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NRN editors discuss Kelli Valade’s new job, Starbucks’ unions, and the week in restaurant earnings

Plus hear from Austin Capoferi of Beef-a-Roo on what it’s like to franchise a 50-year-old brand


This week on the Extra Serving podcast, a production of Nation’s Restaurant News, NRN editors Holly Petre, Leigh Anne Zinsmeister and Joanna Fantozzi talked about Kelli Valade’s transition from Red Lobster CEO to chief executive of Denny’s.

The team discusses Valade’s abrupt exit from Red Lobster and what it means for a woman to be in charge at a large chain as well as what her tenure could hold.

Zinsmeister gives the team an update on the earnings calls from this week, including the dip in sales at pizza chains like Pizza Hut and Domino’s, the falling price of wings at places like Wingstop, the cost of inflation across all chains and other tidbits.

Fantozzi also updates the team on Starbucks’ union situation. Interim CEO Howard Schultz has made his anti-union stance very clear and, in a recent earnings call, made it known that none of the new benefits Starbucks will be offering like student loan repayment will be available to unionized stores.

“If you thought three or four months ago that relations between unions and Starbucks itself were tense, the differences of opinion have only gotten starker since Schultz has come back,” said Fantozzi.

There are more than 50 stores that are unionized at this point and there are 237 that have applied for unionization at this point. About 85% of the stores that vote agree to unionize.

Plus, hear from Beef-a-Roo franchisee and Next Brands president Austin Capoferi on what it’s like to franchise a 50-year-old brand.

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