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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.

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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.

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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.

Women find worms in food at 2 McDonald's restaurants

Two women recently took to social media to post photos of worms that they found in their food after eating sandwiches from McDonald's.

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Tuesday, Lacey Jo Lovett, of Kentucky, said she finished eating a McChicken from a McDonald's restaurant in Draffenville, Kentucky, when she picked up a piece of lettuce on the sandwich wrapper and found a worm. 

Just ate a McChicken from draffenville mcdonalds and picked up the last piece of lettuce on the wrapper and this was below it!!!! Are you serious!!!!Posted by Lacey Jo Lovett on Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Just two days prior, Madison Stephens had experienced a similar situation at a McDonald's in Mayfield, Kentucky, 25 miles away.

Stephens said she took her 1-year-old son to the restaurant and ordered a fish sandwich and a cheeseburger. 

Stephens ate half her fish sandwich when she said a worm fell out of it and started crawling towards her son's food.

"If I hadn't seen that worm, my son would have eaten that because it was already on top of his sandwich," she told WPSD. "That's how close he came to eating it."

Stephens said that initially, restaurant employees said they couldn't do anything about the order since she couldn't find her receipt.

She said she later complained to McDonald's officials, who sent her a $10 gift card in the mail.

But for Stephens, the gesture seemed like "a slap in the face," WPSD reported. She said she doesn't want money, but rather an inspection from the health department.

"That scared me, and as a mom, I don't want another child to have to experience something like that," she said.

"Food quality and safety are a top priority for us. We will continue to take all appropriate measures to gather all facts and resolve the matter," a McDonald's spokesman said in a statement following the incident.

Saturday, Michael Love, the owner-operator of the two restaurants, said he's been unable to substantiate Lovett's and Stephens' claims. He said inspections of the restaurants by health officials did not uncover any of the problems raised by the customers, the Associated Press reported.

So, got a fish sandwich and a cheeseburger for Brody and I and look what falls out my sandwich. I am COMPLETELY disgusted and will not be eating Mayfield McDonald's anymore. I thank God my son didn't eat this!Posted by Madison Stephens on Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chipotle announces plans for burger restaurant

First Burger King started selling hot dogs. Now Chipotle has announced plans to stir things up by expanding its burrito and taco offerings to burgers with a new restaurant called Tasty Made.

The restaurant is set to open in Lancaster, Ohio, this fall.

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Tasty Made's menu will be mostly limited to burgers, fries and shakes, and the restaurant will aim to promote better, cleaner food and ingredients -- just like Chipotle. 

"Early fast food burger restaurants generally had focused menus," Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said in a release. "We think there's great strength in that original fast food model and wanted to create a restaurant built around that. Making only burgers, fries and shakes with really great ingredients, we think we can appeal to people's timeless love of burgers, but in a way that is consistent with our long-term vision.

"Tasty Made will use Responsibly Raised brand beef (from animals that are raised in more humane ways and without the use of antibiotics or added hormones), shakes made with real ingredients including milk, cream, sugar, eggs and other natural ingredients, and fresh-made buns that are free of preservatives, dough conditioners and other artificial ingredients."

Chipotle, which found success in positioning itself as an alternative to traditional fast-food chains, has been struggling to win back customers after a series of food scares in past years.

Chipotle has already ventured in the direction of different cuisines. In 2001, the company opened an Asian food restaurant called ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, which has 15 locations. The company also operates a pizza chain called Pizzeria Locale, which has five locations.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/twitter-reacts-to-chipotle-plans-to-open-burger-jo/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/twitter-reacts-to-chipotle-plans-to-open-burger-jo.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "Twitter reacts to Chipotle plans to open burger joint" on Storify]Twitter reacts to Chipotle plans to open burger jointStorified by CMGNationalNews· Sun, Jul 31 2016 18:04:50Burger King hot dogs. Chipotle burgers. We're about five seconds away from getting Baskin-Robbins fried chicken. https://t.co/UrLdb0BIQ3Darryn Albert.@ChipotleTweets wants to make burgers...? I mean. Alright. https://t.co/l8qMES90AN https://t.co/TrxzIIDTmyRedEyeMcDonald's serving espresso, Starbucks serving salads, Chipotle making burgers - I'm not comfortable with this fast food fluidity.Charles Roth MPCChipotle is gonna start selling burgers? GrossNathan RyanIf chipotle just got queso their sales would be back to normal idk where they're trying to go with BURGERSallison fitzgeraldI love the idea that a restaurant that sells burgers and french fries is a “concept” https://t.co/VjcZ5SYDwpGabriel RothThe radio just told me chipotle is going to start selling burgers and idk if I should be excited or scared Shawn Africa Simpson

There's a Krispy Kreme doughnut-flavored soda

If Coca-Cola Freestyle machines don't give you enough drink options, there's a new soda on the market: Cheerwine Kreme.

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Consumers can expect a soft drink that combines Cheerwine's cherry flavor soda with the taste of a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut. 

"All that’s missing to crown it king junk food is a glob of Paula Deen’s butter floating on top," Grub Street wrote.

The beverage will only be available in Georgia and the Carolinas, but a 20-ounce bottle can be purchased for $7.50 here.

Deals and freebies for National Ice Cream Day

What better way to satisfy your sweet tooth than by indulging in some cool, delicious -- and most importantly discounted -- ice cream? 

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July is National Ice Cream Month, and the middle of the month marks National Ice Cream Day. 

This year, get a sundae on Sunday, July 17, when certain retailers will offer deals and freebies. Some won't even make you wait until Sunday -- Uber is offering a sweet deal on Friday.

Here's what to look out for: 

Baskin Robbins: Customers can receive a free upgrade to a waffle cone with any ice cream purchase during the month of July. The ice cream chain will donate a portion of all ice cream proceeds on Sunday to the United Service Organization.

Blue Bell: Try the newest flavor, Cookie Two Step, released Friday nationwide.

Carvel: Carvel will give customers a free cup or cone on Sunday with the purchase of one of equal or larger size.

Cold Stone Creamery: Members of the eClub can receive buy one, get one free coupons.

Friendly's: The restaurant's monthlong Sprinklefest offers discounts on frosted treats.

Marble Slab Cream Creamery: Marble Slab will offer a buy one, get one deal Sunday until 1 p.m.

Monkey Joe’s: Guests at select locations of the indoor kids play centers get free ice cream cups while supplies last on Sunday.

PetSmart: Participating PetSmart PetHotel locations will give out free ice cream samples to dogs on Sunday. 

Uber: On Friday, July 15, people in 400 cities around the world can have Magnum ice cream bars delivered to them by Uber, free of charge. Free deliveries are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

6 foods to try in Cleveland during the RNC and where to find them

The Republican National Convention will be held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland from July 18–21. 

But whether you're in the area before the convention, during it or afterwards, the city boasts many delicious foods for hungry visitors to fill up on. 

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The city’s food culture is heavily influenced by its Chinese, Italian, Polish, Ukrainian, Slovenian and German immigrants, as well as African-Americans and other ethnic groups.

Here are some of the best places to eat in Cleveland and what you should order, according to Dayton.com: 

Barnes and Noble to open restaurants, serve alcohol

Barnes & Noble is merging books and booze to save its book business.

The bookseller is opening four concept stores around the U.S. that will feature full restaurants that sell beer and wine.

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Barnes & Noble already has Starbucks cafes in most of its bookstores, but the new restaurants will feature breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, and a server will take your order.

The first store will open in Eastchester, New York, in October. The three other stores will be in Edina, Minnesota; Folsom, California; and Loudoun County, Virginia, Fortune reported.

The head of the project said it was about creating "a better bookstore" that drives traffic to the store and keeps people there longer.

The company has faced slumping sales recently thanks to people turning to online retailers, like Amazon, to buy books. Its sales fell .8 percent last quarter.

The company's Nook devices and e-book business aren't performing well either. Nook's market share is at 9 percent after it held 27 percent in 2011.

<iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZDPBuyW6c_k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

This video includes clips from StarbucksAmazon and Barnes & Noble, and images from Getty Images.

Taco Bell offering free tacos on Tuesday

Taco Bell announced today it would offer one free Doritos Locos taco to customers on Tuesday afternoon, June 21, as part of the restaurant chain’s “Steal a Game, Steal a Taco” NBA promotion.

The special offer will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday only. Taco Bell had announced prior to the NBA Finals that it would give away Doritos Locos tacos if a team won on its opponent’s home court in the NBA Finals — and that ended up happening not once, but three times, with the Golden State Warriors winning Game 4 in Cleveland, then the Cavaliers winning Games 5 and 7 on Golden State’s home court.

No purchase is necessary, according to the promotion’s terms and conditions, and as always, the offer will be good at participating Taco Bell locations. There is, of course, a limit of one free taco per customer.

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