INTERNATIONAL | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Weekly Global News Wrap: U.S. startup unveils automated burger robot; Starbucks to close 150 stores next year; the Hardee's-Carl's Jr. branding split

Here is a summary of the most interesting QSR news stories of the week from around the world.

Starbucks forecasted earlier this week slower sales growth than Wall Street expected this quarter and announced its plans to close about 150 U.S. cafes next fiscal year “to boost performance.”

In a released statement, the global coffee company anticipates lower net new store growth in the United States for fiscal year 2019 and plans to address “rapidly-changing” consumer preferences by introducing new cold drinks like a mango dragon fruit beverage and focusing on growing health and wellness trends.

“While certain demand headwinds are transitory, and some of our cost increases are appropriate investments for the future, our recent performance does not reflect the potential of our exceptional brand and is not acceptable,” Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson said. Read more here.

After two decades of operating in tandem, fast-food chain Hardee’s and Carl's Jr. are breaking up – branding-wise.

USA Today reports the former is undergoing a rebranding effort to “clean up the chain's reputation” by pursuing a more wholesome image, departing from Carl's Jr. provocative advertisements.

“Basically everything we looked at said these two brands need to be separated," says Jason Marker, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. – the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl's Jr.

"The reason it’s important is because it means we don’t have to compromise. From a food point of view, you don’t have to invent one thing that satisfies two very different brands.”

The company previously aligned the two brands after a 1997 merger when CKE bought Hardee’s from Imasco for about $327 million. Read more here.

Chick-fil-A is the only fast food chain to make the top ten of The Harris Poll’s 2018 Reputation Quotient Rankings, featuring the top 100 most visible companies.

According to Reader’s Digest, the brand ranks at #4 and is nestled between Tesla Motors and The Walt Disney Company.

The fast-food company reportedly ranked in the poll’s six Corporation Reputation Dimensions: Products & Services (#6), Vision & Leadership (#9), Emotional Appeal (#2), Workplace Environment (#2), Financial Performance (#7), and Social Responsibility (#4). Read more here.

Business Insider spoke with several current and former crew members from McDonald’s to find out what they learned from working at the restaurant. The lessons ranged from treating everyone with kindness to learning to work with others. Read their stories here.

A startup in San Francisco, U.S.A. is debuting a new concept that aims to use machines to produce burgers.

Forbes reports that Creator will be debuting its internet-speculated burger robot to the public, selling $6 burgers featuring ingredients like umami dust, and is reportedly capable of cooking and wrapping 120 burgers per hour. The restaurant is expected to have 2 machines, producing an output of 240 burgers per hour.

Despite the automation Creator says it wants customer and staff experience to be “built on a foundation of creativity and social interaction” where the latter could focus more on creative enhancements. Read more here.

(Photo courtesy: Forbes/Aubrie Pick)

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