Archive for Mary Meisenzahl

3 new complaints from McDonald’s workers accuse the company of a ‘pattern of sexual harassment’ and retaliation

mcdonald's worker restaurant fast food cook fries employee
  • Three new sexual harassment claims against McDonald's were announced today.
  • All three claims allege retaliation for reporting harassment.
  • McDonald's says "sexual harassment and assault have no place in any McDonald's restaurant."

McDonald's workers in 10 US cities are planning a one-day strike over what they say is a huge sexual harassment problem throughout the chain.

Workers participating in the walkout are working with Fight for $15, which has been involved in previous strikes and labor actions across the fast-food industry. The organization is also filing three new EEOC complaints alleging retaliation for reporting sexual harassment.

"McDonald's was and is engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment against women, including by maintaining a hostile work environment at its stores and retaliating against those who complain about sexual harassment," according to one of the complaints filed with the agency about a McDonald's location in California.

"Every single person working at a McDonald's restaurant deserves to feel safe and respected when they come to work, and sexual harassment and assault have no place in any McDonald's restaurant." McDonald's USA told Insider in a statement. "We know more work is needed to further our workplace ambitions, which is why all 40,000 McDonald's restaurants will be assessed and accountable to Global Brand Standards."

The female employee says that she worked in a corporate-owned location from November 2019 to August 2020, and she reported inappropriate touching and actions between a department manager and a teenage cashier, which is against McDonald's policy.

"After I repeatedly reported and opposed sexual harassment, McDonald's retaliated against me by changing my working conditions, filing pretextual written reprimands against me, denying me a transfer, and terminating my employment," the complaint says.

Another worker, in a new EEOC filing in Louisiana, alleges that she was harassed by a coworker between December 2020 and January 2021, which eventually led to her losing her job at McDonald's.

"He regularly asked me about having sex and graphically described the sexual acts he wanted to engage in with me," showed the reporting worker pictures of his genitals, and asked to touch her breasts, she wrote.

After reporting this treatment, the manager "would frequently avoid me and became unfairly critical of my work," the report says. until she was told to leave and not come back.

In the third new complaint, a 16-year-old employee in Illinois says that a shift manager repeatedly touched her at work beginning in May 2021, and her hours were reduced in retaliation after reporting.

"I felt so uncomfortable and scared that I could not bear to keep working in that environment," so she quit in June 2021.

"I bring this charge on behalf of all women who work or have worked at McDonald's, who have been subjected to sexual harassment, a hostile working environment, and retaliation for complaining," each of the three filings include under the charges category.

Over 50 sexual harassment lawsuits from workers have come out in recent years alleging the McDonald's company culture allows these behaviors. In 2020, a $500 million class action lawsuit filed by Florida workers alleged a "systemic sexual harassment problem."

Some of the claims center around inappropriate advances and comments from coworkers and supervisors, while others are about a lack of proper training and support around sexual harassment. McDonald's has taken some steps to address these problems, introducing a hotline in 2019 where workers can anonymously report harassment, though the Illinois employee mentions in the suit that she was never made aware of the hotline.

McDonald's says the new standards, designed to create a culture of safety, will be implemented globally beginning in January 2022. They'll include training in retaliation, harassment, and anti-violence policies, annual crew and manager surveys, and a new process for reporting complaints.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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Chipotle is switching up the model that made it famous as it embraces changing consumer habits

Chipotle Prep 55
  • Chipotle is growing its digital business, which makes up nearly half of all orders.
  • The chain is also pivoting to rely more on drive-thrus, which offer higher margins.
  • A focus on digital orders and drive-thrus is a major change from Chipotle's origins.

Chipotle just shared record earnings for the third quarter of 2021, and it shows that the fast-casual chain is changing its business model.

Chipotle first grew popular with customized burritos and burrito bowls made behind an assembly line, where customers could point directly to ingredients on the assembly line, a similar model pioneered by Subway. Now, digital orders and drive-thrus have become priorities for the chain.

Digital sales made up nearly half of all orders in the third quarter, at 42.8% of sales for $840.4 million. They were up 8.6% over the same period in 2020, which was the year digital orders really grew thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. With continued investment, Chipotle expects them to continue growing. Order totals are usually 10 to 15% higher through digital orders, CEO Brian Niccol said.

Some of these digital sales are through Chipotlanes, the fast-casual chain's drive-thrus that Chipotle is adding to new restaurants. Of the 41 new Chipotles that opened in 2021, 36 of them have Chipotlanes. There are 284 US Chipotlanes as of September 30, and Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung said so far there are "encouraging results." Chipotlanes also offer higher margins than a traditional Chipotle make-line and dining room, Hartung said in the earnings call, because they typically have higher sales and operate more efficiently than the traditional format.

Chipotlanes have been in the works for a few years. By early 2019, Chipotle had 10 US Chipotlanes, and executives told Insider that they planned to open dozens more, while also investing in digital ordering. Chipotle's digital sales exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, making up more than half of sales in 2020. Now, the brand is investing in building more online-order only "Chipotlanes" and opening new locations. CEO Brian Niccol said in an earnings call last year that Chipotle plans to more than double its locations.

Chipotlanes are attractive to the business for improved margins, but they're also attractive to customers for their convenience. Hartung cited internal data that the time from ordering to food being ready in Chipotlanes is about ten minutes, down from 12 minutes last year. This decrease in wait time is especially impressive as fast food is getting slower across the board.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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2 Chick-fil-A locations in LA stopped serving breakfast because they don’t have enough workers

Los Angeles Chick-fil-A no breakfast sign
Two Chick-fil-A locations have stopped serving breakfast.
  • Two LA Chick-fil-A locations put up signs saying that they were no longer serving breakfast.
  • A manager at one of the restaurants said that they are trying to hire to fill gaps in staffing.
  • Fast-food restaurants have simplified menus throughout the pandemic to speed up service.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Two Chick-fil-A restaurants in Los Angeles have stopped serving breakfast because of a lack of workers and "supply chain challenges," according to signs posted outside the locations.

"We're adjusting hours because of the labor shortage," Joqueeta Holmes, manager of the Sunset Boulevard location, told Insider. Hours were shortened from 7 a.m. to midnight to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m, beginning September 6.

"We're hiring weekly and hold interviews every week to help fill the gaps in back and front of house," Holmes said, adding that they offer a referral bonus to current workers who refer new employees. The location is recruiting younger workers to keep the restaurant working, too. "We are definitely hiring high school workers more than we have in the past, and being more flexible scheduling around school," Holmes said.

A representative for Chick-fil-A did not respond to a request for comment.

Chick-fil-A might be leaving money on the table by suspending breakfast service. In 2018 and 2020, breakfast hash browns made the list of top ten most ordered items. Breakfast also tends to be more profitable for businesses because of the lower cost of ingredients like eggs and bacon.

"Breakfast is higher margin," than other meals, Kalinowski Equity Research founder and CEO Mark Kalinowski told Insider. Another Chick-fil-A in Florida made a similar move earlier this summer, limiting menus to just lunch and dinner.

The problem isn't unique to Chick-fil-A or Los Angeles. Fast-food locations around the country are temporarily closing dining rooms or cutting hours without enough staff to keep them open.

Two more Chick-fil-A locations in northern Alabama have started closing early because of "extremely short staffing," Grace Dean reported for Insider.

"We, along with many businesses, are in the middle of a hiring crisis," the Calera, Alabama Chick-fil-A restaurant said in a Facebook post. A McDonald's location in North Carolina made a similar move, closing the dining room while keeping the drive-thru running.

Two campus Starbucks locations at the University of Alabama temporarily closed dining rooms due to "limited staff and supply chain challenges," The Crimson White reported.

Three more Chick-fil-A restaurants in Alabama had to close their dining rooms over lack of staff, though they continued to make food for delivery.

A Dunkin' location in Colorado temporarily closed operations completely after it was down to only three workers, Zahra Tayeb reported for Insider, and at least two Dunkin' locations in Rochester, New York have also shortened hours.

The Instagram accounts of both Los Angeles Chick-fil-As read "No breakfast until further notice" in their bios. Simplifying menus was a common tactic among fast-food restaurants over the last year and a half to reduce wait times and work with smaller staffs. McDonald's stopped selling all-day breakfast in March 2020, and cut down the menu to just best-selling items, but eliminating a meal from menus completely is still unusual in the fast-food world.

Other franchisees are taking similar measures to attract younger workers. A McDonald's in Medford, Oregon, has a banner out front advertising that it is hiring 14- and 15-year-old workers.

"There are always staffing issues, but this is unheard of," the restaurant operator, Heather Coleman, told Insider. She said the situation is unique in her family's 40-year history operating McDonald's franchises. 14 and 15-year-olds can legally work in fast-food restaurants, though there are strict limits from the Department of Labor on exactly what tasks they can do.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last
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Chick-fil-A CEO says 30% of people drive away because the chain’s drive-thru lines are so long

Chick-fil-A drive-thru review
  • Chick-fil-A CEO said that a third of customers drive away from the drive-thru because of long lines.
  • Putting another restaurant a few miles away doesn't reduce demand, he said.
  • Chick-fil-A uses technology to keep drive-thrus moving efficiently.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Chick-fil-A is one of the biggest players in the fast-food drive-thru game, but some of the success might actually be driving customers away.

"We estimate about 30% of the people are driving off, driving away, because the lines are so long," exiting CEO Dan Cathy told the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The data shows that Chick-fil-A does have longer drive-thru lines than its competitors. The chicken chain had the longest wait time out of the 10 quick-service chains tested at 541 seconds, or about nine minutes, in the 2021 QSR drive-thru study. But long waits don't tell the whole story, because Chick-fil-A also came out on top for customer service and order accuracy.

Through a spokesperson, Chick-fil-A declined to comment.

Drive-thru waits have gotten longer over time. In 2019, the average speed was 322.98 seconds, just over five minutes, and in 2020 the wait was 488.8 seconds, about eight minutes. Waits have nearly doubled since 2019, but customers don't seem to care. The chain was the only business to get a 100% accuracy rating in the same survey, and also got the top spot for customer service.

The long waits aren't surprising: Chick-fil-A is really popular. According to the survey, Chick-fil-A locations had an average of four cars waiting in line at any given time, well above the average of 2.2 cars at McDonald's, the next highest. These wait times are a symptom of Chick-fil-A's massive success; the average Chick-fil-A store does over $4.5 million in annual sales, compared to the average McDonald's store with $2.9 million.

Chick-fil-A does have strategies to make drive-thrus faster and more efficient, like installing double drive-thru lanes and having workers take customers' orders on tablets at their cars before they reach windows to reduce bottlenecks. Even with these measures, which are being adopted by competing chains, it's not unusual for the drive-thru line to extend out onto the street or block entrances to other businesses, and at times require police help directing traffic.

One method to mitigate long lines is to open another Chick-fil-A location a mile or two away from a busy restaurant. "We found that doesn't solve the problem. It is a huge well, which makes us realize how much growth potential we still have here in the US," Dan Cathy said.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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Chick-fil-A names the founder’s grandson as new CEO, keeping the chain family-run for a third generation

Andrew Cathy
Andrew Cathy is taking over as Chick-fil-A CEO.
  • Chick-fil-A just announced Andrew Cathy will begin as CEO on November 1.
  • Cathy will be the chain's third CEO, succeeding his father and grandfather.
  • Chick-fil-A prioritizes keeping the business in the family.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Andrew Cathy, grandson of Chick-fil-A's founder and first CEO S. Truett Cathy, will take over as CEO in November, the chain announced Thursday.

Andrew Cathy, age 43, will take over the role from his father Dan Cathy, who became CEO in 2013. Andrew Cathy became an executive in 2015, first as chief people officer and then head of operations. He later took over international strategy.

Cathy told the Atlanta Business Chronicle that Chick-fil-A is able to make this transition right now from a position of strength.

"One of the things we learned is that you don't want to make transitions under crisis. You don't want to do it when the wheels are falling apart. You don't want to do it when the leader has long since worn out their welcome and everybody's kind of waiting on them to retire or to leave," Cathy said. "You want to hand that baton off when things are in their best shape ever."

The Cathy's have run Chick-fil-A from its beginning in the 1960s, and are the 21st richest family in the US, worth $14.2 billion according to Insider's reporting. Keeping the business in the family has been important to the Cathy's. In 2000, Andrew's father Dan Cathy signed a covenant with his father agreeing to keep the company private and never open on Sundays. He also promised to continue Chick-fil-A's philanthropic work and to remain committed to his Christian faith.

There are no signs any of this is likely to change under Andrew, who told the Atlanta Business Chronicle that he's been studying up on family businesses.

"Family businesses are really the bedrock of our economy... The bulk of the economy is based on families and succession in families," he said. "And why is it that the wheels fall off the wagon? It helped me understand that we can grow a business, but if we don't grow the family, and the way that family interacts with the business, we could likely have it come apart like all these other businesses have suffered. And it's a tragic thing when businesses fail."

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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Dunkin’ has been remaking its image as a premium competitor to Starbucks, and now both have PSLs and pumpkin cold brew. Here’s how they compare.

Pumpkin spice latte psl fall menu
Starbucks launched the fall menu on August 24.
  • Starbucks and Dunkin' both launched fall menus in August with PSLs and pumpkin cold brew.
  • Dunkin' has been beefing up premium drink offerings, including espresso drinks and adding cold foam.
  • Starbucks drinks taste better, but at a higher price they could lose younger customers to Dunkin'.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.
Starbucks just launched its highly anticipated fall menu, including Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSLs) and the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.
Starbucks PSL

Source: Insider

Dunkin' launch a very similar menu, with Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and a Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte, one week earlier.
Dunkin' pumpkin spice latte
Dunkin' launched the fall menu.
I bought the three comparable drinks from both coffee chains to see how they stack up.
Starbucks Dunkin' PSL pumpkin cold brew
Dunkin' and Starbucks released similar fall menus.
Starbucks is the classic with years of experiencing selling PSLs, so I tried those first.
Starbucks PSL pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.
This is the PSL's 18th season at Starbucks, after debuting in 2003. It's one of the chain's most popular seasonal drinks of all time, and 500 million have been sold.
Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.

Source: Insider

Starbucks' PSL comes in both hot and cold varieties, a helpful transition for the fall drinks that debut in summer.
Starbucks pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin' and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.
The PSL is sweet and cinnamony, it tastes like fall. It's a classic for a reason.
Starbucks pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin' and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.
The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is a newer addition. The drink is cold brew sweetened with vanilla syrup and topped with pumpkin cream cold foam and pumpkin spice topping. In 2020, it outsold the PSL.
Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.
Starbucks' Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is my favorite drink of the bunch. It tastes more like coffee than a PSL with less sweetness and just enough pumpkin flavoring in the cold foam.
Starbucks pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin' and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.
Next up I tried Dunkin', which debuted these drinks more recently.
Dunkin' pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin' and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.
Dunkin' has been adding premium and non-coffee drinks to its menu for the last few years as it evolved since its 2019 name change.
Dunkin PSL
Dunkin' and Starbucks have very similar fall menus.
In 2021, Dunkin' continued to invest in cold brew and more premium drinks with the addition of Sweet Cold Foam and Smoked Vanilla flavored syrup
Dunkin' smoked vanilla cold brew
Dunkin' introduced smoked vanilla cold brew.

Source: Insider

The New England-based chain introduced the Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2020, and the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is brand new this season.
Dunkin' PSL pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.

Source: Dunkin'

Dunkin's take on the Signature Pumpkin Spice Lattes is good but far sweeter than the Starbucks versions, which are already fairly sweet.
Dunkin PSL
Dunkin' and Starbucks have very similar fall menus.
Both chains' iced PSLs come with whipped cream and spiced toppings.
Dunkin' vs Starbucks PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.
Both the hot and cold versions at Dunkin' were overwhelmingly sweet to the point where I think they'd be difficult for one person to finish, though I can see why people like them.
Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.
Dunkin's Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew was definitely the biggest disappointment of all six drinks.
Dunkin' pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.
I didn't have a problem with the Cold Brew, which I often get from Dunkin', but the pumpkin cold foam was not good at all. I wanted to like it as a less expensive alternative to Starbucks, but the foam was unappetizing, with an overwhelming pumpkin flavor in a bad way.
Dunkin' pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin' and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.
Of course, the taste isn't the only way to compare the drinks.
Starbucks vs Dunkin' pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin' and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.
The Dunkin' drinks were much larger than their Starbucks equivalents. To get a fair comparison, I ordered medium sizes of all (grandes from Starbucks).
Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.
Though smaller, Starbucks drinks are more expensive across the board.
Starbucks vs Dunkin' pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin' and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.
The medium Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew was $4.39 at Dunkin', while the much smaller Starbucks version was $4.75.
Dunkin vs Starbucks pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.
The hot and iced PSLs were $5.45 each at Starbucks, while the hot Signature PSL was $4.19 at Dunkin', and the iced version was $4.69.
Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.
Ultimately, it's a smart move for Dunkin' to capitalize on the flavors Starbucks has proven popular every fall while offering them for lower prices in larger quantities.
Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin' just introduced similar fall menus.
Starbucks definitely wins in my taste test, but Dunkin' might be able to win over the next generation of customers with large, affordable drinks.
Starbucks pumpkin cold foam
Dunkin' and Starbucks have very similar fall menus.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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Starbucks calls its workers ‘partners’, but some who are trying to unionize say the chain isn’t living up to that promise

Starbucks barista Spain
A Starbucks employee.
  • Starbucks workers in New York state have stated their intention to organize a union.
  • Starbucks says it's proud of the open and honest conversations workers can have about the business.
  • Some workers say that they do not feel like true partners, which is the term the company uses to refer to them.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Starbucks pointedly calls its workers "partners," not employees, which for Starbucks employees in Buffalo, New York, who are trying to organize a union, which has been a point of contention.

The chain's mission statement reads "To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time." One of the workers, Loretta Scherrer, says it isn't living up to this mission.

"From the start of my coffee journey to now, I feel that this mission has been forgotten. Instead of nurturing the human spirit, we are nurturing our machines for profit," she said in a statement from Starbucks Workers United.

"The company calls us partners," Alexis Rizzo, a shift supervisor who has worked at Starbucks for six years, told Insider. "We want to be real partners."

Starbucks says that its business is built on listening to employees.

"Our success is built on a long history of direct engagement and support for the well-being of our now over 400,000 partners around the world. We proudly create the space and forums for open and honest conversation as it relates to establishing and maintaining a great work environment," Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges told Insider. "This includes offering a full suite of benefits for even part-time partners because we know success is best when it's shared. We will continue to empower our partners to constructively use their voice, and our local leaders to listen to and address directly the concerns of partners."

Read more: Wouleta Ayele was instrumental in advancing the Starbucks app. Now, she's moving to Sweetgreen to take the salad chain's tech to the next level as it prepares to IPO.

Starbucks employees are called partners because technically, they are. Workers get Bean Stock, which is Starbucks stock that vests over a two-year period, with one half vesting after a year and the rest after two. The shares are Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), which do not carry voting rights.

"We call our employees partners because we are all partners in shared success. Every partner at every level of the company is eligible to receive an annual grant of company stock through our Bean Stock program," Starbucks' website says.

The workers' concerns mostly revolve around understaffed stores and ingredient shortages. In just 11 months on the job, "I've also seen almost 30 partners leave and working conditions fall to the wayside," barista Katie Cook said in a statement.

Starbucks stores, like most restaurants across the country, are facing a labor shortage with difficulty attracting and retaining workers. Baristas have previously told Insider about high turnover and few applicants. Some restaurants are so understaffed that they've been forced to close without any workers, while others have turned to incentives like bonuses or free perks for interviewing.

"By forming this union, we are telling Starbucks that we want to bring our own chairs to the table the was built upon our backs," Cook said. Starbucks literally keeps two extra chairs at company meetings and conferences to represent workers and customers, a custom started by former CEO Howard Schultz.

"This campaign is so significant because we are working to provide partners with a voice they never had before," Starbucks worker Gianna Reeve-Bartz said in the statement.

Do you work at Starbucks? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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Meet the average Chick-fil-A customer, a white Gen Xer who spends more money a year at McDonald’s

chick fil a nuggets
Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets.
  • The typical Chick-fil-A customer is a white Gen Xer in the suburbs with a high income.
  • Chick-fil-A competes with the biggest chains in sales, despite having thousands of fewer locations.
  • The average customer eats fast food every other day, but only visits Chick-fil-A 11 times per year.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Chick-fil-A is known for successfully spreading across the US and fostering hugely loyal customers who love its chicken. The chain punches far above its weight, as the third biggest chain in sales in 2019 despite having over 10,000 fewer locations than competitors.

A Chick-fil-A location makes more money than a comparable McDonald's or Wendy's, which is how it sees such high sales. Analysts predict it will continue growing.

The typical Chick-fil-A customer is white and between 45 and 54 years old, according to data provided by analytics firm Numerator. These customers tend to be either adult couples, or large, young families. They likely live in the suburbs, with a high income and a full-time job.

Although the average customer is white, a Chick-fil-A customer is more likely to be black than the typical quick-service customer overall.

The average Chick-fil-A customer spends $15.91 per trip to the chicken chain, buying five items per trip. They make just 11 trips to Chick-fil-A each year, and they're most likely to buy lemonade, french fries, milkshakes, chicken tenders, and soda.

Read more: Grubhub's plunge to the bottom: Employees reveal how the company dominated food delivery, then nearly lost it all to Uber Eats and DoorDash

This Chick-fil-A customer is a fan of fast food in general. They make a total of 181 trips to quick-service restaurants a year, much higher than the 111 visits made by the average customer. This is about one fast-food trip every other day. Relatively few of their trips are actually to Chick-fil-A, only about 6% of overall fast-food buys.

With less than 10% of fast-food visits at Chick-fil-A, this customer frequents other fast-food restaurants too. The profile is quite similar to the typical McDonald's customer, who is likely a Gen-X married white woman living in the suburbs, with a high income and a college degree, much like the Chick-fil-A shopper.

This typical customer actually spends more money at McDonald's than Chick-fil-A each year, with 11% of fast food spending at Chick-fil-A compared to 18% at McDonald's. Their average spending on all of these trips is $12.49, which is close to the total average spending of $12.20 across all quick service.

At fast-food restaurants in general, the Chick-fil-A customer is more likely than the average customer to buy crispy chicken sandwiches, french fries, chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, and milkshakes. In other words, they're big fans of chicken, and have likely tried out several of the competitors in the chicken sandwich wars.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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This is how Dunkin’ has changed since it dropped the ‘Donuts’

new dunkin logo cups
It's just Dunkin' now.
  • Dunkin' has revolutionized its image since its name change in 2019.
  • Since then, it has added more premium and non-coffee drinks.
  • Dunkin' teamed up with social media stars and online brands to grow younger audiences.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.
Dunkin' Donuts rebranded to just "Dunkin'" in 2019.
Dunkin' Donuts

Source: Insider

That same year, Dunkin' moved towards becoming a lifestyle brand. It launched the first Dunkin' popup shop with holiday items in November.
Dunkin' holiday merch.
Dunkin' launched a popup shop in 2019.

Source: Dunkin'

Later that same month, Dunkin' released a candle collab with brand Homesick, an early indicator of the many other brand collabs to come.
Dunkin' Homesick candle
Dunkin' released a candle with Homesick in 2019 and 2020.
At the end of 2019, Dunkin' jumped onto the plant-based food craze, rolling out the Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich to thousands of stores.
Dunkin beyond breakfast sandwich

Source: Insider

Dunkin' was also majorly investing in its drive-thrus around this time.
dunkin donuts covid drive thru mask
A Dunkin' worker hands a coffee out of a drive-thru window wearing gloves and a mask as the Coronavirus continues to spread on March 17, 2020 in Norwell, Massachusetts.
Dunkin' grew to have some of the fastest drive-thru times in the industry, winning the category in 2019 for the first time.
DD drive thru

Source: Insider

The drive-thru and mobile orders were clearly priorities for Dunkin' shortly after the rebrand. The first real "Dunkin'" store in Quincy, Massachusetts, included a two-lane drive-thru, with a traditional lane and a lane for mobile orders.
dunkin store of the future 2791

Source: Insider

In 2020, Dunkin' started expanding its offerings outside of coffee with the Matcha Latte in February.
Matcha+Dunkin'_6c96379a 5a99 40e4 a8cd 847a1ab6ee55 prv

Source: Dunkin'

That June, that non-coffee drink growth continued with refreshers, which are iced tea drinks with fruit flavoring.
Dunkin' refresher drinks
Dunkin' introduced refreshers in 2020.

Source: Dunkin'

The plant-based trend continued in August 2020 with the introduction of Planet Oat oat milk.
Dunkin' oat milk oatly
Dunkin' added oat milk in 2020.
Dunkin's snack menu expanded in spring and summer 2020 with croissant stuffers, snackin' bacon, and stuffed bagel minis.
Dunkin' croissant stuffers
Dunkin' launched snacks in 2020.

Source: Dunkin'

In the fall of 2020, Dunkin' kept up the lifestyle branding with National Coffee Day merch.
Dunkin national coffee day
Dunkin' sells National Coffee Day merch.
September 2020 also marked the beginning of Dunkin's partnership with Gen Z TikTok star Charli D'Amelio.
Charli Dunkin' cold brew
Dunkin' partnered with Charli D'Amelio.
Dunkin' started selling "The Charli," a Cold Brew with whole milk, which D'Amelio promoted on TikTok. Dunkin' also launched a merch line with the social media star.
Charli Dunkin' cold brew
Dunkin' partnered with Charli D'Amelio.
Dunkin' grew to over three million followers on TikTok, and the partnership with Charli D'Amelio drove a 57% increase in app downloads and significantly boosted cold brew sales.
Dunkin and Charli D'Amelio

Source: Insider

All of these partnerships combined to make Dunkin' the fast food king of social media.
Dunkin' Customizable Merch

Source: Insider

In 2021, Dunkin' continued to invest in cold brew and more premium drinks with the addition of Sweet Cold Foam and Smoked Vanilla flavored syrup.
Dunkin' smoked vanilla cold brew
Dunkin' introduced smoked vanilla cold brew.
Dunkin' added avocado toast in February 2021, which analyst Mark Kalinowski pointed to as an example of the brand's work to appeal to younger customers.
Screen Shot 2021 02 24 at 2.57.12 PM
Dunkin' announced that avocado toast was added to its menu.

Source:Insider

Another non-dairy milk joined the menu in April 2021 with the addition of coconut refreshers.
Dunkin' coconut refrshers
Dunkin' launched coconut milk.
More recently, Dunkin' added popping bubbles inspired by Taiwanese Boba Tea to the menu.
Dunkin' popping bubbles
Dunkin' added popping bubbles.
"Dropping 'Donuts' from the name - obviously was like a shot in the air and letting everyone know that Dunkin' is different," Drayton Martin, Dunkin's vice president of brand stewardship, previously told Business Insider. "And we just keep proving that over and over and over again."
FILE PHOTO: A Dunkin' store, the first since a rebranding by the Dunkin' Donuts chain, is pictured ahead of its opening in Pasadena, California, U.S., August 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
A Dunkin' store, the first since a rebranding by the Dunkin' Donuts chain, is pictured ahead of its opening in Pasadena

Source: Insider

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Restaurant prices just had their biggest spike in 40 years

restaurant
  • Restaurant menu prices are up 0.8% according to BLS data.
  • Dining prices haven't risen this sharply since 1981.
  • Restaurants are coping with a labor shortage and more expensive ingredients.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Restaurants prices are increasing faster than they have in decades as labor and ingredients grow more expensive.

Pricing for dining out increased 0.8% from June to July this year, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Menu prices haven't increased this sharply in years - the last time they reached this level was in February of 1981, Restaurant Business Online reported.

Prices seem to be increasing faster lately. Between April and May, they went up 0.6%, and increased by 0.7% between May and June. Restaurant prices increased more than the full consumer price index, which went up by 0.5% in July. Prices are up on a yearly basis too, at 4.6% over July 2020, according to BLS.

Menus at Chipotle, McDonald's, and other chains reflect these climbing prices. The greatest price increases at the 24 restaurants they studied have been 10% at Taco Bell, 8% at McDonald's, and 8% at Dunkin', followed by Chipotle and The Cheesecake Factory, according to an analysis by Gordon Haskett Research Advisors. Exact prices vary by market. Applebee's, Papa John's, Red Robin, and a few others have not adopted any price increases over the past year.

Chipotle raised prices across its menu by about 4% in June, a move the company said was prompted by increased wages for workers.

Nearly every fast-food and fast-casual chain will likely follow, analysts at Gordon Haskett said.

Read more: Kraft Heinz employees and analysts say 3G Capital's cost-cutting business strategy is setting it up for failure. Here's how the private equity firm's playbook left it playing catchup to its rivals.

Labor costs are partially the cause of these rising prices. A truck-driver shortage is making transportation more expensive, while restaurants, grocery stores, and factories are struggling to stay fully staffed. Processing plants and farms are facing the same problems. For example, chicken farms don't have enough employees, so they're struggling to process birds quickly.

Labor costs have increased for restaurants over the past year, but so did the price of ingredients. Staple Chipotle items, like corn and avocados, grew more expensive this year as demand rose and shipping delays drove prices up.

Experts say rising food costs are a combination of growing demand as consumers increase spending and supply-chain struggles. Shipping delays and severe weather events have made crucial commodities more expensive and difficult to obtain.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

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