Darden Restaurants saw off-premises sales grow 123% in the second quarter, and the parent company of Olive Garden said demand for dine-in is exceeding indoor capacity limits put in place amid the pandemic. "Capacity restrictions continue to limit [Olive Garden's] top line sales, particularly in key high-volume markets like California and New Jersey, where dining rooms were closed for the majority of the quarter," Darden CEO Eugene Lee said.
The ongoing pandemic and the online traffic it is driving have become a major focus for retailers now hiring for the 2020 holiday rush. Walmart -- which has announced plans to add 20,000 new employees this season -- and Target say many of the additional workers will be deployed to expand contactless customer service options and boost staffing at distribution and fulfillment centers.
BJ's Wholesale Club is planning to open its first two stores in the Pittsburgh area, with one site southwest of the city and another just north of downtown, according to published reports. Although the retailer did not confirm the expansion, BJ's CEO Lee Delaney told investors at a recent conference that the company's 2021 plans included "one whole new market with a couple of stores in it."
Like many grocers, Barons Market had to shut down its popular salad bars when the pandemic began. Now, Barons is debuting a replacement with seven premade salads, priced at $5.99 or $6.99, featuring choices such as balsamic beet salad and antipasto.
Nonprofit No Kid Hungry recently featured Robert Cuellar Jr., Laredo Independent School District's director of child nutrition, in a video series celebrating people who are helping to curb childhood hunger and highlighted that students know Cuellar as Captain America after he dressed as the character for School Lunch Hero Day. Cuellar says school nutrition professionals in the Texas district are committed to expanding access to food, adding, "This journey doesn't stop because hunger takes no vacation."
Kraft Heinz's fall promotions include next month's delivery of pumpkin spice-flavored Kraft macaroni and cheese to 1,000 consumers in Canada who have signed up for the product. Each package includes a personalized to-go cup, fork and cinnamon sprinkle.
Sephora has partnered with Instacart to provide same-day delivery in Canada and California for more than 300 products with a roll-out to 400 additional locations to follow. Consumers willing to pay an additional fee will receive products from the beauty retailer in less than an hour, according to a statement.
Sales for Coca-Cola's cold-pressed juice brand Suja soared 517% to $18.6 million for the 12 months ending August 18, according to IRI data. Suja's functional cold-pressed juice shot sales have driven much of the growth with consumers seeking an immunity boost during the pandemic, said chief marketing officer Greg Rose.
Giant pumpkins weighing a ton or more are staples at fall fairs in normal years, but this year growers are having to get creative to show off the massive gourds they've grown this year. The Vermont Giant Pumpkin Growers held a scaled-down weigh off last weekend, with 22 growers who typically spend 100 hours or more nurturing a single pumpkin plant.
Romaine lettuce has been linked to E. coli outbreaks in each of the past three years. The leafy green's texture and the fact that it's typically eaten raw make it vulnerable to contamination by the bacteria that lives in the intestines of ruminant livestock and gets onto the lettuce via contaminated irrigation water.
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