Former Darden executive named president of Union Square Hospitality Group

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“Former Darden Restaurants Inc. executive Chip Wade has been named president of Union Square Hospitality Group, the company said Thursday.

Wade, who moves into the role officially in mid-May, fills a position that has been empty since 2015, when it was held by Jeff Flug, who stepped down after the public offering by Shake Shack, which was once a part of the New York-based multiconcept group.

In his new role, Wade (left) will work directly with CEO and founder Danny Meyer, the board and the restaurant group’s leadership team to enhance and evolve the company’s culture, drive guest experience and bolster profitability, the company said.

“USHG is growing in some pretty exciting ways right now,” said Meyer, whose group operates about 18 restaurants under various brands, from the acclaimed Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern to the more casual neighborhood café Daily Provisions, the barbecue concept Blue Smoke and taco joint Tacocina.”

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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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Sweetberry CEO predicts 300% growth in sales

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“Predicting a 300 percent sales increase for a 1-year-old brand is a pretty gutsy statement for any new business, but Sweetberry Bowls CEO Desi Saran is confident that he’s on to something.

The restaurant veteran and serial entrepreneur first opened the New Jersey-based brand, which serves acai, coconut and pitaya bowls, wraps, salads, smoothies, in 2017, and has since grown it to 13 locations. That was after he served as an operating partner at Playa Bowls, four years ago, helping to grow it from a beach-front smoothie stand to a national chain. He left that behind, however, to launch Sweetberry Bowls, which Saran said is on its way to becoming a global chain.”

“Q: What sets you apart from your competitors?
A
: Sweetberry Bowls is a brand new company, and we’re truly making a name for ourselves in the growing Acai bowl category, which is fairly new in the fast casual space. But, we’re not just a bowl concept or smoothie shop – we serve a full product mix of salads, sandwiches and wraps as well. As a result, our product offering isn’t just seasonal, but fully functional all year round.”

Read full interview here.

 

 

 

Papa John’s Accepts $200 Million Investment From Activist Hedge Fund

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“Papa John’s International Inc. is handing over the keys to the embattled pizza chain in exchange for a $200 million investment.

Activist fund Starboard Value LP is supplying the funds and its chief executive officer, Jeffrey Smith, is becoming chairman. He steps into the role vacated last year by Papa John’s founder John Schnatter after reports emerged that he used a racial slur. Schnatter tried to make his own similar deal and said he was shot down.

The infusion comes as the pizza chain also reported preliminary results for the fourth quarter and last year that missed analysts’ estimates. The company had already been in a sales slump before the latest controversy began last summer. Papa John’s plans to use the proceeds to repay debt and invest in the business, it said in a statement. Starboard is making its investment through the purchase of new convertible preferred stock, and the deal includes the option of an additional $50 million investment.

Shares of Papa John’s gained as much as 11 percent to $42.74 in New York trading Monday, the biggest intraday jump since July.”

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PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi: 5 powerful career habits that drove her success

“PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi steps down today after a 24-year career with the company. Born in India, the 62-year-old was one of a handful of people of color to run an S&P 500 company. During her 12-year tenure as chief executive, Nooyi transformed PepsiCo into one of the most successful food and beverage companies worldwide. Her push for healthier snack and beverage choices, along with an eye for product packaging, led to an 80 percent sales growth in the 12 years she was CEO.

As a child in India, Nooyi and her sister were asked to play an unusual game. Each night at dinner, their mother asked her daughters to imagine what they’d do if they were the prime minister, the president or some other world leader. By the end of the dinner, the girls presented a speech and their mother decided which speech won her vote.

Though her mother instilled many traditional values in her daughters, she also encouraged them to be whoever they wanted to be. “She gave us that confidence,” Nooyi said (…).”

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