Chipotle to move headquarters to Newport Beach

Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced that it will be moving its headquarter location from Denver after nearly 25 years, according to a report by The Denver Post. The company will relocate to Southern California, which is also where its new CEO that started in February lives.

Newport Beach will be the headquarter location for the fast-casual restaurant chain. This is also close to other food chains’ home bases such as Taco Bell, Del Taco, and In-N-Out Burger.

Over the next six months, Chipotle will move its corporate staff including finance and HR to California and Ohio. The company will not offer relocation or retention packages to all of its 375 corporate employees that currently work in Denver. The company said its restaurant employees and field operations workers are not impacted by the move to Newport Beach.

“The consolidation of offices and the move to California will help us drive sustainable growth while continuing to position us well in the competition for top talent,” said Brian Niccol, Chipotle CEO.

Chipotle also said that its Denver and New York offices will be consolidated into its Columbus, Ohio office or move to the new location in Newport Beach. Chipotle operates more than 2300 location around the world.


Kroger to buy meal kit company Home Chef

Supermarket chain Kroger Co. will acquire meal kit company Home Chef for $200 million, according to the Chicago Tribune. The deal is expected to expand the reach of the company to more customers while also defining their shopping habits.

The purchase is expected to close in approximately one month. It includes future earn-out payments up to $500 million over a five-year time period, which is contingent on reaching certain milestone marks.

Home Chef was founded in 2013. The company is based in Chicago. It produces meals and delivers the ingredients as well as the instructions to prepare the meals to customers. It delivers an estimated 3 million meals a month. In 2017, the company produced revenues of $25 million.

Home Chef also receives more than 100,000 reviews each and every month, helping to tailor its products to the demands of its customer base. Kroger is hoping to capitalize on these reviews and enhance its product offering as well.

Kroger said it plans to make Home Chef meal kits readily available online as soon as the purchase is approved. Customer data will give insight into which brick and mortar locations to provide the kits initially.

Kroger has 2800 stores throughout the U.S. More than 10 million shoppers frequent the stores and visit its website daily.


Tiffany & Co. is thriving with shares up 18.3 percent

Tiffany & Co. is experiencing a major growth recently with shares up 18.3 percent on Wednesday, following reported earnings of $1.14 per share, according to CNN Money. This is an increase over the 83 cent FactSet consensus.

Sales for the company were $1.03 billion, also moving past the $959 million FactSet outlook. Tiffany also saw a same-store sales growth of 10 percent above the 7 percent increase that FactSet gave.

The increase in shares is the result of innovative design and fresh new collections that have put the jewelry retailer back in the driving seat with earnings that were better than expected for the year. New to the company are the Paper Flowers collection which ranges from $2500 to $75,000 and the HardWear series that is priced from $150 to $13,500.

The luxury brand has also renewed its focus on its Tiffany name. The company also announced a new share buyback program of $1 billion and has plans to revamp its stores. The company’s shares are up a total of 17 percent for the year.

Analysts are optimistic about the changes the retailer is making. Instinet has rated company shares at $115, and Wells Fargo rated the brand $125 per share from $100 previously.


Tesla involved in another autopilot accident

A Tesla sedan that was using the autopilot feature has crashed into a Laguna Beach Police Department vehicle, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. The collision happened Tuesday morning at 11:07 a.m. at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road.

The police cruiser was unoccupied at the time of the crash. The driver of the Tesla suffered minor injuries but refused to be admitted to the hospital.

“Thankfully there was not an officer at the time in the police car,” Laguna Police Sgt. Jim Cota said. “The police car is totaled.”

This is not the first time that a Tesla vehicle has been involved in a collision in the same area. A year ago, a Tesla hit a semi-truck in the same location, according to Cota.
Tesla has come under scrutiny because its autopilot driver assist feature has been involved in a number of accidents. One crash occurred in Utah when the driver was using her phone with the autopilot on earlier this month. Two fatal crashes also occurred with one in California in March and another Florida in 2016 – both with the autopilot operating.

Tesla warns driver to keep alert when using the autopilot feature and to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.


EU to ban plastic products in proposed ban

In an effort to reduce liter on European beaches and in the oceans, the European Union has proposed a ban on plastic products, according to a report by USA Today. The proposed ban will include plastic items such as cotton buds, straws, stirs, and balloon sticks when an alternative option that can easily be used.

According to the European Commission, the proposed ban will cut marine litter in half for the ten most popularly used plastic items and avoid environmental damages at an estimated cost of over $250 billion over the next 12 years. Plastic cutlery will not be a part of the proposed ban but measures will be taken to produce them out of sustainable materials.

The reaction by environmental groups to the ban has been positive with Lass Gustavsson, the European executive director of the environmental group Oceana saying as he applauded the initiative, “The only way to stop plastics pouring into our oceans is to turn off the flow at its source: production,”

According to the European Parliament, plastic production is now 20 times higher in the EU than it was in the 1960s. The decision to ban the plastic products was based on the China’s decision to stop importing part of the EU’s waste.


Pret a Manger to be bought by JAB Holding Co.

JAB Holding Co., the owner of Peet’s, Stumptown Coffee, Krispy Kreme, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Keurig Coffee and Panera Bread, has plans to buy Pret a Manger, according to a report by Eater. With the purchase, JAB plans to expand the grab-and-go U.K.-based sandwich chain throughout the U.S.

Pret offers quick and healthy ready-made and packaged sandwiches and lunch options such as paninis , cold sandwiches, and salads. It also serves coffee drinks. The company has locations throughout Europe, the Middle East, and China. JAB is expected to pay $2 billion for Pret.

Pret opened its doors in London in 1983. It is a popular chain in the U.K. and has locations mostly on the east coast. Currently, there are under 100 locations in the U.S., making it an unfamiliar brand for most Americans.

The name Pret a Manger literally means “ready to eat” in French. This is actually a derivative of the French fashion phrase prêt-à-porter, or “ready to wear.” Its U.S. locations also include soups, salads, and other hot plate items including breakfast pastries.

JAB also recently purchased Dr. Pepper and Snapple. It has also been buying coffee brands as way to offer an alternative to Starbucks’ long waiting lines.

Mobile TECH_Technology

Uber introduces new 911 feature

Uber has rolled out a new 911 feature from it rideshare app, according to a report by Lifehacker. The new 911 app option allows riders to contact police if an accident or emergency should occur when riding in an Uber vehicle. The 911 feature can be activated by tapping a button and confirming the emergency request.

The 911 feature is noted by a small police shield in the bottom corner of the map screen. When you tap the icon, an emergency toolkit appears which includes a call 911 button option. If you tap that button, users are then given a red button to press to receive emergency services immediately.

Upon tapping the 911 button, the Uber app will display the exact location as well as vehicle make, model, and license plate number that a rider is presently riding in and share it with police. Uber enacted that 911 feature to make it easier to communicate with emergency services should the need arise with its customers.

Currently, Uber is offering the 911 feature in Denver, Charleston, Chattanooga, Naples, Louisville, and the Tennessee Tri Cities. Nashville will also get the 911 option soon as well as more metropolitan areas in the near future.


Spangler Candy Company wins bid for Necco Wafter in bankruptcy auction

Spangler Candy Company has expanded its business portfolio with the addition of Necco Wafers, according to a report by The Boston Globe. Spangler won the rights to Necco in an auction in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for $18,830,000.

Spangler had the winning bid for Necco, beating out Round Hill Investments LLC and Gordon Brothers – a liquidator. Bidder kgbdeals Shopping Inc. dropped out before the auction proceedings began. The starting bid for Necco was $15,250,000, which went before Judge Melvin S. Hoffman in the Boston Court that had a packed gallery watching on.

With Spangler winning the Necco company in the bankruptcy auction, it is expected that the company will go on to continue producing the chalky Necco Wafers, which have a cult following, at least through the fall. Necco’s lease has been extended at its Revere headquarters through November. The company has 232 full-time employees.

Kirk Vashaw, Spangler chairman, and chief executive, said in a statement, “I’m a fourth-generation Spangler; my great grandfather was the one who founded it back in 1906, and they’d be very proud of us today. We’re very excited … well, because it’s candy.”

The sale of Necco to Spangler is expected to close on Friday. Necco is New England confectionary with a history that dates all the way back to 1847. Spangler produces Dum Dums lollipops and orange marshmallow Circus Peanuts.


FDA warns about numbing teething products, asks manufacturers to stop selling them for young children

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned parents about using teething products that contain the numbing agent benzocaine, according to USA Today. The FDA has also asked manufacturers to stop selling these products for toddlers and babies.

According to the FDA, these numbing gel and cream products have rare but deadly side effects for children. They can especially affect those under two years old.

While the FDA has warned about these teething products in the past, both illnesses and death from use have continued. This time, the FDA is requesting a ban on selling the products to the market asserting that there is no evidence that they actually work.

Manufacturers that do not voluntarily remove the product for young children will face legal action from the FDA. The FDA also wants these manufacturers to take action immediately to comply with its request.

The drug benzocaine is sold over-the-counter to aid in toothaches and cold sores for adults in products like Orajel and Anbesol. Even though these products will remain on the market, the FDA wants companies to add warnings to them for adult use.

The drug benzocaine can cause a rare blood condition that has been linked to breathing problems, which can be deadly. Symptoms of the illness include shortness of breath, headache, and rapid heart rate.


Georgia jury awards $1 billion in rape case

A Georgia jury has awarded $1 billion in a rape case involving a young black woman and an armed security guard, according to a report by NPR. The woman was 14 years old at the time.

Hope Cheston, 20, was awarded $1 billion by a Clayton County, Ga., jury for damages in a civil suit she filed against the company that hired the security guard that raped her outside of an apartment complex.

According to Cheston’s lawyer, L. Chris Stewart, the settlement is a “record amount.” On Twitter, the attorney wrote, “juries are saying not to sexual assault and holding companies accountable!”

The security guard in the case, Brandon Lamar Zachary, was charged and convicted of statutory rape and child molestation. He is serving a 20-year sentence with the Georgia Department of Corrections.

The civil lawsuit was filed by Cheston’s mother Renetta Cheston-Thornton in 2015 against Crime Prevention Agency, Inc. – the company that employed Zachary at the time of the incident.

Cheston claimed that Zachary should have never been hired by the company as he did not hold a license to be an armed guard. The company is now known as International Security Agency.

While $ 1 billion was awarded in the case, Cheston most likely will not see this amount. The judge may lower the settlement award in the case.