Restaurant Roundup: McDonald’s Reacts to CA Bill; Zomato Tests Intercity Delivery 

As fast food restaurant employees at every step of the corporate ladder wait for Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision on a bill passed in the state’s senate Monday (Aug. 29), which calls for new standards for fast food workers’ wages, schedules and working conditions, fast food restaurants’ corporate offices are growing concerned.

Related news: California QSRs Push Back Against Wage Bill

Quick-service restaurant (QSR) giant McDonald’s, for one, has been especially vocal in its opposition. Joe Erlinger, President of McDonald’s USA, issued an open letter arguing that the bill unfairly targets major chains, calling it “lopsided, hypocritical and ill-considered.”

“If you are a small business owner running two restaurants that are part of a national chain, like McDonald’s, you can be targeted by the bill. But if you own 20 restaurants that are not part of a large chain, the bill does not apply to you,” he stated. “Brands with fewer than 100 locations are excluded. Even more mystifying, the legislation excludes certain restaurants that bake bread. I can only conclude this is the outcome of backroom politicking.”

The clause that Erlinger refers to, in Section 1470 of the bill, states that establishments that operate on-premise bakeries that produce bread and sell it as a standalone item are not considered fast food restaurants.

The bill comes amid an ongoing push from labor unions and other advocacy groups centered on fast food workers. One such advocacy group, Fight for $15, reported that, earlier in August, fast-food workers slept outside the California State Capitol demanding the passage of this bill.

“AB257 will give fast-food workers a seat at the table to fight for fair pay and safe workplaces,” the group said in a statement. “We’ll be able to hold these corporations accountable for their failures, like dangerous working conditions, sexual harassment, wage theft, and more.”

Zomato Pilot Tests ‘Intercity Legends’ Cross-Country Delivery

As food delivery aggregators around the world compete to stand out in a highly competitive industry, Zomato just announced a service to significantly expand its offerings. The India-based multinational company announced in a blog post Tuesday (Aug. 30) the launch of a new offering, “Intercity Legends,” enabling customers in India to order food from cities across the country for next-day delivery.

“Each city of India has a unique character – made of its history, people, culture, and legendary food,” Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal wrote in the post. “What if we told you that you can now experience the charm of any city sitting at home? What if the food you crave from your beloved city could hop on a flight and reach you the very next day?”

Through the service, restaurants pack meals in tamper-proof containers, and those get flown to their destination city, stored in mobile refrigerators. The program is being piloted Gurgaon and parts of South Delhi.

One Twitter user stated that the order only cost 600 Indian Rupee (about US$7.50). No word on how the aggregator intends to make the economics of this model work, given that the aggregator is still working towards profitability within its traditional, intracity deliveries.

Wingstop Makes New Entries into the Chicken Sandwich Wars

In the seemingly endless race for chicken sandwich primacy among major restaurant chains, a race fueled by consumers’ ongoing demand for these menu items across digital ordering channels, wing-focused chain Wingstop announced Tuesday the launch of a new chicken sandwich with 12 different flavors.

The restaurant brand, which has more than 1,850 locations worldwide, advertises its sandwich with the option to write “breakup letters” to other brands’ sandwiches.

“The nationwide launch of the Wingstop Chicken Sandwich is an opportunity to bring new guests to the brand by proving our position as The Flavor Experts, and reward our existing fanbase by putting menu innovation on center stage,” Stacy Peterson, Wingstop’s Chief Revenue and Technology Officer said in a statement. “We’re so confident in the product that we’re incentivizing fans to split from their current chicken contender and find a new favorite chicken sandwich at Wingstop.”

The launch comes as restaurants reckon with delivery channels’ ongoing popularity, even as consumer mobility has returned, and as they consider the menu changes that may be helpful as they look to drive sales across ordering channels going forward.