Retailers, consumers and prices
Workers at 10 Jimmy John’s sandwich restaurants in Minneapolis could make history this month — if they say “yes” to union representation.
The National Labor Relations Board on Oct. 22 will oversee a secret ballot election for 200 Jimmy John’s workers in the city. If a majority of them approve, it would be a first for the U.S. fast-food industry and the company would be legally bound to negotiate with a bargaining team elected by employees.
“People say fast food is unorganizable. We say failure is not an option,” said Jaim’ee Bolte, a union member. “It’s time for change in America, we hope this will be a turning point for all workers.”
Food preparation and service jobs are among the fastest-growing occupations in the United States, but they typically offer part-time hours, limited or no benefits and pay roughly on par with minimum wage. Employee turnover is high and many fast-food workers are teenagers and young adults.
The world’s biggest fast-food chain posted a 1.4 percent increase in February sales at its restaurants open at least 13 months. Strong same-store sales in the U.S. softened the blow from a stronger U.S. dollar, which eats into the value of overseas sales.
McDonald’s cited demand for its ‘Quarter Pounder’ hamburger sandwich in the United States — a testament to the trend that more consumers are migrating to cheaper restaurants as they try to save money in a global economic downturn.
Denny’s has finally figured out a way to get people to come out to a casual dining restaurant during a recession – give them a free breakfast.
It probably isn’t a sustainable business model, but the chain gave free Grand Slam breakfasts to anybody who came in on Tuesday, an offer it advertised on Sunday during the Super Bowl.
The company was on pace to serve about 2 million of the free breakfasts, a spokeswoman said.
The free breakfast promotion also slammed the company’s web site.
Check out the strong sales at McDonald’s in the … United States?
The world’s biggest restaurant chain posted its largest monthly U.S. same-store sales gain since February, when Leap year added an extra selling day. Barring the Leap year, July was the best month in 11 months.
It seems like only a few months ago people were worried that cash-strapped U.S. consumers would start shunning restaurants altogether, even the less expensive ones like McDonald’s.
In fact, it was. The company posted a drop in U.S. same-store sales in March, the first such decline in five years.
But the U.S. rebounded and strength in U.S. sales in July is a sign that the company is benefiting as consumers trade down from casual-dining restaurants like Red Lobster and Applebee’s, and that the value message of McDonald’s is attracting customers, analysts said.
Growth in high-margin items like drinks could also help the company offset rising hamburger commodity prices, UBS restaurant analyst David Palmer said in a research note.
Also in the basket:
Hormel gives lower 3rd-qtr view; cuts ’08 outlook
Rising grain costs hit consumers (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)