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Chick-fil-A “A-List” program gets customers more cluck for their buck

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Chick-fil-A has a reputation for top notch service -- think friendly cashiers and a happy “my pleasure” after every order.

But the company treats some guests even better.

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The chicken giant has an “A-List” program that offers some guests behind-the-scenes tours, access to special events and even free food.

But it’s by invitation only and not available at every location.

“Chick-fil-A’s A-list program began as a local restaurant initiative in 2013 and is currently offered in more than 1,100 Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide,” said spokesman Mark Baldwin. “Customers are invited by franchisees to register which, in turn, allows the local restaurant team to get to know the customer better.”

Loyalty programs are nothing new in the retail industry. Most chains have some form of incentive for their best customers as a lure to keep them coming back.

Baldwin said Chick-fil-A’s goal is to create a one-on-one relationship with customers.

The customer gets “more personalized rewards and communication from his or her local restaurant,” he said. “The end result is a stronger relationship on both sides of the equation.”

Here's how to get a $1 sub at Jimmy John's

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How does a $1 sub sound to you?

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You'll have the chance to get a $1 sub at participating Jimmy John's locations on Thursday as part of its Customer Appreciation Day.

The deal will be available in-store only from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 21.

What sandwiches are eligible for the $1 deal?

  • Sandwiches #1-#6, BLT and Slims are eligible

For more info, visit Jimmy John's Customer Appreciation Day FAQs.

This rainbow grilled cheese sandwich looks magical

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First, there was the rainbow bagel. Now, a rainbow grilled cheese is the latest edible colorful craze.

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Also called the rainbow toastie, the rainbow grilled cheese was created at Kala Toast grilled cheese and sandwich shop in Hong Kong, and it has quickly become an Instagram sensation.

A photo posted by hkfoodiexblogger (@hkfoodiexblogger) on Oct 27, 2015 at 5:38am PDT <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

A photo posted by hkfoodiexblogger (@hkfoodiexblogger) on Oct 27, 2015 at 1:29am PDT <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

According to Chinese food blogger @hkfoodiexblogger, each color is a different type of cheese:

"The toast costs (about $6) and the colored cheeses are lavender (blue), basil (green), tomato (red) and the yellow one is actually the combination of four kinds of cheeses (mozzarella, cheddar, emmental and gruyere). The toast was crispy, but I reckon both the flavor of the lavender and tomato were subtle. The basil flavor was the most outstanding one comparatively, but the cheese flavor was still not as strong as my expectation. It was also a bit oily in general. I would say the quality was rather average but we all cannot deny that it is photogenic."

A photo posted by Venus Chow (@chow_venus) on Nov 1, 2015 at 9:52pm PST <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

A photo posted by Hong Kong Foodie | 拍拖 x 食記 (@datewivfood) on Mar 5, 2016 at 10:38pm PST <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

Too much fast food may cause infertility, study says

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People often warn of excess fast food consumption, citing diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity among health risks.

"Traditional fast food was never meant to be daily fare, and it shouldn’t be," said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University. "It’s too high in calories and salt, and as we now know, the chemicals that get into our food supply through industrial food production."

But Big Macs and Whoppers might also cause infertility, according to a study conducted by researchers at George Washington University.

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"We're not trying to create paranoia or anxiety, but I do think our findings are alarming," one of the study's authors, Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University, told The Washington Post. "It's not every day that you conduct a study where the results are this strong."

Zota later said it would be more appropriate to refer to the findings as "striking" instead of "alarming."

The study found that increased consumption of fast food results in higher amounts of potentially harmful chemicals, including phthalates -- an acid found in many products, including soaps, makeups, luggage and automobile interiors.

Phthalates, which make items softer and more flexible, are used in hundreds of consumer and industrial products that demand high performance, long-lasting wear and durability. They're also used in the process in which fast food is prepared. The more machinery, plastic, conveyor belts and various forms of processing equipment that food touches, the more likely the food is to contain higher levels of phthalates.

"There's a vast amount of scientific evidence suggesting certain phthalates can contribute to several adverse health effects," Zota said. "I really hope this study helps raise public awareness about the exposure problems associated with our industrialized food system."

But anything that's gone through some form of processing or industrial packaging is vulnerable, The Washington Post reported.

"It’s not fair to say, 'Oh, these exposures only happen if you eat unhealthy foods,'" Leo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health at New York University, told Bloomberg.

Read more here and read the study here.

Popular Atlanta restaurant is serving 'edible pollen'

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Much of the South is blanketed in pollen right now. Cars are coated in a lime-green color. The streets are lined with it. The latest counts are in the thousands. Look out of a window, if you still can, and you’ll see pollen everywhere. Step outside and you’ll probably get a dusting yourself.

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That pollen count has not escaped Joey Ward, executive chef at Gunshow, who has been dusting a vegetable plate at the restaurant with a thick layer of Georgia olive oil-infused fennel pollen on recent nights. 

Ward starts with a bed of what he calls buttermilk "rampch," a creamy dressing that is less Hidden Valley and more defined by the pungent, herbaceous flavor of the foraged ramps cut into it. From there, he arranges a miniature cornucopia of vegetables in various forms: blanched fiddleheads, roasted and pickled beets, baby carrots, English peas, Easter egg radishes, artichoke hearts, fermented turnips, asparagus, sorrel, tiny crispy potato chips and little edible flowers.

It is a light dish that cuts through the sometimes meat-heavy barrage of dishes that can arrive at Gunshow. But it is also a reminder: Underneath all of that pollen, the bounty of spring is on the way. Just don’t forget to take your allergy pill.

We're all sick of pollen by now, but the pollen on this dish isn't quite the same. We've paired edible GA pollen with...Posted by Gunshow on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Restaurant dresses male staff in high heels and miniskirts

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We've heard the expression, walk a mile in their shoes.

Some male servers at an Ottawa restaurant did just that to bring attention to how the restaurant industry often treats female servers much differently than their male counterparts. 

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Servers decked out in high heels and skimpy dresses isn't an unusual sight in many restaurants.  That is... if it's women wearing them.

 To highlight the way many female servers are forced to show off their bodies, the restaurant dressed its male staff like this to make a statement.

The men discovered the attire also hurt their ability to do their job.

The men say they forgot orders, took twice as long to serve tables and even stopped bringing refills.

But what surprised these men the most - was how people felt entitled to touch them and make comments.

After a few hours they all kicked off their heels for something more comfortable and gained a newfound understanding of what many women have to deal with on the job.

Pizza Hut’s National Pi Day contest combines free pizza, math

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You could win 3.14 years’ worth of free pizza from Pizza Hut if you win the chain’s Pi Day contest, but you better have a sharp mind in addition to a big appetite.

That’s because Pizza Hut will require contest participants to solve math problems, ranging from high school to PhD level in difficulty. The three questions will be posted on Pizza Hut’s blog, beginning at 8 a.m. EST today for National Pi Day. Fans will enter the answers to the math questions in the blog’s comments, which are time-stamped. The first participants to solve the problems will become eligible for the grand prize, which is 3.14 years of free pizza.

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For full contest details, read the official rules.

The math problems were created by John H. Conway, distinguished professor of pure and applied mathematics emeritus at Princeton University.

The prize will be awarded in the form of gift cards, with an estimated value of $1,600.

IHOP celebrates National Pancake Day with free short stack

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Who doesn't love a free breakfast?

Tuesday is IHOP’s National Pancake Day, and the breakfast chain is offering anyone who visits between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. March 8 a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes.

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Customers also can help out a good cause. IHOP will be collecting donations for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or other designated local charities.

Since 2006, IHOP says nearly $20 million has been raised.

Learn more here.

Mark yourself as booked on Tuesday, March 8th because it's NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY! Join us from 7AM to 7PM for a free...Posted by IHOP on Thursday, March 3, 2016

Triple Treat? Pizza Hut unveils 3-level pizza box for your holiday carb cravings

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Hope you weren't planning on counting calories this holiday season.

Pizza Hut on Monday announced its newest menu item – a three-level holiday-themed pizza box dubbed the Triple Treat.

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"What the holidays are all about can get lost sometimes in the hustle and bustle of the season, but at Pizza Hut, we want to help make every day feel like a holiday," Jared Drinkwater, the chain's vice president of marketing, said in a news release. "That's why we created the Triple Treat Box. It's a delicious, easy meal to share with family and friends, and while it's always fun to get pizza, getting pizza in a special gift-wrapped box can add even a little more excitement to pizza night."

The $19.99 concoction for carb lovers features two medium one-topping pizzas, breadsticks or "flavor sticks," and a Hershey's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie for dessert.

Read more here.

Starbucks unveils frightening Frappuccino for Halloween – the Frappula

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Heads up, Frappuccino fans: Starbucks is unveiling a spooky treat for the upcoming horrific holiday.

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The coffee chain announced Monday that it is offering a special Frappuccino – the Frappula – for Halloween. The Dracula-themed drink features mocha sauce, white chocolate sauce blended with milk and ice, whipped cream, and a splash of red raspberry syrup in honor of vampires' favorite food. U.S. customers can sink their teeth into one from Oct. 28 to 31.

Learn more here.

>> Click here to see some photos

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.3";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>FANG-TASTIC FRAP: Just in time for #Halloween, Starbucks will offer the Frappula Frappucino – a blended beverage made...Posted by KIRO 7 News on Monday, October 26, 2015

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