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Jul 22, 2014

Chipotle customers shrug off price hike, flock to burrito chain

July 21 (Reuters) – Burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc
last quarter achieved what many of its rivals could only
dream of: It raised prices, yet attracted more diners during a
period of sluggish economic growth.

The Denver-based chain on Monday reported a nearly 26
percent jump in second-quarter profit after sales at established
restaurants surged 17.3 percent.

Jul 21, 2014

Yum, McDonald’s apologize as new China food scandal hits

SHANGHAI/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Yum Brands Inc YUM.N and McDonald’s Corp MCD.N are facing a new food safety scare in China, denting the fast-food companies’ efforts to shore up reputations and businesses that were hurt by a 2012 safety scandal in one of their biggest markets.

McDonald’s and KFC parent Yum apologized to customers on Monday after Chinese regulators shut a local meat supplier following a TV report that showed workers picking up meat from a factory floor, as well as mixing meat beyond its expiration date with fresh meat.

Jul 17, 2014

Yum’s U.S. woes, other data, point to weakness at McDonald’s

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – Yum Brands Inc’s disappointing Pizza Hut and Taco Bell results, along with other data, suggested the U.S. fast-food business remained weak in the second quarter and that industry leader McDonald’s Corp continues to struggle.

The U.S. fast-food segment has lagged the broader restaurant sector, due to weak job growth and stagnant pay among the lower-wage diners who frequent such restaurants. The sector also is struggling to remain relevant as more consumers move away from decadent food like cheeseburgers and french fries to fresher, healthier fare.

Jul 16, 2014

Yum’s China rebound dimmed by India, Pizza Hut weakness

July 16 (Reuters) – Yum Brands Inc on Wednesday said
its KFC business bounced back in China, its No. 1 market, but
its stock fell more than 2 percent in extended-hours trading on
disappointing quarterly results from its India, Taco Bell and
Pizza Hut divisions.

Yum’s sales at established restaurants in China increased 15
percent in the second quarter, including a 21 percent jump at
KFC and flat results at Pizza Hut Casual Dining.

Jul 16, 2014

Starbucks opens in Colombia, home of Juan Valdez

By Lisa Baertlein

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp opened its first shop in Colombia on Wednesday, 43 years after the world’s biggest coffee chain first started buying beans from the country famous for its premium arabica coffee named after fictional coffee farmer Juan Valdez.

The first of 50 Starbucks stores planned for the coming five years will be in Bogota’s Parque de la 93, one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods. This store and all other Starbucks locations in Colombia will be the Seattle-based company’s first to serve only locally sourced coffee.

Jul 15, 2014

Less than a year after IPO, no fire in the Potbelly

LOS ANGELES, July 15 (Reuters) – Early investors in Potbelly
Corp have seen their shares in the toasted sandwich
chain go cold.

Expectations were high ahead of Potbelly’s initial public
offering in October. The roughly 300-unit Chicago-based sandwich
chain was poised to grow, announcing plans to increase its
restaurant count by at least 10 percent per year. And it had
signed on Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Officer Howard
Schultz’s Maveron venture capital firm as its biggest investor.

Jul 8, 2014

American Apparel’s Charney loses support of some factory workers he championed

LOS ANGELES, July 8 (Reuters) – Ousted American Apparel Inc
head Dov Charney supported workers in the clothing
industry with his stance in favor of immigration rights and
determination to keep jobs in the United States, but some
employees are not returning the favor.

Four of the six workers who would talk to a Reuters reporter
outside the company’s downtown Los Angeles factory said they
back the board’s decision to fire Charney, the company’s
outspoken founder who has been dogged by lawsuits and
allegations of sexual harassment.

Jul 2, 2014

Kroger offers $280 million for Vitacost.com in health play

By Lisa Baertlein and Shailaja Sharma

(Reuters) – Kroger Co said on Wednesday it would buy Vitacost.com Inc, a health products retailer, for about $280 million in a bid to expand its presence in the profitable health and wellness niche popularized by Whole Foods Market Inc.

A growing number of U.S. shoppers are willing to pay extra for products such as organic foods, local produce and specialty items such as vitamins and other supplements. Eyeing bigger profits, grocery sellers from Kroger to Wal-Mart Stores Inc and drugstore chain CVS Caremark Corp are hoping to cash in on the trend.

Jun 27, 2014

U.S. retailers nervous as West Coast port labor talks running out of time

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With peak shipping season approaching, U.S. retailers are anxiously monitoring labor negotiations affecting 20,000 workers at West Coast ports that handle more than 40 percent of goods shipped in ocean containers.

The six-year contract between dockworkers and the employers who operate port terminal and shipping lines expires on July 1 at 5 p.m. PDT (0000 GMT). It covers workers at 29 ports from California to Washington state, including major hubs in Los Angeles/Long Beach and Seattle/Tacoma.

Jun 27, 2014

Retailers nervous as West Coast port labor talks running out of time

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With peak shipping season approaching, U.S. retailers are anxiously monitoring labor negotiations affecting 20,000 workers at West Coast ports that handle more than 40 percent of goods shipped in ocean containers.

The six-year contract between dockworkers and the employers who operate port terminal and shipping lines expires on July 1 at 5 p.m. PDT (0000 GMT). It covers workers at 29 ports from California to Washington state, including major hubs in Los Angeles/Long Beach and Seattle/Tacoma.

    • About Lisa

      "Lisa writes about restaurants and grocery stores. She is based in Los Angeles and previously has covered computer software, Internet companies, video games, prescription drugs and municipal bonds."
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