The Daily Rail: Chipotle execs sued for insider trading

Today's Specials

QUIZ: What do you know about the FMLA?

It’s been 23 years since the US passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law providing employees job-protected and unpaid leave for medical and family reasons. But how well do you know the ins and outs of the law? Take our quiz, test your knowledge and maybe learn something new.


Why it’s important to you: You should know where your guests go to find you.

We all know that it’s important to have a digital presence. More than half of Millennials use the Internet to figure out where to eat and 70% of your guests use tech to see your menu. But websites aren’t the only way hungry diners are finding new restaurants. They’re also using mobile and web apps that vary in design, but the function remains the same — getting people through your door and into seats.

Here are five new and popular apps that are looking to answer the never-ending question: What do you want to do for dinner? Is your bar or restaurant on their radar?


Why it’s important to you: When it rains, it pours.

It just never ends for Chipotle.

In the past year, Chipotle has had to deal with a foodborne illness outbreaks, hit with a GMO lawsuit, picketed for underpaying farm workers, and sued for sexual harassment. Now Chipotle execs are being sued by shareholders for insider trading.

The shareholders are alleging that the fast casual’s higher-ups acted on insider information that allowed them to sell millions of dollars in company shares just before news of their food safety issues broke and their stock began to tank. Co-CEO Marty Moran sold more than $107 million in shares and restaurant founder Steve Ells made over $78 million on share sales just before the news broke. The lawsuit also alleges that the execs knowingly kept shareholders in the dark about the “subpar food safety standards.”


Why it’s important to you: The UFC is a major force in sports and this makes them even bigger.

For several weeks, Dana White from the UFC has been denying rumors that they were selling the UFC brand. Well, it appears the lady doth protest too much. FloSports has reported that a deal between WMI-IMG (talent agency), The Kraft Group (New England Patriots owners) and two Chinese companies would acquire Zuffa LLC (the UFC) for $4.2 billion. Given that they bought the fight league for just $2 million in 2001, that’s a 2100x return.

The UFC generates $600 million in revenue and this deal will only facilitate further expansion of the brand. They are reportedly taking a hands off approach and leaving White in charge, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be changes. Stay tuned, because PPV prices and product distribution are all on the table as the new owners drive to grow the business.


Why it’s important to you: This is a great example of how to turn a difficult issue into a marketing move.

Myers + Chang, a Boston area restaurant, took on the gender and bathroom issue head-on recently when they updated their signage for the restrooms. In a move that can only be described as “thinking like its 1999” they coopted the Prince Symbol to identify their restrooms. This obviously works because the bathrooms are single occupancy, but hey…they made you look! It’s just another example of how smart we are in this business and how well we respond to the craziness that can impact our operations. Well done Myers + Chang; well done.


Why it’s important to you: Any momentum towards McDonald’s unionizing will impact all operators.

Over the past several years, McDonald’s has been reinventing itself and doing so with some success. However, everyone is not applauding their transformation. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been driving the Fight for $15 campaign to raise the minimum wage and organize employees for work actions like mass walk outs. As if that wasn’t disruptive enough, they have now sent letters disparaging McDonald’s to potential acquisition partners in Asia.

McDonald’s is in the midst of a massive refranchising effort and attempting to sell its stores in China and South Korea. The SEIU sent letter offers a warning to potential partners that working with McDonald’s is a bad idea and claimed their franchise fees rise over time. This seems like part of a wider effort to force McDonald’s into unionized labor. There has been clear momentum over the past year to improve the circumstances of lower wage hourly employees. Benefits like Paid Sick Leave, changes in the overtime rules and the push for increased minimum wage represent significant costs to restaurant business owners and operators. Keep one eye on McD’s, because as they go, so likely will we all.


Why it’s important to you: No good can come from guns in bars.

You know you have said something extreme about gun rights when even the NRA doesn’t support your assertion. In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, Donald Trump postulated, if more of the patrons had been armed at Pulse, the outcome would have been different. This time, however, Trump seems to have gone too far for even the NRA… no really, the NRA responded, rightfully, that guns and alcohol don’t mix. And in fact, there was an armed security guard that exchanged fire with the terrorist-murderer and the outcome didn’t change.

There is no predicting what the results of the gun control debate will be, but there are clear signs that some new levels of gun control are imminent. Yesterday, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging a ban on assault rifles in Connecticut. This effectively leaves the ban in place and serves as a ruling in its favor. So, while there is no predicting what will happen next with Donald Trump, it might be safe to say, most folks get why guns and bars don’t mix.

Chipotle image by Mike Mozart