FOOD SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Australia

Global News Wrap Up: Jollibee raises stake in Smashburger; Taco Bell's CEO steps down; Chicken and chip shortage hits KFC UK

Here is a summary of the most interesting QSR news stories of the week from around the world.

A new KFC television commercial in Australia that features a drawing of parents captioned “naked wrestling” has prompted an investigation by the industry watchdog. The ad shows a mum and dad reacting with horror to the drawing, which is held up by a teacher. According to 9news, the clip received complaints from viewers.

Smashburger, the Denver-based "Better Burger" concept, announced that Jollibee Foods Corporation, Asia's largest food service company, has agreed to acquire an additional 45% of the Smashburger brand for $100M USD, bringing JFC ownership stake to 85%. Read more here.

Yum! Brands announced that Brian Niccol will step down from his role as Taco Bell CEO to assume a senior position at another public company, effective immediately. With Brian’s departure, Julie Felss Masino, 47, President, Taco Bell North America, and Liz Williams, 42, President, Taco Bell International, will assume leadership of the Taco Bell Division in their respective roles, reporting to Yum! Brands Chief Executive Officer Greg Creed. Read more here.

KFC branches in Leicestershire have been forced to close due to a lack of chicken and chips. According to Leicester Mercury, KFC said the issues were down to "teething problems" with a new delivery partner and that “getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex." They added, "We won't compromise on quality, so no deliveries has meant some of our restaurants are closed, others are operating a limited menu or shortened hours." 

TV chef Jamie Oliver has already planned to close 12 of 37 Jamie's Italian restaurants, as his food empire struggles with falling bookings and rising costs. According to Daily Mail, fierce competition and a switch to home deliveries is taking its toll on chain restaurants, with Byron and Strada also announcing closures. Read more here.

Flippy, the hamburger-flipping robot, has garnered enough interest from investors that the company behind it, Miso Robotics has reportedly secured an additional $10 million in its latest round of funding. According to Food and Wine, this brings the total disclosed investment in the Pasadena, California-based startup to $14 million—or about 1.9 million hours of work paid at the federal minimum wage. Read more here.

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