McDonald's will put a three-week waiting period in place before it reopens any more of its US restaurants to dine-in traffic amid a surge in new coronavirus cases in some parts of the country. About 15%, or 2,200 of the chain's 14,000 units, had reopened their dining rooms before Wednesday's announcement.
The pandemic will leave its mark on restaurant design as companies create smaller spaces and ramp up the development of drive-thrus to cater to off-premises dining. Starbucks will accelerate the rollout of pickup-only units, multibrand operator Aurify Brands plans to debut a smaller "depot" format and chains including Wingstop are building ghost kitchens for takeout and delivery only.
In 2013, Walmart pledged to hire 250,000 veterans by this year through its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment initiative. As of July 1, Walmart and Sam's Club have brought 265,000 veterans on board through the program, and the company said more than 44,000 of those hired had been promoted to higher-paying jobs.
Eight Earth Fare stores are set to reopen in Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina as new owners attempt to revive part of the natural grocery chain after its bankruptcy filing in February. Hulsing Enterprises President and CEO Dennis Hulsing, whose company invested in Earth Fare, teamed with Earth Fare founder Randy Talley to reopen the Ashevillle, N.C., store on June 22, with other openings planned within the next several months.
After hiring 750 employees since March to bolster its online operations, Stop & Shop announced it will now add three new "warerooms" and more than 50 new pickup locations by the end of 2020. The grocer also plans to expand its ongoing partnership with Instacart to make same-day delivery available at 321 of its more than 400 stores.
Innovation in the yogurt market ranging from indulgence to dietary needs is expected to spur a compound annual growth rate of more than 5%, according to market research firm Technavio. Lower-sugar and plant-based varieties from Danone's Activia and Silk brands, General Mills' Oui Creme Dessert line and Chobani's high-protein Greek Yogurt with Oatmeal set exemplify these trends, writes Rebekah Schouten.
The School Nutrition Association helped secure the extension of 14 federal waivers for the operation of school meal services through June 30, 2021, and are following up on another request for universal, free meals in the upcoming school year, according to Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations for SNA. "Our concern for the school year was we knew that school meals were going to have to look very different than the traditional cafeteria setting," Pratt-Heavner said.
General Mills' net sales increased 21% for the fourth fiscal quarter, buoyed by a 75% spike in its US meals and baking unit and growth in all five divisions. "We've demonstrated extraordinary agility to meet the unprecedented increase in demand for food at home and to win across our categories," said CEO Jeff Harmening.
The coronavirus pandemic has permanently altered Ulta Beauty's customer experience, with the journey often beginning online where a stronger connection is being built with the individual and the brick-and-mortar visit, according to Karla Davis, senior director, integrated marketing and media at the beauty retailer. "The shift to content is a key element of how we show up and really making sure that people aren't seeing us just as commerce and as a last place to go to purchase, but how do they engage with us across their journey in a much more tangible and real and engaging way," she said.
Nestle USA is releasing the "classic" formulation of its Nesquik powders in chocolate and strawberry flavors nationwide. The move is based on customer feedback and applies to all packaging options, according to Haig Basmadjian, Nestle USA's marketing director.
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