The Drive-Thru: Everything you need to know about fast food, shopping, and more this week
Welcome to The Drive-Thru, Business Insider's weekly newsletter about everything you need to know in shopping, fast food, and more. This is Kate Taylor, senior
Every week, I'll be sending out a rundown of stories that explain what the largest retail companies in the world are up to, and how these decisions impact everyone from Wall Street to grocery store cashiers. You can sign up to become a Drive-Thru subscriber here.
Target's backrooms are becoming a 'nightmare.'
Shoshy Ciment has a fantastic piece of reporting on how Target's decision to quietly cut overnight and backroom shifts in stores is creating massive problems in the backrooms of many stores. Shoshy talked to 28 current and former Target employees. Almost half said that they felt their stores' backrooms had become unsafe.
One worker told Shoshy that she had hurt herself multiple times in the narrow, overcrowded electronics stockroom.
"[I] would sometimes tell a guest we were out of a product purely because I didn't want to brave the electronics stockroom for something that wouldn't affect my sales numbers," she said, describing a space with aisles barely more than two feet wide with sharp metal corners.
Target backrooms are just one example of how corporate decisions can make workers' lives more difficult.
Hayley Peterson detailed how Amazon's decision to eliminate a position was seen internally as bad news for "differently abled people or for stay-at-home moms" who needed the flexibility. (Amazon later reversed its decision.)
Shoshy and I reported on how Popeyes' game-changing chicken sandwich made workers' lives a living hell for two weeks. Even putting Instagram-bait Frappuccinos on the menu at Starbucks makes baristas' lives harder in a way that few customers realize.
Read the full story on Target's chaotic backrooms here - and email retail@businessinsider if you know of another problem workers are facing that needs to be investigated.
Taste test of the week.
Taste tester extraordinaire Irene Jiang has become an Impossible Foods super-fan after being forced to try countless burgers, plant-based and otherwise. With Impossible hitting grocery store shelves, she cooked with the plant-based protein at home.
Irene's take: "It's pretty much the perfect substitute for ground beef in any recipe, and it's what I'll be using instead of ground beef from now on."
As we often do, we found ourselves inside some messy stores over the last week (Dollar General's aisles are basically impossible to navigate). But, the highlight was a trip made via time machine to Forever 21's heyday, in light of the company's bankruptcy filing.
Bethany Biron brought us back to the days of low-rise jeans and going-out tops. She even found baby Zendaya and Nick Jonas posing for photos in stores. I'm hoping for an #RIPForever21 Instagram post from the ex-Disney stars soon, joining other twenty-somethings in mourning for the fast-fashion brand.
Read the full bedazzled story here.
Hayley was first to report that Kroger is laying off of hundreds of workers.
The company said in a statement on Wednesday that its store operating divisions were "evaluating middle management roles and team structures with an eye toward keeping resources close to the customer."
The brands are at it again.
The McRib will be back starting next week! McDonald's told me the polarizing sandwich will be available at more than 10,000 locations, which is more locations than any year in recent history.
McDonald's is celebrating the McRib's return with the hashtag #McRibSZN.
I wish I wrote this.
The New York Times talked to the woman who crashed the Chanel Fashion Show in Paris. Chanel isn't really a brand we cover on retail, but I wish I had interviewed "professional gate-crasher" Marie Benoliel.
Here's Benoliel on being forced off the runway by model Gigi Hadid: "I think it's really funny and I love Gigi and I think now we can be close friends. She thought I was a crazy girl. But she's right. She's right actually."
Read the full story at The Times.
Everything else you need to know.
- The owners of Forever 21 say that they've lived the American Dream. Bernie Sanders says they're destroying it.
- A group of Sears Holdings' vendors is pushing for the company to liquidate.
- A sexy Beyond Burger costume reveals how Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are different than traditional veggie burger makers.
- What fast-food chain bathrooms are the least disgusting? We investigated.
- Noted McDonald's lover Kanye West wrote a new song about Chick-fil-A.
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