McDonald’s has started to use fresh beef in burgers sold at its US restaurants.
The fast-food chain is looking to improve food quality and ward off competition from premium burger chains.
Burgers containing fresh beef will be sold at most of McDonald’s 14,000 US restaurants by the end of June.
The move is part of bigger changes at McDonald’s, as new competitors, including burger chains such as Shake Shack, are using fresh ingredients to differentiate themselves.
As part of its turnaround efforts in recent years, McDonald’s has tweaked pricing and added to its menu. The fast-food chain has also ditched ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup in a bid to appeal to health-conscious customers.
McDonald’s has been testing the appetite for burgers made from fresh beef for about a year. The premium quarter pounder and other offerings are now available at about 3,500 McDonald’s restaurants in the US, including in Miami, Orlando and Nashville.
These products are sold alongside existing burgers made using frozen meat.
Next month, fresh beef burgers will become available at restaurants in Los Angeles, Houston and San Francisco.
McDonald’s US president Chris Kempczinski said that offering fresh beef was the most significant change to the restaurant chain’s menu since it started offering all-day breakfast in 2015.
Chris Kempczinski said: “If it slows down the drive-through, that’s the critical part of our business. And so we just had to spend a lot of time really making sure that as we were cooking only when someone ordered, we’d figured out a way to do it that wasn’t going to slow down service time.”
Fast-food giant McDonald’s is suing the Italian city of Florence for €18 million after it was blocked from opening a restaurant on one of its most historic plazas.
McDonald’s had its plans for an outlet on the Piazza del Duomo rejected by Florence’s mayor in June.
The decision was upheld in July by a technical panel in charge of preserving the city’s ancient heart.
McDonald’s, which modified its proposals to fit with city guidelines, has now launched a bid for damages.
It is claiming it has been discriminated against, and wants to recoup the €17.8 million ($19.7 million) it estimates it will lose over the next 18 years, according to Firenze Today.
McDonald’s argues it put forward a plan to “operate respectfully towards the local policies, even accepting to introduce typical local products in our offer, as requested from the local commerce regulation”.
However, Florence’s mayor Dario Nardella says they were not prejudiced in rejecting the bid to open a branch on the piazza, famous for its Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
He told the city council earlier this year: “McDonald’s has the right to submit an application, because this is permitted under the law, but we also have the right to say no.”
This is the second high profile spat over an Italian location this year for McDonalds.
In October, it was reported that cardinals at the Vatican had been angered by plans to open a branch in a piazza next to Saint Peter’s Square.
McDonald’s has started serving its All Day Breakfast menu on October 6.
But the extended breakfast menu offers a limited selection and varies by location. Just half of McDonald’s 24 total breakfast items are available as part of the full-day menu. Several items like the Egg White Delight McMuffin or the McGriddles did not make the cut.
McDonald’s wrote on its website: “Our All Day Breakfast menu is finally here. Enjoy savory breakfast sandwiches like a Sausage McMuffin with Egg or Sausage Biscuit and even golden brown, melt-in-your-mouth Hotcakes anytime you want.”
However, it mentions that “Menu items vary by location”.
The new All Day Breakfast menu includes: Egg McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin with Egg, Bacon Egg&Cheese Biscuit, Sausage Biscuit, Sausage Biscuit with Egg, Hotcakes, Hotcakes and Sausage, Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait, Sausage Burrito, Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, Hash Browns.
On social media, some Twitter users expressed disappointment about the limited menu.
About 20% of markets, which are mostly in the Southeast, will serve biscuits all day while about 80% of markets will serve McMuffins.
This means if you’re a biscuit lover on the West Coast with a hankering for a bacon egg and cheese biscuit for dinner, you’re likely out of luck.
Hash browns also won’t be available everywhere though, spokeswoman Lisa McComb notes the “vast majority” or about 90% will have them.
McDonald’s could be facing a European Commission (EU) investigation into its tax affairs.
EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she is looking into trade union allegations that McDonald’s avoided paying more than €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in corporate taxes between 2009 and 2013.
Unions claim McDonald’s diverted nearly €4 billion of revenues into a Luxembourg subsidiary staffed by 13 people.
McDonald’s has rejected the claims.
Margrethe Vestager said her office is “looking into the information gained by trade unions when it comes to McDonald’s in order to assess if there is a case.”
The coalition of European and US unions claims that McDonald’s reduced its tax burden by moving its British headquarters to Switzerland and then channeling money into a Luxembourg-based subsidiary that also had a Swiss branch.
The unions said the Luxembourg offshoot had revenues of €3.7 billion over the five-year period but reported paying €16 million in taxes.
McDonald’s maintains that it has complied fully with EU tax law.
The EU has been cracking down on what it sees as aggressive tax avoidance by multinational companies, last year opening investigations into Apple in Ireland, Starbucks in the Netherlands, and Amazon in Luxembourg.
McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook has announced a major shakeup after the fast-food chain reported poor results for Q1 2015.
The world’s largest rest chain it will restructure its business and increase its number of franchised restaurants globally.
Steve Easterbrook said he wanted to move away from its “cumbersome” structure and increase “digital engagement”.
“The numbers don’t lie,” he said.
“I will not shy away from the urgent need to reset this business… and how we galvanize competitive threats.”
After two months into his CEO term, Steve Easterbrook said the turnaround plan was aimed at creating a leaner management structure with more “hard-edged accountability” that was less built around geography and more on “commercial logic”.
“In the last five years, the world has moved faster outside the business than inside,” he added.
“We’re not on our game.
“We’d like less simple talk of millennials [people born between 1980 and the mid-2000s] as though they are one simple group with shared attitudes.”
McDonald’s also announced it would be focusing more on regions that earned it the most – namely the US, which brings in 40% of operating income.
Steve Easterbrook also said its top international markets, such as Australia, Canada, France and the UK, would become a priority.
McDonald’s also identified high-growth markets in countries such as China and Poland, where new stores will be opened to boost its share in the market of “IEO” – Informal Eating Out.
Steve Easterbrook added: “We can no longer afford to carry legacy commitments, legacy structure or legacy attitudes.”
McDonald’s was the Dow Jones share index’s biggest faller, with shares down 1.7% to $96.13.
Standard & Poor’s cut its rating on McDonald’s from “A” to “A-“.
McDonald’s is under investigation after 28 employees in 19 different US cities said they suffered injuries due to hazardous equipment and lax safety standards.
Some workers claimed they had been told to treat their injuries with condiments such as mustard and mayonnaise rather than medicinal cream.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said the company would review the allegations.
The company could face fines of up to $70,000 for each violation.
The complaints by McDonald’s employees were filed in the past few weeks to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and publicized by the Fight for $15 group, which campaigns for better wages and conditions for fast food workers.
An OSHA spokesman confirmed that the agency had opened investigations as a result of the complaints.
He added that McDonald’s could face fines of between $7,000 and $70,000 for each safety infraction, depending on the severity.
In response to the allegations, McDonald’s spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem said the company and its independent franchisees were “committed to providing safe working conditions for employees in the 14,000 McDonald’s Brand US restaurants”.
A separate survey of 1,426 fast-food workers, carried out on behalf of the US National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, found that almost 80% had suffered burns in the past year.
One third of the burn victims said their manager suggested they treat their injuries with condiments such as mustard, mayonnaise, butter, or ketchup.
McDonald’s has announced it will stop US purchases of chicken injected with antibiotics important to human medicine.
Chicken served in McDonald’s 14,000 US restaurants will be free of such antibiotics within two years, the company said.
The move comes amid concerns that the overuse of antibiotics in chicken may affect the drugs’ effectiveness in fighting diseases in people.
McDonald’s, the world’s biggest restaurant chain, has been battling to win back customers amid slowing sales.
Many poultry producers give their birds antibiotics to make them grow faster. But overuse of the drugs could lead to them becoming less effective in treating illness and disease in humans.
McDonald’s worldwide like-for-like sales – which strip out the effect of new restaurants opening – fell by a more-than-expected 1.8% in January on the back of a supplier scandal in China.
Its image was also tarnished after a human tooth was found in a portion of fries in Japan last year. The company issued an apology in January.
In a statement, Marion Gross, senior vice-president of North America supply chain, said that McDonald’s “believes that any animals that become ill deserve appropriate veterinary care and our suppliers will continue to treat poultry with prescribed antibiotics”.
After treatment, the bird “will no longer be included in our food supply”.
However, McDonald’s chicken will be given ionophores, an antibiotic which helps keep chickens healthy but is not used for humans.
The company also said that dairy products, such as low fat white milk and fat-free chocolate milk, would be derived from cows that have not been treated with rbST – an artificial growth hormone.
“While no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-treated and non-rbST-treated cows, we understand this is something that is important to our customers,” Marion Gross said.
The changes come in response to growing US consumer demand for food made with natural ingredients only.
McDonald’s is rolling out its newly simplified menu, which features fewer items in order to reduce confusion and boost speed.
According to an inside source the following would be removed nationally: the honey mustard Snack Wrap, chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap, bacon habanero ranch Quarter Pounder, bacon and cheese Quarter Pounder, premium chicken club sandwich and premium ranch BLT chicken sandwich.
The southern-style chicken sandwich will also be axed except in some markets. Additionally, local level operators can choose to remove the buffalo ranch McChicken or grilled onion cheddar burger from the menu.
Deeper cuts at McDonald’s could be on the way.
On the company’s conference call Friday, McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres said its menu rationalization test is “clearly ongoing,” as the chain has unveiled a lot of products during the last year and a half.
The cuts are aimed at simplifying a menu that’s grown complex over the years and proved to be an obstacle in the fast-food giant’s need for speed.
McDonald’s menu items excluding beverages, desserts or combo meals grew to 72 last year from 53 just four years earlier, according to market research firm Datassential.
The cuts come as McDonald’s is rolling out its customizable create-your-taste platform, a build-your-own sandwich option the company plans to begin expanding aggressively to 2,000 stores in the US this year. It is part of the Golden Arches’ effort to turn around its struggling U.S. business and compete with restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Grill that have seen success with their customized offerings.
McDonald’s is being sued in Virginia by ten former employees for racial discrimination.
The suit alleges that some employees were fired from one franchise because there were “too many black people”.
It is being backed by a group campaigning for better wages for fast-food workers and the local Virginia National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
McDonald’s has not yet commented specifically on the suit.
The company issued a general statement, saying: “McDonald’s has a long-standing history of embracing the diversity of employees, independent franchisees, customers and suppliers, and discrimination is completely inconsistent with our values.
“McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators share a commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants.”
The suit is part of a continuing effort on the part of labor organizers to hold McDonald’s responsible for the behavior of its franchisees.
McDonald’s and other restaurant groups have argued that it should not be held responsible for the behavior and labor practices of franchisees.
However, their position has been weakened by the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
It ruled that McDonalds “could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators” in July.
Since then, current and former employees have filed lawsuits against many McDonald’s franchises and the larger corporation alleging wage theft and other illegal practices.
In the lawsuit filed in Virginia on January 22, which is not part of the NLRB’s larger activity, 10 former employees – nine of whom are African-American and one of whom is Hispanic – allege that they were subject to “rampant racial and sexual harassment” by supervisors at three restaurants run by McDonald’s franchisee Michael Simon.
Michael Simon became franchise operator of the three restaurants in late 2013, when the majority of the employees at the restaurants were African-American.
Soon after, the suit alleges Michael Simon instituted a plan to hire more white employees, with supervisors allegedly telling employees that the restaurants were “too dark” and they needed to hire new employees to “get the ghetto out of the store”.
Subsequently, in mid-2014, a large number of white employees were hired and several of the African-American employees who are part of the suit were fired.
The fired workers alleged that when they attempted to contact McDonald’s corporate office, there was no response.
McDonald’s is due to report its Q4 2014 earnings before US markets open on January 23.
McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have posted sharply lower profits for Q3 2014.
McDonald’s saw earnings fall 30%, while Coca-Cola’s fell 14%, with both citing lower US sales as key reasons.
The fast-food chain’s profits of $1.07 billion were also hit by a food scandal in China, contributing to a 4.6% fall in revenues to $6.99 billion.
Meanwhile, the world’s largest drinks group made a $2.1 billion profit on revenues that were broadly flat at $11.9 billion.
McDonald’s US sales have been under pressure as consumers switch to other chains, notably the fast-growing Chipotle Mexican Grill.
McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have posted sharply lower profits for Q3 2014
Sales also fell in Russia, Germany and especially in China, where McDonald’s was hurt by a scandal over meat supplies.
McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson admitted that the trading performance was not good enough: “McDonald’s third-quarter results reflect a significant decline versus a year ago.
“By all measures, our performance fell short of our expectations.”
Meanwhile, Coca Cola said that its US sales were down 1% during the quarter. Consumers are increasingly turning to alternatives to sweet, fizzy drinks. The company’s profits also suffered because of currency fluctuations and strengthening of the dollar.
In August, Coca-Cola spent $2.15 billion for a 16.7% stake in Monster Beverage energy drinks business.
As part of the deal, Coca-Cola transferred ownership of its own, less successful energy drinks, including brands NOS, Full Throttle and Burn, to Monster.
More unscheduled checks on McDonald’s restaurants across Russia have been announced by the country’s consumer watchdog as part of a probe into food standards.
The move comes after watchdog Rospotrebnadzor temporarily shut four McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow.
The actions come amid rising tensions and sanctions between Russia and the West over the crisis in the Ukraine.
The regulator denied the checks were politically motivated. McDonald’s said “top quality” food was its priority.
The regulatory agency said: “There are complaints about the quality and safety of the products in fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s.”
McDonald’s is one of the symbols of America.
Russian parliament has also called for checks on other US fast-food brands, including Burger King and KFC.
McDonald’s said its main priority was to serve customers “top quality menu items”, and that it was studying a claim by the food standards watchdog “to define what should be done to re-open the [Moscow] restaurants as soon as possible”.
Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported that the regulator was preparing to take McDonald’s to court over alleged breaches of health and safety regulations.
Russia’s first ever McDonald’s opened in 1990 in Moscow’s Pushkin Square (photo McDonald’s)
McDonalds decline to comment on that report.
Unscheduled checks will be made in McDonald’s restaurants in the region of Sverdlovsk in west-central Russia, the Volga region of Tatarstan, the central Voronezh region, and the Moscow region.
“There has been a selection of microbiology tests, sanitary and chemical tests, and identification indicators,” the watchdog said.
McDonald’s said it was “open to any checks”.
A company spokeswoman for European operations said it was aware that the regulator was carrying out the checks, which would be likely to continue for a couple of months.
The spokeswoman added that McDonald’s serves millions of customers a day in Russia, and wanted minimal disruption for them.
According to Ria Novosti, checks have been ordered across Russia’s Central Federal District, and that inspections of McDonald’s in all of the country’s regions will take place.
The checks and restaurant closures come amid a background of diplomatic tensions and tit-for-tat sanctions between Russia and the West over the crisis in the Ukraine. The West has accused Russia of supporting pro-Russian militants.
Earlier this month, Russia imposed an embargo on food imports from the EU, US and some other Western countries, in response to sanctions over Ukraine.
On August 20, the regulator temporarily closed four Moscow restaurants as part of an ongoing investigation of McDonald’s.
The first ever McDonald’s in Pushkin Square, which opened in 1990, was one of the outlets that was shut. Restaurants on Manezh Square, Svobodny prospect 35b and Prospect Mira were also closed.
McDonald’s has suspended sale of chicken nuggets and some other products in Hong Kong.
The fast food chain said it had imported chicken and pork from Shanghai Husi Food, the Chinese company that allegedly supplied out of date meat to fast food firms.
China has suspended operations of Shanghai Husi after local media reports claimed it re-processed expired meat.
McDonald’s had removed nuggets from its menus at its Japanese outlets earlier this week over the same issue.
It said on Wednesday that about 20% of its chicken nuggets sold in Japan came from Shanghai Husi.
McDonald’s has suspended sale of chicken nuggets and some other products in Hong Kong
McDonald’s said that nearly 500 stores in Japan had removed chicken nuggets from their menu, adding that sales were expected to resume after it switches to other suppliers in China and Thailand.
The company has also stopped selling its McSpicy chicken filets, chicken and green salads, fresh corn cups and iced lemon tea at its outlets in Hong Kong.
The move came after Hong Kong’s food safety regulator suspended all imports from Shanghai Husi Food.
The regulator added that any food products from Husi already imported into Hong Kong would be marked, sealed and banned from sale, pending the results of the ongoing investigation by Chinese authorities.
Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency quoted McDonald’s as saying that it had imported certain products from Shanghai Husi between July last year to June this year, but no food items from the Shanghai supplier remained in stock.
“We reiterate that until today, all the food sold at McDonald’s restaurants conforms to the food safety standard under Hong Kong legal regulations,” the company said.
Shanghai Husi is the Chinese unit of US-based food supplier OSI Group.
Its other customers in China include Yum Brand owned KFC, coffee chain Starbucks and Burger King.
Japanese convenience store operator, FamilyMart, has also admitted that its “Garlic Nugget” imported from the Shanghai firm was sold at nearly all of its 10,000 outlets across Japan.
McDonald’s and KFC have stopped using meat from Chinese supplier Shanghai Husi Food Co following allegations it sold them out of date meat.
According to Xinhua, Chinese authorities in Shanghai have ordered the suspension of operations at Shanghai Husi Food Co.
Reports by local media said that Husi had re-processed expired meat products.
McDonald’s and KFC said they had stopped using meat from Husi.
In a statement posted on its website, translated from Mandarin, the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration said it had “decided to investigate claims of the alleged use of expired raw food material production and the processing of it in food”.
KFC China have stopped using meat from Shanghai Husi Food Co following allegations it sold them out of date meat (photo Reuters)
Shanghai Husi is the Chinese unit of US-based food supplier OSI Group.
According to OSI’s website, the company’s unit in China “started to provide high-quality products to McDonald’s China” in 1992.
The unit began supplying Yum China in 2008. Yum China manages the KFC and Pizza Hut chains and its sales have been hit by recent health scares.
Yum’s sales dipped after a report in 2012 said two of its suppliers were providing chickens with excessive levels of antibiotics.
Just as the company was recovering from those allegations, fears of an outbreak of bird flu in the country dented its sales.
According to figures from research firm Euromonitor, McDonald’s and Yum are the two leading fast food chains in China, based on sales.
Speaking to Reuters a spokesperson for McDonald’s in China said: “If proven, the practices outlined in the reports are completely unacceptable to McDonald’s anywhere in the world.”
McDonald’s investors have backed an executive pay plan at the company’s annual meeting despite protests.
Nearly 94% of shareholders voted in favor of the plan, which determines chief executive Don Thompson’s pay as well as a formula for paying top management.
McDonald’s investors have backed an executive pay plan at the company’s annual meeting despite protests
Last year, Don Thompson was paid a total of $9.5 million.
The vote came a day after more than 100 demonstrators seeking better pay for McDonald’s workers were arrested.
Addressing the protests, Don Thompson reportedly told investors at the meeting: “We respect the fact that they want to challenge us relative to wages.
“We pay fair and competitive wages and we provide opportunity, and we provide job opportunities and training for those entering the workforce.”
In addition to protests by workers and labor organizers, who are demanding the chain raise the minimum wage paid to workers to $15 from the US federal minimum of $7.25, McDonald’s has seen falling sales in the US.
McDonald’s has also been hit by the increasing cost of beef, and criticism from public health experts over its advertising.
Thousands of McDonald’s employees marched on the company’s Oak Brook campus that houses its Hamburger University training facility, demanding higher wages for workers.
The site of the planned protest was changed after McDonald’s vacated its headquarters in Illinois after consulting with police.
Protesters want the fast food giant pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour, double the US federal minimum wage.
The company’s annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for Thursday.
Thousands of McDonald’s employees marched on the company’s Oak Brook campus that houses its Hamburger University training facility, demanding higher wages for workers (photo Reuters)
The closure affected one of five McDonald’s corporate buildings and about 3,000 employees.
Protesters – which included a few hundred McDonald’s workers – said they were seeking to highlight how low wages have exacerbated income inequality in the US.
The protest was planned before the annual shareholder meeting, where a vote is expected on executive pay.
Last year, chief executive Don Thompson was paid $9.5 million.
Shareholders in Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle recently rejected an executive pay plan for the firm’s co-chief executives, Steve Ells and Monty Moran, who earned $25.1 million and $24.4 million, respectively, last year.
Fast-food workers and labor organizers have been protesting since 2012 in an effort to boost wages and win worker rights, such as paid sick leave.
Last week, they organized a global walk out in more than 250 cities to highlight what they say are the difficulties facing low-paid restaurant employees.
President Barack Obama has pushed Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from $7.25, however he has faced stiff opposition from Republicans.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fast-food workers in the US earn about $8.83 per hour, or $18,400 per year if they are working a full 40-hour work week.
McDonald’s has decided to suspend operations at its three Crimean restaurants following ongoing diplomatic tensions in the region.
The company said that it would try to support staff, and hopes to re-open its restaurants in Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta as soon as possible.
McDonald’s is the second in the Crimea to alter its operations after heightened tensions between Russia and the west.
Deutsche Post said on Thursday that it was no longer accepting letters for Crimea.
“Due to operational reasons beyond our control, McDonald’s has taken the decision to temporarily close our three restaurants in Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta,” McDonald’s said.
A Reuters report said that the company had offered to relocate staff who wished to move to Ukraine.
According to a Kiev-based restaurant consulting group, losing the three restaurants would only result in a 5 percent loss for McDonald’s Ukraine Ltd, where the average daily revenue for each restaurant is about $8,800 (100,000 UAH).
“Calculating net income at about 30 percent of revenue, with the Crimean restaurants remaining closed the American corporation will lose $240,000 [UAH 2.7 million] in profits each month,” Olga Nasonova, director of Restaurant Consulting, told Russia Forbes.
According to Olga Nasonova, McDonald’s has invested about $10 million in the three sites.
A McDonald’s restaurant was first opened on May 24, 1997 in Kiev, and the company now has 79 restaurants in 23 cities across Ukraine.
McDonald’s is the fifth most popular restaurant for Ukrainians, according to Olga Nasonova. There are more than 300 restaurant locations in Russia.
McDonald’s may raise its wages being forced by growing concerns over income inequality.
The fast food giant said the public focus on the issue “may intensify” over the coming months.
However, McDonalds warned that higher wages might impact its profit margins if it cannot offset them by raising prices as well.
McDonald’s may raise its wages being forced by growing concerns over income inequality
Fast food companies have been under increasing pressure to raise wages and workers at various outlets, including McDonald’s, have held strikes in recent months.
In its annual filing with the US financial regulator, McDonald’s said the long-term trend was “toward higher wages and social expenses in both mature and developing markets, which may intensify with increasing public focus on matters of income inequality”.
Fast food workers across the US have been demanding that the minimum wage in the sector should be raised to $15 per hour.
In December, workers in the fast food industry held strikes in 100 cities across the US.
McDonald’s has opened its first restaurant in communist-controlled Vietnam.
Hundreds of people queued for the opening of the restaurant in the southern city of Ho Chi Minh, AFP says.
Ho Chi Minh, known as Saigon during the Vietnam War, was where the US-backed government was based until it fell to communist forces 38 years ago.
The first McDonald’s restaurant in Vietnam is being run by the prime minister’s son-in-law.
Henry Nguyen flipped burgers at a McDonald’s restaurant while a teenager growing up in the United States, where his family fled at the end of the war.
The first McDonald’s restaurant in Vietnam is being run by the prime minister’s son-in-law
He said last July, after winning the franchise, it had been his dream to open a McDonald’s since returning to Vietnam more than a decade ago.
The move underlines Vietnam’s hunger for Western consumer brands and the attractions for foreign investors, say observers.
Despite the Vietnamese economy’s recent slowdown, foreign brands are popular among the youthful population whose parents had few of the food and lifestyle options now available in the country.
Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, and KFC all have a presence there.
Henry Nguyen is the founder of travel and food group Good Day Hospitality and managing general partner of investment firm IDG Ventures Vietnam. He is married to the daughter of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
Fast-food restaurant workers are staging a 24-hour strike in protest against low wages.
Walkouts were reported in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and also Detroit, Michigan; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Organizers hoped workers in as many as 100 cities will participate in what is the latest in a series of such actions.
Unions want a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage. The current one, set in 2009, is $7.25 per hour.
President Barack Obama, who has backed a Senate measure to increase the minimum to $10.10, specifically mentioned fast-food workers “who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty”, in an economic policy speech on Wednesday.
Barack Obama’s Democratic allies, who control the upper chamber of Congress, have said a vote on the matter could be held this month.
But even if it passes the Senate, it is not clear if it would be approved by the Republican-led House of Representatives.
Nearly 100 protestors gathered around a Wendy’s restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, at midday, carrying signs saying “stick together for $15/hr”.
Fast-food restaurant workers are staging a 24-hour strike in protest against low wages
In Detroit, about 50 demonstrators turned out for an early morning rally in front of a McDonald’s, including a handful of employees who walked off the job. However, the restaurant stayed open.
Another 40 demonstrators rallied at a Burger King in Atlanta.
The American fast-food industry has come under increasing scrutiny because part-time jobs, including retail and food positions, have made up most of the job growth since the recession.
It is not yet clear how many fast-food restaurants will be affected by Thursday’s industrial action.
The workers’ last nationwide strike, in August, was patchy, with some restaurants appearing to function normally while others were unable to do business.
The National Restaurant Association, an industry lobbying group, called the strikes a “campaign engineered by national labor groups”, claiming the vast majority of participants were in fact union protestors.
The association said firms already face “great uncertainty”.
“Calls to double the minimum wage only intensify the challenges faced by job creators.”
This week, a measure in the tiny airport town of SeaTac, Washington state, to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour passed by 77 votes.
As a result, some 6,300 workers at SeaTac’s airport, which primarily serves the region’s largest city, Seattle, will be paid the highest minimum wage in the nation.
McDonald’s has announced it will test selling a variety of packaged ground and whole-bean coffee at supermarkets and other retail outlets starting next year.
The test will also include single-cup servings.
McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, did not disclose any other details. But the company already started selling McCafe packaged coffee in Canada late last year. Those bags weighed about 12 ounces and cost about $7.
McDonald’s will test selling a variety of packaged ground and whole-bean coffee at supermarkets and other retail outlets starting next year
The company is teaming up with Kraft Foods Group Inc. to distribute the coffee.
McDonald’s did not say how widespread the test would be.
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