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NRN editors discuss the California recall’s impact on restaurants and vaccinations, and the recent increase in subscription programs

Plus, Shaquille O’Neal and Josh Halpern of Big Chicken join Ron Ruggless to discuss franchising the new brand


This week, the biggest news in the country was the recall election in California. It was the first real test of how the country felt about vaccine mandates, and it proved that around 65% of voting Californians believe in both vaccination mandates and COVID safety measures by keeping Gov. Gavin Newsom in power. What does this mean for restaurants? The NRN team discusses what could possibly be ahead for California restaurants.

Also, the team discusses the recent uptick in subscription programs such as the new coffee subscription service from Pret a Manger and the new subscription service Taco Bell is testing. These programs announced this week follow in the steps of Panera Bread’s subscription service, which launched in February 2020. The team reveals what they think about subscriptions and what they mean for the industry.

For this week’s interview, Ron Ruggless interviewed Shaquille O’Neal, famed basketball star and creator-franchisor of a new restaurant brand, Big Chicken. They, along with Big Chicken CEO Josh Halpern, spoke about the brand’s trajectory and maintaining Shaq’s legacy.

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