Weekly Global News Wrap: U.S. fast food wages climbs amid labor challenges; Sweetgreen buys robot-powered restaurant company; TGI Fridays parent’ US$10m bet on virtual brands

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

Wages for hourly limited-service restaurant workers rose 10% in the second quarter compared with a year ago, CNBC reported, citing a study from industry tracker Black Box Intelligence and Snagajob. Turnover rates are also higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to the report, with the rate for limited-service turnover being 144% in June, up from 135% in 2019. Read more here.

Salad chain Sweetgreen announced it has bought Spyce, a restaurant company known for its robotic kitchen and conveyor belts able to cook and serve its warm bowls and salads without any human intervention. CNBC reported the acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter this year. Read more here.

Taco Bell is rolling out its Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco across its U.S. stores following earlier tests in two cities. As Restaurant Business reported, the company is also employing the debate teams from the University of Georgia and Clemson University, who will debate whether the taco is indeed a taco or whether it is a sandwich, to generate buzz for the campaign. Read more here.

TriArtisan Capital Advisors, parent company of TGI Fridays and PF Chang's, has invested US$10 million in virtual brand powerhouse C3 (Creating Culinary Communities). Restaurant Dive reported TriArtisan's investment will focus on utilizing kitchen capacities within its existing restaurants to develop C3's virtual brands. Read more here.

Starbucks is closing its three standalone Princi bakeries in the U.S., as the pandemic accelerates its focus on convenience, with a move toward more drive-thrus. Restaurant Business reported the last day of operations at Princi locations in Chicago and Seattle will be September 3. The chain’s Princi bakery in New York City had never reopened since the start of the pandemic, it added. Read more here.

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The range is first accessible via Deliveroo.
QSR Brands is also donating 70,000 limited-edition KFC face masks to frontliners.
Plans are understood to be preliminary.
The brand hopes to find success in the competitive food category.
The new item is available at participating locations through October 18.
The latest move is part of the company’s series of forays to integrate plant-based alternatives.
The company operated 390 Yoshinoya and 189 Dairy Queen restaurants in China as of the end of 2020.
Interstate franchise opportunities will open up once the brand has established its presence in NSW.
The 15-meter traveling kitchen will allow the brand to expand its presence in both existing and new markets without traditional overhead costs.
The South Korean bakery chain will also include a vegetarian menu and vegetarian options for main dishes.