March 30, 2012 |
David Novak calls himself a “pretty informal guy.” He used to hand out employee recognition awards in the form of rubber chickens. He loves to teach. He's also the multimillionaire chief executive of Yum Brands Inc., the fast food company with the most stores in the world. This week, Novak, 59, swung through Los Angeles and briefly talked about leadership lessons, international expansion for brands such as KFC and Pizza Hut and why he thinks struggling Taco Bell will “go down in history” this year. Novak's new book dropped in January, its bright red back cover plastered with praise from the likes of Alan Mulally (chief executive of Ford Motor Co.)
March 29, 2012 |
Google's self-driving car has fascinated our minds with its technological promise since being introduced in 2010. But yesterday, the self-driving car touched our hearts. Google posted a video of the self-driving car taking a legally blind man for a spin, showing one of the possibilities and benefits that could come from the technology. "Where this would change my life is to give me the independence and the flexibility to go to the places I both want to go and need to go when I need to do those things," Steve Mahan says in the video.
March 1, 2012 |
I once had a friend in Paris who assiduously followed neighborhood bistros' plats du jour (daily specials) around town. And when I first moved into the arrondissement, he presented me with a scribbled crib sheet of his favorite dishes, which night they were served and, most important, where. For someone very much on a budget, it was a wonderful gift. In Los Angeles, a number of restaurants have a schedule of plates of the day. Sometimes it's printed. Sometimes it's scrawled on a blackboard.
February 25, 2012 |
Coming off a rough year, Taco Bell is ditching its old "Think Outside the Bun" motto for a new slogan: Live Mas. The Irvine chain plans to make a big show out of the switch, starting with a television ad airing during NBA All-Star events this weekend. Mas is Spanish for "more," emphasizing food as an experience instead of fuel, according to the company. The Mexican-style restaurant chain's revamp is part of an ongoing effort to recapture customers. Last year, a lawsuit — eventually dropped — over the content of the chain's seasoned beef filling hurt sales.
February 17, 2012 |
Doritos Locos Tacos, Taco Bell's potential saving grace delivered in a bright orange shell made of the snack chips, is arriving March 8 - and the chain is counting the seconds. A clock on Taco Bell's website is ticking down until the Doritos Locos Tacos launch. The company is sponsoring a Twitter contest to spark interest, promising to send a truck loaded with the tacos to the tweet with the most retweets. There's a lot riding on the long-gestating product - Taco Bell has reportedly built four factory lines specifically to make the shell, 60 million of which will be ready to be filled nationwide next week, according to The Daily Meal . The taco is one of several recent launches from the Mexican-style restaurant, which has struggled to overcome a sales slump linked to a quickly dropped lawsuit over the quality of its seasoned meat filling.
February 6, 2012 |
Taco Bell may still be having a rough time at home, but Yum Brands Inc. is riding high -- and it has China to thank. The company, which also owns Pizza Hut and KFC, reported a 30% surge in fourth-quarter income due largely to explosive growth abroad. Yum of Louisville, Ky., said it earned $356 million over the period, compared with $274 million from a year earlier. Revenue was up 15% to $4.1 billion for the quarter. Income was up 14% for the year that ended Dec. 31 to $1.3 billion.
February 2, 2012 |
For days, the speculation has been rampant: Which Mexican food chain - only identified as “Restaurant Chain A” by federal investigators earlier this month -- was linked to a large salmonella outbreak late last year? This week, Food Safety News named Taco Bell as the chain in question. In October and November, at least 68 diners were sickened across 10 states, including 16 in Oklahoma and 43 in Texas. The spate of illnesses eventually petered out and was reported by the Centers for Disease Control on Jan. 19 . But the agency stayed mum on the origin of the salmonella bacteria, saying only that the majority of victims had reported eating at 18 separate locations of “a Mexican-style fast-food restaurant chain” in the Midwest.
January 26, 2012 |
Here's your three-steps-to-heaven Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web: -- It was a bad year for builders. Sales of new homes declined in December for the first time in four months, capping the slowest year on record. Purchases of single-family properties decreased 2.2% to a 307,000 annual pace, according to the Commerce Department. The threat of further price declines may be dissuading some Americans from buying a new home even with mortgage rates near all-time lows and more people finding work.
January 21, 2012 |
Taco Bell struggled last year but is now staking its hopes for a turnaround on new menu items, including a "First Meal" breakfast lineup as well as tests of more healthful fare to compete with more upscale rivals. The Irvine-based fast-food chain, which serves mostly Mexican-style meals, will roll out an 11-item roundup of "classic American" breakfast options next week in 750 restaurants in 10 states, including California. The First Meal lineup will include Cinnabon Delights, breakfast burritos, Johnsonville sausage and egg wraps, Tropicana orange juice and Seattle's Best Coffee.