Taco Bell’s new Cheetos burrito looks like ‘Donald Trump exploded’; Jack’s Chris Fletcher recalls distillery as a ‘magical place’; and why Goldman downgraded Ford shares

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 1:29 p.m.

The new $1 sandwich will be tested in Cincinnati next month.

More than two weeks before Taco Bell even starts testing a new Cheetos-stuffed burrito in Cincinnati, social media is having a field day — and handing the Yum division a public relations bonanza. Attorney Marcy Wagman Rauer told Huffington Post the $1 sandwich looks like “Donald Trump exploded.” And everyone was retweeting San Diego musician Danny Ellis’ marijuana-inspired conclusion that it looks  “like a stoner’s dream date with death.” The chain had tested the “Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider” earlier this year in Canada, but this is the first time the snack’s being used on its menu in the U.S. (Huffington Post).

Cheetos and Trump
A hairy comparison?

In the Ohio test market, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Ben Goldschmidt says to forget the November elections. “Sure,” he wrote yesterday, “we’re in a swing county in a swing state in a bonkers election year, but . . . we will decide for the nation if the cheesy powder of Cheetos successfully meshed with molten queso, or if it’s just an uninspiring, soggy lump in a burrito.” Much more news coverage.

Sadly, Taco Bell ranks only fourth of 10 places for potheads with the munchies, according to Stoner Days. The line-up:

  1. In-N-Out
  2. Del Taco
  3. Jack in the Box
  4. Taco Bell
  5. McDonald’s
  6. Burger King
  7. Arby’s
  8. Starbucks
  9. Chipotle
  10. Subway

Road warriors take note: Google says there are 10 Taco Bells in Cincinnati.

Taco Bells Cincy map

To be sure, it wasn’t all good news yesterday for the Yum division. In California, Taco Bell is investigating reports employees taunted a Bakersfield police officer Thursday night by making “oink, oink” sounds and laughing at the cop in the drive-thru. “Taco Bell does not tolerate discrimination in any way,” the company told 23 ABC. “We are deeply appreciative of the men and women who have taken the oath to serve and protect our communities” (23 ABC).

The chain is still smarting from an incident two weeks ago in Alabama, where a cashier refused to serve two sheriff’s deputies; the chain apologized and fired the employee, but not before it was slammed across the Internet.

Chris Fletcher

BROWN-FORMAN: Jack Daniel’s assistant master distiller Chris Fletcher remembers long weekends walking through the distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., with his grandfather Frank Bobo, who happened to be the company’s fifth master distiller, from 1966 to 1988. “It was always a magical place, even when I was too young to realise what whiskey was,” Fletcher told Australia’s Sunshine Coast Daily in a telephone interview from Lynchburg. Fletcher is headed to Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth to host a series of master classes and tastings through next Friday for the 150th anniversary of Brown-Forman’s top-selling brand (Sunshine Coast Daily). More Brown-Forman news.

Jeff Arnett, a company employee since 2001, has been Jack Daniel’s master distiller since 2008, and is only the seventh person — including Bobo — to hold that job in the brand’s history (Wikipedia). Founded in 1870, the Louisville-based spirits giant Brown-Forman employs 1,300 in the city and 4,600 worldwide, distributing whiskey, scotch and other adult beverages in 160 countries. Boulevard’s about Brown-Forman page.

HAIER has introduced bottom-mounted refrigerators to the huge consumer market in India. The GE Appliances owner says the models reduce bending by 90% (Times of India).

Ford 250 XL
$32,535 for F-250 XL

FORD: Goldman Sachs analysts downgraded Ford’s stock to a “neutral” recommendation from “buy” and removed it from the investment firm’s “Americas Buy List” because of worries about weak results for the rest of the year, according to a Barron’s report yesterday. “We believe Ford will be working its way through soft earnings in 2016 [mostly in the second half], in the hope that the Super Duty 2017 launch and emerging markets improvement will get them back” to 2015-profit levels by 2017 (Barron’s).

But Ford’s big selloff Thursday may attract value investors, according to another Barron’s story. “It bodes well for Ford that the average age of U.S. vehicles is 11.4 years — meaning they need to be replaced sooner than later,” the business weekly says. “Ford is also in the middle of a strong product launch cycle in the U.S. and Europe, which includes the F-350 Super Duty pickup, a new Escape and a redesigned MKZ sedan from Lincoln.”

Ford’s stock closed yesterday at $12.66 following Thursday’s poor second-quarter earnings report, making it the worst weekly performer among 10 companies tracked by Boulevard. Shares are now down 12% from a year ago vs. a 4.5% gain for the S&P 500 index. The Super Duty pickup is being built at the Kentucky Truck Factory‘s more than 5,000 employees.

HopCat logoIn other news, the 600-seat HopCat craft beer palace and its 132-brand lineup opens this morning in the Highlands near Grinstead Drive and Bardstown Road, amid complaints over the burden it’ll place on parking nearby. The restaurant has 24 parking spots on site, and it will rent another 40 or so on weekends from nearby St. Brigid Catholic Church for a $5 valet service (LEO).

The first 200 people in the door will get a free order of the restaurant’s signature “crack fries” every week for a year. HopCat will open at 11 a.m. today (WDRB). Boulevard wonders: Are the fries really that addictive?

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