Trending this Week: Chipotle Sued by EEOC for Religious Discrimination
This week on Nation’s Restaurant News the top story was Menu Tracker: New items from McDonald’s, IHOP, and Taco Bell.
Plus innovation at Auntie Anne’s, Aussie Grill by Outback, Baskin-Robbins, BJ’s Restaurants, Burgerville, Charleys Cheesesteaks, Chevy’s Fresh Mex, Culver’s, Elevation Burger, Firehouse Subs, Flame Broiler, Gott’s Roadside, Hot Head Burritos, Pickleman’s Gourmet Café, Pret à Manger, Ruby Slipper, Shake Shack, 16 Handles, True Food Kitchen, Velvet Taco, Voodoo Doughnut.
In other news, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit this week against Chipotle, claiming the restaurant chain violated federal law when a manager at a Lenexa, Kansas, location harassed a teen worker for wearing a hijab. The EEOC alleges the company retaliated against the employee when she complained about the harassment.
The teen was employed as a line server when the complaint was filed during the summer of 2021. She claims an assistant manager repeatedly – “approximately 10 to 15 times” – asked her to remove her hijab and eventually forcibly removed the headscarf. Despite her complaints to management, she alleges Chipotle failed to stop the manager’s harassment, which enabled escalation.
Also, after examining the fast-casual and casual-dining restaurant segments, the Happy Customer Index is now turning its attention to fine dining, an interesting category at this moment as we continue to stave off a recession and as the consumer remains relatively resilient despite an uncertain macroeconomic backdrop.
Recent research from Deloitte finds that restaurant spending has returned to pre-pandemic levels and that higher quality products are less of a driver than value options, for instance. That said, during times of economic pressures, consumers tend to engage in emotional self-care, and oftentimes that means a premium meal — to the benefit of fine-dining concepts. In fact, the fine-dining category is performing better against customer satisfaction scores than it was pre-pandemic, according to proprietary data from Merchant Centric.