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McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Marks Plan to ‘Refocus on Core’

McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Marks Plan to ‘Refocus on Core’


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After a year of unsuccessful novelty products, McDonald's will refocus on fan favorites

Jane Bruce

The new Bacon Clubhouse from McDonald's is the first menu item to include special sauce since the Big Mac.

After a year of experimental menu tweaking led to a 0.2 percent drop in same-store sales across the U.S., Bloomberg Businessweek reports that McDonald’s will be taking a different approach to menu innovation in 2014. Last year, McDonald’s introduced such short-lived items like the Fish McBites, McWraps, and Mighty Wings, which had quite a mighty fall.

The year of unsuccessful menu additions has seemingly encouraged McDonald’s to go in a different direction: back to basics. The newest permanent menu item, which McDonald’s announced on Snapchat with the help of Lebron James, is the Bacon Clubhouse, now available in chicken or beef.

It’s the first burger to be topped with McDonald’s special sauce since the Big Mac, and Businessweek notes that one happy eater hailed it has “the most satisfying burger I’ve ever had from McDonald’s." The Daily Meal taste test panel was also pleased with the burger's artisan roll and the generous serving of special sauce.

While the company forges ahead in its millennial-oriented social media campaign, it is also turning its attention to the classic menu, with fan favorites like the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Chicken McNuggets, as well as a more detailed breakfast menu.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.


Chili's Nacho Burger

This hack includes recipes for popular garnishes and sides offered at Chili's: Chili's Chili Queso, Chili's Pico de Gallo, and Chili's Guacamole. Now, in this one recipe, you'll learn how to clone all three components from scratch. You then pile everything on a hamburger with some jalapenos, crunchy tortilla chips and chopped green onion, and serve it open-faced with extra guacamole and queso on the side.

This recipe is available in

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Pico de Gallo
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and de-ribbed
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lime
Guacamole
  • 1 large Hass avocado
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon diced jalapeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Chili Queso
  • 1 16-ounce box Velveeta Cheese
  • 1 15-ounce can Hormel Chili (no beans)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
_main
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 large sesame seed buns
  • 2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 16-20 tortilla chips
  • 2-3 fresh jalapenos, sliced

1. First make the pico de gallo by combining all of the ingredients for the pico in a small bowl. Cover the bowl and chill it in the refrigerator.

2. Make the guacamole by smashing up the avocado in a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients for the guacamole to the avocado and mix well. Cover the bowl and chill it in the refrigerator, next to the pico.

3. Make the chili queso by cutting the Velveeta into cubes. Combine the cheese with the remaining queso ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until the cheese melts, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Build the burgers by pre-heating a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat. Lightly butter the face of each bun and brown the buns face-down on the heat.

5. Separate the ground beef into four 1/4-pound portions. Roll each portion of meat into a ball and then pat the meat down into a circular patty slightly larger in diameter than the hamburger buns. Cook the hamburger patties for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until done. Lightly salt and pepper each burger patty.

6. Build each burger open-faced in the following order starting with the bottom bun:

On Bottom Bun
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
cooked hamburger patty
2 tablespoons chili queso
4 or 5 crumbled tortilla chips
2 teaspoons chopped green onion

On Top Bun
1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pico de gallo
2 tablespoons guacamole
4 jalapeno slices

Serve the burgers with extra chili queso and guacamole on the side.

There are no reviews for this product yet.


Laugh lines are sexy.

What matters is the person you are, the person you intend to be, it is the joy you share with the world and what you give back that creates your beauty. No one is physically perfect, but we can have confidence in who we are to bring out the best in ourselves. If you don’t believe it, who should?

My favorite pictures of anyone are the guttural laughter showing pure joy. Joy is a must have. And the laugh lines they produce are the marks of someone who has enjoyed life. It is happiness and health that radiates from the inside out. Because when you strive for wellness, it is then your skin clears, your bloating diminishes, your hormones balance to an emotional ideal and the true, best you shines forth.


Aldi trolls M&S over Colin Caterpillar legal case by mocking slogan

A legal dispute between Aldi and Marks & Spencer over Colin the Caterpillar cakes has spilled out of the courtroom and on to social media.

M&S launched legal action against the supermarket rival Aldi in an effort to protect its Colin the Caterpillar cake with a claim that its rival’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar product is so similar it infringes its trademark.

And Aldi has now doubled-down on its alleged M&S imitation by paraphrasing one of the retailer&aposs advertising slogans.

M&S, which lodged an intellectual property claim with the High Court this week, is arguing the similarity of Aldi’s product leads consumers to believe they are of the same standard and “ride on the coat-tails” of M&S’s reputation with the product.

The M&S original has spawned a range of imitators since its launch, such as Sainsbury’s Wiggles, Tesco’s Curly, Morris by Morrisons, the Co-op’s Charlie, Cecil by Waitrose and Asda’s Clyde.

But M&S wants Aldi to remove its product from sale and agree not to sell anything similar in the future. It is understood Aldi’s cake is a seasonal product and has not been on sale since February.

A spokesman said: “Because we know the M&S brand is special to our customers and they expect only the very best from us, love and care goes into every M&S product on our shelves.

“We want to protect Colin, Connie and our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value.”

Aldi initially declined to comment - but has now responded to an M&S insta post on the issue, , reported the Liverpool Echo.

M&S said: "You might have seen Colin the Caterpillar is in the news. Colin won’t be commenting, but says thanks for your support."

In a cheeky twitter retort, that paraphrases a famous M&S advertising slogan, Aldi said: "This is not just any court case, this is. #FreeCuthbert," said Aldi on Twitter.

Aldi&aposs reply has been liked more than 24,000 times - but not all of its followers are backing the German retailer.

One said: "It’s not just about #colinthecaterpillar! Aldi and similar base their labels and products on knock offs of Brands.

"The brands spend huge amounts on marketing and years of perfecting recipes with QUALITY ingredients! Aldi. then offer **** imitations."

Another said: "Hey, why don’t you come up with your own designs rather always ripping off other peoples hard work?

"Not only do you copy big brands but you rip off small businesses and entrepreneurs ideas and products too. You’re not even that cheap and half your rip off copies are **** too."


Questions and Answers:

Thank you. (Operator Instructions). Our first question is from Eric Gonzalez with KeyBanc.

Eric Gonzalez -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Hey, thanks for taking my question. My question is really the traffic trends in the US. I was wondering how US traffic trended through the quarter and specifically, to what extent the speed of service competition introduced mid quarter helped improve the traffic trajectory. And is the benefit from Drive Thru competition sustainable or does it fall off when the incentive goes away. Thanks .

Mike Cieplak -- Senior Vice President and Investor Relations Officer

Yeah Eric. I'll start with traffic. So we said traffic was negative in the US. I guess, I'd say it's in line with kind of where it's been in the last few quarters, no significant change in trend as far as the overall traffic number. Now, Steve will join to talk about the competitions in the trends there.

Steve Easterbrook -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, absolutely, I think, I mean just to put the context around why we are focusing on this. As you can imagine the last probably 12 to 18 months that had been -- the majority of the focus had been on the in restaurant dining experience, as we were rapidly rolling out to experience the future. We are focusing on kitchen procedures, we rolled out fresh beef quarter-pounders, for example and we just tell, this is the right time, given a lot of that disruptive activity has -- we worked our way through that now, we get back to the basics of focusing on running better restaurants. So we've decided to kick off with a focus on Drive Thru during the peak hours of breakfast, which was clearly an opportunity for us. And yeah, we managed to reduce service times, which was really encouraging. It was a later start in the quarter, but certainly the enthusiasm and the kind of -- competitions was great.

So we're going to continue with a series of these throughout this year. And certainly having been in the field in Miami and Fort Myers toward the end of the quarter I was in Atlanta and (inaudible) quarter. Certainly the conversation among our field leadership and owner operators is they're excited about having a clean run at 2019 because we can really can't just focus the manages the crew at all of our attention, just that the fundamentals of running great restaurants.

So encouraged by the starts policies and Drive True service time decreases. We did see decreases in service time in the US in the quarter. And it's not just the US by the way, this is a global focus that we had a start of the year meeting with all of the Managing Directors of our major markets. And now we are seeing some remarkable results in countries like Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, anywhere between 20 and 40 seconds that taken off the Drive Thru service times but if you're just within that quarter. So I'm just really, I guess I just want to express there is an organizational enthusiasm around this and it's great to being get into these, what's the conversation with each other because this is what we enjoy and this is what we are good at, but we want to get better at.

Our next question is from Andrew Charles with Cowen.

Andrew Charles -- Cowen -- Analyst

Great, thank you. I have two separate questions. Steve, it's been very clear since the February franchisee your leadership council election, there is better alignment in the US system between you and the operators and that's definitely evidenced in part by 1Q's improvement in sales. After the EOTF CapEx contribution of 55% was extended November by one year from 2019 to 2020, how sacrosanct is keeping that 2020 deadline for the elevated CapEx contribution to help build on the momentum of improved relations.

And then Kevin a separate question for you. You previously guided that the EOTF benefit the comps was more likely to be a second half 2019 benefit. You know, kudos to obviously for the benefit in 1Q, but can you talk about why the first quarter did impact benefit from net remodels beyond conservatism, the guidance and if you can also quantify the 1Q contribution for EOTF that'd be helpful as well. Thanks.

Steve Easterbrook -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I'll take the first couple of those questions, because I think there was a third and a fourth part. But I don't know (inaudible), is -- it's been a really constructive quarter. Again, just to provide the context, I think there were full -- I often say, there were full differentiating advantages that McDonald's has over anyone else in our sector. Geographic spread, I think, is one of those, which makes it incredibly resilient. You know, just the iconic brand that differentiated for us. Our financial strength both at a restaurant level, organizational level as well. (inaudible) prices and just having constructive relations with the overall prices and our market leadership is always listed in the stronger position. So, with the newly elected leadership with the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance, there's been really constructive dialog about how do we remove any barriers to growth, so we don't get off, to what we want to just serving more customers and more often.

So it's been a good quarter. I think there has been really constructive dialog everything from unlocking one or two of the opportunities that we can get after the McDelivery opportunity more so. As well as now the local co-ops are begin to invest a little bit more of our marketing spend on a local basis, rather than national. And again to put that into context, certainly the vast majority of our marketing spend in quarter one last year was national as we launched the $1 42 $3 menu. We've actually now swung to a little bit more of an equal balance certainly in this first quarter as we go behind low -- local value and local breakfast support as well. So I think all these things are helping, just get the right balance in how we leverage our scale, but also recognize the local differences as you go around the country.

With regards to EOTF, we did want to ease just some of the financial and any of the concerns operators had around the financial burden of the rapid roll out. So we offered an extra couple of years at a slightly lower supported level, pretty much more on typical support level. But the heightened support in the US through 2020. That just gave each and every owner operator an opportunity just to what we would call level load their projects, if they felt there is going to be too much of a pinch, too much pressure on their balance sheets through ཏ and ཐ.

I guess what's been interesting is, the operators have really appreciated that option, but the majority are still choosing to (inaudible) EOTF projects by 2020. So I would say that we would still expect to be substantially complete by the end of 2020. But those who felt they need a little bit longer have appreciated that opportunity and will support them in that as well. But it will be at the reduced level, probably because you know, by the time we get to 2021 and 2022, we're going to have other ways to other case on our investments support that we think will be better for the long-term business.

Kevin Ozan -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

And then I'll talk the EOTF benefit that you mentioned, Andrew. We were saying we expected it to turn around mid-year 2019. I guess I'll say there was a little bit of conservatism in that. But we also have been able to reduce our downtime on projects as we've gotten into 2019. I think last year, I talked about that there were a few things we were looking at. One, to be able to reduce downtime a little bit. And two to be able to have kind of grand reopening plan so that when restaurants came back up, they were able to recover the sales quicker. And we've done a little bit better job on each of those.

And so the fact that we had about 400 projects in the US now in the first quarter, and having all those projects that were completed in 2018, certainly made it a net positive as we got into the first quarter. We would expect that net positive to continue now on going for the rest of the year. We don't want to quantify each quarter's benefit because we don't want to get into a quarter-by-quarter benefit, effectively built into now our ongoing business. But we do expect that to continue for the rest of the year now.

Steve Easterbrook -- President and Chief Executive Officer

But just to add on to -- again just to emphasize the remarkable speed with which we completed projects in 2018 was clearly incredibly hard work. But what it means is now, as we turned into this year, you've got more than 50-50 chance of visiting a modern looking McDonald's that represents the direction we're heading into as opposed to reflecting on the past. So we're over the halfway mark , which is we have noticed from other markets around the world. Once you cross that kind of 50% as I say, just from an everyday customer experience, as more challenging when we go into a great looking McDonald's restaurant, where the service experience is smoother, the technology is more supportive in helping you through all that. So we feel good about where we're at and we still completed this 400 projects this quarter. So it still feel a lot rough to good start this year.

Unidentified Speaker --

Our next question is from John Glass with Morgan Stanley.

John Glass -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Thanks, and thanks for sharing the news on Jeff is that as it is. The -- my question is, a couple of things. One is, Kevin is there a way to think about margins in the US and how they progress last year margins step down in the back half due to some of the EOTF impacts. Is that -- so should we think about it is that pressure eases in the back half or do you think about this is the new run rate for US margins. That's question number one.

And then two, you did take up your G&A, and I understand why this year. Is this the right new base level to run G&A at then in that kind of grows from this new -- I don't know, whatever it is $2.2 billion level if that's where it ends up in 2019.

Kevin Ozan -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Okay. John, I'll take both of those. I assume when you say margin we're talking about the company-operated margins on the US sites. I'll talk about, I guess, well, maybe I'll talk about this I wasn't sure actually. On the company-operated side, we have a few things going on as you know. Commodity costs were up about 3% in the first quarter. We've said that will be about 2 to 3 for the year, so that should get a little bit better as the year goes on, but not using (inaudible). The other things that we do have, as we went into this year, we talked about depreciation from the company-operated EOTF projects is being about $15 million for the year. So obviously, about a quarter of that is going to hit each quarter.

And then certainly kind of wage pressures are going to continue to impact us. I'd say the one piece where there is some opportunity going forward is on labor productivity side. There are two things right now that are negatively impacting or have been negatively impacting labor productivity, one being the EOTF projects that we've had and so as those company operated projects start winding down, that should help some of our productivity. We will finish all of the company-operated EOTF projects this year. So that will be a help as we move forward.

And the other is the fact that guest counts are still negative. With negative guest counts that does create a challenge, just from the labor productivity side. And so I think if once we're able to turn guest counts positive that will help the labor productivity side also. The other thing I would just note, I guess, is the Company-operated comp sales are a little bit lower than our overall comp sales. And so the four and a half that we reported for the US based on where we run our Company-operated restaurants and the challenging geographies there, we haven't actually achieved that-we didnt acheive that four and a half on the Company-operated side. That put a little bit more pressure on the Company operated margins also.

The plus of that is, I know you guys often look at Company-operated margins as a proxy, if you will, for how the franchisees are doing. The franchisees cash flow has been up every month for the last five months through March. So that's a big positive from our franchisees side, as you know with -- us running about 95% franchised in the US, that's really important for our business and so that's a big positive.

And the franchise margin side there's two things that impacted our franchise margin percentage this quarter. One is the EOTF depreciation, again, we talked about it as we entered the year, there's about a $100 million of pressure from EOTF depreciation on the franchise margins. So again about a quarter of that hits (ph) each quarter. Second is the change in the way we present sublease income and expense as a result of the new lease standard. So that impacted US franchise margins by about 130 basis points. It doesn't impact the dollars, because the offset to that is revenue. So effectively, there's about $20 million or so that we now just grows up revenue and grows up franchise costs but it does reduce that franchise margin percentage if you work through the math.

So those are the margins. On the G&A side, we talked about, and I mentioned in my script obviously, two things are impacting G&A this year. The biggest one obviously is the acquisition of Dynamic Yield. Along with that though, we have also started investing in some R&D and a few other areas of technology and the combination of those is what has caused our revision in guidance. The plus is over the last few years, we have saved on a gross basis over $600 million and so we reduced the amount of kind of maintenance run the day-to-day business G&A and now we are investing a bigger percentage of our G&A in growth based G&A.

Moving forward, the way we think about G&A is it should be roughly around 2% of systemwide sales or so. So that's the way we think of it on a go-forward basis.

Andrew Charles -- Cowen -- Analyst

And John, I just wanted to thank -- give you comments on Jeff. I know many of you on this call were at time -- time with Jeff-- I was honored to attend the funeral Mass yesterday, but the occasion was an absolute testament to the memory and the celebrational, all that Jeff contributed to life in general, all of our lives and just as a reflection on just the way that we believe in the uniqueness of the McDonald's family, the turnout of owner-operators, suppliers and colleagues, past and present was just absolutely enormous yesterday and again speaks to the three-legged stool and the impact Jeff had. So thank you for your comment on that, appreciate it.

Our next question is from Matt DiFrisco with Guggenheim.

Matthew DiFrisco -- Guggenheim -- Analyst

Thank you. Can you guys speak to a little bit on the delivery side, I'm just looking at how much perhaps was from that 3 billion incremental stemming from the US? I'm trying to figure out the percentage, but you're doing in delivering now I know, last time we spoke I think it was still coming in around 70% incremental. I'm wondering if that rate has come down a little bit because obviously the comp was very strong. I'm just curious, though if it's around that almost 10% level or so or $1 billion of your system sales, that -- perhaps that's, -- is that the majority of the comp and is the incrementality maybe slowing a little bit from that 70% level?

Mike Cieplak -- Senior Vice President and Investor Relations Officer

Thanks, Matt. So again broader commentary on delivery. We certainly have been finding in these initial first couple of years that majority of that business is incremental and the growth and even the year-on-year growth once we have got it established is really driven by raising consumer awareness. And then just getting more people familiar with the fact that we offer delivery in the first place that incrementality stays strong. It's probably fair to say that we got a quicker lead on delivery in many of our international and maturity national markets, the likes of UK, Australia, France, Canada and a number of our mid-sized markets, doing some pretty strong numbers as well with Netherlands and Belgium and Spain and Italy.

So they are now actually beginning to comp themselves and not only we are adding new restaurants as the third-party operators expand their networks, but we're also beginning to get the year-on-year comp on delivery as well. So we can track that and we are getting some really, really encouraging numbers as we get into that second year. So even those that came out of the traps really, really strong. We're getting comp delivery growth as well as adding new incremental restaurants which is great.

It's fair to say we had a slightly slower start in the US. So it's begun to contribute to the comp as we worked our way through ཎ but not in a particularly significant fashion. But as we've been working with Uber Eats in particular on coverage and trying to get as competitive a deal that both supports the partnership with deliveries but also helps the unit economics for our owner operators, we believe that we are on the verge of unlocking some of that delivering potential more (ph) within the US. So while we have a good number of restaurants upon delivery in the US, the actual guest counts per restaurant per day is still some way behind elsewhere in the world, but we are confident that we are going to more rapidly, pick up the pace and I think you can expect to see as we get a critical mass on our system, more marketing support behind it, so that we can raise consumer awareness and certainly the owner operator support will be noticable because I know they feel we have a great series of conversations through this quarter and we made it more economically exciting for them to [inaudible] their delivery business as well as their traditional business.

So we feel we're in a good place. From a $3 billion business to date, we still think there is substantial growth opportunity ahead, i am not going to show you, from a global perspective as well as drive-through service times being one of the KPIs I personally have chosen to lead through this year. i am really maximizing this delivery opportunity is another one as well. So we've got great level of focus on it and certainly excited that the US system has got a renewed vigor behind that as well.

Andrew Charles -- Cowen -- Analyst

And so, just to confirm delivery was not the majority of the comp in the US.

Matthew DiFrisco -- Guggenheim -- Analyst

Our next question is from Brian Bittner with Oppenheimer.

Brian Bittner -- Oppenheimer -- Analyst

Thank you. Stephen, in previous quarters you've talked about how your breakfast business in the US has been a drag on the US comp. The question is that this daypart (ph) show a meaningful improvement as we went into the first quarter, did it contribute meaningfully to the overall improving trends in the US. So, any color on breakfast will be great. And Kevin, you talked about the costs on the food basket in the US going from one to two to two to three, can you just give us some more color on what drove that change in your expectations?

Steve Easterbrook -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So, breakfast was a meaningful contributor. I wouldn't say it is a majority contributor but it was a meaningful positive contribution to like-for-like sales in the quarter, which is, yeah, clearly an encouraging reversal of the previous trends that we had acknowledged. We are still in the market share fight overall because there are more and more people offering breakfast as a competitive place but certainly to get back on to that growth trajectory is encouraging.

The other piece I would say is it really wasn't until back end of the quarter, that the shift from national to local marketing dollars really begun to take effect. See that was a decision that was made toward the end of quarter four. So it takes you certainly a couple of months to adjust media buying plans, marketing plans as well. So I think we feel encouraged. I know that the focus on just the rush on operation and in particular the drive through played a positive role in that. Introducing new menu item news like the Donut Sticks further supporting the McCafe investments we've made. They all started to contribute to that sort of operations, menu items and media [inaudible] marketing.

So I think it was a strong start to the year, but we still got more work to do. We really want to be taking share back at that important daypart for us.

Kevin Ozan -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

And then, Brian, related to the change in commodity guidance for the year from one to two to two to three, the biggest change is due to an increase -- expected increase in pork prices a little bit and beef being a little bit higher than we originally anticipated, but most of it is related to pork prices.

Our next question is from David Tarantino with Baird.

David Tarantino -- Baird -- Analyst

Hi, good morning and congrats on a great start to the year. My questions on the US comp and the average check growth in the US, I think if I heard Kevin correctly, the traffic trend didn't change much from Q4 to Q1 which suggests the check growth did accelerate. So I guess the two parts to my question are one-do I have that right. And then secondly, what drove that and what do you think the sustainability of that high check growth is in the US? Thanks.

Andrew Charles -- Cowen -- Analyst

I will have the first out of that one, David. So, yes, average check growth helps cover up a -- still think the continuing decline that we recognize in guest counts. So the average check growth is strong. Clearly what we do is drill into that and see where is that growth coming from and it's a combination between product mix shifts and pricing and what I think is encouraging for us is that the product mix shifts, which is how many items in the bundle, and also what people are choosing to buy outweighs the pricing impact.

You don't want the pricing to get too far away and Kevin may want to talk about our pricing levels, but if you think about the product mix shift, whether that was -- as we grow the delivery business, for example, the average check is 1.5 times to 2 times that of a traditional in restaurants average check, so that will naturally help to skew the average check higher. As we continue to build customers using the self-order kiosks we tend to get a higher average check because people dwell a little longer in the self order kiosks. And then you have got some of the menu items what we've done in terms of maybe simple things just like adding bacon, the bacon promotion through Big Mac on their quarter pounders, how we just grow average check a little as well.

So all these activities that we've invested in or that we've built have helped grow the product mix shift overall.

So I'm encouraged because you don't want the pricing element to be overly dominant in this year, particularly when customers are still feeling the pinch a little bit. But I believe it's combination of many of the actions that we've taken have actually started to produce a healthy growth in average check. And that is what I think -- we feel [inaudible] can be more sustainable.

Kevin Ozan -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

That covered everything I was going to say. So I don't have anything else to add.

Our next question is from Jeff Bernstein with Barclays.

Jeffrey Bernstein -- Barclays -- Analyst

Great, thank you very much. Maybe two-part question on US profitability. The first on the labor inflation. Wondering if you can give any kind of color, similar to what you gave on commodities in terms of the basket and how much of it is statutory versus market pressure and how you are suggesting the franchisees absorb that? Which kind of feeds into the other question which is just you mentioned franchisee profitability is now up five, I believe consecutive months. Just wondering if you'd opine on what you think the outlook is for 2019 and whether there's any initiatives you've offered in terms of how to better protect against that labor inflation and the rising costs you just mentioned. Thank you.

Kevin Ozan -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, I'll start. There were 20 or 21 states that increased wages I think at the beginning of the year. So that's certainly has an impact on wage rates throughout the year. As you know we set wages for the company-operated. Obviously the franchisees each of their -- they make their own decisions related to wage rates. It depends where in the country as far as what the rates are and how competitive it is with other key competitors around there. So, but it is fair to say that I think labor inflation is going to continue to be a challenge.

We will continue to look for ways to be as efficient as we can in our restaurant operations to try and help mitigate any of that inflation. But I think that's going to be a continuing challenge for us in the industry. So I guess I'd leave it at that.

Andrew Charles -- Cowen -- Analyst

The other thing I would add that clearly, I mean our average starting wage now in company-owned restaurants is now more than $10 an hour. So what if we don't collect that data for our own prices. I think it's reasonable to believe that would be a similar-ish number. And clearly, both of those are well above the federal minimum. So as Kevin says, the labor cost is going up certainly far higher than any typical rate of inflation.

So that's something we're very mindful of and yeah we work with owner-operators to help each other just to run the businesses efficiently and effectively as we can. The best thing we can possibly do is grow the top line. That's the best way of resolving any of these cost increases and just make sure that we don't pass any of the impact of that in a negative way to the customers.

We still want to just start the restaurants fully and appropriately. So we are going to up the experience that customers expect from us.

Our next question is from Nicole Miller Regan with Piper Jaffray.

Nicole Miller Regan -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Thank you. Good morning. I wanted to ask about driving delivery orders to McDonald's app and where are you in that process and how is it going, and what are you learning? And I was curious about the economics of it. So clearly there is value in getting the customer data and owning that customer more or less versus the marketplace. That is more of a value customer in that the economics are similar or are the economics still superior just because you don't have to pay the fees to the marketplace? Thank you.

Andrew Charles -- Cowen -- Analyst

i will go. So yes, we ultimately really want to be able to offer customers two ways of ordering [inaudible] through the delivery. One would be through directly through the third-party operator, which is currently how they do. The other opportunity we do is integrate it into our global mobile app. We believe we are making good progress. Also there's a fair bit of technology work that has to go on to integrate it and we believe we are going to be in a position where customers in the US will be able to access it through back-end of quarter three this year. And as you say, part of what's important and that is that, yeah, while protecting al kind of necessary privacy concerns clearly, we will be able to gather more customer data begin to build up the better nderstanding of customers behaviors.

We are kind of sort of segways into part of what we're trying to do with our technology foundation here overall. If you think about lot of the investments we and our owner-operator made in the last two or three years, whether it's in developing the app, self order kiosks, digital menu boards both in-store and drive through, we are now beginning to be at the earliest stages of connecting that technology ecosystem. And why that's important is, it will allow us to better understand our customers and how they choose to experience McDonald's and that's where introducing Dynamic Yield for example will provide us with a great opportunity to smooth the experience for customers in the drive through regardless of whether we know you or not, but certainly as we start to build on this platform, customers will choose to actually share their identity with us. We can be even more useful to pulling up their favorites, maybe buidling up some form of loyalty or reward for it.

So there's a number of different things that we can do that will further not just sort modernize the experience but personalise the experience for the customers and certainly with McDelivery being something that we can only ever see grow integrating that into our technology, our own technology ecosystem is important moving forward and we are certainly having really healthy and constructive discussions with Uber about how we can get that done and making sure that we still protect the privacy of customers who-becuase we know how important that is for people.

Our next question is from Jake Bartlett with SunTrust.

Jake Bartlett -- SunTrust -- Analyst

Great, thanks for taking the question. Steve, I'm wondering how the promotions in the first quarter in the US in how they did inform your approach going forward. Looks like the bacon event was successful driving some more premium traffic or driving some check. But you also have a negative

traffic and that's something that you've wanted to avoid or you talked about avoiding. So going forward is the switch back to the 2 for 5, is that an indication that you want to refocus more on traffic? How much does the success of the Bacon event give you confidence in premium innovation for the remainder of the year?

Steve Easterbrook -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good question, Jake. I mean this is the continual balancing act or juggling act that we always have in McDonald's and US is no different to any other market in the world. How do you create new news to just continue to be in top of mind for customers. However, not make it so complex that it starts to be a challenge for our teams in the restaurants, and therefore adversely impact customers. So what we've enjoyed about the success of the activity in the US was it was building up on our core menu. So when you can start to use ingredients we already have in our restaurants, our menu items our current managers are very familiar with preparing. It really is a seamless activity, and it doesn't mean we are always (inaudible) to that, it's something new menu news and every now and then you probably read the occasional (inaudible) about one or two things we have got planned in the US in the coming months. There will be new menu news but maybe limited time offers, just to create a bit of a buzz, a bit of excitement.

And our regular customers like trying something different every now and then. But then typically revert back to what they know, what they like. So we are kind of trying to get that balance right between simplify -- further simplifying the restaurant operation. Again you probably read a couple of things we're doing to help make it easy for our teams to get things right in the restaurants. We're taking a good look at the overnight menu and whether that was overly complex and then most of our restaurants were already running a somewhat more limited menu overnight, for us formalizing that [inaudible] guard rails around that, I think it's smart and will benefit our customers at that time of day.

But we would also look at the premium items we have like the signature crafted [inaudible] whether the additional complex? (Technical Difficulty from 1:02:26 to 1:02:37) We've lived with it for 60 odd years and certainly in every single market we look at around the world does the same thing. It's way around, I would, also just like to speak to some of the facilities we have here, which actually helps our teams in the market. We have the innovation center here, which as you know is effectively a very sophisticated test kitchen, where we can run our marketing programs through those kitchens and actually almost do a role play as to what would happen in the peak hours given a particular type of customer arrival rate in any market in the world. And actually see whether the complexity ort of derails the operations. And I can tell you that facility has never been used as widely and fully as it is now. We've probably got 20-30 markets that will go through that each and every year to validate that operationally, we can cook with the exciting marketing and promotional plans that are being built.

So we'll continuously post to it, feel good about the -- and I just feel good about the compensation in the US, the lot of the focus is on running the restaurants and just trying to get better day-in, day-out more consistent, and I think customers will notice the difference.

As we near the top area of time for one more question from Greg Frankfurt with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Greg Frankfurt -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Hey guys, thanks for the question. The first was, I think you guys usually give your gap to competitors in the US. I'm curious what that was during the quarter. And then maybe a bigger picture question, one of your biggest competitors is implementing a plant-based product and from what we hear it's gone pretty well. And I'm curious how you think about plant-based products fitting into McDonald's offerings, and whether or not that, I mean that would be too much complexity that. I'm just curious for your overall thoughts on that sort of sleeve of products and outfits in the McDonald's?

Kevin Ozan -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. I'll now cover the comp-GAAP and then I'll let Steve talk about the plant based protein. I think we've made a decision not to keep talking about the comp-GAAP, every quarter. We feel really good about our obviously start to the year in our first quarter. Some of the competition obviously reported, their comps already, others will do so over the next several days. But what we will talk to our performance and let others talk to the overall industry. So we won't be sharing that. I will tell you it was certainly positive this quarter. So we're not ceasing it or stopping because there was any issue or, because it was negative, it was clearly positive this quarter but we have just decided not to give that number every quarter going forward.

Steve Easterbrook -- President and Chief Executive Officer

And on the plant-based question, our many teams are paying closer attention to it. So when you cover-the key for us is to identify the sustaining consumer trends. So whether you look a veganism

and when you look at the plant based protein opportunities, what we do have to weigh up and you just mentioned, there is -- is there an additional complexity. And if there is, is that complexity worth it. So we'll stay close to consumer demand, I certainly now our teams there are paying close attention and discussing this among each other and with some of the options that are out there. So maybe more to come, but nothing much to say about in the moment.

Andrew Charles -- Cowen -- Analyst

Great. Thank you. Steven, Kevin, and thank you everyone for joining our call today. Have a good day.

This concludes McDonald's Corporation Investor Conference Call.

Duration: 61 minutes


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Notable Philadelphia Diners

Trolley Car Diner, 7619 Germantown Avenue

The Trolley Car Diner represents Ken Weinstein’s support for Mt. Airy’s continued revival. Just don’t ask him when the actual trolleys will return to the tracks on Germantown Avenue.

The real estate developer Ken Weinstein loves Germantown Avenue. Given the extent of his investments along the corridor, I don’t think you’ll find anyone who has made a bigger bet on its comeback.

In 2000, he openly declared that love when he slipped on its finger one shiny gem in the form of a stainless-steel clad diner trucked in from Wilkes-Barre. The Trolley Car Diner was built by the Mountain View Diner Company of Signac, New Jersey, which seemed to do extremely well selling diners in the Wyoming Valley up into the Binghamton, New York area. You can still find at least a half-dozen examples of their diners built between 1948 and 1954.

Joe Palooka’s sports bar was to serve as one of several attractions in an ambitious heritage tourist development in Wilkes-Barre called Market Square that included the Lehigh Valley train depot, the Stegmaier brewery, a nightclub, and a collection of Pullman sleeper cars repurposed as a hotel. It all shuttered by late 1999.

The story of how the Trolley Car came to Mount Airy begins with a few too many beers. Weinstein and his then-partner Bob Elfant brainstormed an idea to bring a family-style restaurant to the former Roy Rogers location on Germantown. In 1998, with diners at the peak of their resurgence, Ken tossed the idea into mix, and the hunt commenced.

Weinstein and his wife traveled all over the northeast checking on leads for available diners, settling on Palooka’s days if not hours before the diner’s owner planned to bulldoze it. In fact, when they arrived at the site, it was cordoned off with temporary fencing. The city had already issued the demo permit.

In excellent condition, Weinstein had little restorative work to do, but he nevertheless faced a daunting task of connecting the diner with the existing Roy Rogers building. A million dollars later, the end result today includes a craft beer shop that sells over 450 brands and a well-designed dining area that preserves the streamlined atmosphere of the original Mountain View-manufactured diner.

Weinstein topped off the whole project with a neon sign almost worthy of the Las Vegas strip, something few do anymore. Designed and constructed by Philadelphia’s own Len Davidson, the sign depicts an animated scene of a trolley car rolling, stopping, and dropping off a passenger.

Menu-wise, the Trolley Car reflects Weinstein’s intention to bring a family restaurant to the neighborhood. There is a broad variety of dishes, but not it’s not overwhelming. I’ve come here often, with family and friends in tow, and we enjoy whatever we order, particularly when I select something off the specials list.

Serving food at this scale involves choosing your battles carefully, as you can’t make everything from scratch. Sometimes one or two exceptional items can make a restaurant a landmark. Weinstein likes to cite, with some justification, the diner’s chicken croquettes (a long Philadelphia culinary tradition) and milk shakes, and I can whole-heartedly vouch for the croquettes. Trolley Car strikes that rare balance between food quality and attitude. His marketing calls it a 󈬢’s-themed” diner, but you won’t see a Marilyn Monroe cutout greeting you at the door and you won’t get barraged with Chubby Checker on the overhead sound system. If you want meatloaf you can get that, but you can also get jambalaya or a big, leafy salad instead and polish it all off with a bottle of Ommegang Hennepin ale.

Fifteen years later Weinstein has proven both his knowledge of his market and his appreciation for the authentic diner experience–one refreshingly devoid of cutesy, cheap nostalgia that rises far above the tired “greasy spoon” trope. The best diners pay loving homage to its past, but also strive to write their own history and become landmarks in their own right.

The Oregon Diner Restaurant, 302 West Oregon Avenue

The Oregon Diner has endured at least three renovations since its installation in the 1960s. | Photo: Randy Garbin

The big “Greek-style” diner still reigns supreme in the Northeast Corridor. From the New York Metro Area all the way down to D.C., and especially in New Jersey, you still see them everywhere–the expansive “diner-restaurants” with menus that seem to specialize in “ EVERY DISH EVER MADE!” If you can’t get it at one of these places you probably never heard of it anyway.

Philadelphia has its share of them, and the Oregon Diner on Oregon Avenue exemplifies the experience. Anchoring the east side of South Philly, the Oregon Diner has uncertain pedigree, but almost certainly emerged from one of the major diner factories in the 1960s. From the looks of things, it has also seen several makeovers, the last one happening a year ago, making any effort to detect original features futile.

The Big Greek Diner has generally thrived through the overall decline of the industry since the 1960s, largely because its owners reacted to the advance of minimized menus of fast food chains by piling it on. Simple menus of meat, potatoes, eggs and pancakes become dizzying cornucopias of sautéed, fried, broiled, grilled, tossed, and of course, baked–ostensibly “on premises.”

For the most part, the Big Greek Diners all serve more or less the same thing. If you removed the cover from the Oregon’s menu and dropped it on a table at the similarly-sized Penrose diner on the other end of South Philly, no one would likely notice for a week or so. The operators will take issue with this, chiefly out of pride, but they often order their food from the same suppliers. They also all use the same playbook so any differences become nuance.

The Big Greek Diner typically gives you a lot of food for the money. The best of them will serve you something that usually tops out at fair-to-good. When you attempt to offer as much as the Oregon does for that many people, greatness becomes nearly impossible.

At the Oregon, my family and I ordered dinner that included chicken soup, pot roast for me, spaghetti and meatballs for the kid, and pasta primavera for my wife. Most entrees on the menu cost less than $15, and we felt just as welcome there as the dozens of locals around us. For fifteen bucks, do you overlook the fact that the mashed potatoes were instant? That the primavera (or portions of it) might have come straight out of the Sysco catalog? Or that the chef erred on the salty side with the otherwise tender pot roast? Also, I didn’t have an omelet at the Oregon, but I can say with some authority after trying dozens of times in places just like these, the Big Greek Diner can’t make a proper omelet to save their lives. Overcooked eggs with ingredients scrambled in does not an omelette make.

Maybe the Big Greek Diner doesn’t earn superlatives, but if you come with a group of people who can’t come to any kind of culinary consensus, nothing fits the bill better than this.

Notably, the Big Greek Diner has become less and less Greek. The old-school guys who built up these businesses now have kids with college degrees who don’t see themselves working 18-hour days for two-percent margins. Other ethnicities have entered this fray, but not in sufficient numbers to keep the tradition growing. More often than not, the grill goes cold and a suburban chain moves in. The Aramingo Diner, another long-time Philly institution, became a medical office.

Melrose Diner, 1501 Snyder Avenue

The Melrose Diner underwent a relatively light, though completely unnecessary exterior renovation in 2010. | Photo: Randy Garbin

When the Kubach family owned the Melrose Diner they managed to build up something of a one-diner empire. To Philadelphian’s of a certain age, the mere mention of the word “diner” meant the Melrose, an attitude cemented by the diner’s own long-running jingle, “Those who know go to the Melrose.”

The Melrose Diner is the third diner placed at that location, all ordered by Richard Kubach, Sr. The first was installed in 1935, the second in 1940, and the current structure built by Paramount Diners of Haledon, New Jersey came to Snyder Avenue in 1956.

Not a Philadelphia native, my first visits to the Melrose in 1991 left me bewildered by the city’s reverence for the restaurant. The diner’s manager approached me on the sidewalk demanding to know why I was taking pictures. The Kubach family, for whatever reason, apparently had a long-standing no photography policy in-or-outside of the diner. It took another ten years before I managed to furtively snap a shot of the diner’s interior.

It didn’t help my impression of the place when I watched Richard Kubach, Jr. on a television segment of WQED’s “Pennsylvania Diner Roadtrip” explain that the semi-circular booths where total strangers often sat at the same table enhanced the diner’s sense of community, when, more accurately, his practice increased customer churn.

Disingenuousness aside, the Melrose earned a reputation for its baked goods and sterling service. Both the Melrose and the Mayfair shared a particularly endearing practice of pinning their waitresses with the year they started service. You could come out boasting that your waitress was a thirty-year veteran which is no small thing in a business known for its employee turnover.

That all ended with Michael Petrogiannis. On the plus side, he replaced the communal booths. All-in-all, the Melrose still mostly looks and feels like the Melrose.

I can’t call myself a regular, as I’ve only visited the place about a half-dozen times in the past twenty years. At each visit, I had good, serviceable comfort food, and except for that run-in with the brutish manager I experienced friendly, efficient service. My last visit did nothing to change that general impression. My wife and I had the London broil, fried seafood combo, and the minestrone soup. The combo comes, oddly enough, with a dollop of tuna salad as well as fried shrimp, a crab cake, schrod, and scallops, my particular favorite. The wife loved the steak, but couldn’t finish it. You won’t leave hungry.

Judging by the all the online reviews, past impressions, and tips from fellow diner fanatics, the desserts remain the menu’s real attraction. We tried the apple pie with vanilla sauce, which made for a decadent pairing. I don’t know of any other diners that serve their apple pie quite like this, and the sauce is not overly sweet, but it could easily mask any faults of the pie. Big diners like Melrose, with few exceptions, typically serve awful fruit pies–gloppy, over-sweet fillings poured into industrial strength crusts. The Melrose apple would seem to be one of those exceptions. Next time I’ll have to get the sauce on the side to be sure.

Dining Car & Market, 8826 Frankford Avenue

The sprawling Dining Car Diner look like an architectural version of B-9, the robot from “Lost In Space.”| Photo: Randy Garbin

Often overlooked for inclusion in the Philly diner pantheon, the Dining Car on Frankford Avenue in the Northeast nevertheless continues to get plenty of love from the neighborhood, and for good reason. Though a big diner, the Dining Car represents a rare breed that mostly excels in the kitchen, which explains the lines out the door during the dinner and weekend breakfast hours.

From a design perspective, the Dining Car represents something of a diner industry anomaly. In 1981, Joe Morozin went to the Swingle company of Middlesex, New Jersey and asked for something a little different. Only a couple of years later Swingle would close up shop, but Morozin’s request pushed diner manufacturers to fashion restaurants in various styles dictated by the often-dubious tastes of the operator. The iconic, streamlined style fell from fashion or was outright prohibited by municipal design codes by the mid-1960s. In its place first came the colonial style diner, then the Mediterranean style diner complete with Doric columns, the modern design and its glassy glitz, or some unfortunate melange of all three.

A full ten years before the culture rediscovered the vintage diner, Joe Morozin wanted his new diner to look like something out of the 1930s, but at about six times the size. Joe was a veteran of the industry and had previously owned the Torresdale Diner just south of Academy Road and needed to expand. His new old-style diner came by truck in six sections, pieced together on site. A bakery and an expanded dining room was added later. Today the diner seats more than 250 people.

Joe’s daughter Nancy runs the diner today, and it recently received national attention thanks to Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” program, which spotlighted their chicken croquettes. You really can’t ask for a more comforting example of comfort food than croquettes, and you can’t find a better example than at the Dining Car’s.

My last visit for Sunday breakfast found the place busier than the O’Hare Airport at Thanksgiving, and the meals met with my party’s expectations, except for the home fries. For many of us, home fries are a litmus test of the whole experience and every diner should make their own undeniably great version. I may allow some slack for most diners, but, in my mind, a well-run diner must do two things perfectly every time: Coffee and home fries.

The Dining Car makes up for this with desserts. Like a big diner should, it greets all customers at the door with a barrage of baked goods. Though, waiting around for a seat is a form of torture, especially for anyone trying to shed a muffin top.

At one time, the mere word “diner” meant among other things that it never closed. In fact, during the diner’s golden age, owners of freshly minted diners would have grand opening ceremonies that featured the cutting of the keys. If it never closed, it didn’t need locks. Today, the Dining Car still keeps those traditional hours, but it attracts company in fewer and fewer numbers.

Bob’s Diner, 6053 Ridge Avenue

Bob’s Diner looks a little worn out after nearly 80 years at the same location, but the neighborhood loves it, especially on weekends when you’ll wait a while for a seat. | Photo: Randy Garbin

Within the Philadelphia city limits, if you want the true, blue-collar, meat-and-mashed experience inside the real McCoy of vintage American diners, staffed with seasoned, fast-talking, tough-but-tender, maternal waitresses, you will find it in exactly one place: Bob’s Diner in Roxborough.

I maintain a very high regard for Bob’s because it represents one of the last of a dying breed. It is a bona fide, old-school diner in continuous operation since it opened in 1947. Yes, the building is beat, worn around the edges, and unraveling in places, but it is also full of life, staffed by people who take pride in their work, and refreshingly devoid of kitschy self-awareness. The waitress might call you “hon,” not because a focus group demanded it, but because that is how she talks. Bob’s adheres very closely to the basic diner credo: Serve good food at reasonable prices in a clean and friendly atmosphere. Period.

I always make Bob’s a stop on my 25-cent tour of Philadelphia. No, I don’t consider Bob’s a family restaurant. It is a true-and-tried diner. Maybe Grace Kelly never dropped in for a cup and a slice of pie, and I suspect very few pairs of tasseled loafers shuffled across its terrazzo floors, though not that the diner wouldn’t welcome either.

Bob’s was built by the Jerry O’Mahony company in Elizabeth, New Jersey at its post-war peak. Some like to compare diner builders to the more familiar auto industry, and some might designate O’Mahony as the Chevrolet of diners–a well-built, stylish diner without some of the features or decorative flourish found in its competitors, like Paramount or Fodero.

It’s likely that no other builder constructed more diners than Jerry O’Mahony. Between 1913 and 1956, the company’s tagline boasted, “In our line, we lead the world.” By the time they built Bob’s, O’Mahony enjoyed a reputation for building high-quality, streamlined diners. Because of its output, O’Mahony had a large and loyal clientele that would often return old diners to the factory to trade it in for a newer, bigger model (I have no evidence that a diner sat on this location before the current one, but the possibility exists).

As far as the food at Bob’s, I must loudly sing the praises of the omelets. I like mostly everything, but when I come for breakfast I get the omelette simply because I’ve yet to find another true diner in the region that makes them as perfectly as Bob’s. As an added bonus, a seat at the counter gives you front-row access to the action. A proper omelet is carefully fried in a well-seasoned aluminum pan with the filling folded in. The end result should be a bright yellow, fluffy egg turnover that snugly blankets the filling.

Word has it that Bob’s owner Jim Evans has the place up for sale, but as he’s currently asking an obscene amount of money–$1.9 million–don’t expect any major changes soon. On the other hand, don’t count on it being there forever.

Silk City Diner Bar & Lounge, 435 Spring Garden Street

Silk City exemplifies the vintage diner that has successfully adapted to contemporary tastes all while retaining its original charms. | Photo: Randy Garbin

I often say that the best way to preserve diners is to keep them viable. Putting one in a museum is all well and good, but if you can’t actually eat there what’s the point? In the face of extreme competition, age, new layers of regulation, and increasing overhead, viability for a 50-seat, short-order restaurant becomes a Herculean task. Sometimes it requires a fresh approach and maybe one that most might think is crazy.

One of the developments that sparked the resurgence of interest in the American diner came about with the reimagining of the concept by the owners of the Empire Diner in New York in 1976. Jack Doneius bought a run-down, but well-preserved diner in Manhattan’s lower West Side, spruced it up, and started serving upscale food. Burgers you expected to find for a buck fifty in such a place now cost five dollars, but the money bought you an expertly grilled fresh half-pound of meat served on a fresh-baked roll served with hand-cut French fries.

The idea brought about national attention and before long books about diners appeared, photorealism paintings of diners sold in Soho galleries for $50,000, and brands wanted to shoot their commercials in a real diner. In 1982, the movie “Diner” came out and launched the careers of five unknown actors and director Barry Levinson.

The more creative individuals in the restaurant business began to see that a diner didn’t just have to be about meatloaf and brown gravy and it certainly didn’t just have to appeal to truck drivers and middle America. Paul Devitt brought the Empire Diner concept to Philadelphia with his first American Diner at 42nd and Chestnut Streets (see Kabobeesh) and then his reimagining of the Silk City Diner Bar & Lounge.

The diner takes its name from the company that built it. You can see this on the builder tags still affixed over the door, and on that tag you’ll also find a serial number 5907 which tells you that it was the seventh diner built in 1959.

Silk City, currently owned by restauranteur Mark Bee, has diversified its revenue stream with the night club and bar which frees it from relying upon the weekend breakfast trade that so many smaller diners live or die by. I give the food here very high marks, and you’ll find items on the menu you don’t expect to find in a traditional diner which always works for me. If I can have a slice of meat loaf and my friend can munch on edamame while we sip a cocktail, everyone wins, and the diner lives on to serve a new generation.



Ready, Set, Host! How To Throw A Winning Football Party

When it comes to hosting a great football party, only two things really matter—the spread and the game. Here’s how to host a pigskin party that will have your guests shouting, “TOUCHDOWN!” If you live in a sports town, consider a game watch in your community clubhouse or movie room and get the neighborhood involved!

When it comes to hosting a great football party, only two things really matter—the spread and the game. Here’s how to host a pigskin party that will have your guests shouting, “TOUCHDOWN!” If you live in a sports town, consider a game watch in your community clubhouse or movie room and get the neighborhood involved!

First things first: stock up on icy adult beverages! Fill a few coolers with ice and a mix of beers, include basic domestics and craft beers for a range of tastes. Unless you know someone is really a fan, don’t choose porters or stouts they are heavy to drink and often higher in alcohol than other brews, neither of which is good for a four-hour event. A good rule of thumb? Figure the average adult guest will drink two beers every hour. The typical football game is a three-hour deal, not counting overtime, and you know people will be there before kickoff, so count that too. Not everyone likes beer, so think about pitchers of sangria or pre-mixed cocktails to provide an option that also manages consumption. An unsupervised open bar is rarely a good idea, especially if people at the same game watch are cheering for rival teams.
Don’t forget:Water! Bottles are a good, if not the most eco-friendly, choice. You can also fill a large dispenser with water and ice or one of these delicious flavored recipes – just pair it with a stack of cups for easy refills.

Grilling is synonymous with football, so if you have one, plan to use it, weather permitting. You can keep things simple: burgers, dogs, sausages and ribs always go over well. Or you can kick things up several notches with grilled oysters with sriracha lime butter, grilled asparagus and other veggies, jerk chicken or cheddar bacon ranch corn! If your yard is buried in snow during the NFL playoffs and college bowl season, use a cast iron grill pan to create grill marks and add a few drops of liquid smoke to slow cooker ribs, pulled pork and baked beans for smokey grilled flavor in the dead of winter. Round things out with beans or chili in the slow cooker and lay it all out buffet style, so people can fill a plate and get right back to the game.

Don’t forget the snacks! Set up a snack spot – wings, crackers, chips and dips, nuts, canapés (but the un-fussy kind, like an easy bruschetta). If you really want to impress your guests, try making one of these stylish, homemade appetizers …they only take 20 minutes to prepare! Lay out options from the salty and sweet food groups, and plan for more than you think you’ll need. Putting smaller portions in easy reach, like on the coffee table, is also a good move.

Don’t forget: Folks are going to want to eat in front of the TV, so plan for easy finger foods that you can eat off your lap. Spring for sturdy disposable plates too – no one wants a lap full of chili.

The Game

Your couch may be sufficient for your family (or you and your dog), but you’re going to need seating for a crowd. Make sure to plan accordingly. Consider traffic flow – your guests will be moving from the food to their seats, with pit stops to the bathroom and possibly outside, depending on where you live. If you’re lucky enough to live where it’s warm during the playoffs, consider a backyard game watch! Plan for easy access so no one accidentally blocks the TV.

Don’t forget:Everyone needs a view of the game, so consider setting up your seating stadium-style if necessary.

Bonus Extras

Ahem, don’t forget the essentials. Keep the bathroom stocked with plenty of hand soap, hand towels and toilet paper. Set up a “spill station” where the action is: it’s almost a guarantee that someone will forget the plate on their lap and jump up in an exciting moment. So have a couple of rolls of paper towels and an all-purpose cleaner handy to the TV. A hand vac to clean up chips, popcorn and pretzels before they get stepped on is a great idea too. If your party is family-oriented, create some fun for the kids, who are notorious for having short attention spans. Set them up nearby with crayons, paper and coloring books, puzzles, games or a movie in another room if possible. If your menu tends toward the fancy, have pizza, chicken fingers, hot dogs and cupcakes for the little ones.

Don’t forget:A little planning goes a long way. Figure out your guest headcount ahead of time so you can plan for enough food, drinks and seating. Then you can enjoy the game – no matter who wins.


CATHEDRAL NEWS

Following the BBC news article of the 13th May 2021 on the future of St Paul's Cathedral, The Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul's has made the following statement: 'This has been a year unlike any other, and every organisation that relies on visitor income is facing.

Today we have launched a campaign in partnership with the Daily Mail to raise £2.3m to build a physical memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral for those who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be the first build of its kind at St Paul’s for nearly 150 years.

St Paul’s is delighted to have been awarded a grant of £875,000 from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Culture Recovery Fund, administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The funding will go secure jobs across the organisation, help to deliver our vital.

St Paul's is partnering with The Good Grief Trust for this year’s National Grief Awareness Week, 2-8 December 2020. On Tuesday 8 December, St Paul's will lead a special evensong at 5pm attended by The Good Grief Trust to mark the end of National Grief Awareness Week, and will.

St Paul’s is thankful to have received £320k of funding from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, administered by Historic England. This funding will go towards urgent work to the roofs, rainwater disposal and weather tightness of St Paul’s Cathedral. St Paul’s is one of.

St Paul’s is delighted to have been awarded a grant of £2.125m from the Culture Recovery Fund, administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The funding will go towards essential running costs, reaching new audiences in the UK, adopting new digital approaches and supporting.

The Wind, the Fountain and the Fire: Psalms and the Christian Imagination - Mark Barrett OSB (2020)

Mark Barrett OSB opens the Psalms as a gateway to scriptural prayer and offers us a path through the five weeks of Lent. Recorded at St Paul's Cathedral on 1 March 2020.

Saying Yes to Life - Ruth Valerio (2020)

Ruth Valerio challenges us as individuals and as the church to focus on how we can deal with the major environmental issues of our planet, from climate change, to biodiversity loss, to the plastic problem, and how we can make a difference and be a voice for change. Recorded at St Paul's Cathedral on Sunday 2 February 2020.

Angels - Peter Stanford (2019)

Peter Stanford explores the historical, cultural and theological significance of angels. Recorded at St Paul's Cathedral on 1 December 2019.

God With Us: Seeing the Christmas Stories with Fresh Eyes

Renowned New Testament scholar, Dr Paula Gooder, unravels some of what the well-loved and familiar Christmas stories really tell us about Jesus' birth and why God chose this ludicrously risky way to redeem the world. Recorded at St Paul's Cathedral on 27 November 2019.

The Sacramental Sea: A Spiritual Voyage - Edmund Newell (2019)

Edmund Newell explores the sea in Christian history, theology and spirituality, moving from the Bible to the present day, via, among others, St Augustine, Christopher Columbus, William Shakespeare and John Donne, the scientists of the Enlightenment and the great hymn-writers of the 19th century. Recorded at St Paul's Cathedral on Sunday 3 November 2019.

We Need To Talk About Race: Black Experience in White Majority Churches (2019)

Ben Lindsay, Guvna B, Rosemarie Mallet and Chine McDonald discuss the joys and sorrows, the grace and pain of their individual and collective experience as Black Christians in white-majority churches, and explore how we can respond to each other as people of faith to build inclusive church communities. Recorded at St Paul's Cathedral on 29 October 2019.


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