Starbucks begins mobile ordering rollout in Beijing and Shanghai

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“Starbucks said it has begun rolling out its Starbucks Now mobile ordering platform to 300 select stores in Beijing and Shanghai and will expand the service throughout China over the next year.

Starbucks Now, available for Starbucks Rewards members through the company’s mobile app in China, allows customers to order their food and beverages ahead of time and pick them up in store.

“Starbucks Now represents a significant opportunity for Starbucks China to drive new, innovative customer experiences,” Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China said in a company release. “This builds on the latest of several digital initiatives in China, including Starbucks Delivers and locally relevant gifting and e-commerce experiences.”

Customers can use Starbucks Now to find a local store based on the mobile app’s GPS location, order food and customized beverages and make payment, with the order ready to pick up when they arrive at the location.”

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Why Teriyaki Madness CEO is confident about 500-unit growth strategy

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“Claiming to double your restaurant unit count in one year may seem pretty gutsy, but Teriyaki Madness CEO Michael Haith isn’t afraid to say it aloud.

Founded in 2003, the Las Vegas-based concept now based in Denver started 2019, with about 40 units but will end it with more than 80. The growth plan doesn’t stop there, however, as the chain will hit 500 by 2026. And that’s a “minimum,” said Haith, who purchased the brand in 2016, from the founding brothers, who still own five locations.

“500 is not our goal as much as it is a conservative forecast for the next five to seven years,” he said in an interview with FastCasual. “It is the number we will be at as a benchmark towards our 10-year goal.”

Since taking over, Haith — who came to Teriyaki Madness from Maui Wowi and Doc Popcorn — and his team have implemented processes and systems to focus on growth. And that team includes several industry veterans:

  • VP of Marketing Jodi Boyce, who worked for Quiznos and Smashburger.
  • CFO John Miller, Chipotle’s former CFO.
  • VP of Operations Janice Branam, whose tenure includes Smashbuiger and Quiznos.
  • Joe Gordon, who worked for Noodles and Co., is VP of Supply Chain.
  • COO Erin Hicks, formerly of Maui Wow.
  • VP of Real Estate Peter Harding, who came from Einstein Bros.
  • VP of Real Estate Hank Janik of Schlotzsky’s. (…)”

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KFC Is Ready For Nationwide Delivery Launch

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“KFC, which plans to launch nationwide delivery later this year, contributed to strong sales growth at parent company Yum Brands Inc., which reported global same-store sales growth of 4% for the first quarter.

Yum CEO Greg Creed said KFC’s strong numbers were driven by strong results in international markets, including double-digit same-store gains in Japan and Indonesia.

“This global powerhouse saw widespread strength, coupled with standout performances in some of our larger markets,” Creed told investors during a Wednesday morning conference call.

In the U.S., Creed said KFC delivery is now available in 2,200 restaurants through Grubhub. He said most orders are coming at dinner, where larger family packs are popular. He called the KFC classic bucket an “incredible delivery device” as food shows up piping hot.”

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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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