PIZZA HUT‘s introduction of its newest stuffed crust pizza — a grilled cheese version — recalls the fact that the original was launched 21 years ago by a kinder and gentler version of Donald Trump, according to AdWeek.
The new pizza debuted March 26, 1995. Six days later, Pizza Hut kicked off a $45 million national ad campaign, buying TV time during the NCAA’s Final Four weekend. The 30-second spot created by BBDO New York showed a tuxedo-clad Trump in a gilded suite along with Ivana Trump, whom he’d divorced five years earlier. (Watch the ad below.) In the commercial, the two poke fun of their headline-grabbing split.
“He was an egomaniac billionaire and almost charming,” said Hayes Roth, principal of brand and marketing firm HA Roth Consulting. “His egomania was so huge that he makes fun of himself. He’s lost that sense of humor. But he put on a great show, and back then we bought it” (AdWeek).
AMAZON‘s stock traded at a new record high today, $805.77, up $16.09, or 2%. The retail giant employs 6,000 workers at distribution centers in Jeffersonville and Shephardsville. More Amazon news.
YUM‘s 7,200-restaurant China Division said today it would issue 10 million common shares to Yum Brands shareholders as part of its planned spinoff next month. The offering could result in Yum China receiving proceeds of up to $54.05 million, implying a maximum offering price per share of $5.405, according to a regulatory filing. (bit.ly/2ctqkQy) The China division, which operates in more than 1,100 cities, is higher risk and potentially more rewarding, while Yum without the China division is likely to be more stable with greater cash flow (Reuters and SEC document).
PIZZA HUT has hired a Walmart technology executive to help develop digital ordering initiatives as its chief customer officer, a new position. The executive, Helen Vaid, will lead the international e-commerce, technology and operations business for the 16,000-location pizza chain. Vaid was Walmart’s vice president of digital store operations and experience. Before that, she was a general manager at Snapfish, a web-based photo-sharing and photo-printing company (press release).
KINDRED has paid a $3.1 million penalty to the federal government after failing to comply with a corporate integrity agreement it signed with regulators. The penalty came after the hospital and nursing home giant failed to correct improper billing practices in the fourth year of the five-year agreement. This penalty is the largest issued for corporate integrity violations to date, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General said yesterday. The violations were discovered after several unannounced site visits were completed by the inspector general’s office. Under the agreement, Kindred had agreed to a number of corrective actions, including outside scrutiny of billing practices. In exchange for the agreement, the agency agreed not to exclude Kindred from participating in Medicare, Medicaid or other federal healthcare programs (Home Health Care News).
TACO BELL competitor Chipotle is launching a new marketing campaign today in a bid to convince people they can trust what’s in their burritos, nearly a year after two E. coli outbreaks sickened dozens of its customers in several states. In the campaign, the fast-Mexican chain says its now tracing ingredients back to the farm, blasting pathogens off chorizo with high-powered water jets, and requiring restaurant managers to receive food-safety certification (Wall Street Journal).
PAPA JOHN’S CEO John Schnatter sold another 4,736 shares of company stock for $360,000, at around the same per-share price he’s been fetching since he began selling aggressively in early August: $76, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this afternoon. The latest sale, which was on Friday, brought to $10.9 million his total proceeds over the past month (SEC document). Papa John’s PZZA stock closed at $75.96 a share today, up 21 cents.
PIZZA HUT: Private equity investor Allegro and three local fast-food management veterans are taking over Pizza Hut’s 250-unit master franchise in Australia; terms, including a price, haven’t been announced. Pizza Hut has about 10% of the $4 billion takeaway food market in Australia, according to industry analyst IBISWorld. The deal will “accelerate growth and deliver Pizza Hut to more consumers across Australia,” says outgoing Pizza Hut Australia General Manager Graeme Houston. Corporate parent Yum will retain its KFC outlets in the country (Business Insider). The deal is the latest foreign market shift for corporate parent Yum, which last week said it agreed to an advance sale of a $464 million slice of its China operations to a prominent Chinese deal maker and the financial affiliate of Chinese Internet giant Alibaba ahead of next month’s planned spinoff of the China Division.
KFC: In a U.K. court, a former 30-year-old KFC worker was spared jail time after admitting he stole $14,700 from a KFC franchise by processing thousands of fake customer coupons for popcorn chicken. For more than a year starting in January 2015 James Anderson of Basildon, 32 miles southwest of London, pretended to hand money back to customers for the $2.65 snacks, but pocketed the cash instead. He said he wanted the money to contribute to his upcoming wedding. Anderson’s supervisors became suspicious after noticing a high number of refunds being processed under his cash-register ID number (Halstead Gazette).
BROWN-FORMAN will inaugurate new, higher-profile free-standing exhibition space at this year’s TFWA World Exhibition & Conference next month in Cannes. The new Brown-Forman area is more than double the size of the Louisville spirits and wine giant’s former stand and has informal gathering space as well as a large number of meeting tables and four meeting rooms, said Marshall Farrer, vice president and managing director for global travel-retail. The company will join more than 3,000 other brands at the annual duty-free travel-retail meeting Oct. 2-7 at Canne’s Palais convention center (DFNI).
UPS‘s 2,500 pilots have overwhelmingly ratified a five-year labor contract with a bonus up to $60,000 per pilot, an immediate increase in base pay, and “more favorable” rest policies for overnight and international flights. The contract, which starts tomorrow, includes an immediate 14.7% pay hike, followed by annual increases of 3% over the life of the deal, the pilots association said today (WDRB). The shipper is Louisville’s single-biggest private employer, with 22,000 workers at its Louisville International Airport hub; more about UPS here.
BROWN-FORMAN said fiscal first-quarter revenue fell 5% to $856 million and earnings dropped 2% to 36 cents per share, citing weaker-than-expected results in emerging markets and a stronger U.S. dollar. The results were in line with analysts forecasts. The spirits giant also cited tough comparisons from a year ago on its flagship Jack Daniel’s, which lapped last year’s introduction of cinnamon-flavored Tennessee Fire in the U.S. Sales of Finlandia — the vodka brand rumored to be on the auction block — dropped 10% reported as results in Poland “stabilized somewhat” while they remained under pressure in Russia, given the “challenging economic backdrop” and ruble depreciation (press release). Brown-Forman has now filed its more detailed quarterly 10-Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Both classes of the company’s stock fell more than 4% in the first 45 minutes of trading before recovering. The more actively traded non-voting B shares ended the day at $48.55, down $1.78, or 3.5%.
PIZZA HUT: The manager of a Pizza Hut outlet in Tokyo’s Koto Ward and three accomplices were arrested for allegedly beating the store’s deputy manager with a lead pipe and stealing 1.4 million yen (U.S. $13,500) from a safe on May 1. The victim suffered serious injuries including a fractured left arm which required more than two months to heal, police said (Tokyo Reporter).
TACO BELL and KFC: In Houston, police are investigating a smash-and-grab attempted burglary after someone crashed a vehicle into a combination Taco Bell-KFC restaurant on the city’s northeast side early today. The front doors and some of the interior were damaged, but it didn’t appear anything of value was taken (KHOU).
And in Pittsfield, Mass., the appropriately named Happy Valley Compassion Center is proposing to open a medical marijuana dispensary in a former KFC restaurant building. Side note: It occurs to Boulevard that opening a KFC or any other fast-food outlet next to a marijuana store would be an excellent way to sell to customers with the munchies (Berkshire Eagle).
YUM shares traded at a 52-week high of $90.93 today, before easing back to close moments ago at $90.76. It’s all-time record high came May 20, 2015, when it traded for $95.90 a share (Google Finance).
AMAZON said this afternoon it plans to open a distribution center in Monee, Ill., an hour south of Chicago; it didn’t provide a timetable, however (press release). In the Louisville area, Amazon employs 6,000 workers at two centers, in Jeffersonville and in Shephardsville. More about the retailer’s area operations.
PIZZA HUT: Starting today, and just in time for the start of football season, Pizza Hut is serving medium pizzas in a Flick Football Field box, featuring a football field printed on top, detachable goal posts, football triangles and a scorecard. Flick football is a tabletop game played with a piece of paper folded into a small triangle. Players flick the “football” across a table, scoring points based on where the football lands. Adding a social media marketing component, the Yum unit is asking customers to share videos of their flick football skills for a chance to win free pizza from the chain’s $5 Flavor Menu. The promotion runs through Oct. 14. It follows Pizza Hut U.K.’s far more novel box less than two weeks ago: a very limited edition (as in just five) cardboard box with a workable DJ mixing board (CNBC).
PAPA JOHN’S and University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari are teaming up to raise money for victims of the Louisiana flooding. Yesterday, Calipari announced the pizza chain would offer a large two-topping pizza for $10, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Calipari Family Foundation, earmarked for flooding victims (Today’s U Sports). Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has supported the foundation in the past, donating $53,000 since 2012 for its programs helping children.
KFC: In New Zealand, four people were arrested today after a massive brawl involving up to 100 students from rival schools erupted at a KFC fast food outlet in South Auckland. Weapons used included knives, chairs and bits of wood, a police spokesperson told NZME, and witnesses said the students involved both boys and girls, with some appearing to be less than 16 years old (7 News via Yahoo).
UPS: In Prattville, Ala., a UPS driver was taken to the hospital in stable condition after he was accidentally struck by a crossbow bolt fired by someone while he was driving. The driver wasn’t identified. The bolt went through his upper right arm and lodged in his right chest, according to an Autauga County Sheriff’s Office report. Investigators say 55-year-old Ronald Curtis Gantt has been charged with assault in last Thursday’s incident. Gantt told authorities he was taking part in target practice in his front yard when he shot the driver. Investigators are calling the incident an accident, but charged Gantt due to the reckless nature of his actions (Montgomery Advertiser).
FORD: In Canada’s Windsor today, 400 of 1,400 members of Unifor Local 200 voted overwhelmingly — 98.3% — in favor of a strike against the automaker. Ford had notified the union only last week it would cut production at its two plants there amid falling sales for vehicles powered by the engines they assemble (Windsor Star). In Louisville, Ford employs nearly 10,000 workers at factories building trucks and cars; more about Ford’s local operations.
PIZZA HUT: In the latest Craigslist “Missed Connections” ad of interest to Boulevard, a Pizza Hut customer in Beaverton outside Portland, Ore., writes: “You delivered my order on Saturday, asked to pet my dog. Long shot, but if you read this would you like to get coffee or a drink? You’ve the most stunning smile and beautiful eyes. If so, what was my dog’s name?” (Craigslist).
TACO BELL: In Gilmer, Texas, a newspaper writer recalls the tiny role a Taco Bell restaurant played in a chance encounter many years ago, when he and a friend saw a woman crying in one of the chain’s restaurants. “I mean, just crying her eyes out,” the writer says. “I remember looking at her and talking with a friend and judging her: ‘Why would she come to Taco Bell and just cry like that,’ I said. I can’t remember what my friend said exactly, but she scolded me and told me I didn’t know what she was going through. To that woman, now I understand” (Gilmer Mirror).
News about business and culture in Louisville, Ky.