International Women’s Day as well as Women’s History Month

International Women’s Day, as defined on their website, “is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.”

A number of multinational corporations have made an effort to acknowledge the significance of March 8th, otherwise known as the International Women’s Day. For instance, the KFC divisions in Malaysia have replaced Colonel Sanders with his wife, Claudia as the face of the company for the day. This is an illustration of the appreciation towards hardworking women as Claudia played an integral role in the success of the fast food chain. In addition, the company behind Brawny paper towels have been leading a #StrengthHasNoGender campaign. They have recently announced their decision to switch their famous red flannel-wearing male representative for a female figure in celebration of Women’s History month.

Mentioned in this month’s issue of the New Yorker magazine, Johnnie Walker Black Label, the well-known whisky brand has introduced a new and limited (only available during Women’s History month) edition. Johnnie Walker Black Label the Jane Walker Edition has a unique selling point. Their marketing strategy involves the donation of $1 to a non-profit organization that supports women’s progress initiatives, such as Monumental Women, for every bottle of the Jane Walker Edition sold. The donation could reach a sum of $250,000, depending on the sales.

“Important conversations about gender continue to be at the forefront of culture, and we strongly believe there is no better time than now to introduce our Jane Walker icon and contribute to pioneering organizations that share our mission. We are proud to toast the many achievements of women and everyone on the journey towards progress in gender equality.” – Stephanie Jacoby, the Vice President of Johnnie Walker.

These companies are not the only ones who have made some changes to their iconic elements for the course of Women’s History month to advocate for feminism.

It seems that McDonald’s has just joined the party following recent events. A source from Business Insider reveals the approach taken by the international fast food chain.

“The golden “M” will be flipped into a golden “W” in celebration of women everywhere… We have a long history of supporting women in the workplace, giving them the opportunity to grow and succeed. In the U.S. we take pride in our diversity and we are proud to share that today; six out of ten restaurant managers are women,” communicated by Lauren Altmin, a McDonald’s representative in an exchange with CNBC Make It media outlet.

When the change was first implemented in the Lynwood, California branch, many have assumed that it was an unintentional shift; Some thought it was a prank. However, Patricia Williams, the owner of that particular branch, along with other representatives have stood out to clarify the movement.

“For the first time in our brand history, we flipped our iconic arches for International Women’s Day in honor of the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere and especially in our restaurants. From restaurant crew and management to our C-suite of senior leadership, women play invaluable roles at all levels and together with our independent franchise owners we’re committed to their success,” quote Wendy Lewis, McDonald’s Chief Diversity Officer.

McDonald’s is extending their effort by producing the new golden “W” on “packaging, crew shirts, hats and bag stuffers” in addition to the replacement of the former logo on their social media pages. The special edition packaging and products will only be present at exactly one hundred McDonald’s branches.

It is always heart-warming to see our favorite brands advocate for gender equality as well as women’s rights. While many corporations are making a change, it is obvious that some are extending more efforts than others.

Let us come together and celebrate the month of March, Women’s History month in honor of all the women out there.

Featured Image via Flickr/Mike Mozart

Disney’s quarterly report provides information on ABC-BPI settlement

In September 2012, South Dakota meat processor Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) sued ABC for defamation over the news agency’s reports concerning a meat additive called Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB), which became widely known as “pink slime” following ABC’s story. The suit claimed that the network’s extended coverage of LFTB throughout March 2012 falsely indicated that the product was unsafe, unhealthy, and “not even meat” (Reuters’ words).

BPI sought $1.2 billion in damages, alleging that ABC’s coverage of LFTB cost the beef company “hundreds of millions of dollars in profit and roughly half its employees” (Reuters’ words). Indeed, several major players in the food industry, including Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, ConAgraFoods, SaraLee, and Kraft took steps to distance themselves from LFTB, which BPI calls its “signature beef.”

The case bounced around the court system for years before going to trial in Elk Point, South Dakota on June 5. On June 28, while the trial was in process, ABC and BPI reached a settlement, the amount of which was not disclosed.

In its most recent quarterly earnings report, published Tuesday, Disney, ABC’s parent company, reported a $177 million “charge…incurred in connection with the settlement of litigation.” Radio Iowa noted that the report mentioned no case aside from the BPI agreement, and therefore surmised that Disney settled with BPI for $177 million.

However, BPI’s attorney, Dan Webb, said in a statement that “$177 million is not the total settlement amount,” and that, “based on Disney’s disclosure, it appears that Disney is funding 177 million dollars of the settlement and its insurers are paying the rest.”

Webb told CNN following the settlement that BPI was “extraordinarily pleased to have reached a settlement.”

BPI maintains that its case was justified, but has indicated that the legal process was growing burdensome. Webb says the case was “a long road to travel for BPI,” and that the settlement “allows [the company] to grow [its] business back.”

Webb says he and BPI “felt the trial was necessary to rectify the enormous financial harm” the company had suffered,” and “we’re looking forward to taking the case all the way to the verdict,” Webb says. He believes the evidence he presented on behalf of BPI and LFTB was well-received by the jury, CNN reports.

ABC, like BPI, stands by its case but is pleased to be free of the burdens of litigation.

“Throughout this case, we have maintained that our reports accurately presented the facts and views of knowledgeable people about this product,” the company said in a statement. “Although we have concluded that continued litigation of this case is not in the Company’s interests, we remain committed to the vigorous pursuit of truth and the consumer’s right to know about the products they purchase.”

Much of ABC’s report on LFTB was based on the statements of Gerald Zirnstein, a former USDA scientist. In 2002, Reuters says, the USDA tasked Zirnstein with analyzing the constitution of ground beef to ensure that ingredients met federal regulations.  LFTB was among the products he examined. According to ABC, he found among other things, that the product, use of which had previously been constrained to cooking oil and dog food, was treated with ammonia. (You can view a brief snippet of ABC’s 12-part report on LFTB here).

When the USDA approved the product, Zirnstein sent an e-mail to a co-worker in which he coined the term “pink slime.” That e-mail went public, and Zirnstein became an “involuntary whistleblower,” CNBC report

“The whole thing went viral … Just blew the top off everything,” said Zirnstein per CNBC.

According to BPI’s website (link above), LFTB “is simply the lean beef trimmed from sirloins, ribeyes and other whole muscle cuts.” The product, says BPI, is “100%” beef, and is free of organs tendons, bones and fillers.”

Disney reported $14.2 billion in revenue; that figure is identical to the one reported in the same quarter last year. However, net income fell 9% year over year to $2.37 billion, while earnings per share (EPS) fell 5% to $1.51.

Moreover, CNN cites Webb as saying “he believes the plaintiff’s evidence was well-received by the jury, and that the trial ‘vindicated’ the lean, finely textured beef product” (paraphrased by CNN).

Featured image via Flickr/U.S. Department of Agriculture

Lyft Partners With Taco Bell to Allow Passengers to Order Food With the Push of a Button

If you realize you’re hungry in the middle of a Lyft ride, can you ask your driver to go through a drive-thru? The quandary has plagued hungry passengers ever since the ride-hailing company was established in 2012.

But now Taco Bell has partnered with Lyft to create a feature that allows Lyft customers to request a stop at the late night fast food joint with the push of a button, Kate Taylor of Business Insider reports. Taco Mode, as the beta service is called, will be available on a trial basis in Orange County, CA from July 27-29, and again between August 3rd and 5th. It is slated to go nationwide in 2018.

“We realized that for every person who has asked their Lyft driver to make a pit stop at Taco Bell — and we’ve seen many — there are likely those who weren’t sure if this was possible,” Taco Bell CMO Marisa Thalberg said in a statement. “With the advent of this fantastic partnership with Lyft, we will erase any lingering uncertainty and celebrate the ability to ‘ride-thru’ in Taco Mode.”

Taco Mode will give customers access to a “custom, in-car” menu, and will include a “taco themed car” (whatever that means). Free Doritos Locos tacos will be on the table for Taco Mode users as well.

The service will be available between 9 p.m and 2 a.m., making it the perfect option for those who, whether due to fatigue, intoxication, or some combination of the two, are unable or unwilling to pursue more complicated avenues of obtaining food. Taco Bell serves almost 15 percent of its customers between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., according to Taylor, and Taco Mode will give the fast food chain another means of reaching the key late-night eater demographic.

Uber, arguably Lyft’s chief competitor in the ride-hailing space, launched its UberEats service, which allows customers to get food delivered via Uber, in August 2014. Today, it is available in 50 cities across North America, as well as in select locales in South America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa.

“The UberEATS app,” Uber’s website says, “connects you with a broad range of local restaurants and food, so you can order from the full menus of your local favorites whenever you want.” Once a customer orders, an Uber driver brings the food directly to the customer’s address, typically within 35 minutes, the site claims.

Lyft is entering the food delivery space from a different angle, and the niche is in demand amongst restaurants as well as customers.

Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol told Business Insider in April that taco delivery was the “number one request” amongst Taco Bell customers. The restaurant chain has made various efforts to fulfill that demand, including partnering with DoorDash, a service similar to UberEats, but in all cases, Niccol said, “the third party folks, the aggregators — they’re just not fast enough.” Presumably, Taco Bell declined to partner with UberEats because it, too, was not fast enough.

With Lyft’s Taco Mode, though, the food does not have to travel far before it reaches the customer’s mouth: at the most, the driver has to hand it to his fare in the back seat, who may have to wait a minute before the food is cool enough to eat.

In the food service space, Lyft is taking steps to differentiate itself from Uber. The competition increases consumers’ options: if a person gets hungry while lounging around at home watching a movie, he/she can order from UberEats. If someone wants to eat a hot meal in the car on the way home from the bar, he/she can use Lyft’s Taco Mode.

The only real downside is that Lyft drivers everywhere will end up with sauce on their seats and crumbs on their floorboards.

McDonald’s Masters Change with Big Mac

Several changes in the classic McDonald’s menu benefited the company’s business by a surprising amount. Earnings this past quarter were higher than predicted with a global rise in same-store sales of 1.3 percent and an increase of growth of 4 percent.

The menu changes and promotions made by CEO Steve Easterbrook put McDonald’s ahead of competitors including IHOP and Sonic Corp. The fast food industry as a whole experienced a recent decrease in sales which McDonald’s is now overcoming.

U.S. markets have become increasingly difficult to succeed in for both McDonald’s and competitors as traffic diminished in the first quarter. Fast-food industry same-store sales fell by 0.6 percent in March continuing a 4-month trend of decrease.

In a successful attempt to regain ground Easterbrook implemented several menu changes. Drink promotions of $1 and $2 deals paired with new sizes for the famous Big Mac, the even bigger Grand Mac and the smaller Mac Jr., drew in customers without making dramatic changes which risk attracting controversy.

Menu changes are historically risky, especially with well-known and popular products. The 2015 recipe change of Diet Pepsi and the famously abysmal failure of Coca-Cola’s “New Coke” in 1985 are prime examples.

However, Easterbrook’s changes have been met with success as U.S. same-store sales rose by a surprising 1.7 percent last quarter. The period saw earnings of $1.47 per share beating the prediction by analysts of $1.34 per share.

The increase is partially due to a rise in prices of about 2 percent this year. Other factors, including the long-lasting effects of the all-day breakfast policy implemented in 2015, contributed to recent success.

The McDonald’s Corp.’s stock experienced a 10 percent gain over the past year as of Monday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index conversely, climbed by only 6 percent.

The stock also experienced the biggest intraday increase since October 2015 to $141.99. This is a raise of 5.8 percent.

Changes in offerings overseas were also successful. Efforts to improve customer service in Canada and new menu items in the U.K. contributed to an increase in international sales. McDonald’s leading international markets rose by 2.8 percent.

Additionally, an increase in store openings in China contributed to sales. Efforts are being made to compete with KFC and Pizza Hut stores owned there by Yum China Holdings Inc.

About two-thirds of total revenue for the company are brought in by overseas markets so success in these areas is of key importance. The high-growth division reported a rise of 3.8 percent in same-store sales surpassing the predicted 2.7 percent.

The chain’s total revenue last quarter was $5.68 billion which is higher than the average projected revenue by $150 million. Easterbrook plans to keep revenue rising through exploring digital options and delivery services.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Wendy’s Brings Kiosks to Over 1,000 of its Loctions

The traditional way of ordering fast food is about to be a thing of the past. Wendy’s has big plans on changing the way consumers do fast food. The fast food giant says it has plans to open up self-serve kiosks in over 1,000 locations. Not only will these new kiosks be great time savers for customers, they are designed to attract a younger crowd and bring down the cost the company spends on labor.

At one location, the typical number of kiosks will be at least three. Those three machines would only cost around $15,000. Those restaurants that receive a higher volume of customers will get priority. It’s also estimated that Wendy’s will see a return in profit for their self-serve kiosks by the next two years.

The fast food giants Chief Information officer, David Trimm, told a source that the main goal of the kiosks is to help customers better navigate long lines during peak dining hours. This, in turn, will better aid the kitchen with its production of food.

Wendy’s has made its self-serving kiosks available in central Ohio-based restaurants. There, the company first tested the new technology on customers. To expand this technology will put Wendy’s “at the forefront of the kiosk and tech movement,” said Darren Tristano who is vice president of Technomic, a food service consulting firm.

An Ohio company, Dublin, is also optimistic about the use of kiosks. Kiosks are highly valued due their ability to provide information and feedback about customers that companies can use for the future. With this new technology, Wendy does not only hope to draw in more youthful customers who will prefer to use the kiosks but also improve customers overall experience at each location. Wendy’s will gain a better knowledge of their customers and how to please them by attaining to their needs.

Kiosks are currently a hot commodity, and Wendy’s is wasting no time putting the technology to use. This comes at a good time when things didn’t go as expected for the fast food giant last year. Wendy’s chief operating officer Bob Wright told a source that just this past year “things were tough—5 percent wage inflation.” Wright also claims that he has expectations for wages to rise about 4 percent more. So, in order to counter that, the kiosks help the company shed over 31 hours of labor per week.

Another benefit is the increased efficiency they provide each restaurant. Accuracy is another benefit. Wendy’s doesn’t have to worry about a kiosk calling in sick or being a no show. They have the advantage of dependability.

Kiosks are just the beginning of Wendy’s step up into the tech world. The company says that soon it plans to develop a way for its customers to order and pay through their smartphone. That will eventually outrun not only kiosks but technology as well.

Change is often inevitable. But for those who find that they just aren’t ready to take those steps closer to the future of technology, feel free to step up to the counter. Wendy’s says its customers have the option of ordering at the counter for now. Yet sooner or later technology is bound to take over.

Breach on Arby’s Puts 355,000 Credit Cards At Risk

It’s hard to think that your information could be stolen by making a simple purchase at your favorite fast food restaurant. However, thousands of people recent had to find out the hard way. Over 355,000 credit and debit cards were at risk after a malware breach hit Arby’s cash registers. The incident could have affected hundreds of the fast food chain’s restaurants that were owned the Atlanta Ga based company were hit. It would seem that the franchise wasn’t affected.

The malware breach gave the attackers leeway to steal information from each credit card that came through the cash register. Something similar occurred when mammoth credit card breach that hit Target and Home Depot.

The first reports regarding the attack happened on October 25, 2016, then again on January 19, 2017. It was reported by a credit union service group named PSCU. This could mean that those cards that aren’t part of a credit union have not yet been reported.

Arby’s, on the other hand, commented that once it learned that there had been a breach it started its own investigation. The company hired a security team and altered the police of the breach. It didn’t take long for Arby’s to rid its system of the malware once it was detected.

Security breaches, such as this one, have been called “national nightmares” by Dan Berger who is the CEO of the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions. They have been a continuous plague to many retailers across the country.

Berger told a source, “Last year, the number of data breaches shattered all records and climbed 40% higher than reported in 2015 and there is no sign of the criminals letting up. In 2017, we have already hit 110 breaches, a 36% percent hike over the same time last year.”

When it comes to using your card, even for the smallest purchases, it’s important to make sure you monitor your account for any unusual activity. Arby’s reiterated that “If guests discover any unauthorized charges, they should report them immediately to the bank that issued their card.”

McDonald’s Customer Count Continues To Drop

McDonald’s numbers haven’t exactly been ideal when it comes to its customer traffic. When the fast food chain decided to sell breakfast all day, the company saw a slight increase in sales number. However, that number isn’t as high as expected.

Just last year customer count dropped by 2.1 percent. That’s just shy of the 3 percent the burger chain saw the year before, and the fourth year in a row that customer count dropped for McDonald’s.

In an effort to bring more customers through its doors, McDonald’s started it McPick 2 campaign last January. However, the low prices of food favorites didn’t draw the crowd McDonald’s had expected. In fact, while some stores let the promotion drift on and off others kept it going.

Even McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook commented saying, “The McPick menu does work well for customers. But that alone isn’t winning market share on the value end.”

When it comes to customer traffic breakfast isn’t the main issue. On the other hand, when it comes to lunch and dinner, that’s when the numbers have the tendency to drop. With a 12.5 to 13.5 percent drop in customer count, somehow McDonald’s had a strong profit gain.

Company margins shot up 17 percent from its previous 15.2 percent. The company believes that it will be able to bring its traffic percentage up to par. Perks like the $1 McCafe special, along with the two new Big Mac sizes, could bring in more traffic.

McDonald’s to Shift Business in China

In efforts to revamp its franchise in the international market, McDonald’s will sell at least 80 percent of its business in Hong Kong and throughout China. McDonald’s already operates and estimated 65 percent of the 2,000 outlets it owns in China. This new move will help McDonald’s build its franchising worldwide.

McDonald’s announced that it was on the lookout for partners to create over 1,500 restaurants in China and Korea within the next five years. Citic, China’s investment group, along with the U.S. firm Carlyle Group agreed to a deal with an estimated value of $2.1 billion.  The benefits of franchising will allow McDonald’s to cut the cost of sales as well as operating costs.

On Monday, both parties signed an agreement that would give McDonald’s 20 percent stake in China’s business. Citic holds 52 percent while Carlyle will take the remaining 28 percent.

McDonald’s isn’t the only restaurant brand to head to China for business. Yum Brands, who owns KFC and Pizza Hut are also researching business in China. Yum Brands and McDonald’s, although they are rivals, have competition from other local businesses. This competition can especially be found in China where there have been a large amount of food safety scares.

McDonald’s has Revealed That They have a Secret Menu

Fast-food restaurants frequently keep popping up in the news. Whether it is for their unhealthy food, worker’s compensations or any other food safety or business issues, American restaurant chains surely do find themselves in entertaining situations.

McDonald’s is probably one of the most popular restaurants from the list of controversial chains. With issues like pink slime, minimum wage, being sued and so much more, it has surely become a resilient business.

But in less image-damaging news, the restaurant has recently revealed that they also have a secret menu. A U.K. based McDonald’s manager has revealed that the restaurant allegedly got a secret menu with fascinating burgers like the Land, Sea and Air burger and also something called the McGangbang.

However, when a rep for the restaurant was interviewed and questioned about the secret menu, he said,

“We do not have a secret menu at McDonald’s UK. That’s because we love the food that we serve in our restaurants and we don’t want to keep it a secret from our customers. Any requests for extra items or changes to our products are considered at the restaurant manager’s discretion and any additional items may be charged for.”

Image: Via Flickr/Mike Mozart

McDonald’s All Set to Make Changes to their Burgers

If you were one of those people who never did rank McDonald’s in your top 10 list of burgers, you might have some re-thinking to do. Lately, the burgers at McDonald’s were entirely unimpressive and the patty lacked a decent flavor.

However, the fast-food restaurant chain is all out to make changes to their current business pattern. Now, apparently it isn’t just the business that will undergo changes, but rather something more important.

McDonald’s has finally started to focus on what their business has really been about – the burgers. Steve Easterbrook, the CEO of McDonald’s, has said that the restaurant will change the way they grill their burgers so the patty will be juicier.

Easterbrook went on to say, “It’s these little things that add up to big differences for our customers.” The new CEO who stepped into his new role on the first of March has already decided to make a few major changes.

It isn’t just the meat in the patty that will taste different, McDonald’s will also serve their burger on warmer buns. Therefore, the restaurant is all set to give the overall burger a decent makeover. Only time will tell if the changes will be effective or not.

Image: Via Flickr/Mike Mozart

Pizza-Hut to Sell Pigs in a Blanket Pizza

Pizza-Hut is one of those fast food chains that doesn’t ever really live up to people’s expectations. Nevertheless, the pizza emporium tries their best with new and innovative ways to keep the customers coming.

In the year 2013, Pizza-Hut in Canada and UK released a hotdog stuffed crust pizza. The pizza itself did not receive too many great reviews, but somehow, the sales were decent. The customers in Canada and England perhaps wanted a taste of the unique amalgamation of pizza and hot-dogs that the restaurant began to sell.

Soon enough, the restaurant had expressed its desire to bring the hotdog and pizza combo to the United States. The new pizza will be released in the US, and will indeed be a pizza with pigs in a blanket all around the crust. The concoction looks like a pizza pie with a bullet-belt of pigs in a blanket.

The restaurant announced that the new item will be on menus from the 18th of June. An official from Pizza-Hut said, “The large one-topping pizza, featuring 28 premium hot dog bites baked into the crust, is served with a side of French’s mustard for $11.99.”


Pizza Hut to Have a Film Projector in the Pizza Box

Pizza Hut has not particularly been the restaurant chain that is known for the best quality of pizzas. The restaurant, which was founded in Kansas in 1958 has had its own share of ups and downs. Notwithstanding, the restaurant chain has managed to stay in business around the world.

Usually, it is the new variants of pizza like the stuffed-crust or pop-out crust that keeps the customers excited. This time though, it is more the pizza box itself that will keep the people coming.

Ogilvy and Mather in Hong Kong have come up with the innovative ‘Blockbuster Box.’ The unique thing about this Blockbuster pizza box is that is has a built-in projector. The projector can be connected to one’s smart phone to show films.

This cool new gizmo will change movie night completely. The best part is that the boxes come with a QR code through which movies can be downloaded. As of now, there are four themed boxes already designed. The boxes are – ‘Hot & Ready’, ‘Slice Night’, ‘Fully Loaded’ and ‘Anchovy Action’.

The best this is that this box offers portability, so movie night can be enjoyed anywhere at all with a warm pizza waiting for you to dig in.


Subway to Stop Using Artificial Ingredients

Subway has always been the “go to” restraint when one intends to eat some guilt-free fast food. In recent times, with the cohort of unhealthy ingredients that are used by chains like ‘McDonalds’, ‘KFC’ and many other, Subway was the better choice.

Certainly the lesser of two evils, Subway is now planning to get better. The restaurant will now join the bandwagon of places that have started to go all natural. The restaurant will use no artificial ingredients from now on.

The director of Subway’s corporate social responsibility, Elizabeth Stewart has said, “Ingredient improvement has been an ongoing process over the years. The chain has been working on removing caramel color from cold cuts like roast beef and ham. For its turkey, Subway says it plans to replace a preservative called proprionic acid with vinegar by the end of this year.”

When asked about the toppings and core ingredients of the sandwich, she said, “Subway is switching to banana peppers colored with turmeric instead of the artificial dye Yellow No. 5. Without providing details, she said the chain is also working on its sauces and cookies.”

After changes like these, Subway is certainly going to be more of a “guilt-free” fast-food chain.


Edited by Priscilla Manzo

KFC Sues Chinese Companies Over False Rumors About Its Food

Social media can, at times, be very detrimental for companies, especially those responsible for handling our food. KFC, which has more than 4,800 operating restaurants in China, recently discovered false claims about their chicken, and have acted quickly to shut down the rumors.

Parent company, Yum Brands, is already familiar with acts of defamation and real product issues. Currently, the company is trying to recover financially in China, a region which accounts for half its revenue. First quarter profits and revenue showed declines, with sales down 9% from last year. The monetary issues are the effect of KFC’s troubles in China.

In 2012, the company’s sales began to drop off after reports revealed that two of its suppliers were providing chickens with extremely high levels of antibiotics. Two years later, KFC China had to suspend its procurement from the meat supplier, Shanghai Husi Food Co., after local media investigated its operations. Evidently, Husi used expired meat products in the processing of food.

Subsequent to the supplier changes, the website Daily Buzz Live posted an article falsely explaining the reason KFC shortened its name.

“They allegedly cannot use the word chicken anymore. Why? KFC does not use real chickens? They allegedly use genetically manipulated organisms. These so-called ‘chickens’ are kept alive by tubes inserted into their bodies to pump blood and nutrients throughout their structure.”

The story about the genetically altered chicken was an old one, however, that did not stop the nearly 50,000 times the article was shared on Facebook. KFC had to battle through and endure accusations such as these almost all too often in order to rebuild their credibility and financial position.

KFC spokesman Rick Maynard told Business Insider last year, “there is absolutely no truth to this ridiculous urban legend, which has been debunked many times. KFC uses only top quality poultry from trusted companies like Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride – the same brands customers know from their local supermarkets.”

Well, the most recent incident deserves another debunking. In fact, it deserves more than that – a lawsuit. The popular restaurant chain is protecting its own reputation by suing three Chinese companies that acted out of defamation, and is demanding 1.5 million yuan, or $242,000, along with a public apology.

This comes at an opportune time for KFC, given that the Chinese government is campaigning to sterilize the internet of false claims and rumors, particularly on social media. Prior to, it has been difficult for companies to protect their reputation on the Internet, said KFC.

Shanxi Wei Lu Kuang Technology Company Ltd, Taiyuan Zero Point Technology Company and Ying Chen An Zhi Success and Culture Communication Ltd purportedly used their social media accounts on WeChat to spread talk about the quality of KFC chickens. KFC said in a statement (on their Chinese website) that the false information about chickens having six wings and eight legs had made its way through 4,000 posts. Again, the genetically modified chicken refuses to disappear.

“This not only seriously misled consumers, but also hurt our brand,” said Qu Cuirong, KFC China’s president.

The case was filed before a court in Shanghai. The defendants have not publicly commented on the matter.

By Ruben Rebolledo

Edited by Priscilla Manzo


KFC Has a Bad Reputation in China

Once a prime destination for eating out in China, the public outlook of KFC has transformed. As of now, the people of China think the restaurant serves ‘cheap greasy fast food’.

When the first outlet was opened back in 1989, the Chinese diners were eager to try out the original recipe fried chicken. Fried chicken had always been a part of their cuisine as opposed to other fast foods like the hamburger. For Chen Haiwen, like many others during the early 90’s, dining out at KFC was considered a luxury meal, a place frequented by the rich.

Over the years however, KFC has grown to become one of the largest fast food chains in the country with over 4,800outlets nationwide. This was a high rate of success for the fast food brand and its parent company – YUM Brands. This success can be attributed to KFC being one of the first American fast food companies to enter the Chinese market as well as their very local menu among other things, which attracted people of all ages.


The recent food safety scares in China over the last two years have resulted in a slew of suppliers and food service providers scrambling to get ahead of the problem. The fast food industry was one of the most heavily hit by issues such as antibiotics used in chicken growth resulting in fear of development of highly resistant superbugs.

Issues like these have lead worldwide fast food giants like KFC to switch over to antibiotic-free meats. Awareness of food safety issues and scandals, have resulted in a temporary fall in the number of people visiting these fast food chains. These issues, amongst others have resulted in a noticeable revenue reduction for the parent company.

This prompted the question of whether or not to spin off their fast food chains’ operations in China. However according to senior officials at Yum Brands, 2015 is expected to show a return in revenue of the kind experienced before these issues had occurred.


McDonald’s Employees Still Angry About Their Wages

Employees are demanding higher wages from the multi-billion dollar fast food company, McDonald’s, as well as other employees from various fast food places and restaurants.

Thousands of McDonald’s workers protested outside the company’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois while the company had their big annual two day meeting. They are demanding an increase in minimum wage from the $7.25 most are receiving now to $15 an hour.

Protests from minimum wage worker in the food and retail industry have become a common occurrence and have created a national debate on each states minimum wage.

McDonald’s has already responded to their employees wage complaints before and have even improved their wages, but it does not seem to be enough.

A McDonald’s employee, Tyree Johnson, 47, was among the protesters Wednesday May 20 and told Reuters, “They keep telling me they value me but they don’t give me more money.”

Johnson has been a loyal worker to the franchise, being with the company since 1992 and his hourly pay is still only $8.55 an hour. He says he is forced to live in a men’s hotel because he is unable to pay for rent to get his own apartment.

According to McDonald’s, they regularly check on wage issues and respect their employees “right to peacefully protest” says Heidi Barker, the company’s spokeswoman.

The new chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, has already made changes by increasing the locally mandated minimum wage by $1, but it will not be effective till July 1. McDonald’s is expecting to slowly increase their wage and is projected to be $10 per hour by 2016.

Yet, not all McDonald’s locations will see this change. In fact only 9,000 workers and 1,500 U.S. store locations will benefit from their increases. That is leaving out about 660,000 employed McDonald’s workers.

And even with the increase, many workers say it is still too low to make any real effect. They still can not afford housing and living expenses on the salary they promise.

The employer’s protest have reached out to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) who is challenging the franchise through legislative and regulatory channels.

During the meeting Wednesday head pension fund leaders told McDonald’s and similar companies that they may be hurting their own company’s future by keeping an excessive amount of money for their investors instead of returning the excess money to employers.

Many states are slowly increasing their minimum wages and are already above the average $7.25 per hour federal minimum.

Image via Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Chipotle Beating Out McDonald’s in Fast Food

Chipotle, which once was under McDonald’s investments, is now a big competitor for the multi-billion dollar company.

Back in 1998 burger chain McDonald’s held a 90% share in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc and was a big reason for their success. With their help Chipotle grew from just 14 locations to over 500 in just seven years.

But the company went through many complications because of McDonald’s attempt to control Chipotle. Business Insider reports that McDonald’s had suggestions such as adding drive thrus and serving breakfast, changing its name by adding a ‘Fresh’ to it, making its menu specific to each area, and controlling its commercials.

“I would think of it in terms of McDonald’s being the rich uncle and Chipotle as the petulant nephew where we take the money and are grateful but are stubborn and strong-willed enough that we’re going to do what we want with it anyway,” A Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told Bloomberg.

Since McDonald’s sold their share, the Chipotle chain’s stocks have risen from $42 to $650.

McDonald’s may have to worry for the simple reason that, with everyone becoming educated in health andethical choices, Chipotle sounds more appealing.

With Chipotle’s “food with integrity” moto they ensure use of naturally-raised and organically-produced food, which is something the average fast food restaurant does not usually produce.


Via PhotoPin

A small menu may seem unappealing, but with Chipotle’s menu the customer has the option to uniquely custom make their meal. It can also help them remember the menu for the next visit.

Chipotle is corporate-owned, not a franchise. Many view franchises negatively with cheap suppliers and low employee wages.

Chipotle is a delectable mix of both fast food and sit-down dining. An easy decision for any customer when contemplating what to eat in a hurry.

Chipotle isn’t McDonald’s only competition; other growing chains like burger joints Shake Shack and Five Guys and chicken competitors Chick-fil-A are becoming popular as well.


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In attempts to regain their popularity McDonald’s has tried many stunts over the years that all have yet to succeed.

Not too long ago they tried introducing chicken wings to their menu but it did not catch enough popularity to last.

They tried following the hashtag trend with their own #McDStories. The hashtag ended up being used negatively on social media sites and hurt the company instead of helping.

Having numerous bad reputations on their food quality, they announced that they would not use chicken raised using antibiotics in their products.

They raised their workers salaries and even gave out paid vacation days to some employees and for student employees, giving them financial assistance.

Detroit Police Arrest Dozens of Fast-Food Protesters

Police in Detroit arrested dozens of demonstrators who took part in a nationwide fast-food protest. Hundreds of workers from various fast-food chains, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s and KFC, planned and orchestrated a strike to bump hourly wages to $15. Protesters reportedly wore T-shirts that read “$15” and sat in the middle of a road. The protesters refused to move when asked to do so by police, and the sum of all arrests was estimated to be between 20 and 40.

According to a Mashable report, many fast-food employees don’t make much more than the $7.25 federal minimum wage, which totals approximately $15,000 a year based on a 40-hour work week. When compared to the United States as a whole, according to, the median income for Americans in 2013 was $50,502.

Michigan’s fast-food workers saw a bump from $7.40 per hour to $8.15 per hour just this week. Although that totals a difference in annual salary of less than $3,000, it’s a step in the right direction.

Industry official Scott DeFife, the National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president, feels that the goals of the protesters aren’t realistic. In a New York Times report, DeFife said of the wage increase,”It would have consequences on hiring patterns for Main Street businesses across the country.”

Nonetheless, the movement for higher wages has gained support from President Obama. Obama has put a higher minimum wage on his priority list, and he recently mentioned the movement at a Labor Day appearance in Milwaukee.

“There’s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity. If I were busting my butt in the service industry and wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, I’d join a union.”

Yum! Reports Second Quarter Losses

Yum!, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has reported disappointing figures for its second quarter earnings report. The company reported only $3.2 billion in sales, while they had expected to earn $3.26 billion. In addition, its shares missed their targeted 74 cents projected increase by a penny, as they reported their shares had gone up 73 cents in value. The stock is currently valued at around $82.71 a share.

Yum!’s figures are better than last year, improving by six percent in overall global sales while the operating profit increased by 32 percent. Still, Wall Street seemed to be disappointed as the stock’s value dropped 2.5 percent in after-hours trading. KFC’s overall sales have dropped 2 percent, and Pizza Hut sales declined by 4 percent. Taco Bell was the only restaurant to stay in the green, as new implementation of their breakfast menu gave a 2 percent increase in store sales.

Meanwhile, sales in China have given executives a reason to be happy. Sales grew by 15 percent and the margin at restaurants grew by over 6 percent. Chinese business accounted for more than half of Yum!’s sales, and the company opened 104 restaurants just this past year.

Yum!’s CEO David Novak said, as reported by Forbes, “We are especially pleased with the initial success of our KFC Menu Revamp and excited about our plans balance of year,” CEO David Novak said in a statement. “Overall, we remain on track to open at least 700 new restaurants in China as we further capitalize on the world’s largest and fastest growing consuming class.”

There is an expression that goes along the lines “adapt or die,” and it certainly seems that Yum! is adapting. Despite a declining U.S. interest in cheap and fattening chicken, pizza and tacos, Yum! still has a tremendous source of revenue over in the Far East. Consider Yum!’s reported losses as just a minor hiccup. They should be around for a long time to come.




Here in the U.S., we’re all pretty much accustomed to the menu at Micky D’s. Burgers, nuggets, fries, breakfast sandwiches… that’s pretty much it. But with over 68 million costumers daily in their 35,000 franchises in 119 countries, the menu is bound to have some interesting cultural curveballs here and there. Here are some of the most interesting items on McDonald’s menus throughout the globe that you can’t find here in America.


15) Canada- Poutine, Atlantic Lobster Roll (for limited time).

14) Israel- Corn Sticks

13) Brazil- Cheese Bread

12) China- Taro Bie

11) Taiwan- Corn soup

10) Turkey- Cucumbers, olives, tomatoes, feta cheese, eggs toast

9) Switzerland- Fried Shrimp

8) Spain- Gazpacho

7) Denmark- Chili Cheese Balls

6) Korea- Green tea latte

5) Finland- Cheeseburger on rye bread

4) Guadeloupe- Hazelnut Spongecake

3) Colombia- Fried Yuca

2) Japan- Avocado and Beef Sandwich

1) India- Chicken Masala Sandwich


Check out the full list at Buzzfeed here!