Starbucks to Donate Millions to Help Employees in China Pay Rent


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Starbucks recently made two big announcements about their presence in China, a country where economic troubles have been causing global shockwaves for months and other American chains (including KFC and Pizza Hut) are struggling. The first announcement is that they plan to open 500 more locations in China this year alone, and create 10,000 new jobs in the country every year through 2019. The second announcement is that all those new employees may get handed a very big perk with their green aprons – the coffee giant will soon begin offering vouchers to full time baristas and managers to help them pay their rent. They predict that 7,000 Chinese workers will be eligible for the vouchers immediately, and another 3,000 will be in the near future. Although Starbucks hasn’t given an exact number for the total cost of this program, they say it is a “multimillion dollar” investment and that they expect to pay around 50% of the rent for qualifying workers.

In China, the practice of offering subsidized living to employees is more common, although these living situations usually amount to crowded dorms. With rents rising across the country, it is unsurprising that workers have been requesting a subsidy from Starbucks for awhile.

To read more, click here.


Pete Wells’ Brutal Review of Per Se

TK.com_PER.SE_homepage_1a_0.jpgPer Se, the $325-a-plate dining experience which until today ranked among the only restaurants The New York Times deemed 4-star worthy, just received a deeply critical review from Pete Wells. Wells has been a restaurant critic for the Times since 2011, and he recently gained a little internet notoriety outside the circle of dedicated Times readers by giving a generally positive review to Señor Frog’s, the loosely Mexican chain whose motto (“Unleash Your Fiesta!”) tells you probably all you need to know.

The new Per Se review, which knocked the restaurant down a full 2 stars, is further indication that Wells is taking a hard look at price tags and complete experiences, and refuses to buy-in to old standbys if they do not continue to deliver. This attitude is perhaps best summed up when he writes

With each fresh review, a restaurant has to earn its stars again. In its current form and at its current price, Per Se struggled and failed to do this, ranging from respectably dull at best to disappointingly flat-footed at worst.

Wells had plenty of specifics to critique, ranging from the food to the service to the “price-gouging” of add-ons like fois gras. For $325, Wells fairly expects that every dish would be extraordinary, and his critiques of the dishes pull no punches. Perhaps most brutal, though, are the descriptions he gives to the restaurant itself, which he calls “grand, hermetic, self-regarding, ungenerous” and one of “the worst food deals in New York.”

While there are undoubtedly those who will continue to go out of their way to visit Per Se, or regard it as an essential experience in New York fine dining, perhaps the two lost stars indicate a larger changing of the guard, and an exciting move toward greater innovation in dining in 2016.

To read the full review, click here.