Employees of the online review site Yelp at the East Coast headquarters of the tech company on October 26, 2011 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Yelp is bringing back “nearly all” of its 1,100 furloughed employees and restoring employee pay and work hours starting in August, the company announced Monday.
The company will also extend its office closures into 2021, resulting in the layoff of 63 more employees.
Yelp in April laid off 1,000 employees and furloughed roughly 1,100 more, as the coronavirus pandemic dramatically decreased consumer interest in going out due to social distancing mandates.
“As local economies begin their recovery, we remain cautious but optimistic in the face of continued uncertainty,” Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote in an email to employees that was shared with CNBC.
“We expect to see a continued fluctuation in business openings and closures during the course of the pandemic as communities respond to local outbreaks. While the pacing and duration of the recovery are still unknown, the executive team and board feel confident in our ability to withstand the challenges and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead,” he added.
Workers across the nation are slowly returning to their jobs, though Covid-19 cases are still rising. Weekly jobless claims for the week that ended July 4 totaled 1.314 million, while continuing claims came in at 18.06 million, according to the Labor Department.
Chipotle Mexican Grill’s Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice
Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle Mexican Grill will test cauliflower rice as more consumers cut grains out of their diet.
Consumers will be able substitute cauliflower rice in place of white or brown rice at 55 locations in Colorado and Wisconsin, starting Wednesday. The new option is made with grilled cauliflower and seasoned with cilantro, lime juice and salt and will cost an extra $2.
In early 2019, Chipotle sought to attract customers who follow trendy diets like Paleo and Whole30 with its line of Lifestyle Bowls.
“To date, one out of three new menu item requests from Chipotle customers is for Cauliflower Rice,” Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt said in a statement on Monday.
CEO Brian Niccol said in April that the chain is developing new menu items, like brisket, but the coronavirus pandemic has delayed some launches.
Shares of Chipotle were up less than 1% in premarket trading. The stock, which has a market value of $31.4 billion, has risen 34% so far this year.
Pepsi soft drinks are displayed at a convenience store in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
PepsiCo on Monday reported that its quarterly revenue fell as fewer consumers bought its drinks at restaurants or convenience stores amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The company did report growth for its food items, such as Cheetos and oatmeal, in the quarter.
Shares of the company rose 1.8% in premarket trading.
Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:
- Earnings per share: $1.32, adjusted, vs. $1.25 expected
- Revenue: $15.95 billion vs. $15.38 billion expected
Pepsi reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $1.65 billion, or $1.18 per share, down from $2.04 billion, or $1.44 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.32 per share, beating the $1.25 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.
Net sales dropped 3.1% to $15.95 billion, topping expectations of $15.38 billion.
Analysts Gregory Francfort and JonMichael Shekian used aggregated transaction data from Bank of America credit and debit cardholders to analyze consumers’ restaurant spending habits. On July 1, the trailing seven-day average spend at large chain restaurants was down 4% compared with the year-ago period. At small restaurant chains and independents, spending fell 25%.
Small chains and independent eateries tend to be casual dining and fast-casual establishments, while large chain restaurants range from full service to fast food. The closure of dining rooms and the shift to social distancing has hit the casual dining and fast-casual segments harder. According to Francfort and Shekian, that explains “some of the gap between Big Chain and Other in the data.”
In mid-April, the difference in spending between big chains and the rest of the industry was even wider, peaking in the low-30% range. Fast-food CEOs, like McDonald’s Chris Kempczinski, have said that consumers return to their drive-thru lanes looking for familiar comfort food.
Trade groups have issued dire warnings about the future of independent restaurants. A report commissioned by the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which is pushing for a $120 billion bailout fund for independent bars and eateries, found that as much as 85% of independent restaurants could permanently close by the end of the year.
And as coronavirus cases surge in some regions of the U.S., restaurants are once again taking a hit.
“It is quite evident in our industry checks that COVID-19 spikes in key states in the West and Southeast have weighed on industry sales since the third week of June,” Francfort and Shekian wrote.
“These are two companies with strong balance sheets that are flexing capital availability advantages as well as scale advantages,” the research note said.
Darden, which has a market value of $9.2 billion, has seen its stock fall nearly 35% since the start of the year. Chipotle shares, meanwhile, have risen more than 33% since January, bring its market cap to $31.1 billion.
Starbucks shift supervisor Adan Miranda wears a face mask as he serves a drink to a customer while standing behind a plexiglass shield in a booth outside the store in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, May 21, 2020.
Rich Pedroncelli | AP
Starbucks said Thursday that it will require customers to wear facial coverings at all company-owned locations, starting July 15.
The announcement comes as retailers and restaurants try to navigate protecting their employees’ health during the coronavirus pandemic without agitating customers who do not wear a mask, even if it is required by the state or locality. Social media videos show customers berating or even becoming violent with cashiers, salespeople and baristas who ask them to wear a mask or leave the establishment.
Starbucks is joining the growing list of companies that require customers to wear masks, including Costco and major airliners. On Monday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association urged governors to step in and require consumers not affected by a medical condition to wear masks when shopping or in public spaces.
Starbucks said that customers who are not wearing a facial covering at locations without a local government mandate have other options to order their drinks. Drive-thru ordering, curbside pickup through its app or placing a delivery order will be open for those customers.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
Sandi Adler, who was Starboard’s vice president of legal affairs and human resources, filed the complaint on June 30 under Florida’s whistleblower statute. She also alleges sexual harassment in the suit, filed in state court in Broward County.
The lawsuit alleges that Starboard received about $9 million in PPP loans. The franchisee operates 101 Wendy’s locations across seven states and has 3,200 employees, according to its website.
The federal program was created to help struggling businesses with fewer than 500 employees, but big hotel and restaurant chains won exemptions after the coronavirus pandemic upended their industries. The fast rollout of the program has raised concerns from the Government Accountability Office about fraud. In early May, two New England men were the first to be charged with scamming the program.
According to Adler’s suit, Starboard CEO Andrew Levy told her to list some of his personal employees in Montana as corporate employees.
“The effect of this, in view of the PPP funding, was to defraud the United States and the Small Business Administration,” the complaint said.
Levy also allegedly ordered her to lie to creditors, vendors, suppliers and landlords and tell them Starboard couldn’t meet its financial commitments because it had not received PPP loans.
Adler’s superior Kevin Holbrook fired her on June 1 after she complained to him about Levy’s orders and practices, according to the suit. The complaint also alleges that Holbrook sexually harassed Adler while she was an employee and Levy ignored her complaints about the behavior.
Adler is seeking restitution for her lost wages and compensatory damages for “pain and suffering.”
Wendy’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Starboard could not be reached for comment. No one answered the phone at a number listed for the company and no email address is listed on its site.
A Tyson Foods Inc. facility stands in Lexington, Nebraska, U.S., on Friday, April 24, 2020. Nebraska businesses that have laid off workers during the coronavirus crisis could be forced to repay tax credits and other incentives they have received through the states main business-incentive program, the state Department of Revenue said.
Dan Brouillette | Bloomberg | Getty Images
About 9% of workers at meat and poultry processing facilities across 14 states have been diagnosed with Covid-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meatpacking plants, which were under pressure to produce enough food for U.S. consumers, became early hot spots for the coronavirus pandemic. In April and May, the country’s largest meat producers, like Tyson Foods and Cargill, were forced to close some facilities due to outbreaks. Total production of federally inspected red meat and poultry fell 8% in April and 13% in May, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Lags in production led many farmers to slaughter their livestock themselves. President Donald Trump signed an executive order in late April under the Defense Production Act to compel meatpacking plants to stay open.
The CDC’s report compiles responses from 28 state health departments, five of whom did not report any confirmed cases tied to meat processing workers. As of May 31, 86 worker deaths across 23 states can be tied to Covid-19. Nearly 240 meat processing facilities had at least one confirmed case among its workers, and more than 16,200 workers across 23 states have tested positive for the virus.
The conditions of the meatpacking industry, which requires many workers to be in close contact with each other for long shifts, make social distancing near impossible. The CDC also noted in its report that shared transportation to and from work and congregate housing also increase workers’ risk for exposure to the virus.
Some meat producers have tried to step up protections for their workers, but others fell short. In the CDC’s survey, only 86 facilities out of the 111 plants with information available on their prevention efforts required all workers to wear face coverings. Sixty-nine plants out of the 111 facilities installed physical barriers between workers, and 41 offered Covid-19 tests to workers.
On Monday, a coalition of more than 120 groups sent letters to Tyson’s largest shareholders urging them to ask the meat producer to protect its workers better by offering paid leave, ensuring daily testing and other measures.
A statue of a horse stands at the entrance to a P.F. Chang’s restaurant in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Scott Olson | Getty Images
Large restaurant chains once again received millions in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released Monday by the Small Business Administration.
Businesses in the accommodation and food services sector received more than $42 billion in funding from the program, accounting for 8.07% of the round’s total loans. Roughly $130 billion of the program’s $660 billion remains up for grabs.
The federal program was intended to help struggling businesses that had fewer than 500 workers, but big hotel and restaurant chains won exemptions after the coronavirus pandemic upended their industries. In April, Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris and several other publicly traded companies returned their loans after drawing backlash for taking money from the quickly depleted fund.
Famous Dave’s of America and Granite City Food & Brewery, both owned by BBQ Holdings, received loans of between $5 million to $10 million each. Their parent company, which was one of the few public companies to receive funds this round, has a market value of $30 million.
Other well-known restaurant recipients include full-service dining chains like Ruby Tuesday, Ted’s Montana Grill, P.F. Chang’s and T.G.I. Friday’s.
The full-service industry has been slow to recover, even as many states reopen indoor and outdoor dining. Full-service restaurant transactions fell 25% in the week ended June 28 compared to the year-ago period, according to the NPD Group.
Many of the large full-service chains that received PPP loans are backed by private equity firms. TriArtisan Capital Advisors owns the majority stake of T.G.I. Friday’s, for example. The chain was supposed to go public this year through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, but the deal fell apart in April.
Fast-casual chains, including Dig Inn, Five Guys, Mod Pizza and Chopt, received PPP loans of at least $5 million. Bluestone Lane, a venture capital-backed coffee chain, also got a loan of at least $5 million.
While large fast-food chains did not apply for PPP funding, their franchisees did. Operators of some McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Yum Brands locations received loans in a range of $5 million to $10 million. The fast-food industry has been quicker to recover than the broader restaurant industry, with transactions declining just 13% in the week ended June 28, according to the NPD Group.
LAKE OF THE OZARKS – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses at the Lake of the Ozarks are preparing for large crowds for the holiday weekend.
With the expectation of a high number of people, businesses are implementing and enforcing social distancing guidelines for customers. Missouri has seen a high surge of COVID-19 cases in the last week. The total number of confirmed cases is at 22,283. More than 1,000 people have died from the virus.
Eric McDaniel is the general manager of Larry’s on the Lake.
He explained the preparations the restaurant is taking for the weekend. Despite the increase in cases, businesses still expect large crowds.
“We’ve been really busy making sure we have everything stocked,” McDaniel said. “People have been locked down for weeks, months at a time so we’re expecting a lot of people.”
Many of the local businesses have spaced tables six feet apart and are encouraging social distancing.
“I expect and hope people will follow social distancing this weekend,” McDaniel said. “From what we’ve seen so far, we haven’t had many issues with that.”
Shady Gators is a popular bar and restaurant at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Co-owner Jeremy Gorham has lived and worked at the lake for almost 22 years.
“I’m expecting this weekend to be the biggest weekend the lake has ever seen,” Gorham said. “Everyone’s dying to get out, it’s Fourth of July weekend. It’s always been a really busy weekend but I think under certain circumstances that we’re going through right now everybody’s coming to the lake this weekend.”
After Memorial Day weekend drew large crowds, businesses like Shady Gators say they’re going to enforce social distancing and take measures like taking customer’s temperatures before entering on Saturday to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re stocked up on hand sanitizers, using paper menus and doing pretty much everything we can be doing,” Gorham said. “We’re going to do our best but in the whole scheme of things people are going to do what they want to do.”
While many of the visitors at the lake are from Missouri, this weekend tends to bring in tourists from Missouri’s bordering states and even beyond.
General manager Sheryl Elia of Alhona Resorts said there will be a wide range of people in town for the holiday.
“We’re seeing a large number of people from the bordering states like Iowa and Arkansas,” Elia said. “It’s always going to be a Missouri clientele for us, but we’ve seen states even as far as California.”
The state of Missouri fully reopened on June 16, but individual counties can still enforce restrictions and limitations on businesses.
People stand in queue to enter a restaurant on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida on June 26, 2020.
Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images
The list keeps getting longer.
Governors in Michigan, Florida, Texas, California, Colorado and Arizona are closing thousands of bars again ahead of the Fourth of July weekend as Covid-19 cases in those states surge.
For bar owners, the rollbacks have sown confusion and stress, and threaten the survival of their businesses. Many spent their much-needed cash to reopen, only to close again days or weeks later.
“The stop and start costs thousands of dollars for every business,” said David Kaplan, co-owner of Death & Co, a cocktail lounge with locations in Los Angeles, Denver and New York.
The Texas Bar and Nightclub Association is suing the state over Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to close bars for the second time in three months. Dozens gathered in the Austin to protest the rollback.
As the U.S. sets record highs for new cases in a single day, other states are slowing their efforts to reopen their economies. New Jersey and New York City have both indefinitely postponed the return of indoor dining.
Viral videos posted on social media show consumers packed inside and outside of bars across the country. Meanwhile, several outbreaks have been linked to local bars, including nearly 140 cases in East Lansing, Michigan.
Kaplan said that bars that don’t enforce social distancing measures make it more difficult for the bars and restaurants that are trying to be safe. But the economic pressure of the crisis and limited guidance from government officials also poses a challenge.
“The guidance is so slim, and then the enforcement is kind of nonexistent, so it’s tough,” Kaplan said. “I think most folks, if they’re not doing things well, probably want to or they’re trying, but it’s a totally different way of operating.”
Only the Denver location of Death & Co, which technically operates as a restaurant, is open again. Kaplan’s team spent about $3,500 to reopen the Los Angeles bar before halting plans when cases in California began spiking again. Gov. Gavin Newsom closed bars and indoor dining on Wednesday in 19 counties, including Los Angeles.
“We have to find a middle ground, because if we don’t find a route to open, we face permanent closure,” Kaplan said. “It’s not if and when we feel safe, it’s if and when we feel the risk is at an acceptable level and our team is comfortable to continue the reopening process. It’s a terrible decision honestly.”
Todd Conner, owner of The Offbeat and The Good Nite bars in Los Angeles, said that he was happy to be closed for the safety of the community, but the city made a mistake to reopen bars so soon. Los Angeles cleared bars to reopen on June 19.
“I think they jumped the gun here,” said Conner. “If they had waited, it would have saved me a lot of time and resources — resources that would’ve been better spent when the day does come to reopen.”
When Los Angeles moves to reopen bars for the second time, Conner said that he’ll be proceeding with more caution.
“By all the wishy-washy back and forth and bad decision making, we’re starting to lose faith in the system, that they have our backs here,” he said.
Bars vs. restaurants
Some bar owners criticized the decision to treat bars and restaurants differently, even though many restaurants also serve alcohol to customers.
Todd Quigley owns Craft and Growler, a Dallas-based craft beer bar. While his establishment also serves food, Texas classifies it as a bar. When the state reopened restaurants before bars, his to-go sales went from about half of pre-pandemic levels to about 10%. And now that bars are once again shuttered, that trend is returning — and the money from his Paycheck Protection Program loan has run out.
“If we’re not the same as restaurants, I get killed,” Quigley said, noting that he’s obeyed Covid-19 protocol.
“It’s not a restaurant or bar classification, it’s ownership and management. And you’ve got to shut down the places that don’t do it right,” he added.
In Florida, police officers told several restaurants that they had to close because they had bars, according to Carol Dover, CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
“Most of the restaurants, unless you’re quick service, will have a bar inside. And so, there was a lot of confusion, on the law enforcement side, that those bars had to be closed,” Dover said.
The rollbacks could also mean furloughing rehired workers. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 11.1% in June, according to the Department of Labor, with the leisure and hospitality sector gaining 2.1 million job — or about 40% of the growth.
“I’ve got to decide, do I stay open at all or not? I’d rather do what I’m doing and keep people off unemployment, but the state of Texas has put me in a very bad position,” Quigley said.