Religious leader in northeast India bans KFC meals, saying they don’t conform to Islamic law; GE contract talks start today; and Texas Roadhouse treads softly as rivals jack up prices

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 8:31 a.m.

KFC: The senior mufti in northeastern India’s Bareilly has issued a fatwa, or an Islamic edict, against KFC restaurants in the area, terming it a “sin” to eat there because the chicken sold doesn’t conform to Islamic law. “People at KFC process the meat away from the eyes of Muslims and such meat has been termed haram in Islam,” he said. The mufti said that the halal certificates displayed at the stores are irrelevant if the owners and workers can’t detail the procedures they use. “Halal is not only about killing the animal,” he said, “it is also about the way its meat is processed and cooked” (Hindustan Times).

GE: Contract talks open today between Louisville-based GE Appliances and the union representing about 4,000 workers at Appliance Park, and the saber-rattling is well underway. Management says the factory complex in the south end is losing money, and workers are earning more than typical in the industry. But a union leader says the company is merely trying to intimidate workers ahead of negotiations (Insider Louisville). The employees are covered by a contract reached before GE Appliances was bought in June by China’s Haier for $5.6 billion. In all, the nearly 60-year-old complex has about 6,000 workers. GE Appliances employs another 6,000 workers elsewhere. More about the company’s history in Louisville.

TEXAS ROADHOUSE, despite a second-quarter earnings miss, is a bright spot in the struggling casual dining industry, where rivals have boosted prices to compensate for falling traffic — and paid a price for the misstep. The steakhouse chain increased prices less than peers, and traffic’s improved, according to KeyBanc Capital Markets. Overall, traffic at casual-dining chains is down almost 30% since 2005. What gives? “Casual-restaurant chains are feeling the heat as loyal baby-boom customers age and millennials take their place,” the business weekly says. “Boomers like big portions and value pricing; their children, who favor organic and gluten-free foods, are pickier and less price-sensitive” (Barron’s).

On Friday, Texas Roadhouse shares ranked No. 1 in weekly performance among big area employers Boulevard tracks. Founded in 1993 with a single restaurant in southern Indiana, it’s grown to nearly 500 outlets in 49 states plus five foreign countries. It employs 48,000 workers, including about 500 in Louisville. More about the chain.

Pizza Hut boxPIZZA HUT: In Albuquerque, a Pizza Hut is seeking delivery drivers in a Craigslist ad posted yesterday that lists the following perks: “The hours are flexible. You’re out and about, listening to tunes and delivering great pizzas. Oh, and people are really, really happy to see you!” (Craigslist).

TACO BELL: In Portland, Ore., a man posted the following in Craigslist’s men-for-men Missed Connections section yesterday: “You were on the window at the Taco Bell . . . today ’round 6 p.m. I came through and seriously was hardly able to talk, you were so tall and good looking. A small chance you see this, but I hope you do. Or someone tells you about it” (Craigslist).

Michael Ferro
Ferro

In other news, Courier-Journal owner Gannett Co. could win its $864 million hostile takeover of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and nine other dailies owned by publisher Tronc, according to The New York Times. But Gannett still faces a recalcitrant technology mogul: Tronc Chairman Michael Ferro, “an audacious businessman whose wealth of ideas can by turns impress and alienate his associates and employees” (NYT).

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