Tag: Texas Roadhouse

KFC puts $218M U.S. advertising media buying account up for grabs; Papa John’s loses Rupp Arena rights, and more drama engulfs UofL Foundation

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 3:23 p.m.

KFC is looking for more bang for its bucks in a just-launched review of its U.S. spending for advertising and marketing across all channels, including print, broadcast, digital and social media. The review, which in theory could end with the chicken-chain keeping its current agency for the work — ad and marketing giant WPP’s MEC unit — doesn’t include creative work now being done by Wieden & Kennedy since 2015; that agency is responsible for the current campaign of rotating actors and comedians portraying a resurrected Colonel Harland Sanders. KFC’s U.S. division said it’s looking for an agency “capable of deploying innovative media strategies while leveraging cost efficiencies and maximizing return on investment” (AdAge). KFC just launched its latest Sanders TV commercials, featuring a fictional Kentucky Buckets pro football team.

PAPA JOHN’S has given up concession rights at Rupp Arena in Lexington starting this fall, and will be replaced by Hunt Brothers Pizza (Herald-Leader).

jack-daniels-150th-anniversary-whiskeyBROWN-FORMAN‘s Jack Daniel’s has unveiled a new version to celebrate its major birthday this year: Jack Daniel’s 150th Anniversary Whiskey, which is priced around $100 per one-liter bottle (The Whiskey Wash). Jack Daniel’s is the top seller among Brown-Forman’s 19 brands of spirits and wine.

UPS: Utah is giving UPS $5 million in tax incentives for the shipper’s plan to build a $200 million regional package operations center at a yet-to-be-determined site in the state that will create nearly 200 jobs (Salt Lake Tribune). UPS is the single-biggest private employer in Louisville, with 22,000 workers at it Louisville International Airport hub.

TEXAS ROADHOUSE is opening a Bubba’s 33 in east of Dallas in Mesquite as the Louisville-based steakhouse chain expands its new sports bar division. First launched in Fayetteville, N.C., in 2013, there are now a dozen Bubba’s locations, including outlets in Houston and Waco (Culture Map Dallas).

In other news: the University of Louisville board of trustees, escalating its battle with the independent UofL Foundation, today approved a threat to sue the foundation unless it accedes to demands to clean up its act. Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Benz said as many as 70 donors have called the university over the past few days to say they won’t give any more money unless the foundation shows that it is “clean” (Courier-Journal). Those donors’ threats followed similar ones last week by the James Graham Brown Foundation and the C.E. & S. Foundation led by Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr.

Reward offered in Ohio robbery death of Navy Veteran at Taco Bell drive-thru

The latest crime news across the world of 48,000 restaurants*.

Crime scene tapePolice are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of a suspect who shot and killed a 49-year-old Navy veteran at a Taco Bell drive-thru on Sunday in Lorain, Ohio.

Robert Gnizak of Lorain was found dead in the car when police arrived at the restaurant at 11:03 p.m. He was riding in the car with a female friend when the robbery occurred, according to the Chronicle newspaper.

Robert Gnizak
Gnizak

While they were pulled up to order food, a man came up to the passenger side of the car and tried to rob the occupants, before fatally shooting Gnizak, the newspaper said today. It wasn’t clear from the newspaper’s account whether Gnizak was on the passenger side or behind the wheel. Another customer  in a car behind them called 911, police said.

It was the second killing Sunday at a Louisville-based restaurant chain. In Fort Wayne, a 28-year-old man was killed and another man was injured during a shooting outside a Texas Roadhouse in Fort Wayne. Police and court records said the victim had gotten into a fight with members of a motorcycle-riding group he once belonged to. A suspect has been arrested and charged with murder in the case.

* Yum has 43,000 KFCs, Pizza Huts and Taco Bells in nearly 140 countries; Papa John’s has 4,900 outlets in 37 countries, and Texas Roadhouse has 485 restaurants across the U.S. and in five other nations. With that many locations, crimes inevitably occur — with potentially serious legal consequences for the companies.

Roadhouse CEO unloads $6.9M in stock; tragedy strikes Calif. Taco Bells when pregnant worker killed in car crash; fiancé is employee, too; Ford extends $400K supercar production

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 8:55 p.m.

Ford 2017 GT supercar
An overhead photo of the 2017 GT; Ford will produce them for four years.
Kent Taylor
Taylor

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.

His Facebook post said: “I guess we’ll see if they’re still laughing after I call their corporate office on Monday and unload on someone.” He also encouraged fellow officers to boycott the restaurant. Replying to a comment on his post saying he should have reached through the drive-thru window, Hillenbrand wrote: “Couldn’t reach them. In the pre-camera days, Continue reading “Roadhouse CEO unloads $6.9M in stock; tragedy strikes Calif. Taco Bells when pregnant worker killed in car crash; fiancé is employee, too; Ford extends $400K supercar production”

Ford sets 2021 for driverless cars; Kindred closing 37-bed Texas hospital; and the summer news slowdown brings our most ridiculous KFC roundup so far: #ChipGate!

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 2:51 p.m.

FORD announced plans today to begin mass production of fully autonomous vehicles in 2021 for ride-hailing or ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. The cars will be built with no steering wheel, gas or brake pedals. To advance its plan, the automaker, a major employer in Louisville, said it’s investing in or collaborating with four start-ups; doubling its Silicon Valley team, and more than doubling its Palo Alto campus in the valley. “The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said CEO Mark Fields (video, above, and press release). In Louisville, Ford employs nearly 10,000 workers at truck and vehicle assembly factories. More about Ford’s local operations.

KINDRED is shuttering a 37-bed hospital outside Houston in Baytown, Texas, and has notified the state Workforce Commission that it’s eliminating all 33 jobs there during a two-week period starting Oct. 3. The notification letter called the closure a “strategic decision.” Kindred still will have nine long-term care hospitals in the Houston area, including Kindred Hospital Bay Area (Houston Chronicle).

Texas Roadhouse logoTEXAS ROADHOUSE: Good luck finding the love of your life with this Craigslist Missed Connections advertisement in the Phoenix area. Yesterday (apparently) at 3:30 p.m., a man visited one of the four East Valley Texas Roadhouses for a birthday dinner. (At 3:30 p.m.? Was this an early-bird special?) “I walked in,” he writes, and saw a waitress, “the most amazing woman. She had long curly black hair, eyes that were to die for. The most beautiful face I have ever seen. . . . As I was leaving, I said, ‘I’m getting too old.’ I wish I had said something else. I hope you see this.” Problem is, he didn’t say which of the four restaurants he visited (CraigsList).

KFC: August is usually one of the slowest news periods of the year because so many people are on vacation — not making news. This brings us to the following three stories about Yum’s enormous fried chicken chain:

A vexed vegan

In Australia yesterday, Continue reading “Ford sets 2021 for driverless cars; Kindred closing 37-bed Texas hospital; and the summer news slowdown brings our most ridiculous KFC roundup so far: #ChipGate!”

Murder trial date to be set today for man charged with shooting co-worker at Elizabethtown KFC-Taco Bell in February

The latest crime news across the world of 48,000 restaurants*.

Crime scene tapeA judge ruled yesterday that Joshua Ratliff, 27, was competent to stand trial on charges of murder, wanton endangerment of a police officer, and evading police, according to WLKY-TV.

Investigators say Ratliff shot 22-year-old Ryan Birse multiple times last February at the combination KFC-Taco Bell restaurant and then led police on a short pursuit, the station said. A witness had WLKY that Ratliff walked out the door with a gun at his side.

Joshua Ratliff
Ratliff

Despite having a relatively high IQ of 110, the defense argued Ratliff had a history of psychiatric problems and wouldn’t be able to participate in his own defense. The judge disagreed, however, saying Ratliff had the capacity to participate rationally in his own defense.

A defense psychiatrist had testified at an earlier hearing about Ratliff’s mental state. “He had delusions that his parents were trying to poison him, delusions that someone had taken on his mother’s identity,” psychiatrist Douglas Ruth said.

Ratliff’s expected trial date comes after an especially grim period of murders at fast-food chains owned by Louisville companies. Sunday in Lorain, Ohio, a man was killed in an apparent robbery attempt in a Taco Bell drive-thru around 11 p.m. Details were scarce, and an Internet search this morning didn’t turn up any fresh news.

Also Sunday, in Fort Wayne, a 28-year-old man was killed and another man was injured during a shooting outside a Texas Roadhouse in Fort Wayne. Police and court records said the man killed had gotten into a fight with members of a motorcycle gang he once belonged to. A suspect has been arrested and charged with murder in the case.

Video emerges in Roadhouse case

A witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said the victim, Jeff Lute, had been harassed by members of the bike gang for months amid a feud that apparently started months ago when Lute decided to quit the gang, WISH-TV said today.

The witness told the station members of the group weren’t going to let him go easy; they threatened Lute’s life and slashed his tires. Lute had filed multiple police reports since January, he said.

WISH obtained home surveillance video of someone slashing Lute’s tires that the station published its story this morning.

* Yum has 43,000 KFCs, Pizza Huts and Taco Bells in nearly 140 countries; Papa John’s has 4,900 outlets in 37 countries, and Texas Roadhouse has 485 restaurants across the U.S. and in five other nations. With that many locations, crimes inevitably occur — with potentially serious legal consequences for the companies.

Humana leverages tech-savvy employees to build network of 3,000 advocates on Twitter and other social media — in just one year

A year ago, the Louisville-based insurance giant had already signed up 90% of its 50,000 employees to an internal social network, and 40-45% logged in at least once a month. That’s when it decided to encourage the most motivated ones to share approved articles about the company, plus other health-care news on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks outside the company, AdAge reports today.

Employees use the hashtag #HumEmployee to make clear they work for the company. To launch the program, called Humana Advocates, the insurer hired Dynamic Signal, a Silicon Valley company that builds employee advocacy systems. The pilot program started with a couple hundred staffers, rising to 500 by January. Since then, the number has jumped to 3,000.

Dan Gingiss
Gingiss

The system shows a list of approved articles for users to share. But most of it “isn’t directly Humana-related, because we don’t want employees to look like shills for the company,” Dan Gingiss, Humana’s head of digital marketing, told AdAge. Most of the content is about health and wellness, some of which is created by Humana itself, with the rest from third parties.

Humana’s effort is only the latest example of how companies are fiercely competing for market share by harnessing free social media technology, where hundreds of millions of current and potential consumers spend more and more time. Twitter says some 313 million people use the short-message platform each month. The figures on Facebook are even higher: 1.7 billion, including 1.1 billion every day.

KFC bucket of chickenAmong Louisville companies, the battle is especially strong among restaurant giants that compete for young customers who practically live online: Yum’s troika of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell; pizza colossus Papa John’s, and steakhouse chain Texas Roadhouse. On the public-relations front, companies also need all the help they can get from employees to burnish their image when bad news spreads online.

The chains have recently pushed back against headline-grabbing behavior from employees themselves. Last month, Continue reading “Humana leverages tech-savvy employees to build network of 3,000 advocates on Twitter and other social media — in just one year”