Darden Restaurants Inc. on Monday said it is giving interim CEO Gene Lee the position permanently, effective immediately. His appointment follows a national search, though most thought he would get the nod anyway. Said Darden Chairman Jeffrey Smith, in a statement, "As chairman of the board, I have worked closely with Gene during his interim CEO role and have been incredibly impressed by his clear thinking, openness to new ideas, passion for winning and wonderful leadership style."
It's always "blame the little guy." Actually, in this case? Yes, blame the little guy. Atlas Oil Co. has launched #respecttherig, a new safety-related social media campaign that brings awareness to safe driving around big trucks. The campaign features short videos of Atlas drivers giving safe driving tips for sharing the road with big rigs. The effort is designed around statistics supporting the assertion that a majority of truck-driving accidents are caused by drivers of passenger vehicles who drive unsafely around 18-wheelers.
Will McDonald's follow Walmart's lead and raise its wages to $9 an hour, or even to a whopping $10 an hour next year? It definitely puts Target on notice. Less certain is whether the QSR category will follow suit, partly because of the franchise structure that decentralizes cost responsibilities. Franchisees own four out of every five McDonald's restaurants, nearly all of Burger King's locations, as well as a growing number of Wendy's units.
A new study from Wolfe Research finds that consumers actually enjoy paying for things that were once included in the airfare. The Wolfe Research report claims that the other airlines are missing out on this "mother lode" of fee revenue. Spirit Airlines is mining that lode by charging for carry-ons. Others are missing it. One Wolfe Research analyst suggests that airlines start charging for things like oversized carry-ons and soda, even if they are booking through sites like Travelocity or Expedia.
After Google's entrance into computer-driven cars, Apple Inc. has put hundreds of people to work on its own clandestine "Project Titan" program. Apple's CEO Tim Cook said the key to the car is that it should - or will - be the Internet of things on wheels. Your internet of Apple things, that is: iTunes, iPhone, iCloud, iWatch and whatever they dream up. "We want one seamless kind of life. I think that's huge for our future," he said.
With Super Bowl XLIX and the 2014 NFL campaign barely in the rear-view mirror, the league and a number of marketing partners already are looking ahead to the 2015 season and Super Bowl 50. That includes Adidas and Upper Deck signing a bevy of incoming rookies like Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Kevin White and Devante Parker. Under Armour as presenting sponsorship of the Scouting Combine is doing a campaign and outfitting participants with shoes and shirts.
Google is planning to launch a version of YouTube for children on Android devices Monday. The the free app is called YouTube Kids. It will offer an easy-to-use interface as well as a selection of YouTube content appropriate for children. The idea is that kids love YouTube, but parents are worried not all of the content on the service is appropriate for their children.
Late night comedians, sharpen your pens. It seems Rolls-Royce is making an off-road, any-terrain SUV. The name, it seems, is Cullinan, whose ring suggests the vehicle might come with a chef and Viking stove. Rolls vowed it is going to be true to the brand, all the way down to the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. It will be built on a new chassis.
Ash Wednesday is behind us, so why not a little drollery. How about, what would Jesus do to promote his message as the Christ to Jews in first-century Palestine? 1One Production and advertising agency LG2 answer the question with this humorous video in which the Canadian production company specializing in stunts suggests walking on water.
Denny's Corp. plans to grow a new fast-casual concept, company officials said Wednesday. Franchise operators and foodservice providers have expressed interest in the college-centric concept, called "The Den." Early this year, the first off-campus location of the Denny's idea opened near San Diego State University in San Diego, operated by a traditional franchisee, per Denny's CEO John Miller.