TEXAS ROADHOUSE founder and CEO Kent Taylor sold $6.9 million of company stock at a hair more than $46 a share Tuesday through yesterday, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Taylor still owns 4.2 million shares worth $192 million at TXRH shares‘ closing price this afternoon of $45.47.
TACO BELL: In San Jose, Calif., a one-day-old baby boy was in critical condition at a South Bay hospital early this morning, after his 18-year-old mother died in a car accident Wednesday. Both the victim, Dulce Capetillo, and the infant’s father, her fiancé Pedro Cortes, were Taco Bell employees working the late shift. Capetillo’s brother was driving her to pick up Cortes at the Taco Bell where he worked. “I just can’t imagine the pain he is going through right now,” said Taco Bell area supervisor Jose Gonzalez. South Bay Taco Bells now have donation boxes in honor of Dulce; the company plans to match customer donations. And a GoFundMe page is also in place to help with funeral costs (ABC 7).
In Toledo, Ohio, a sheriff’s deputy has been fired after making what were considered inappropriate Facebook posts about Taco Bell employees he said had made vulgar remarks about him.
Deputy Thomas Hillenbrand, 57, a 19-year employee, was canned Wednesday. His Facebook post July 23 said a black employee and a co-worker inside the restaurant yelled “Black lives matter,” and laughed at him while he was in his car in the drive-thru. The deputy was in uniform at the time.
HUMANA: UnitedHealthcare has filed a formal protest against a Defense Department decision to award the next round of Tricare contracts to Humana and another competitor. The Pentagon selected Humana Government Business to manage the brand new East region, a consolidation of the North and South regions, in a contract worth as much as $40.5 billion. Health Net Federal Services got the West region contract. Humana manages the current South region and Health Net the North (Military Times).
Also, Humana and Aetna announced this morning a deal to sell some of their Medicare Advantage assets to Molina Healthcare for $117 million in cash, in the health insurers’ latest effort to win Justice Department approval for their proposed $37 billion merger. The transactions are subject to the successful completion of the merger, plus approvals from regulators. Under the deal, Molina would get about 290,000 Medicare Advantage members in 21 states, the two companies said, “preserving robust competition for seniors choosing to receive Medicare coverage through Medicare Advantage plans and addressing a key concern of the U.S. Department of Justice in its challenge to the Aetna-Humana transaction” (press release). Today’s announcement followed a July 21 DOJ lawsuit against the two companies to block their tie-up over fears it would be anticompetitive and raise consumer prices.
Aetna, meanwhile, reported better-than-expected second-quarter results this morning, in a report where it also became the last of the five major national health insurers to project a loss on Affordable Care Act plans for 2016. The Hartford-based insurer said it would re-evaluate its participation in the business and cancel a planned expansion. It also said it was setting up a $65 million reserve to account for expected losses on individual plans over the rest of this year (Wall Street Journal).
TEXAS ROADHOUSEshares fell sharply, closing at $41.80, down 12.4%, or $5.90, after the Louisville-based steakhouse chain reported disappointing second-quarter results yesterday after stock markets had already closed (Google Finance). Founder and CEO Kent Taylor discussed the results with Wall Street analysts in a transcript (Seeking Alpha). The chain has nearly 500 company-owned and franchised restaurants in 49 states plus five foreign countries with 48,000 employees. About 500 of those workers are in Louisville; more about Texas Roadhouse.
FORD said total truck sales, including pickups and vans, grew 5% in July versus a year ago with 87,104 sold. Overall company U.S. sales were down 3%, with 216,479 total vehicles sold (press release). Shares closed at $11.94, down 4.3%, or 53 cents (Google Finance). Ford’s Kentucky Truck Factory employs about 5,100 workers, producing F-250 and F-550 Super Duty pickups, plus Expeditions, and Lincoln Navigators.
KFC: The World Wide Web is chowing down on a photo of GOP White House nominee Donald Trump eating a KFC meal last night aboard his gold-plated private jet, using real cutlery (as opposed to the plastic utensils most everyone else uses or, let’s be clear, hands). Trump tweeted a photo of the moment near 10:30 p.m.; see Tweet, above. “It’s tiny finger lickin’ good,” wrote the New York Daily News, which then went on to quote one Twitter user saying: “Eating KFC with a fork and knife is like eating a candy bar with chopsticks.”
Britain’s Telegraph was even more over-the-top pretend aghast: “What kind of madman — what kind of abominable lizard in an orange human skin suit, a Sunny Delight scare story incarnate — would eat a biscuit with a knife and fork? The same madman who was last night pictured eating a bucket of KFC with a knife and fork, that’s who.” And then there was the whole KFC vs. Popeyes vs. Bojangles’ contretemps (Daily News, Telegraph and Daily Caller). Here’s yet more news coverage — plus, all the Twitter reaction.
TACO BELL: In California, several employees in northwest Bakersfield no longer work at a Taco Bell there after reports they had taunted a local police officer last week, according to the manager of the outlet. A customer had told a local TV station he could hear the employees making “oink oink” sounds and laughing while the officer was ordering. The manager said the employees no longer work there; he could not say how many employees were involved (Kern Golden Empire).
But Texas Roadhouse has come a long way, too — and in a relatively short time. Chairman and CEO Kent Taylorstarted the steakhouse chain in 1993 with a single restaurant in southern Indiana. Some 23 years later, it’s grown to nearly 500 company-owned and franchised restaurants in 49 states plus five foreign countries, and 48,000 employees.
That three big restaurant companies are all based in Louisville isn’t a huge surprise given an economic principle with an unwieldy name: agglomeration. That’s where companies beget other companies in the same industry nearby, all benefiting from the increasingly specialized labor pool and economies of scale: for example, intellectual property attorneys experienced in the fast-food trade.
Taylor, for one, started out as a KFC manager in 1990, when he returned to his Louisville hometown. Three years later, he opened the first Texas Roadhouse, in Clarksville, Ind. The restaurants are known for their western themes, line-dancing servers, peanut shell-strewn floors, and Texas Red Chili and ribs.
Now 60, Taylor is the biggest individual stockholder, with 4.4 million shares, or 6.2% of all, according to the 2016 shareholders’ proxy report. His stake was worth more than $200 million in June 2016, when shares were trading at a record high of $46 each.
The fast-casual restaurant chain’s Securities and Exchange Commission filing this morning shows stockholders grew slightly more happy with last year’s executive compensation vs. the prior year. The breakdown of the advisory vote at yesterday’s annual meeting vs. last year’s meeting:
Chairman and CEO Kent Taylor got paid $8.6 million last year, according to Boulevard’s executive compensation survey. That was way up from 2014, when he got $1.1 million, because of a huge $7.4 million stock grant.
Texas Roadhouse reports first-quarter results after stock markets close today at 4 p.m. ET. Here’s how the Louisville-based company describes itself in its annual 10-K report to the Securities and Exchange Commission; its most recent was filed Feb. 26.:
Texas Roadhouse is a growing restaurant company operating predominately in the casual dining segment . Our founder, chairman and chief executive officer, Kent Taylor, started the business in 1993 with the opening of the first Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Clarksville, Ind. Since then, we have grown to 483 restaurants in 49 states and four foreign countries. Our mission statement is, “Legendary Food, Legendary Service.” Our operating strategy is designed to position each of our restaurants as the local hometown favorite for a broad segment of consumers seeking high-quality, affordable meals served with friendly, attentive service. As of Dec. 29, we owned and operated 401 restaurants and franchised an additional 82 restaurants.
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