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Trending this week: Pizza Hut closes several restaurants in Indiana, Ohio

This week on Nation's Restaurant News the top story was Pizza Hut closes several restaurants in Indiana, Ohio. Pizza Hut has abruptly closed 15 locations in Northwest Indiana, as well as a handful of locations around Central Ohio. The Times of Northwest Indiana first reported the Northwest Indiana closures late last week after spotting employees’ posts on social media, noting that the locations are all owned by EYM Group.

In other news, the Supreme Court decided in favor of Starbucks on Thursday in a dispute between the coffee chain and the National Labor Relations Board over the termination of seven employees in Memphis.

The self-styled “Memphis Seven” were allegedly fired in 2022, while employees at the store where they worked were attempting to unionize, because they stayed at work after hours, violating safety and security policies. But the NLRB argued that the terminations were retaliatory because the employees were part of the union movement and other employees who were not part of the movement were not fired.

Also, McDonald’s AI-driven Automated Order Taker (AOT) test at the drive-thru, in partnership with IBM, is coming to an end after two and a half years. A report of the test’s conclusion first surfaced from Nation’s Restaurant News’ sibling publication Restaurant Business Friday, citing an internal email sent to franchisees written by Mason Smoot, chief restaurant officer. McDonald’s confirmed the end of the test to NRN, stating, “After thoughtful review, McDonald’s has decided to end our current global partnership with IBM on AOT beyond this year.”

See what else was trending on this week. 

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