Pennsylvania McDonald's worker Natalie Gunshannon quit and sought legal counsel after her first paycheck came in the form of a Chase debit card with fees attached and her boss reportedly told her that the card was the only option. On Thursday, lawyer Mike Cefalo filed a class-action lawsuit against franchisees Albert and Carol Mueller, claiming state law gives Gunshannon and other workers the right to choose whether to be paid by check or cash.
Restaurant chains spend about one-third of their sales on food and beverages, and the tab is on track to rise again this year as commodity costs increase, making it tougher for operators to shore up the bottom line. "The problem now is that the economy is in such distress that it’s difficult to raise prices," said CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder.
Restaurant operators worried about slowing sales this year may do well to cut back on the entrees and beef up their selections of less-pricey appetizers and side dishes to meet shifting consumer demand, according to GuestMetrics. Specifically, chicken wings, oysters, ribs and empanadas were the fastest growing items on the appetizer menu last year, said President Brian Barrett.
The fast-casual segment is growing more competitive, and some long-time players are stepping up their game with new features such as table service, says Jeff Jones of tech vendor Long Range Systems. In this video, he explains how chains are using technology to add new services without breaking the bank.
McDonald's has launched a new mobile application in Australia that lets users scan QR codes on food packaging to track their meals from the restaurant where they were purchased all the way back to the farmers who provided the ingredients. It's the chain's latest international effort to increase the transparency of its food sourcing.