These are the fast-food chains where you can find fake meat on the menu

Woman looks at panda express menu
Dozens of chains have debuted meatless alternatives to classic menu items.

  • The fake meat craze has snowballed, and dozens of fast-food chains have unveiled meatless items.
  • Consumer demand for plant-based proteins has skyrocketed.
  • Panda Express is the latest chain to jump on the trend, with Beyond Meat Orange Chicken.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Companies are riding a wave of enthusiasm for plant-based alternatives to meat and are rolling out new menu items that range from meatless breakfast sandwiches to vegan orange chicken.

The fake meat trend is fueled by consumers’ increasing concern for healthier and more sustainable food as well as by innovation in the development of tastier meat alternatives, according to Vox.

Panda Express will roll out a vegan version of the chain’s bestselling orange chicken starting on July 29 in New York City and Southern California. This will make it the first nationwide Asian restaurant to offer a meatless alternative.

Panda Express partnered with Beyond Meat, and Insider found recently that the vegetarian version of orange chicken tasted nearly identical to the old favorite.

Taste testing Panda Express' Beyond Meat Orange Chicken - Panda Express Beyond Meat Plant-based Orange Chicken
Taste testing Panda Express’ Beyond Meat Orange Chicken.

Dunkin’ Donuts jumped on the plant-based trend with its Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich, which was introduced to thousands of stores in 2019, beating Starbucks’ meatless breakfast sandwich by a few months. These plant-based options, including the breakfast sandwich and oat milk, are part of the chain’s efforts to appeal to younger people, an analyst told Insider.

Burger King introduced the Impossible Whopper, a meatless imitation of the chain’s classic Whopper burger made in partnership with Impossible Foods, a plant-based food maker that’s one of Beyond Meat’s competitors. Starbucks also partnered with Impossible Foods to offer the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich nationwide.

Both chains’ meatless menu items are vegetarian but not vegan.

Instead of trying to imitate the texture and taste of meat, Wendy’s is forgoing partnerships with both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods to launch a spicy black bean burger.

Though McDonald’s has rolled out test runs of its McVeggie burger and McPlant items in other countries, it’s unclear when U.S. customers will be able to buy the plant-based menu items.

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Papa John’s is giving its pizza makers bonuses of up to $400, as restaurants cling onto staff in the labor shortage

FILE PHOTO: The Papa John's store in Westminster, Colorado, U.S. August 1, 2017.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The Papa John’s store in Westminster

  • Papa John’s is handing out bonuses of up to $400 to many of its employees.
  • Existing staff can get up to $400 in increments, and $50 for referring a new hire.
  • Staff at corporate-owned restaurants are eligible. It didn’t say how it would decide exact bonus amounts.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Papa John’s is paying bonuses of up to $400 as the restaurant industry scrambles to retain workers amid a huge labor shortage.

About 14,000 staff at company-owned restaurants, and in its supply chain, can get up to $400 paid in increments over the next six months. Papa John’s didn’t say how it would decide how much each staff member gets.

It’s also rolling out referral bonuses to recruit more staff. Staff can get $50 for each new hire they refer to the company – and new starters can get a $50 hiring bonus, it announced Thursday.

The bonuses apply to staff at the chain’s nearly 600 company-owned restaurants, which represent nearly a fifth of its restaurants in North America, alongside its quality control centers (QCC). Across the corporate restaurants and QCCs, Papa John’s employs about 14,000 people.

Read more: These 9 food tech startups are capitalizing on the labor crunch with tools that help franchisees hire or automate the restaurant workforce

The pizza chain said the staff benefits it introduced during the pandemic were now permanent. These include expanded health, wellness, paid time-off, and college-tuition benefits.

Papa John’s said that its bonuses, alongside extra investment in full-time staff at its higher-volume company-owned restaurants, would cost it around $2.5 million by the end of 2021.

“The incredible hard work and commitment of our team members, which powered Papa John’s tremendous performance and transformation over the past 18 months, is just as important to our sustained long-term growth,” Rob Lynch, CEO of the pizza chain, said in a statement.

“Similar to programs being offered by our franchisees, these new bonuses for our team members in our corporate restaurants and quality control centers reflect the value we place on growing, retaining, and supporting our dedicated team.”

The US is suffering from a severe shortage of workers, and restaurants have been especially hard hit, with a third of former hospitality workers saying in a Joblist poll that they won’t return to the industry.

The US Chamber of Commerce has called the national labor shortage a “national economic emergency” and warned it could hold back the recovery from the pandemic.

Together with rising ingredients costs, the labor shortage is pushing menu prices up at some restaurants. Some are struggling to pay rent.

Fast-food chains are trying perks to attract new hires and to cling onto existing staff. One McDonald’s restaurant said it would give iPhones to new hires while another handed out $50 to anyone who showed up for an interview. The company is also raising wages in its corporate-owned restaurants by an average of 10%.

The Federal Reserve said that the labor squeeze could last months – but Bank of America expects the job market to recover by early 2022.

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Bumble is opening an Italian restaurant in NYC this month – see inside what the dating app is billing as a ‘safe space’ for relationships

A rendering of the exterior of Bumble Brew with tables and chairs both outside and inside the yellow storefront
A rendering of Bumble Brew.

  • Dating app Bumble has teamed up with a New York City restaurant to create the Bumble Brew Cafe and Wine Bar.
  • Bumble Brew will serve an “Italian-inspired” breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • The restaurant was designed for patrons to connect with “friends, a potential partner, or a new business connection.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Dating app Bumble – the one where women must message first – is teaming up with Pasquale Jones, a New York City restaurant, to create the Bumble Brew Cafe and Wine Bar.

A rendering of the Bumble Brew's bar with coffee, drinks, and seating
A rendering of Bumble Brew’s bar with the Bumble logo.

By day, it’ll be a cafe and breakfast spot. But by night, the space will transform into a wine bar and restaurant with offerings like dry-aged beef tartare, octopus, and cacio e pepe raviolo.

Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice on a plate with other plates of food in the background.
Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice.

The cafe, restaurant, and wine bar combo will open July 24 in the Nolita neighborhood of New York City, right next to Pasqaule Jones, an Italian hotspot overseen by Delicious Hospitality Group.

A rendering of the exterior of Bumble Brew with tables and chairs both outside and inside the yellow storefront
A rendering of Bumble Brew.

“We’ve always designed our restaurants so that people can connect over delicious food and drinks in a fun and energetic environment, so our mission aligned perfectly with Bumble,” Ryan Hardy, Delicious Hospitality Group’s CEO and executive chef, said in the press release.

Chef Hardy in the kitchen with another person.
Chef Hardy.

Bumble Brew was inspired by the company’s Hive pop-ups, which bring the app and its dating, friend-making, and networking options to life. But unlike the pop-ups, this will be Bumble’s first storefront.

A hand holding a pastry with a newspaper, book, and iPhone showing the Bumble app off to the side.
A pastry and the Bumble app.

The 3,760-square-foot establishment will have room for 80 people in its dining room, bar, patio, and private dining section, all of which were designed by New York-based Float Design Studio.

A rendering of the interior Bumble Brew lounge with more tables and chairs and a view of the street outside
A rendering of the Bumble Brew lounge.

The space can even be used to house events.

A person eating a plate of chitarra nero, crab, and Japanese mint with a glass of white wine next to them.
Chitarra nero, crab, and Japanese mint.

The Bumble Brew space is striving for a “fun, upbeat” environment …

A rendering of the exterior of Bumble Brew with tables and chairs both outside and inside the yellow storefront
A rendering of Bumble Brew.

… and most of the music will be from women artists in different genres (it is Bumble, after all).

Various plates of food from an overhead view.
A collection of the food.

And what better way to create a jovial environment than with wine.

A rendering of the Bumble Brew's bar with coffee, drinks, and seating
A rendering of Bumble Brew’s bar.

“We hope that people can gather at Bumble Brew and connect over an espresso or delicious meal, whether it’s with friends, a potential partner, or a new business connection,” Julia Smith, Bumble’s head of brand partnerships, said in the press release.

A person eating a plate of charcoal grilled steak, spring onions, and romesco verde.
Charcoal grilled steak, spring onions, and romesco verde.

Similar to its neighbor, Bumble Brew’s menu – created by Hardy and the Pasquale Jones crew – will be “Italian-inspired,” according to the press release.

A plate of mushrooms, charred green tomatoes, chile, and lime.
Mushrooms, charred green tomatoes, chile, and lime.

This translates to pastas, vegetables, a bar-specific menu, and food to share.

Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice.
Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice.

The breakfast menu includes items like croissants and ricotta with bee pollen, plums, and hazelnuts.

A hand holding a baked good over a plate next to coffee and sugar.
The breakfast pastries.

Meanwhile, lunch (which will be available beginning July 31) has options like beef tartare with black garlic and crispies, brown butter asparagus with black truffle and Parmigiano …

Dry aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice on a plate.
Dry-aged beef tartare, crispy garlic, and rice.

… and smoked eggplant with hot chile, yogurt, and mint.

a bowl with smoked eggplant, hot chile, yogurt, and mint with a slice of toast
Smoked eggplant, hot chile, yogurt, and mint with a slice of toast.

Several of the lunch and dinner items overlap, including the asparagus, beef tartare, and eggplant. Along with this, the dinner menu will also have hits like pastas, steak, and octopus. However, it should be noted that dinner service won’t begin until August 7.

Someone plating casoncelli stuffed with mortadela, parmigiano, and pancetta.
Casoncelli stuffed with mortadella, parmigiano, and pancetta.

All of these plates will cost, on average, $20, Kate Krader reported for Bloomberg.

Various plates of food from an overhead view.
A collection of the food.

Source: Bloomberg

Food pickup will also be available through Caviar, a food ordering and delivery platform.

Someone plating casoncelli stuffed with mortadela, parmigiano, and pancetta.
Casoncelli stuffed with mortadella, parmigiano, and pancetta.

At first, the Bumble Brew concept had planned to serve “date-friendly” meals that wouldn’t have foods “that would be awkward on a first date,” Caroline Ellis Roche, Bumble’s chief of staff, said in 2019.

A plate of cucumbers, dill, and smoked wild trout
Cucumbers, dill, and smoked wild trout.

Source: Bloomberg

But that approach has since shifted. And now, the eatery will be a “safe space for healthy and equitable relationships and connection,” Smith told Bloomberg.

A close up of Chef Hardy in the kitchen.
Chef Hardy.

Source: Bloomberg

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Memphis police have reportedly arrested 2 customers who started a shooting in a Burger King because their chicken sandwich had too much hot sauce

A Burger King in Los Angeles.

  • Police say they arrested customers who started a shooting in a Memphis Burger King, FOX13 reported.
  • The uncle of a witness told FOX13 that one suspect said her chicken sandwich had too much hot sauce.
  • Police records seen by the outlet say that two people were hit by the gunfire.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Police in Memphis say they have arrested two customers for starting a shooting in a Burger King restaurant after being served a chicken sandwich with too much hot sauce, FOX13 reported.

Two people were hit by the gunfire, the outlet reported, citing police records.

An affidavit shows police received a call to a Burger King in the Hollywood area of Memphis on June 6, FOX13 reported.

A female passenger, later identified as 20-year-old Keonna Halliburton, in a car had an “altercation” with staff over a spicy chicken sandwich per the affidavit, the publication reported.

Read more: Celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, and Martha Stewart are landing C-suite gigs at white-hot companies like HumanCo and Vital Proteins as startups create hybrid influencer-exec roles

After the altercation, Halliburton left the store in a car with driver Tavarus Mckinney, 22, FOX13 reported, citing records.

They then returned in a car and fired multiple shots from the road into the parking lot at four people, the publication reported, citing the affidavit. Two were hit by the gunfire, it said.

Halliburton and Mckinney were charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder and four counts of employment of a firearm during the commission of a felony, FOX13 said.

The outlet spoke to an uncle of one of the people Halliburton and Mckinney shot at, who said that his niece had told him that Halliburton complained that her chicken sandwich had too much hot sauce on it.

It is the latest in a series of violent incidents taking place at food and drink chains. On Sunday, a Florida man was accused of pulling a gun on a Starbucks employee, who turned out to be the local police chief’s daughter, over not having cream cheese for his bagel.

Read the original article on Business Insider

9 of the most exclusive spots in Disney parks

We all know Disney parks aren’t really affordable to begin with, but if you’re looking to sprinkle a little extra Disney elegance into your visit, there are plenty of ways to experience the magic like a true king or queen. A nice queen, don’t worry.

Here’s our list of the most exclusive spots in America’s Disney parks.

1. Cinderella Castle Suite

First up, the Cinderella Castle Suite. At the top of the iconic Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom, there’s a private suite hidden inside. With towering princess beds, an ornate bathroom, and “Cinderella” props throughout, the suite is definitely fit for a royal. A night’s stay here is so exclusive, you can’t actually book it. The suite is by invite only. But it’s rumored Disney turned down an offer of $40,000 for a one-night stay. Some lucky fans have scored a stay by winning various contests. Special guests at the Cinderella Suite have included Tom Cruise and Mariah Carey.

2. Imagineer Dinner

You’ve probably heard of the Disney Imagineers – or the masterminds behind the rides, the shows, the music, pretty much everything that’s cool at Disney parks – and if you’ve ever wanted to meet one, we’ll do you one better. How about a dinner with an Imagineer? Once a month, you can learn from one of these Disney legends over a four-course meal at Cítricos in the Grand Floridian Resort. The only thing is, you won’t know who you’re eating with until you get there. The experience will set you back $89 and is limited to guests 14 and older.

3. Victoria and Albert’s

Located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Victoria and Albert’s is probably the ritziest restaurant at Disney World. With only 18 tables, reservations are required, and a fancy dress code is strictly enforced. But getting all glammed up is definitely worth it for their chef’s tasting menu. The 11-course meal comes in at $250. But if you’re wanting something even more exclusive, you can book a table for up to eight people in a completely separate and private space, in the Queen Victoria Room.

4. Morimoto Asia

Morimoto Asia isn’t as high-end as Victoria and Albert’s, but it does have a little something special up its sleeve. “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto opened the glitzy restaurant in 2015. Located in Disney Springs, it specializes in Pan-Asian cuisine. Their most exclusive dish is the Japanese A5 Wagyu beef. The beef has the highest rating for Wagyu and is imported from Japan. Each ounce costs $25, but there’s an order minimum of 3 ounces, so be prepared to pay about $75 at least. They also have a Toku-Jyo Sashimi Platter that runs for $100.

5. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Looking to spoil your little ones? Hop over to Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Here, one of the Fairy Godmother’s apprentices will transform your kiddo into a knight or one of their favorite princesses. The all-in package for knights costs $80, but for Disney princesses, a full transformation starts at $450. It includes a hair styling, makeover, manicure, gown, and tiara. You can get princess shoes but for an extra cost. These magic makeovers require a reservation and are only available for kids 3 to 12.

6. Golden Oak Residences

Four miles away from Magic Kingdom is the super-exclusive gated community called Golden Oak. Three-hundred homes, each with a little Disney flair, make up eight neighborhoods. But living so close to all the Disney magic doesn’t come cheap. Each one runs for about $2.3 million. All Golden Oak residents get access to a luxurious clubhouse complete with a pool, gym, and spa. Another perk: Markham’s Restaurant. You have to be a resident here to experience all their Disney-themed meals.

7. Club 33

A luxury Disney experience doesn’t stop in Florida. Over at Disneyland in California, Club 33 has been serving an exclusive group of fans since 1967. Located in New Orleans Square, the club’s existence was once secret, but now it’s pretty well known although few get to experience it. Reportedly, the initiation fee runs between $25,000 and $100,000. Members pay an additional annual fee from $12,500 to $30,000 depending on how exclusive their membership is. And for those willing to foot that bill, membership does come with a couple perks, like the swanky restaurant Le Grand Salon and the lounge attached to it, which is the only place that serves alcohol in Disneyland.

8. Lilly Belle Train

Anybody can ride the steam-powered train of Disneyland’s railroad, but you might not know that there’s a separate train that runs only occasionally. The Lilly Belle car is named after Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian, and apparently it’s the last remaining car from the opening day of the park back in 1955. It doesn’t run every day, but when it does, you can ride it for free, but you have to be one of the first 14 people in line, so get there bright and early. But for the rest of us late risers, the $85 Grand Circle Tour will get you a peek of the train as well.

9. Walt Disney’s Apartment

Back in 1954, as Disneyland was under construction, Walt Disney wanted a place where he could watch over his project. So he had this private 500-square-foot apartment built. The once secret space is located on the second floor of the Fire House on Main Street. It’s decorated by Disney’s original set designer and looks exactly like how Walt Disney left it. You can’t actually stay here, but for $109 per person, the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps tour will get you a little closer to the man himself.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.

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Amazon was blamed for killing malls. Now its higher-paying jobs may be choking the restaurant industry’s comeback.

amazon warehouse
  • Restaurants are struggling to staff workers after laying off employees at the onset of the pandemic.
  • Amazon’s hiring spree and higher pay is eating into the US restaurant labor force, an expert says.
  • Fast-food chains are working to lure workers back with incentives, but it may not be enough.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As restaurants struggle to find workers, one expert says Amazon is partly to blame.

Amazon has long been a disruptive force in the US market. In 2016, Amazon was blamed for killing off malls and retail chains like Borders and Circuit City through its low online prices. Now, the company may be starting to eat into the food-service industry’s workforce.

The online retailer’s higher pay poses a threat to minimum wage jobs and workers are fleeing the food-service industry for roles at Amazon warehouses and other online retailers, Daniel Zhao, a senior economist at Glassdoor told Bloomberg.

At the onset of the pandemic, the restaurant industry was forced to lay off 5.9 million workers – over half of its 10.6 million-person workforce, according to federal data. While restaurants were bleeding workers, companies like Amazon went on hiring sprees, increasing its personnel at fulfillment centers by 50%. In 2020, the online retailer hired an average of 1,400 new workers a day, The New York Times reported. On Thursday, the company announced it plans to hire another 75,000 workers in the US and Canada for its fulfillment centers, as well as transportation sector.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurant servers flocked to companies like Amazon. Last spring, job searches for “Amazon” from restaurant servers increased over 600% on Glassdoor, while searches for warehouse positions from the same group also increased over 200%.

Now, restaurants are developing incentives to lure workers back. At the same time, Amazon is beefing up its own hiring perks.

Jobs at restaurants are becoming increasingly less appealing for workers

At Amazon, wages start at $17 per hour, compared to minimum wage restaurant jobs which can pay as little as $7.25 per hour.

One Miami chef, Phil Bryant, told The Washington Post that Amazon’s higher pay has forced many restaurant workers to reconsider their careers paths. He said many of his former coworkers are asking themselves, “If I can make $17 per hour at an Amazon warehouse, but only $14 per hour as a line cook, a notoriously hot, stressful, intense job, why would I do that?”

Workers are also questioning the future of the restaurant industry. Bryant said workers are asking, “If this whole industry can deteriorate overnight and leave everyone unemployed, is this really stable enough to go back to?”

Amazon warehouse
The inside of an Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey on December 2, 2019.

Sylvia Allegretto, the Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley, told Insider she doesn’t see the issue as a labor shortage. She pointed out 10 million people are still unemployed in the US.

For many restaurant workers it simply isn’t worth the risk, she told Insider. Even workers that haven’t found better-paying jobs are likely hesitant to return to work due to the risk of getting COVID-19, as well as the lower operating levels at restaurants, that will likely cut into worker’s tips and overall profit.

Customer-facing jobs have become increasingly dangerous for frontline workers during the pandemic. Workers have been forced to impose mask mandates to disgruntled customers and faced significant backlash. They have also been at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Restaurant jobs can be particularly grueling. One former restaurant worker, Bettie Douglas, told Bloomberg she found relief when she quit her job at a sandwich shop and started working at Rainbow USA Inc, a clothing store that also sells merchandise online. She unpacks boxes and tags clothing now, instead of running dishes, registers, and taking orders.

The labor shortage has only exacerbated the issue, making the food industry even more strenuous by pushing workers to take on extra shifts and work short-staffed in order to compensate for the shortage. A recent survey from One Fair Wage found that over half of restaurant workers are considering quitting because of low wages, as well as outside opportunities.

“There’s been days I’ve worked 16 hours because we just couldn’t get coverage for it,” a McDonald’s manager told Insider’s Kate Taylor last month.

Many food chains are implementing incentives to compete with Amazon and lure workers back

On Monday, Chipotle announced it would raise average hourly wages from $13 to $15 by June. Other chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell are offering signing bonuses and referral programs. One Florida McDonald’s was even paying people $50 to come in for an interview, Taylor reported.

But, even so, restaurants will struggle to compete with companies like Amazon, as the giant continues to boost pay for hourly workers. In April, Amazon boosted spending on entry level workers by $1 billion, rolling out raises to over 500,000 hourly employees. On Thursday, the retail giant boosted its incentives, advertising a starting pay for 75,000 new workers of $17 (up from $15) and tacking on sign-on bonuses of up to $1,000. New hires with proof of a Covid-19 vaccination will also receive an additional $100 bonus.

Furthermore, Amazon is only one of many reasons restaurants are struggling to find workers. Insider’s Ayelet Sheffey reported that many workers may make more on unemployment benefits than in their prior work. They also may be deterred by the continued concerns over COVID-19 and the need to provide childcare at home. On Wednesday, Taylor reported McDonald’s was blaming the labor shortage on enhanced unemployment benefits, though she also noted chains could solve the problem by paying workers more.

Restaurants and bars currently employ 1.6 million – or about 15% – fewer people than before the pandemic, according to federal data. The labor shortage makes it increasingly unlikely that the industry will return to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, researchers at Glassdoor said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may leave a lasting imprint on the U.S. labor market, permanently changing the hiring landscape both for restaurants and for the other industries hiring the millions of former food service workers that have flocked to new roles during and after the pandemic,” Glassdoor researchers said.

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The Biden administration opened a new relief fund for restaurants. 186,200 applied in 2 days.

biden burgers
President Joe Biden.

  • A $28.6 billion program designed to help restaurants received over 186,000 in its first two days.
  • The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was established as part of the American Rescue Plan.
  • “Our restaurants need a seat at the table,” President Joe Biden said in an address.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A $28.6 billion restaurant aid program received 186,200 applications in its first two days, according to the White House.

Bars, restaurants, and other eligible businesses could start applying for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) on May 3. The initiative is part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, and provides grants of up to $10 million for businesses that lost revenue in 2020.

More than $9 billion of the program’s funds were set aside for businesses that made under $500,000 in 2019; those businesses represent 61,700 of applicants so far.

For its first 21 days, the program will prioritize applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and those who are “socially and economically disadvantaged.” According to the White House, 97,600 applications came from those groups.

In a Wednesday address, Biden said it looks like about 100,000 restaurants and other eligible businesses will be able to receive relief, and he wrote a similar statement on Twitter.

As Insider’s Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins reported, businesses will be able to use their funds on everything from rent to payroll to paid sick leave.

“Right now, only about a quarter of the restaurant owners expect to return to normal operations in the next six months. We can do much better than that with the American Rescue Plan,” Biden said.

As the economy has reopened, the ailing leisure, hospitality, and retail industries have seen employment rebound. A third of March’s surprisingly robust job additions – 916,000 nonfarm payroll jobs – were in those industries. Small businesses have also been increasingly opening up as vaccinations ramp up and restrictions lift in many areas.

However, small businesses in the service sector have seen a bleaker outlook: A new analysis from the New York Federal Reserve‘s Liberty Street Economics of about 100,000 such businesses found that 35% of businesses active prior to the pandemic remain closed. Just about 4% of workers laid off from those closed businesses will be rehired, according to the analysis, and likely only 3% of those businesses will actually reopen.

“We’re relying on restaurants to play a big role in our recovery,” Biden said. “We want our economy to recover in a way that deals everyone in and our restaurants need a seat at the table – no pun intended.”

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Panera Bread may go public again after the pandemic made it determine how to be ‘better and stronger’

Panera Bread.
Panera Bread. Scott Olson/Getty Images

  • JAB Holdings just completed an $800 million refinancing of restaurant chain Panera Bread: DealBook.
  • That may pave the way for Panera to return to the public market after going private in 2017.
  • Panera used the pandemic to become “better and stronger,” the chain’s CEO said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Panera Bread may be looking to go public – again.

Panera-owner JAB, the holding company with chains such as Krispy Kreme and Caribou Coffee in its portfolio, completed an $800 million refinancing deal of the restaurant this month, and that could open Panera’s path back to the public markets, The New York Times DealBook reported Wednesday.

JAB declined to comment on the matter. Panera, which has more than 2,000 locations in the US, went private in 2017 after 26 years as a publicly traded company, when JAB bought the business in a $7.5 billion deal.

If Panera were to go public, it may happen with or without an initial public offering, DealBook said, noting that JAB has taken its holdings public through both traditional IPOs and mergers.

SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, are one path private businesses can take to the public market, and restaurant SPACs have been booming so far this year, Insider reported previously.

Read more: These are the 9 new restaurant SPACs to know, as they raise millions to take restaurant chains and hospitality tech brands public

Panera did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on going public.

In an April 25 interview with the Associated Press, Panera Chief Executive Officer Niren Chaudhary said the pandemic forced the company to determine how to become “better and stronger.”

The company’s shift to e-commerce, and customer desire for convenience were “irreversible” trends that emerged during the pandemic, the CEO said. Now, 85% of customers opt for carryout or delivery options, compared to 40% pre-pandemic, the AP reported.

“It’s not that on-premise consumption would disappear, but delivery, rapid pickup, curbside pickup and drive-thru, those kinds of things are here to stay,” Chaudhary said to the AP.

Just this month, Panera announced a partnership with Adobe to help the chain improve its mobile-ordering and curbside pickup experience. Adobe will collect data from customer orders to help smooth out the ordering process and suggest re-ordering the same items.

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A year after closing amid the pandemic, Disneyland plans to expand with new rides, restaurants, and entertainment

disneyland covid
Visitors take selfies in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle during the last day before Disneyland closes because of COVID-19 in Anaheim, California on March 13, 2020.

  • “DisneylandForward” is a multi-year planning effort that will lead to an expansion, a spokesperson told Insider.
  • The expansion might include themed lands based on Disney movies such as “Tangled” and “Peter Pan.”
  • Disney first needs to receive an updated development approval from the city of Anaheim to expand the resort.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Disney is planning to expand its California theme park with new rides, restaurants, and attractions – but to do that it says it needs the city of Anaheim to agree to redraft decades-old planning restrictions.

The multiyear expansion, called “DisneylandForward,” was revealed Thursday. The plan is light on details or timings, but could include themed elements based on hit Walt Disney movies like “Tangled,” “Frozen,” and “Peter Pan,” a Disney spokesperson told Insider.

Plans for expanding the 500-acre resort in Southern California come a year after Disneyland was shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year since the Disneyland Resort closed its park gates to guests,” said a website dedicated to the expansion. “We’ve taken this time to look forward,” the company said.

The naiscent plans could include new theme-park attractions, dining, and retail and hotel space, the company said. The expansion will be paid for privately and Disney will not seek any public funding, the Disneyland Forward website said. Disney also does not intend to request more square footage for hotel rooms.

Before the project can move forward, Anaheim city officials must agree to update planning restrictions from the 1990s meant to guide the growth of the Disneyland resort and surrounding businesses.

“With bold planning and leadership, Disneyland Resort could be poised to grow again, bringing jobs and new lands and adventures to Anaheim,” says a website dedicated to the project.

The city’s mayor had a warm response to the plan, Deadline reported. “I welcome fresh thinking about how the Disneyland Resort evolves and how we best maximize this resource for our city,” Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said in a statement to the news site.

Disney submitted the proposal to the Anaheim City Council on Thursday and the planning and approval process with the city and local community is expected to be completed by 2023, Disney spokesperson told Insider.

Disney said last week that it will reopen Disneyland Resort theme parks – Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park – on April 30 with limited capacity.

The reopening comes with a new theme-park-reservation system that requires visitors to reserve their spot prior to park entry. Reservations are limited because of state COVID-19 guidelines and only California residents may visit the parks for the time being.

Over 10,000 furloughed employees will be be called back to work with the park’s reopening, according to Disney CEO Bob Chapek.

Disney World park has been open since July in Florida, where COVID-19 related restrictions are looser, but attendance was lower than expected compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to data published by Deutsche Bank in August.

The company struggled with the financial impact caused by the pandemic. Disney lost $2.4 billion in income in the fourth quarter of 2020 because of park closures.

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In a bellwether case, restaurant chains in Midwest US are taking their insurer to court, claiming that business interruption insurance should cover their pandemic losses

Empty restaurant
Three groups of restaurants are pursuing legal action.

  • Three groups of restaurants are taking their insurer to court over lack of cover for pandemic losses.
  • The restaurants claimed that their coverage should have been triggered when the pandemic started.
  • A judge has ruled that the restaurants should be able to move forward with their legal action.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A federal district court judge has ruled that three groups of restaurants operating in four US states should be able to move forward with legal action, which claims that business interruption insurance should cover their pandemic losses.

The restaurants’ revenues were hit as states introduced COVID-19 safety protocols including social-distancing requirements, restaurant capacity limits, and even the temporary suspension of both indoor and outdoor dining.

Restaurants being run by Valley Lodge in Illinois, Rising Dough in Illinois, and Big Onion Tavern Group in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Tennessee all took action against Wisconsin-based insurer Society Insurance. The cases were initially filed separately before being combined into a multi-district bellwether case.

The insurance company tried to dismiss the cases – but the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois turned this down, meaning that the restaurants will be able to take the issue to court.

“The case serves as an accountability mechanism,” Shannon McNulty of Clifford Law Offices, who is co-lead counsel in the case, told Insider.

The restaurants alleged that under their insurance policy with Society Insurance, they had coverage that should have been triggered last March when the pandemic started.

Society Insurance, in response, said that this pandemic coverage isn’t included in the language of the policy.

Society Insurance had told the restaurants in an email in March 2020 that “a quarantine of any size … would likely not trigger business income or extra expense coverages under our policies.” It also said “a widespread governmental imposed shutdown due to COVID-19 would likely not trigger the additional coverage of civil authority.”

The insurance company added that COVID-19 would be “unlikely” to trigger contamination coverage because it isn’t a foodborne illness, and that exposure that their food products had to COVID-19 would not count as a spoilage-covered cause of loss.

In a 31-page ruling viewed by Insider, the court found that the restaurants’ insurance policy “does not contain a specific exclusion of coverage for losses due to a virus or pandemic.” The restaurants said that is a standard exclusion in the insurance industry.

“The fundamental questions at stake in this litigation are how properly to classify the interruption that has happened here, and whether this particular interruption is covered under the policy,” Edmond Chang, the judge leading the ruling, wrote.

The court said that “exclusions are narrowly or strictly construed against the insurer if their effect is uncertain.”

“The decision is highly significant for businesses, particularly here in the Midwest, who have suffered financial losses due to the pandemic and paid insurance premiums to protect against those losses,” McNulty said.

“The court correctly found no coverage under the civil authority, contamination, and sue and labor provisions of Society’s policy,” Society Insurance told Insider. “But Society is disappointed that the court allowed the claims for business-interruption coverage to survive early motions to dismiss and for summary judgment.”

“This is an early, preliminary ruling, and does not resolve the merits,” it said. “Society will continue to vigorously defend its interests in the litigation.”

The court classed the multi-district case as a “bellwether” case, but it’s part of a much bigger wave of coronavirus-related litigation covering everything from individual businesses to industries, lawmakers, and even entire governments.

Strip clubs in New York City have sued Gov. Andrew Cuomo for keeping them closed during the pandemic and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to sue the city of Austin if it didn’t lift its mask mandate. In addition, a Dutch court ordered the government to scrap the country’s COVID-19 curfew.

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