September 23, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Hate airline food? Well here’s an incredible opportunity to have it every week! Raymond Kollau wrote:
- While economy class fare is usually pretty drab, business class food isn’t too bad.
- Which is why a grocery store has teamed up with the kitchen that provides Lufthansa passengers with their in-flight meals, to offer a subscription service where people can get a business class airline meal once a week.
- The meals can be heated up whenever an individual wants, and is a healthier alternative than fast food for many professionals.
- This also allows the kitchen that makes the dinners to get rid of excess meals without creating waste.
- If people end up liking the food, it could also encourage more passengers to travel on Lufthansa.
- The subscription service costs £9.99 for one meal a week.
Read more here.
September 22, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
McDonald’s may be hoping that you’ll soon consider the fast food chain for your next weekend brunch writes Venessa Wong:
- McDonald’s has applied for a trademark for “McBrunch”.
- Brunch is one of the fastest growing category of foods, and McDonald’s is looking to revive disappointing financial results.
- Competitors such as Starbucks and Taco Bell have recently improved their morning menus, putting pressure on the burger chain.
- It’s unclear if such an initiative would be successful – the meal is typically associated with alcohol, something that McDonald’s is unlikely to serve anytime soon.
- It could do what Burger King did when it tried something similar and offer non-alcoholic cocktails such as Sprite mixed with fruit juices.
- The trademark could simply be a sign that the chain intends to extend its breakfast hours.
Read Wong’s always excellent analysis, and find out how this could tie into “McDonald’s at midnight”, and why this might be much ado about nothing here.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
September 21, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
A (drunk) amateur historian could make the argument that the history of Troy is the story of how breasts brought down a state. They could threaten to do the same in Venezuela writes Hannah Dreier:
- Due to the country’s crumbling economy there has been a severe shortage in FDA approved breast implants.
- This is a big deal in a country which may well have the highest rates of breast implant procedures in the world.
- In the past women could enter raffles at political events and at the office to “win” breast augmentation surgery.
- At anti-government protests the odd demonstrator will be seen carrying a sign protesting the rising price of implants.
- The obsession runs so deep that even those living in slums can have suspiciously large bosoms.
- Lower quality Chinese imports have flooded the market, but they have the unfortunate tendency to rupture.
Read what the government has to say about the shortage, how Venezuela’s twitter is reacting, and more over here.
Source: CTV News
September 18, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Whelp, back to Iraq we go. This time with a touch more Gulf support. Bobby Ghosh took a look at how useful Arab militaries will actually be in the fight against the group formerly known as ISIS:
- The highest ranking military among the Gulf States belongs to Saudi Arabia which, somewhat surprisingly, is roughly as good as the Syrian military.
- Given that Syria, too, has struggled against ISIS, it’s unclear how effective Saudi Arabia will be against the terrorist group.
- While other countries in the region spend a lot on their militaries, they have very little combat experience, making their use questionable.
- This is largely because the purpose of the militaries in the oil soaked region isn’t to fight wars – it is to protect the monarchy and other sections of the elite.
- The country with the most fighting experience is Yemen which has been combating its own urgency. It is also the poorest Gulf country.
Read more about the relative military prowess of various Gulf States, as well as how Middle Eastern states outside the Gulf will fare in the return to Iraq over here.
September 17, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Nike got together with a design firm to create a concept aircraft tailor made for athletes. Joseph Flaherty wrote about what they came up with:
- The redesigned Boeing 777 which is typically designed to handle up to 400 passengers is a lot roomier when it only has to hold 13 players and their support staff.
- The plane has distinct zones for sleep, socialization, recovery, and food.
- The socialization zone is in the area where the cargo hold would usually be.
- At the recovery zone players can get a massage in relative silence.
- The seats are labelled with a player’s own number and are designed to handle large bodies.
- Sensors onboard, including in the urinals, monitor data about each of the players and the plane can recommend things like dimmer lights or a bottle of Gatorade.
- In the in-flight entertainment system players can review game plans or watch highlights of successful performances.
- It’s worth noting that players who cross more than three time zones have a 60% chance of losing games. If teams spend hundreds of millions of dollars on training facilities, they may find such a plane to be worth the investment.
Read about the aircraft, the specialized leg sleeves to help players recover, details about the food area, and see some pretty incredible photos here.
September 16, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Apple launched its version of a wearable watch last week. The Economist took a look at what this means for watchmakers:
- Apple is confident that it’s about to upend the watch business. Apple’s design chief has boasted about the trouble that the Swiss are in.
- Watchmakers themselves don’t seem worried. Wrists are prime real estate, especially for men where watches essentially serve as the only socially acceptable form of jewelry.
- The Apple watch lacks the style of traditional watches. Watchmakers point out that the first Apple watch will be obsolete in a year, while watchmakers sell “eternity in a box”.
- In fact, the Apple Watch may even be a boon to watchmakers as it may get the young more used to wearing watches.
- And Apple customers might be too low class for establishment players to target anyway. Watches costing less than $500 make up just 6% of revenues in the industry.
Read more about the types of watches that are most threatened, what Apple is doing to make the watches more of a fashion statement, and more over here.
Source: The Economist
September 15, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
The Chinese government has recently been on a crusade against public officials claiming extravagant expenses. This hasn’t worked out as well as the government would have liked writes The Economist:
- As a result of the effort domestic airline carriers have seen a sharp fall in profits as politicians no longer fly in first class.
- To get around this China Southern Airlines has relabeled its first class seats as business class without making any other changes.
- This should make it more palatable to bean counters who will now see ‘business’ rather than ‘first’ next to flight ticket expenses.
- Similarly hotels have requested to be downgraded from “five-star” status so that government officials continue to visit.
Read about the government’s efforts, its unintended consequences, and more over here.
Source: The Economist
September 14, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
A while back the gentlemen over at Freakonomics looked at the economics of the chicken business:
- Chicken feet used to be a value-less product for chicken farmers. They would be mixed into things like dog food.
- Then costs started to rise due to competition for chicken feed from the ethanol fuel industry. Chicken farmers looked for ways to stay afloat.
- Chicken feet are eaten in China and industry veterans realized that there was an opportunity to export them.
- These days chicken feet exported to China are basically the only profitable part of a chicken.
- During October however, the price of chicken wings surges, in what is known as the Football Effect.
Read about chicken pricing, sales, and more over here.
September 13, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Olive Garden is now a loss-making business, and a hedge fund just released a presentation outlining everything that the company is doing wrong writes Max Nisen:
- The quality of food has declined. Pasta dishes, for example, have the sauce dumped on top of them rather than mixed in and evenly distributed, leading to variable levels of heat and taste per spoonful.
- The chain has also stopped salting the water in which the pasta is cooked in, because it was causing pots to wear out too quickly. Salted water is, of course, crucial to adding flavour to pasta.
- American burgers and Spanish Tapas are odd menu items for a chain that was once renowned for its Italian authenticity.
- The endless breadsticks largely go to waste. The hedge fund recommends serving around one breadstick per guest, and then having the server come back with more if they are being eaten, arguing that this increases customer touch points and improves satisfaction.
- Wine, a key part of the Italian dining experience, and a significant profit driver at restaurants, is hardly marketed.
Ultimately the hedge fund concludes that the chain should take steps which will both drive profits and increase customer satisfaction. Read about the problems with the chain’s frying, its takeout containers, and endless salad over here.
September 12, 2014 in Daily Bulletin
Junk food will kill you, but it’s not all bad writes Gwynn Guilford:
- If Americans were to eat the same number of calories they currently do, but ate foods according to the guidelines created by the USDA, then the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions would increase by 12%.
- This is because fat and sugar produce relatively few greenhouse gasses per calorie.
- Meanwhile dairy produces a lot of emissions, and the USDA would have Americans consume more of it.
Read about more pragmatic ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through diet, how eating meat affects the numbers, and more over here.