en As Burger Wars Heat Up, Combo Value Meals Drive Traffic and Visits <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 320px; height: 320px; float: right; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" />CHICAGO&mdash;Since last fall it has been a game of thrones among the top burger chains&mdash;Burger King, McDonald&#39;s, and Wendy&#39;s. </p> <!--break--><!--break--><p> As one after another launched their version of a combo value, each burger chain&#39;s efforts have in its own right been victorious in driving visit frequency, attracting more foot traffic, or growing check size, according to NPD&#39;s receipt mining service, Checkout Tracking.</p> <p>Historically, quick service restaurants (QSRs) have grown their business by offering lower priced eats in the form of combo meals and value menus. Over the past few years, instead of value meals and menus the focus was more on quality and higher priced menu offerings, partially due to menu inflation that was eroding profit margins. With high food inflation lessening, the time was right to revisit value offerings.</p> <p>Wendy&#39;s threw down the first gauntlet with the launch of its 4 for $4 meal in mid-October 2015. McDonald&#39;s joined the battle in early January with its McPick 2 for $2 offering, then changed the offer to 2 for $5, and will unveil this week a program that enables its restaurant operators to customize the McPick 2 menu to include items popular with its local customers. Burger King launched its 5 for $4 deal in January. Following these offers a number of other chains have added a value proposition of one kind or another to their menu. Most recently, the full service chain, TGI Friday&#39;s, introduced a strong value proposition of their own &ndash; Dine &amp; Drink Menu featuring an entr&eacute;e and an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage just for $12. Last week Starbucks, new to the combo meal game, entered the value wars with a limited-time $8 Power Lunch deal.</p> <p>The average deal rate (percent of visits where an item was purchased on a deal) for QSRs is 26 percent. The average deal rate for the burger chains offering the combo meal value deals is 35 percent. This deal rate increase for the burger chains resulted in over 100 million additional combo meals. Additionally, after several years of declines combo meal visits rose by 1 percent at quick service hamburger restaurants in the year ending February 2016 over same period year ago, and the entire increase was driven by combo meal deals. While the buzz in the foodservice industry has focused on quality and fresh, these new value offerings show that consumers are drawn to low price offerings. NPD&#39;s Checkout Tracking, which analyzes real receipts from actual consumers and can follow the same consumer&#39;s purchasing behavior over time, found that many of those who took advantage of the combo meal deals were value seekers and visited multiple chains to take advantage of all of the deals.</p> <p>&quot;For restaurant operators to compete effectively in today&#39;s marketplace, a value proposition is warranted to drive frequency and to attract value seeking customers,&quot; says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst and author of the recently released report, Value Wars: A New Twist on Combo Meal Deals. &quot;Understanding the impact and effectiveness of these promotions will help determine whether non-participants need to enter the fray to stay competitive.&quot;</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Trends Tue, 24 May 2016 11:54:51 +0000 Don Sniegowski 15146 at LearningRx 'Brain Training' Franchise Settles with FTC for False Claims <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="Federal Trade Commission building, Washington, D.C." src="" style="width: 320px; height: 180px;" /> <div class="caption">FTC building, Washington, D.C. (Photo by BMM)</div> </div> <p>COLORADO SPRINGS &ndash; The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with LearningRx and its chief executive officer, Dr. Ken Gibson. The action stops the franchisor from making false and unsubstantiated claims that it can improve serious health conditions such as ADHD, autism, concussions and Alzheimer&#39;s disease. The FTC requires the firm pay a $200,000 fine.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>The order imposes a $4,000,000 judgment against LearningRx, which will be suspended upon the payment of $200,000 as disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.</p> <p>According to the FTC complaint, filed in Colorado district court, LearningRx promoted its program on affiliated websites, as well as through a blog, Facebook and Twitter posts, print, radio ads and direct mail pieces. The company also used Google advertisements to target consumers, who were searching for terms such as &quot;cure for ADD,&quot; &quot;autism cure,&quot; &quot;Asperger cure,&quot; and &quot;severe traumatic brain injury cure.&quot; Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, LearningRx offered training through more than 80 LearningRx centers that it franchised in 25 states.</p> <p>The FTC order will also prohibit the company from making claims that its program can improve school grades and scores on standardized academic tests, and on performance of everyday tasks. And it can no longer claim that LearningRx training can increase income and superiority in academic tutoring. The order will prevent the company and its agents (its franchisees) from misrepresenting the existence or results of any tests or studies, and from providing others with the means to make the prohibited claims.</p> <h3><span style="color:#800000;"><strong>LearningRx makes bogus claims </strong></span></h3> <p><a href="">Dr. Ken Gibson</a> is not only the CEO and secretary of Learning Rx, he is also the sole director and department manager of the company&#39;s &quot;executive department,&quot; which oversees all aspects of the franchise. Gibson signs the franchise agreements, conducts training for franchisees, which includes training on marketing and sales. He also reviews and approves all advertising and marketing materials for LearningRx programs, including those disseminated to franchisees. The FTC found that Gibson has formulated, directed, controlled, had authority to control, and participated in the acts and practices of LearningRx.</p> <p>The FTC complaint states that since 2002 Learning Rx centers have offered one-on-one cognitive training, purported to correct weak or underdeveloped cognitive learning skills. In its ThinkRx program,trainers lead clients through cognitive tasks that allegedly improve processing speed, attention, memory, auditory and visual processing and reasoning. Other programs include ReadRx for accelerated reading, ComprehendRx for reading comprehension and MathRx for numerical fluency and number sense. The company also has a pre-school readiness program call Liftoff.&quot;</p> <p>​LearningRx makes many claims in advertising and marketing about increased income as a result of its programs. They include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>&quot;Our programs raise IQ an average of 15 points in 12 weeks, 20 points in 24 weeks. Because higher IQ has been linked to college scholarships, job advancement and higher income for life, dollars spent at LearningRx can provide impressive financial returns.&quot;</p> </li> <li> <p>&quot;A study by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics showed that a gain of even 10 IQ points can result in a $9,000 to $18,000 increase in annual earnings. Multiply that by 40 years of employment and the numbers become even more impressive! LearningRx brain training is proven to increase IQ by an average of 15 points or more. That means for every dollar spent on brain training, there&#39;s a return of $127 over a client&#39;s lifetime.&quot;</p> </li> <li> <p>&quot;Did you know that LearningRx brain training raises IQ by an average of 15 points, which statistics link to higher salaries? In fact, statistics prove that even a 10-point increase in IQ can result in as much as $20,000 more in earnings per year! [Excerpt from 2014 Report of Learning Rx Training Results].</p> </li> </ul> <p>LearningRx also claims in brochures their programs guarantee improvements for children and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, and learning disabilities. And it promotes that its &quot;brain training often minimizes or eliminates the need for medication. It says that with the right program, most children who have been labeled as having ADHD, ADD or other learning disabilities can improve from three to five grade levels and about half the students no longer require medication.&quot;</p> <p>The franchise company further claims its brain training can add a life-changing option to the treatment of autism, Asperger&#39;s syndrome, pervasive development disorder and other conditions related to strokes, concussions and traumatic brain injury. LearningRx gives testimonials to prove it. It also claims incredible results in restoring memory function to delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer&#39;s.</p> <h3><span style="color:#800000;"><strong>LearningRx, Violation of the FTC Act </strong></span></h3> <p>The Federal Trade Commission Act charges LearningRx with three counts: false or unsubstantiated efficacy claims; false proof claim and means and instrumentalities. The complaint states that consumers have suffered and will continue to suffer substantial injury as a result of LearnRx&#39;s violations of the Act.</p> <p>FTC asks the court to enter permanent injunction to prevent future violations of the FTC by LearningRx and Dr. Gibson; award such relief as the court finds necessary to redress injury to consumers resulting from the company&#39;s violations of the FTC Act, including but not limited to, rescission or reformation of contracts, restitution, the refund of monies paid, and the disgorgement of ill-gotten monies; and award FTC the costs of bringing the legal action, as well as such other and additional relief as the Court determines to be just and proper.</p> <h3><strong><span style="color:#800000;">Industry lined up in praise of wayward LearningRx&nbsp;to franchise buyers</span> </strong></h3> <p>LearningRx has been featured in many franchise and business publications. Franchise Business Review named it &quot;Best of the Best: Top 200 Franchises in 2014.&quot; Business World Magazine highlighted the company in an article &quot;Train the Brain&quot; in 2012. More recently, listed the company on its &quot;Top 10 Education Franchises for 2016.&quot; And yet another, FranchiseGator listed LearningRx on its Top 100 Franchises of 2016. FranchiseHelp also featured the company on its website. It states, &quot;LearningRx Franchise is a world leader in the new brain-training industry, with systems proven to be 7X more effective than tutoring.&quot;</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related Reading: </strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">FTC&#39;s Complaint</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">LearningRx 2015 Franchise Disclosure Document</a> (pdf)</li> <li><a href="http://Marketers of One-on-One ‘Brain Training’ Programs Settle FTC Charges FTC" target="_blank">Marketers of One-on-One &lsquo;Brain Training&rsquo; Programs Settle FTC Charges FTC</a></li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --><table id="attachments" class="sticky-enabled"> <thead><tr><th>Attachment</th><th>Size</th> </tr></thead> <tbody> <tr class="odd"><td><a href="">LearningRx FDD 2015</a></td><td>5.2 MB</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Legal judgment & dispute resolution Business World Magazine false advertising false claims Federal Trade Commission action Franchise Business Review FranchiseGator FranchiseHelp FranchiseRankings IFA member ill-gotten money improve grades improve intellect LearningRX top franchise to buy VetFran Mon, 23 May 2016 04:31:32 +0000 Janet Sparks 15143 at Obama Releases Final Overtime Rule, Ignoring Strong Opposition <!-- google_ad_section_start --><div class="photoright"><img alt="" src="" style="height: 217px; width: 320px;" width="320" height="217" /> <div class="caption">Obama signs 2014 memo directing DoL to update Overtime Rule. (WH photo)</div> </div> <p>WASHINGTON, D.C. &ndash; President Barack Obama announced the final version of the Administration&#39;s new overtime regulations, despite tough opposition from business organizations and conservative groups who argued that many sectors with low to moderately paid managers in retail, restaurants, hotels and healthcare will be unduly affected.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>The National Retail Federation and National Restaurant Association have strongly insisted that the new rule threatens the very workers it is meant to help. The Department of Labor&#39;s final version of new regulations dramatically increases the number of workers who must be paid overtime. Under the new rules, most workers making up to $47,476 annually ($913 weekly) would automatically receive overtime when working more than 40 hours a week. NRF said the regulations are scheduled to take affect December 1, with an automatic update based on wage growth every three years after that.</p> <p>The retail organization explained that the DOL&#39;s final proposal, in response to President Obama&#39;s 2014 order to &quot;modernize and streamline&quot; overtime regulations, will more than double the current $23,660 annually ($455 weekly), and will be a &quot;career killer&quot; for workers&#39; opportunities for advancement. NRF emphasized that it will also reverse progress seen since a 2004 update that eliminated vague language that caused extensive litigation over disputed overtime. The retail federation had vowed to seek action in Congress to achieve &quot;realistic&quot; overtime rules that reflect cost-of-living differences across the country and that are gradual enough for businesses to implement without penalizing the very people they were intended to help.</p> <p>The National Restaurant Association stated this week that while it appreciated that the DOL did not include &quot;the burdensome long duties test that would have led to increased contentious disputes and litigation, something the DOL stated it wanted to avoid,&quot; the threshold for exempt employees in the final regulation&nbsp;is still too high. NRA has strongly fought against the changes from Day One, stating that after reviewing the Department of Labor&#39;s revisions &quot;it seems as if these proposed rules have the potential to radically change industry standards and negatively impact its workforce.&quot; NRA senior vice president of labor and workforce policy and regulatory counsel Angelo Amador stated early on in the process, &quot;Supporters of these regulations say they want to increase Americans&#39; take-home pay, but these sweeping changes to the rules could mean anything but.&quot;</p> <p>A coalition of conservative groups wrote a letter to lawmakers last Tuesday, one day prior to the new overtime regulation&#39;s release by President Obama and the DOL Secretary, urging them to reject the overtime rule by supporting legislation that would require it to be completely reworked.</p> <p>The U.S. Department of Labor had published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register on July 6, 2015, 80 FR 38515, and invited interested parties to submit written comments on the proposed rule by September 4, 2015. Over 270,000 comments were received. The Office of Management and Budget has reviewed and approved the Final Rule, but it has not been published in the Federal Register.</p> <p>DOL announced May 18 that its final rule updating the overtime regulations will automatically extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation. &quot;This long-awaited update will result in a meaningful boost to many workers&#39; wallets, and will go a long way toward realizing President Obama&#39;s commitment to ensuring every worker is compensated fairly for their work,&quot; DOL stated. The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016.</p> <p>Vice President Joe Biden called the change to the overtime rule a critical part of the White House&#39;s goal of restoring and expanding access to the middle class. He said the middle class is getting clobbered. In his White House letter Biden stated, &quot;My dad had something he used to say to me: A job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It&#39;s about dignity and respect.&quot; The VP explained it this way, &quot;Companies will have a choice: Pay their workers for the extra hours they put in, or cap their hours at 40 hours a week. For over 4 million workers, this change means they&#39;ll either get a bump in pay or will get more time with their families if they work more than 40 hours a week. Or more time to go back to school or get additional job training.&quot;</p> <p>The International Franchise Association voiced its take on the final overtime regulation. It said the new rule will force thousands of employers to shift the pay status of employees from salaried to hourly and diminish their quality of work life. It said the Administration ignored concerns that the IFA had expressed in comments to the Department of Labor and at meetings with the Office of Management and Budget.</p> <p>IFA&#39;s chief executive Robert Cresanti stated, &quot;Far from giving America a raise, the new overtime rule will compel many franchise businesses to reduce their managers&#39; take-home pay simply to comply with the extreme new salary level.&quot; He added, &quot;The rule is unfair to employees who will need to be reclassified from exempt to non-exempt, and thus effectively demoted.&quot; Cresanti said the Administration &quot;irresponsibly failed to conduct any economic analysis of this rule&#39;s impact on myriad stakeholders and millions of employees will experience reduced take-home pay, opportunity and flexibility in the workplace as a consequence of the Administration&#39;s actions.&quot;</p> <p>The Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA) has also voiced its opposition to the new overtime regulations, supporting legislation to kill the proposed changes. Last month chairman Keith Miller stated on behalf of CFA&#39;s members, which are some of the largest franchisee associations in America: &quot;We must always remind legislators and regulators that while we often have &#39;Wall Street&#39; names on the front of our business, we are truly local &#39;Main Street&#39; small businesses that struggle in today&#39;s economy to make a living and support our families.&quot; Miller declared, &quot;Any proposed increases should be based on the economic realities across the country. One size fits all is often a bad measure.&quot;</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related Articles: </strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Restaurants, Retail Concerned about Overtime Rule Change</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Who May Get a Boost&nbsp;from the New Overtime Rules</a> | WSJ blog</li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Politics Coalition of Franchisee Associations National Restaurant Association National Retail Federation opposition to overtime rule Fri, 20 May 2016 20:19:15 +0000 Janet Sparks 15141 at Americans Love Breakfast and Morning Snacks <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="McDonald's all day breakfast" src="" style="width: 320px; height: 179px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: right;" />CHICAGO&mdash;The consumption of breakfasts and morning snacks, wherever it might be, is forecast over the next few years to grow faster than the American population. </p> <!--break--><!--break--><p> Total breakfast occasions, in and away from home, are forecast to grow by 5 percent through 2019, ahead of the expected population growth of 4 percent, reports foodservice researcher The NPD Group. Annual morning snack occasions per person, in and away from home, have increased by 17 percent over the past six years, according to NPD&#39;s continual tracking of U.S. eating behaviors.</p> <p>The need for speed, affordability, and portability are the reasons why morning meal traffic, which includes breakfast and morning snack, at traditional quick service restaurants has been growing. In the year ending February 2016, morning meal visits to quick service restaurants increased by 5 percent on top of a 3 percent increase during the same period prior year. The growth in breakfast and morning snack visits shows that quick service restaurants are pushing all of consumers&#39; hot buttons. McDonald&#39;s successfully tapped into breakfast&#39;s popularity with the launch of its all-day breakfast offering. With convenience the key for restaurant breakfast occasions; foods showing growth are breakfast sandwiches and portable breakfast foods, like yogurt and cereal bars.</p> <p>Even with the strong growth of away from home breakfasts, the majority, 70 percent, of breakfast meals are consumed in the home. The average annual number of breakfast occasions per person in 2015 was 361, up 11 occasions per person from 2010. The motivations behind breakfast are generally convenience, satiation, and healthfulness but these factors can vary by generational group and life stage, according to NPD&#39;s recently released generational study. In-home, consumers, particularly young adults, are turning to more involved breakfast foods such as eggs and &quot;traditional&quot; breakfast foods. Better-for you snack foods, like fruit, yogurt, granola bars, are among the top choices for morning snacks.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s clear by the strong growth in breakfast that it&#39;s an opportunity for food manufacturers, operators, and retailers,&quot; says David Portalatin, NPD&#39;s vice president, food industry analyst. &quot;The best way to tap into the breakfast and morning snack opportunities is to first understand what the consumers&#39; motivations, needs, and wants are based on demographics, life stage, and situation and let this knowledge guide your decision-making.&quot;</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Foodservice breakfast restaurant Thu, 19 May 2016 20:33:43 +0000 Don Sniegowski 15135 at Independent Restaurants Raise Spending with Broadline Distributors <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="" src="" style="height: 213px; width: 320px; float: right; margin-left: 6px; margin-right: 6px;" width="320" height="213" />CHICAGO&mdash;Despite declining unit counts for the last two years, independent restaurant operators represent a third of broadline foodservice distribution dollars, and their spending has increased year-over-year for the past two years.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>The number of commercial independent restaurants dropped by 2 percent to 336,545 units from fall 2014 to fall 2015, says researcher NPD, based on its fall 2015 restaurant census, which includes restaurants open as of September 30, 2015. Although the numbers dwindled, independent operators increased spending with broadline foodservice distributors in 2015 by 3 percent and by 5 percent in 2014, according to NPD&#39;s monthly service that tracks every product shipped from major foodservice broadline distributors to over 500,000 commercial and non-commercial operators. Much of the spending lift in 2014 was due to an increase in the cost of ingredients. Without the purchasing power of restaurant chains and benefit of contract pricing, independents bore the brunt of the ingredient price increases. Commodity ingredient prices stabilized in 2015 and the 3 percent spending growth rate of independents is reflective of organic growth.</p> <p>Broadline spending grew fastest in the south and west regions, with a 5 and 4 percent increase respectively, reports NPD&#39;s SupplyTrack. These two regions, both of which realized a 1 percent decline in independent unit counts, had lesser declines than did the central region, with units down by 3 percent, and the Northeast region, with units down by 4 percent. The south and the west, however, outpace the central and east in overall purchases. Population growth in both of these regions could be a factor in driving some of these increases. The northeast region, typically known for its independent restaurants, posted the slowest growth among all regions.</p> <p>&quot;While independents are hardest hit by economic downturns and commodity price increases, we also know that those who were able to survive are doing well,&quot; says Annie Roberts, vice president, NPD SupplyTrack. &quot;Most who become independent operators do so out of a passion &ndash; to cook, to serve, to own. They have heart and those who offer good food and value are not only surviving, they&#39;re thriving.&quot;</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Trends Thu, 19 May 2016 16:57:41 +0000 Don Sniegowski 15134 at North Carolina HB2 Bathroom Brawl Goes Beyond Transgender Issue <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p>CHARLOTTE, North Carolina &ndash; North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory last month signed into law House Bill 2, which requires individuals to use the public bathrooms, locker rooms and showers that fit the gender recorded on their birth certificates. While this action has caused outrage across the country from celebrities, corporate giants and government officials, declaring the bill will discriminate against the LGBT community, it is important to look at the actual bill.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p><a href="">HB2</a> states that municipalities requiring different sexes to share public accommodations is inconsistent with North Carolina&#39;s law and constitution for the past 180 years, which has held to the public policy that issues of labor and trade would be decided on a statewide basis instead of locally. Also set at the state level is minimum wages, labor policy and union statutes.</p> <p>The bill states that the &quot;act provides for single-sex multiple occupancy bathroom and changing facilities in schools and public agencies and to create statewide consistency in regulation of employment and public accommodations.&quot; It also reflects &quot;the importance of statewide laws related to commerce by prohibiting the General Assembly from enacting local acts regulating labor, trade, mining, or manufacturing,&quot; as stated in North Carolina&#39;s constitution. It further explains that laws and obligations consistent statewide for all businesses, organizations, and employers doing business in the state benefit from that provision, which attracts new businesses, organizations, and employers<strong> </strong>to<strong> </strong>North Carolina, which will improve intrastate commerce.</p> <p>In addition to HB2&#39;s Part I Single-Sex Multiple Occupancy Bathroom and Changing Facilities, detailing the provisions, the bill includes Part II Statewide Consistency in Laws Related to Employment and Contracting, cited as the &quot;Wage and Hour Act.&quot; Public policy of the state is that the wage levels of employees, hour of labor, payment of earned wages, and the well-being of minors are subjects of concern requiring legislation to promote the general welfare of people in the state without jeopardizing the competitive position of North Carolina business and industry.</p> <p>And, Part III Protection of Rights in Employment and Public Accommodations, states that &quot;it is the public policy of this state to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all persons to seek, obtain and hold employment without discrimination or abridgement on account of race, religion, color, national origin, age, <strong>biological </strong>sex or handicap by employers which regularly employ 15 or more employees.</p> <p>It also acknowledges that the practice of denying employment and discriminating in terms of employment foments domestic strife and unrest, and deprives the state in many areas of development, and adversely affects the interests of employees, employers and the public in general. Part 11 addresses the investigation into discrimination cases and conciliations.</p> <p><strong>Implications of HB2 </strong></p> <p>While students at Appalachian State University protested against House Bill 2 last week, professor Brian Clarke explained the implications of the new bill. &quot;HB2 affects everyone,&quot; he asserted to WBTV. He explained that if someone faces discrimination at work, they can no longer go straight to the courthouse and sue their employer.</p> <p>The professor said it creates a state-wide non-discrimination ordinance and public accommodations which people in North Carolina have never had before, which he says is a perfectly good thing to do. &quot;But it, of course, limits the protection categories to race, age, national origin, religion, color and biological sex to avoid any potential expansion of that in the courts,&quot; he said, adding that the law goes beyond the stated goals.</p> <p>Clarke further explained that &quot;it then deals with employment, so it deals with things that are utterly unrelated to LGBT rights, to bathroom usage, to public accommodations. And it deals specifically and directly with employment.&quot; He said the law also addresses the minimum wage, and does not allow any local government to set a minimum wage.</p> <p><strong>Opposition and support for bathroom bill </strong></p> <p>While the outrage across the country over HB2 is directed at North Carolina, there are 29 other states that do not offer special protections to individuals who label themselves as LGBT. In an <a href="">editorial</a> in the Federalist, Douglas Williams, founder of Dominion PR and Marketing, stated that Rep. Paul Stam of Charlotte district has opposed Gov. McCrory&#39;s signing of the bill without any legal authority whatsoever. He has now enacted an ordinance requiring all government and business bathrooms and showers to be open to all sexes.</p> <p>Williams stated that Rep. Stam&#39;s actions &quot;threaten tens of thousands of businesses with fines and minor punishments if they didn&#39;t comply. &quot;They were threatening 23,000 businesses and nonprofits, including small &quot;mom and pops&quot; establishments, with fines and other minor punishments if they didn&#39;t conform to that policy.&quot; He said such threats are tyrannical when it was known that the ordinance they were discussing was beyond their purview.</p> <p>Williams adds that North Carolina is one of at least 37 states . . . where cities and towns cannot pass rules or regulations that exceed the authority given to them by the state. Minimum wages, labor policy and union statutes are set at the state level,&nbsp;and the Charlotte&#39;s city council knew this. So in passing the bathroom ordinance, Williams said Charlotte had exceeded its authority by setting rules that had ramifications beyond the city. He said, &quot;They were going to unjustly punish non-compliant entities as of April 1, 2016, if the NC legislature failed to act.&quot;</p> <p>The Justice Department and North Carolina have now announced dueling lawsuits over the state&#39;s &quot;bathroom bill,&quot; which has become the epicenter of a larger fight over transgender rights. According to the Washington Post, the state contends that its law does not discriminate against transgender people or treat transgender employees differently from non-transgender employees. But the Justice Department&#39;s civil rights office says the measure is discriminatory and violates civil rights.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400" src="" width="680"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Related Articles: </strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">North Carolina Professor Explains Implications</a></li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Advice Politics bathroom bill bathroom bill protests Gov. Pat McCrory North Carolina HB2 transgender discrimination Tue, 17 May 2016 22:41:57 +0000 Janet Sparks 15132 at 7-Eleven Fires Independent Panelists Determining Worker Underpayment <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img alt="" src="" style="float: right; height: 321px; width: 320px;" width="320" height="321" />SYDNEY &ndash; After two hand-picked independent panelists made the decision that 7-Eleven must pay 400 store employees up to $400,000 each in back pay, the&nbsp;corporate office halted the process last week, fearful that the total amount could skyrocket.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>Dr. David Cousins and Professor Allan Fels said although 7-Eleven had agreed to the independent and anonymous process in the beginning, it was now having second thoughts. &quot;The company was spooked by suggestions it might have to pay out in excess of $100 million,&quot; Cousins stated, adding, &quot;It started to push back on very large determinations and sought to have a direct influence on the claims determination process.&quot;</p> <p>Last Friday the independent panel brought its work to a halt. 7-Eleven will now handle the entire process on existing and new wage claims by its own &quot;independent&quot; unit within 7-Eleven. The company spokesperson Michael Smith told The Guardian, &quot;It is important to state unequivocally that the process for claims will continue and 7-Eleven will pay all legitimate claims by franchisee employees for the past underpayment of wages.&quot;</p> <p>Professor Fels said he believes most of 7-Eleven&#39;s 20,000 workers over the past decade have been underpaid by about half.</p> <p>7-Eleven is now demanding the names of workers, many of whom were threatened with deportation unless they worked for half pay, despite promising the process would remain anonymous.</p> <p>While the troubled convenience store chain has been embattled in the worker underpayment scandal, a new chief executive was appointed to take the helm of the franchise&#39;s Australian business. &quot;At that time he vowed, &quot;Working with franchisees as well as our suppliers and other stakeholders will be a crucial part in 7-Eleven&#39;s on-going success.&quot;</p> <p>Now McKay is saying that 7-Eleven would continue to pay &quot;valid&quot; claims, but that workers had been trying to defraud the company.</p> <p>To date 421 workers have been paid $16.7 million since the process began eight months ago. Another 1,931 are being assessed with another 1,400 about to start.</p> <p>Dr. Cousins told The Guardian, &quot;7-Eleven has shown itself again to be untrustworthy, this time in not adhering to the commitments it gave at the outset to the operation of the panel.&quot;</p> <hr /> <p><strong>Related Articles: </strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">7-Eleven Gets New Australian Boss in Angus McKay</a></li> <li><a href=";sa=U&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjXp4nniN3MAhUC2oMKHbB-BN8QFggOMAM&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNGK0iwjsOkm94Mp5e4fUfDh3Gg7rg" target="_blank">Former&nbsp;7-Eleven&nbsp;Employee Fights for Underpaid, Exploited&nbsp;</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">7-Eleven Axes Panel Assessing Back Payment of Wages</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">7-Eleven Sacks Panellist, Says Chain Spooked by Size of Payouts</a></li> <li><a href="" onclick=", '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Inquiry for 7-Eleven&#39;s Underpaid Workers Just Imploded</a></li> </ul> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Legal claim & allegation 7-Eleven Australia Dr. David Cousins Prof Allan Fels underpaid workers in 7-Eleven Mon, 16 May 2016 03:26:51 +0000 Janet Sparks 15130 at Qdoba Names Keith Guilbault Brand President <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p>DENVER&mdash;Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK) announced yesterday that its subsidiary Qdoba Mexican Easts has a new brand president. Current brand president Tim Casey will step down, effective June 3. Its new brand president will be Keith Guilbault.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>Lenny Comma, chairman and chief executive officer for Jack in the Box Inc., which operates Qdoba as a wholly owned subsidiary, praised outgoing Tim Casey. &quot;Shortly after joining the company in 2013, Tim oversaw a comprehensive review of Qdoba&#39;s brand strategy and took immediate steps to strengthen the brand, including closing underperforming locations, driving menu innovation, developing a new restaurant prototype, and rolling out a customer-friendly, all-inclusive pricing structure,&quot; said the chairman.</p> <div class="photoright"><strong>Qdoba&#39;s performance in 2Q 2016,<br /> ended Apr 10, 2016</strong> <table style="width: 259px;"> <colgroup> <col style="width:227px" /><br /> <col style="width:78px" /><br /> </colgroup> <tbody valign="top"> <tr> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-width: 0.5pt; border-style: solid; border-color: rgb(191, 191, 191); width: 193px;"><strong>Same-restaurant sales systemwide</strong></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-width: 0.5pt 0.5pt 0.5pt medium; border-style: solid solid solid none; width: 43px;">+2.1%</td> </tr> <tr style="background: #f2f2f2"> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-width: medium 0.5pt 0.5pt; border-style: none solid solid; border-color: -moz-use-text-color rgb(191, 191, 191) rgb(191, 191, 191); width: 193px;"><strong>Same-restaurant sales, franchises</strong></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-width: medium 0.5pt 0.5pt medium; border-style: none solid solid none; width: 43px;">+1.2%</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-width: medium 0.5pt 0.5pt; border-style: none solid solid; border-color: -moz-use-text-color rgb(191, 191, 191) rgb(191, 191, 191); width: 193px;"><strong>Traffic</strong></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-width: medium 0.5pt 0.5pt medium; border-style: none solid solid none; width: 43px;">+3.7%</td> </tr> <tr style="background: #f2f2f2"> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-width: medium 0.5pt 0.5pt; border-style: none solid solid; border-color: -moz-use-text-color rgb(191, 191, 191) rgb(191, 191, 191); width: 193px;"><strong>Average check</strong></td> <td style="padding-left: 7px; padding-right: 7px; border-width: 0.5pt 0.5pt 0.5pt medium; border-style: solid solid solid none; width: 43px;">-1.1%</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <h3><strong><span style="color:#800000;">Appointment in tandem with second quarter results</span> </strong></h3> <p>The good news for the fast-casual Mexican eatery chain of is that transactions increased by 3.7 percent in its second quarter, which ended April 10, 2016. In tandem with increased traffic, Qdoba&#39;s same-restaurant sales grew by 2.1 percent systemwide, while its franchised eateries rose in same-restaurant sales by 1.2 percent. The brand likely gained while its fast-casual competitor Chipotle melted down, repercussions from an outbreak of E.coli and <a href="">norovirus</a>.</p> <p>The company released its numbers on the same day that it announced that Guilbault would be its new brand president.</p> <p>&quot;We were pleased with the solid sales performance at Qdoba company restaurants,&quot; said chairman Comma. He added that higher sales were driven by traffic growth and lowering labor costs.</p> <h3><span style="color:#800000;"><strong>Background of the new brand president </strong></span></h3> <p>Guilbault has served as Qdoba&#39;s chief operating officer since two months ago, where he was responsible for franchise operations and operations support services. He was previously senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the company&#39;s Jack in the Box brand. The incoming brand president for Qdoba joined Jack in the Box in 2004 as a regional vice president in Central California.</p> <p>From 2001 to 2004, Guilbault was senior director and general manager for Pittsburgh-based Freemarkets, Inc. He was was director of retail operations for the Priceline Webhouse Club in Connecticut from 2000 to 2001. And from 1998 to 2000, he was Marketing Operations Manager for Mobil Oil Corporation in Los Angeles. Guilbault received his MBA from Pepperdine University.</p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --> Foodservice fast-casual Thu, 12 May 2016 17:52:19 +0000 Don Sniegowski 15127 at