Weekly Global News Wrap: McDonald’s aims for AI-powered drive-thrus; Starbucks’ latest pay raise; Chipotle creates restaurant in gaming platform Roblox

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

McDonald’s entered a strategic partnership with IBM to develop artificial intelligence technology that will help the fast-food chain automate its drive-thru lanes. As reported by CNBC, IBM will acquire McD Tech Labs, formerly known as Apprente before the fast food giant bought the tech company in 2019. Read more here.

McDonald’s is also cracking into the non-fungible token (NFT) market for the first time with a sweepstakes in the United States timed around the return of the McRib, Restaurant Dive reported. Read more here.

Chipotle is giving away US$1 million in burritos through a virtual restaurant it created on the gaming platform Roblox. As reported by Restaurant Business, Roblox users can enter the fast casual chain’s Boorito Maze experience to be one of the first 30,000 users each day to receive a code for a free burrito or other entrée. Chipotle-inspired costumes are also featured. Read more here.

Starbucks announced its third pay raise for its U.S. operations in just over a year. As reported by Nation’s Restaurant News, most baristas and shift supervisors across the country with two or more years of service will get up to a 5% raise, and most hourly partners with five or more years of service will get up to a 10% raise. Read more here.

Popeyes said almost 40% of its over 3,400 U.S. restaurants have closed their dining rooms early to cope with a labor shortage, its CEO said. As reported by Business Insider, the affected locations are operating in what the company referred to as reduced service modes, where they serve food only via drive-thru, delivery, and takeout or  just delivery and takeout. Read more here.

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