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Restaurant Roundup: McDonald’s Hopes To ‘Reset’ Franchisee Relationships

With relationships strained between McDonald’s and its United States franchisees, in part due to fees that the company said it would charge restaurant owners for its technology, it was revealed this week that the company is cutting this cost by more than 60 percent.

As Bloomberg reported, these fees, which were originally going to total $68 million, have been cut to about $26 million following an outside review from accounting firm KPMG. Tension has been running high since late fall 2020, when the company first announced the round of new fees that, all told, amounted to $170 million.

“I really feel as if McDonald’s and operators were on the same team,” an operator told Restaurant Business at the time. “Now it feels like we are on opposite teams.”

Now, the company hopes, according to a memo from McDonald’s leadership circulated in early June viewed by the news outlet, that this change will help McDonald’s “reset” its relationship with its franchisees.

“We spent a fair amount of time talking about technology fees — and there was a shared desire to put this issue behind us so we could focus on critical growth priorities,” read the memo. “To do that, we aligned on a reduction approach that we believe is fair and equitable for both parties.”

New York Minimum QSR Wage Raised To $15/Hour

Per the timeline laid out by a 2016 bill, New York state has upped the minimum wage for employees at quick-service restaurants (QSRs) to $15 an hour, reports, bringing wages throughout the state, which were previously $14.50 an hour, up to the minimum that was already in effect in New York City since the end of 2018. This will result for minimum wage fast food employees in $20 more each week.

“It’s hard work,” Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of One Fair Wage, told Spectrum News. “It’s skilled jobs. We rely on these workers, as we found out during the pandemic. We called them ‘essential.’ They have been the ones that have allowed us to continue to enjoy eating out, or to get meals delivered.”

While New York City’s minimum wage across industries is $15 per hour, Westchester County and Long Island’s is $14.50, and the rest of the state’s minimum wage is $12.50.

RRF To Close Portal July 14

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is closing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) portal. Applicants will continue to be able to view their application status until July 14, Restaurant Dive reports.

Applications will be held on file in case more funds are added, as proposed by lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives in June. In addition to these senators and congresspeople, advocacy groups the National Restaurant Association and the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) are also pushing for the proposed $60 replenishment.

“The initial $28.6 billion in the Restaurant Revitalization Fund was always meant to be, as Majority Leader Schumer says, a ‘downpayment’ on a larger program that could ensure everyone who needs help can get it,” Erika Polmar, executive director of the IRC, said in a statement. “The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was a lifeline for the 105,000 restaurants and bars who received one, and can do the same for the 265,000 who applied and were turned away.”

Applications closed May 24, following demand for relief that hugely exceeded supply. In fact, even demand from groups that were initially meant to be prioritized — businesses owned by women, veterans, and people from economically and socially marginalized groups — surpassed the total amount of relief allocated by the fund.

Jollibee Launches Mobile, Desktop Ordering In US And Canada

As digital ordering demand remains high even with customers returning to restaurants, Jollibee, the largest QSR chain in the Philippines, announced the launch of its new United States and Canada mobile ordering app on Monday (June 28). The chain is incentivizing customers to try the app by offering a free serving of Peach Mango Pie with all orders for the app’s first two weeks.

Along with this app, the company is also offering online ordering for pickup and delivery through its U.S. and Canada desktop sites. Jollibee, which has 1,200 stores in the Philippines, also has 49 U.S. stores across 12 states and 17 Canadian stores across four provinces.

“Our customers are always asking for more ways to order their favorite Jollibee items so allowing them to connect directly with us through our own app was an obvious solution,” Maribeth Dela Cruz, president of Jollibee Group North America, said in a statement. “The new platform will help us engage with our customers through a centralized hub for transactions … from the comfort of home.”

These sorts of innovations will be key as restaurants look to navigate the post-pandemic future. PYMNTS research finds that two-thirds of consumers are now ordering restaurant meals to be eaten at home, and that these eaters are 31 percent more likely to order from restaurants for off-premises consumption than on-premises.

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