Tag: Jeff Bezos

Nuns play legal hardball against Yum; B-F names new Australia region chief; Roadhouse rival is bust; and Amazon’s Bezos sells $757M in stock — most ever

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 1:01 p.m.

Boxing nun puppet
$35.99 at eBay!

YUM: Two activist groups filed a shareholder proposal today requesting that fast-food giant Yum quickly phase out harmful antibiotic use in its meat supply, taking particular aim at the KFC unit’s nearly 15,000 restaurants, according to Reuters. The request from the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and As You Sow of Oakland, Calif., say KFC lags rivals McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Subway and Wendy’s in setting policies to curb routine use of antibiotics in chicken production.

In a statement issued after reports of the shareholder proposal, KFC said its “position on antibiotics is currently being reviewed to determine the viability for our suppliers to go beyond the FDA guidelines for antibiotic usage,” according to The Courier-Journal.

Yum’s 6,500-Taco Bell chain has agreed to stop using antibiotics for humans in its chicken supply early next year. The 14,000-unit Pizza Hut division has made a similar promise for pizza topping chicken. But KFC, which buys far more chicken than the other two brands, hasn’t budged (Reuters and Courier-Journal). Buy a boxing nun hand puppet at eBay for just $35.99 (auction listing).

Marc Satterthwaite

BROWN-FORMAN named Marc Satterthwaite as new managing director for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, taking over from Michael McShane, who’s retiring Oct. 31 after 17 years with the company. Satterthwaite has held several leadership positions, including division director for the U.S. central states and Canada, director of North America Region sales operations, and as the interim country manager for India. Most recently, he’s been chief of staff to the U.S. commercial director (The Shout).

TEXAS ROADHOUSE competitor Logan’s Roadhouse — founded in Lexington in 1991 — has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware. The Nashville-based steakhouse chain said Monday in its petition that it will close 18 under-performing restaurants; it has 250 overall. Logan’s was easily confused with Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse because of their similar formats, including encouraging patrons eat buckets of free peanuts and drop the shells on the floor (Lexington Herald-Leader). Texas Roadhouse shares recently traded for $45.48, up 1.3%, or 59 cents.

Jeff Bezos

AMAZON founder and CEO Jeff Bezos sold one million of his company shares last week, raising $757 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. That’s a record for Bezos, exceeding the $671 million he sold in May (Fortune). Amazon’s stock closed yesterday at $766.56, near its all-time high of $770.50 (Google Finance). Say yes to this dress: The retailer’s best-selling wedding gown is gorgeous and a bargain to boot: as little as $16, a steal when the average bridal dress costs $1,357 (Refinery 29). Amazon employs 6,000 workers at distribution centers in Jeffersonville and Shephardsville; more about its local operations.

GE: Twisting the knife in the back of all the cities that didn’t land GE’s new headquarters, the conglomerate has unveiled renderings of its planned, new, high-tech 2.4-acre corporate campus in Boston. The design shows a 12-story building with a giant, sail-like veil and GE logo on top. The former owner of GE Appliances is moving from Fairfield, Conn., its corporate home since 1974 (Boston Globe and Seattle Times).

GE headquarters
New GE headquarters includes two century-old brick warehouses.

GE sold GE Appliances to Haier for $5.6 billion in June. The maker of refrigerators, dish washers and other “white goods” employs 6,000 workers in Louisville’s Appliance Park.

UPS hits Q2 forecasts; Papa John’s hikes dividend 14%; it’s National Chicken Wing Day at KFC; and Franklin Circuit judge blocks new UofL board, casting school into more turmoil

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:56 p.m.

UPS just reported second-quarter results that were in line with Wall Street’s forecasts. The shipper — Louisville’s single-biggest private employer — reported net income of $1.27 billion, or $1.43 a share, up from $1.23 billion, or $1.35 a share, in the year-earlier period. The FactSet consensus of analysts was for earnings per share of $1.43.

Revenue was $14.6 billion, up from $14.1 billion in the year-earlier period and in line with the FactSet consensus of $14.6 billion. The shipper reiterated its full year EPS guidance of $5.70 to $5.90, compared to the FactSet consensus of $5.80 (MarketWatch and press release). UPS shares closed at $108.10, down 63 cents. The company employs 22,000 workers at the Worldport hub at Louisville International Airport — the biggest fully automated package handling facility in the world.

John Schnatter

PAPA JOHN’S late yesterday boosted its quarterly dividend by a whopping 14%. The new 20-cents-a-share payout, up from 17.5 cents a share, will be paid Aug. 19 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 8 (press release). The pizza giant’s shares closed today at $73.95, up 30 cents. On an annual basis, the 10 cents-per-share hike is worth another $1,045,598 to founder and CEO John Schnatter. His 10,455,981 shares — the most owned by anyone — are now worth $770 million. Shareholders proxy report lists all major holders.

KFC: In the U.K. and Ireland only today, fast-chicken giant KFC today will give away a year’s supply of hot chicken wings to one very lucky winner and their best mate in a promotion celebrating National Chicken Wing Day. “All you need to do is follow KFC on Twitter and then tell them why your best mate is, well, the best, using the hashtag ” (Metro). But don’t hesitate: You must enter by midnight tonight U.K. time, which is six hours ahead of Eastern Time.

TACO BELL: The world’s media outlets are now devoting wall-to-wall news coverage to Taco Bell’s new Cheetos-stuffed burritos debuting in the middle of August in Cincinnati. Behold the $1 sandwich in all its orange glory:


AMAZON spent $3.9 billion in the second quarter on its distribution network, Continue reading “UPS hits Q2 forecasts; Papa John’s hikes dividend 14%; it’s National Chicken Wing Day at KFC; and Franklin Circuit judge blocks new UofL board, casting school into more turmoil”

Texas Roadhouse rage: As chains race to douse social media wildfire, chain fires waitress for ‘kill Mexicans’ Tweet

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 12:02 p.m.

TEXAS ROADHOUSE fired a waitress in Greeley, Colo., this week after she tweeted a threat to kill Mexicans, in a flash of roadhouse rage because a customer didn’t tip her. Texas Roadhouse spokesman Travis Doster told ABC 7 News: “Our managing partner was actually mowing his lawn when he was alerted. He immediately rushed to the restaurant, met with the employee who posted this disgusting Tweet, and she was terminated.”

Former waitress Megan Olson, who goes by the name Megatron on Twitter, wrote: “If we had a real life purge I would kill as many Mexicans as I could in one night. #learnhowtotipyoufuckingtwats.” ABC 7 showed an edited photo of the Tweet; photo, top.

Olson later apologized on Facebook: “I wrote hurtful, inconsiderate, insensitive and careless words and I understand the amount of people I have offended by that. There are no excuses for what I have done. . . . I want you all to know that I do not actually feel this way.” Her Twitter account is now password-protected. (ABC 7 News)

A Facebook user reported Olson’s Tweet on the Louisville-based restaurant chain’s Facebook page Thursday, and the company responded immediately, illustrating once more how quickly companies try to extinguish bad news before it goes viral on social media.

The Texas Roadhouse case was the fourth time in less than a month where Louisville fast-food chains were attacked for employees’ discriminatory behavior. There was last Saturday’s much-discussed Taco Bell employee in Phenix City, Ala., who refused to serve two uniformed sheriff’s deputies (story, below), and two Papa John’s restaurants where employees used racial slurs on order slips, in Denver last week, and in Louisville at the end of June.

Meachem and Moore
Meachem and Moore

TACO BELL: In Alabama, dozens of residents gathered Continue reading “Texas Roadhouse rage: As chains race to douse social media wildfire, chain fires waitress for ‘kill Mexicans’ Tweet”

Two workers electrocuted at Amazon warehouse in India; Jack Daniel’s steals British whiskey crown; and Papa John’s is very excited about hiring managers in Columbus, Ohio!!!

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 1:50 p.m.

AMAZON: In India southwest of New Delhi, two men repairing electrical connections at an Amazon warehouse were electrocuted and a third was injured Friday night, after their iron ladder came in contact with a high-tension wire. Other workers at the warehouse switched off the main power supplies and rushed the three to a private hospital, where two men were declared dead (Times of India).

In Fall River, Mass., an Amazon distribution center won’t open until Sept. 21, but the online retailer is already reaching out for potential employees making $12.75 to $14.74 an hour; recruiting events are set for Tuesday and Thursday 18 miles away in Providence and East Providence (Herald News).

Jeff Bezos

And founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will have a credited cameo role in the upcoming new film, “Star Trek Beyond,” underscoring the old saying that “you can do just about whatever you want when you have an absolutely absurd amount of money” (Amazon Advisor).

BROWN-FORMAN: For the first time, scotch has been toppled as Britain’s best-selling whiskey by an American bourbon: Jack Daniel’s. New data reveals the Brown-Forman brand has usurped The Famous Grouse as the U.K.’s most popular whiskey, after sales of the Tennessee-made spirit surged 9.3% in the last year. That coincided with a 4.4% slump in sales of the six leading blended scotches, with sales of The Famous Grouse alone plunging 14.9% (Telegraph)

TACO BELL: In Alabama, a Lee County woman claims in a Facebook post that her husband and another county sheriff’s deputy dressed in uniform were denied service last night at a Taco Bell Continue reading “Two workers electrocuted at Amazon warehouse in India; Jack Daniel’s steals British whiskey crown; and Papa John’s is very excited about hiring managers in Columbus, Ohio!!!”

Raising pressure on UPS, analysts map Amazon’s own growing air delivery fleet

Amazon has now leased 40 of these 767 wide-bodies.

After Amazon leased 40 Boeing 767 wide-body freighters in two separate deals in March and May, Pacific Crest analysts identified seven main airports the retail goliath is now using for its home-grown air shipping service — and then pinpointed some of the routes being flown, according to Business Insider.

Amazon logoThe airports include Covington; Allentown, Pa.; Dallas-Fort Worth; Phoenix; Ontario in Southern California and Stockton in Northern California; Tampa; and Wilmington, Ohio, 56 miles northeast of Cincinnati.

Many of those are within a 60-minute drive of Amazon distribution centers. But in Kentucky, there’s only: Hebron. Another four in the state are all closer to UPS’s mammoth Worldport hub at Louisville International Airport: Campbellsville, Lexington, Jeffersonville and Shepherdsville; those last two employ 6,000 workers. In total, those five centers make the commonwealth one of Amazon’s biggest overall distribution areas in the U.S.

The online retailer’s growing fleet saves the company an estimated $450 million a year, according to Pacific Crest. But it’s another sign one of UPS’ biggest customers could be a rival, even as the shipper expands Worldport, where it employs 22,000 workers — making it the city’s single-biggest private employer.

Outside the U.S., Amazon started competing head-on with UPS, plus FedEx and DHL this winter, after it bought the 75% of the French package-delivery company Colis Privé that it didn’t already own, according to the Seattle Times.

Jeff Bezos

Even so, CEO Jeff Bezos told a high-profile technology conference three weeks ago that the retail giant isn’t aiming to compete head-on with UPS and other shippers it now partners with. Instead, Amazon wants to pick up the slack when delivery services can’t handle the final stretch.

Amazon wants Texas tax cut, as Trump slams Bezos anew; Haier paid $125M for Appliance Park, and much ado about new KFC pulled-porker down under in Oz

A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 9:34 a.m.

AMAZON is seeking tax breaks for a proposed distribution center in Houston that would lower the retailer’s taxes there to 65% for 10 years, starting Jan. 1; Harris County officials meet today to consider whether to call a public meeting on the company’s request. The $136 million facility would create 1,000 jobs and construction would start in the third quarter (Houston Chronicle). Amazon already has at least one center in Houston; it opened in 2014. In the Louisville area, it employs 6,000 at two distribution centers. What it’s like to work in one of the centers.

Presumptive GOP White House nominee Donald Trump has renewed his attack on The Washington Post and owner Jeff Bezos, after the paper called him out for trying multiple times yesterday to quietly link President Obama to this weekend’s devastating attack in Orlando. Trump has revoked the paper’s press access to his campaign, saying Bezos is using the newspaper as his personal mouthpiece to gain tax advantages for Amazon. Bezos bought the paper from its long-time owners, the Grahams, for $250 million in 2013; he owns it separately from Amazon (The Verge). Also, Amazon is getting ready to roll out its second annual Prime Day, a special 24-hour discount extravaganza for Prime members that last year exceeded its Black Friday results. It was held in July last year; the company hasn’t set a date this year yet (Street Insider).

FORD has been much less visible than competitors in forging deals with Silicon Valley partners, raising questions about whether it’s getting left behind in the race for self-driving cars and other innovations. Talks with Google this year went nowhere, while Fiat Chrysler has already forged a relationship with that technology giant. Meanwhile, Ford’s experiments with on-demand shuttles and e-bikes have been overshadowed by General Motors’ Maven car-sharing and Toyota’s alliance with Uber (Hybrid Cars).

GE: We now know what Haier paid GE’s 61-year-old Appliance Park: $125 million, according to Jefferson County Clerk Office records reviewed by Business First. Overall, Haier paid $5.6 billion for the home appliances division in a deal completed last week.

Pulled Pork Burger
Exhibit A.

KFC: Some customers are confused and angry — and even angry about that anger — after the fast food restaurant famous for fried chicken launched a $6 limited edition burger with that other white meat: pork. The sandwich of pulled pork, coleslaw and barbecue sauce on a brioche bun is available across KFC restaurants in at least Australia starting today for the next four weeks (Emmanorris Blog and EFTM ). The Ozzie KFC division posted that video at the top of this page and the photo on the left.

News about the sandwich is spreading across Twitter, with many outraged or at least annoyed over the outrage:

Boulevard sees the Australian Mafia-of-one at work: Greg Creed has been leading a KFC makeover since become CEO of corporate parent Yum in January 2015.

TACO BELL: Our foreign news story of the day is about the Mexican chain’s move into Brazil next month in the megalopolis of Sao Paulo, just in time for the summer Olympics: “Taco Bell desembarca no Brasil ainda no segundo semestre” (Clica Piaui). For those who don’t speak Portuguese, Google Translate is your friend. Facing an increasingly saturated U.S. fast-food market, the Yum unit is ramping up overseas openings, expanding to 1,000 locations by 2020 from about 280 now (Bloomberg).

PAPA JOHN’S: Three men armed with a gun and a baseball bat robbed a driver at 10 p.m. Sunday night in Magnolia, Del., taking money and his cellphone (Delaware Online).

TEXAS ROADHOUSE is hiring in Knoxville and Alcoa, Tenn., at a job fair today (WVLT).

In other news, the newly opened Speed Cinema this weekend will present this year’s Sundance Short Film Festival Tour (Insider Louisville). And on Wall Street, U.S. stocks traded lower again right after the opening bell (Google Finance).