Tim Hortons Expands to China

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“Tim Hortons has arrived in China, joining the high-stakes battle to sell coffee in a massive country that mostly drinks tea.

The Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain, run by Burger King-owner Restaurant Brands International Inc., plans to focus on “everyday value” as it muscles up against the ambitious plans of local and foreign players such as Starbucks Corp. Its also debuting at a tricky time as a diplomatic row brews between China and Canada (…).

GEOPOLITICAL ISSUES

Besides joining a crowded field that includes Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., Coca-Cola Co.’s newly acquired Costa Coffee and local startup Luckin Coffee, Tim Hortons faces a slowing Chinese economy and complicated geopolitical situation.

Its origins as a beloved Canadian brand may run into some nationalistic consumers, given the political tensions underway currently.

Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou has been held in Canada at U.S.’ request since last December. The Canadian government said in January that 13 citizens have been detained in China since Wanzhou’s arrest.

Many Chinese consumers, however, seem unfazed. Canada Goose Holdings Inc., which opened its flagship store in Beijing in December amid calls for boycott of Canadian goods, downplayed the backlash fears earlier this month after it saw shoppers line up outside its store.

Tim Hortons has struggled to build a following outside its home country. The chain, named for a Canadian hockey star, is opening its first Chinese shop on Tuesday in People’s Square, in Huangpu, Shanghai and is banking on a growing middle class keen to try Western inventions like its honey cruller donuts.

“Tim Hortons will need to offer not just something unique that Chinese consumers can’t find at other chains, but also spend heavily on marketing to build awareness of the brand,” said Jason Yu, Shanghai-based general manager of Kantar Worldpanel in Greater China.”

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Billionaires Are Betting Big on Alternative Meat

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Creating designer protein that can make your veggie burger taste like the real thing is as easy as brewing beer. Or at least that’s what a new subsidiary of Boston-based bio-manufacturing startup, Ginkgo Bioworks Inc., says.

Ginkgo’s Motif Ingredients, which aims to replicate animal protein for meatless alternatives, is getting $90 million from investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, whose board includes tech billionaires Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Jack Ma. Commodity powerhouse Louis Dreyfus Co. and Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, New Zealand’s dairy-exporting giant, are also backing the company.

The goal at Ginkgo is to get alternative products to market faster, chief executive officer Jason Kelly said in an interview. In a statement announcing the funding, the company likened making alternative foods to the beer-brewing process, because vital ingredients such as vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and flavors are made through fermentation with genetically engineered yeasts and bacteria. Eliminating extra time in the lab can streamline the process and make it go faster, Kelly said.

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Conduct Research Before Giving a Sales Demo

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“During sales discovery calls, one of the best ways to move a lead further down the funnel is to ask plenty of open-ended questions, and to listen carefully to the answers. It helps build a relationship with the buyer and allows you to tailor your sales presentation to match their needs.

But when it comes to running a demo with a c-level executive, asking questions is a big no-no. The time for questions is before your demo. C-level executives expect you to be fully informed about their pain points and current solutions. They want you to arrive armed with deep knowledge about their business, and to use your demo to show them how they can solve their challenges.

They don’t want to spend their sales meeting telling you about their needs. They want you to present a personalized, relevant sales demo that shows exactly how your product meets their needs and adds extra value. That’s why you have to do your homework in advance.”

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Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr. are bringing back Froot Loops Mini Donuts

Froot Loops Mini Donuts return to Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants for a limited time.

“Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. are bringing back their popular Froot Loops Mini Donuts.

The miniature doughnuts, inspired by the Kellogg’s cereal, will be available for a limited time starting Feb. 25 at participating Hardee’s and Feb. 27 at Carl’s Jr. restaurants, parent company CKE Restaurants announced Tuesday. They come in five colors – red, yellow, purple, green and blue – and taste like their smaller cereal counterparts. A five-pack starts at $1.99 and they will be available all day, not just for breakfast.

“Froot Loops Mini Donuts are the perfect anytime snack and will bring any consumer back to their childhood,” Owen Klein, CKE Restaurants vice president global culinary innovation, said in a statement. “We know our fans craved these nostalgic treats, and we’re thrilled to bring this fun innovation back to our menu this spring.”

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Free webinar: Optimize Operations by Running a Data-Driven Restaurant

Free webinar: Optimize operations by running a data-driven restaurant

“(…) Now, on the afternoon of Thursday, March 7, Focus Brands Manager of Retail IT Systems Tyler Schack will join with Revel Systems Sales Engineering Manager Wajih Rahman to share how the two companies partnered to improve business at more than 1,200 brand locations that use Revel’s POS. The free hour-long webinar will give listeners a peek behind the curtain at how Focus uses data to drive profits.

Listeners will learn how Schack and others at the Focus brands first created a powerful framework for data collection and analysis and then put the findings to work to improve everything from overall on-the-job performance to more efficient operating practices, higher margins and a more impactful customer experience.”

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DoorDash Closes $400 Million Funding Round

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“In the last month, a pair of food delivery startups were battling complaints about their tipping policies. Customers and workers chastised the companies for unfairly using tips to subsidize worker pay. As the furor grew, one of the companies, Instacart Inc., changed its compensation policies to match some of workers’ demands.

Meanwhile, the other company, DoorDash Inc., stood firm. It still uses tips from customers to offset some of the minimum payment that a worker gets for each delivery job, in which “Dashers” travel to restaurants or stores and bring food to customers. That decision apparently hasn’t harmed DoorDash’s reputation in the eyes of investors. The company said on Thursday that it received a new round of funding that values it at $7.1 billion.

In an interview Thursday to promote the investment, DoorDash Chief Executive Officer Tony Xu defended the tipping practice, which has been in use since 2017. Xu said internal data show that under the current pay model, Dashers stay on the platform longer, are more satisfied with their jobs and make deliveries in a more timely manner. He blamed recent backlash on Instacart’s implementation of its own policy.”

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Taco Bell and Chipotle Want to Shave Time off Food Deliveries

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“When it comes to restaurant delivery, speed matters. And the burrito chains want to be faster.

Taco Bell –– which now offers delivery at roughly two-thirds of its U.S. restaurants through GrubHub Inc. with plans to continue expanding the service –– says its average delivery time is 34 minutes. The company acknowledges that’s not good enough for today’s demanding customer.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., meanwhile, says it’s averaging between 28 and 32 minutes for delivery, but it thinks it can shave four minutes or so as it expands pickup shelves across the nation. It’s also introducing prepaid delivery so drivers don’t have to pay in stores. It’s all part of a digital push that is a key part of the comeback plan laid out under Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol in his first year on the job.”

“While restaurant delivery has long been part of the culture in major cities like New York and San Francisco, pizza was often the only option in many markets. That has started to change as on-demand delivery services like DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats have proliferated, joining GrubHub to expand delivery options.”

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