- Olive Garden
Happy Friday! Can you think of a better way to spend your Valentine’s Day than by scrolling through The Drive-Thru, Business Insider’s weekly roundup of the biggest stories in restaurants and retail? I know I can’t.
If you haven’t subscribed to The Drive-Thru yet, you’re in luck! Today, we’re offering a Valentine’s Day special, so signing up is free of charge! That is how much we adore you.
It’s also free to subscribe on other days as well, but that’s beside the point. Subscribe here!
Anyway, if we haven’t met before, hello! I’m Shoshy Ciment, junior reporter here on the retail desk. I’ve been pretty swamped with sneaker-related news in anticipation of All-Star Weekend (more on that later) but there’s a lot more going on outside of sportswear and athletics in the retail world this week.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Layoffs at Wayfair, Kohl’s, and Walmart’s Jet Black
This week was filled with layoffs at retailers across the board.
Kohl’s is laying off about 250 employees, which includes an entire “layer” of regional store leadership. The company said the reorganization comes “from a position of financial strength,” and no store closures were announced.
Wayfair confirmed to Business Insider on Thursday that it would be laying off more than 500 employees, or 3% of its global workforce. The company’s CEO sent an email informing employees on Thursday morning.
Finally, Walmart is shutting down Jet Black, its New York City-based, members-only shopping service, on February 21. A Walmart spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that 293 of the over 350 jobs with the service would be cut.
What does it all mean? It’s a scary time for retail workers, even at companies that seem to be bucking the trend of mass store closures.
Revolutionizing Retail: A series from Business Insider
- David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
The retail desk at BI put together a series on the companies, trends, and technologies revolutionizing retail. We covered everything from AI to the Amazon impending takeover of the grocery industry.
Here were some highlights:
Hayley spoke to Stephenie Landry, Amazon’s vice president of grocery delivery, about how the e-commerce giant is poised to take over grocery. Bethany wrote about how the retail apocalypse has turned stores into places for shoppers to take a “vacation from reality.”
Plus, I interviewed Phil Raub, president of B8ta, whose company is helping retailers like Toys R Us, Macy’s, and Lowe’s revamp their store experience.
Read more in the series:
- Retailers now know more about us than ever before thanks to AI, but experts insist it ‘can improve lives’
- From robotic shop assistants to AR, these 10 pieces of tech could change shopping forever
- Cashless stores once looked like the future of shopping – but backlash has complicated its arrival
All-Star Weekend sneakers are still iconic
All-Star Weekend begins today, and some highly anticipated shoes are set to debut.
The shoes that debut at this series of NBA-hosted events and games, which culminates in the All-Star Game on Sunday, are known to be iconic. Ahead of this weekend, eBay released a list of the top 10 most iconic All-Star Weekend sneakers to sell on its website in the last year. Unsurprisingly, Air Jordans reigned supreme.
If you do manage to cop a pair of some highly coveted shoes this weekend, here’s how you can sell them on Instagram to make a massive profit.
Taste test of the week: Which pasta chain is best?
- Irene Jiang / Business Insider
Irene and Priscilla celebrated Valentine’s Day “Lady and the Tramp” style – that is, by sharing plates of pasta at two of the most popular Italian-style chain restaurants.
The two taste testers ate similar meals at Olive Garden and Buca di Beppo and found that they enjoyed the second a lot more.
A notable low point at Olive Garden was the chocolate brownie lasagna ($10.49) that Irene described as “a cloying bite of sweet with a touch of sour and a hint of existential despair.”
Everything else you need to know:
- Springtime hiring for Home Depot and Lowe’s is happening soon.
- Soft-serve machines at McDonald’s and Burger King might finally be fixed.
- Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty underwear brand is being accused of “deceptive marketing.”
- Nothings says “Be mine” like a bouquet of breadsticks from Olive Garden.
- The hot wings at Trader Joe’s are restaurant quality.
- We can’t tell if we love or hate these KFC Crocs.
- Papa John backtracks on his strange claims about his excessive pizza-eating habits.
- Alibaba is fighting the coronavirus with a platform to coordinate deliveries of medical supplies.
- Here’s why former NBA journeyman Nate Robinson launched his own clothing brand without Nike or Adidas.
- KFC in South Korea is amazing.
- A perfect storm of issues is brewing at Under Armour.
- Popeyes’ chicken sandwich is the gift that keeps on giving.