retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Chicago Tribune reports on how the room service component of the hotel business is changing. Room service, the story says, is “expensive both to order and to operate, looks extravagant on a business traveler's expense report, and for most people, goes against the very point of travel: to get out and explore new sights and cuisines.”

While room service revenue is down more than 25 percent over the past decade, it also is true that “some members of the traveling public want the option of food delivered to their rooms, and hotels are eager to offer solutions that will differentiate them from competitors without breaking the bank.”

Some Chicago hotels are looking to outsource the service, “delivering meals to guest rooms through partnerships with a popular local gastropub, a cult-favorite burger chain and a hometown service that delivers organic, chef-made meals.”


CNBC reports that McDonald’s plans to almost double the number of restaurants it has in China, to 4500 from 2500, over the next five years. Such growth would make China the hamburger chain’s largest market outside the US, supplanting Japan.

According to the story, “The announcement … comes a week after McDonald's completed a previously announced deal to sell most of its operations in China. The deal leaves McDonald's with a 20 percent stake in its China business. There are about 37,000 McDonald's restaurants worldwide and more than 14,000 in the US.”


KSAT-TV News has a story about how H-E-B’s new barbecue restaurant in San Antonio, True Texas B-B-Q, will open next week with “a drive-thru window, which is a first for H-E-B. None of the company’s other in-store restaurants offer that service.”


• IGA USA announced that it is collaborating with Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to launch the first-ever IGA Cares initiative, saying that “through in-store fundraising activities and the sales of specially marked IGA Exclusive Brand products,” it will support the mission of helping families struggling with their son or daughter’s substance use. “During this national campaign – which began running in participating IGA stores on August 1st – IGA will raise both critical funds and awareness to help parents and families and help end the nation’s opioid epidemic,” the announcement said.
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