet the needs of our guests by providing breakfast options that span a variety of nutritional needs, tastes and ingredients," Matt Abercrombie, senior consultant of menu development, said in a press release. "In addition to our classic breakfast offerings our customers know and love, like our Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit or Chick-n-Minis, we're excited to offer three new breakfast items for our customers to try and help us determine whether or not we launch them nationwide."

In July, Chick-fil-A introduced the Egg White Grill, a lower-calorie a breakfast sandwich comprised of egg whites and cheese on an English muffin. It replaced the spicy chicken biscuit. Customers can also order the Chicken Egg & Cheese breakfast sandwich on the newly added English muffin.

A breakfast packed with 25g of protein and only 300 calories. #NotThatCrazy A photo posted by Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@chickfila) on Aug 1, 2016 at 7:12am PDT

The company also altered its sauce flavors earlier this year.

Read more at Chick-fil-A.

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