The Chicago Journal

McDonald’s Thrives While Wendy’s and Burger King Suffers From Inflation

The cost of living is rising with inflation on the rise, prices are affecting people and businesses alike – with some chains seeing their clientele drop. The US Bureau Labor Statistics reports that this latest increase in pricing reflects what was seen back when it reached heights last seen 40 years ago.

Forbes has seen incredible increases in the past 12 months for electricity (up 12%), utility gas services (30.2%) and meats, poultry, fish, and eggs which are all up 14%. 

Read also: Investors Set for Misery as S&P 500 Enters a Bear Market

The burger industry has been slowing down for a while now and it’s beginning to show in the numbers. The nationwide trend of people eating at home instead of restaurants is only increasing this problem, leaving many companies with less revenue than they had before.

However, data company reports that McDonald’s has done better than other chains, with visits up in April and May by 6.3% and 3.8%.

The number of people visiting McDonald’s has increased over the last half-year, and it is believed that this success can be attributed in part to their new celebrity collaboration as well as an improved loyalty program.

The current economic climate is tough on businesses, and it’s been hurting those in the fast-food industry especially. When you look at Wendy’s or Burger King – their sales have lagged far behind what they were expected to be doing before.

Wendy’s and Burger King both saw a decline in traffic last month with 12.1% and 12.4% drops. However, their yearly visits were up.

It is speculated that the price increase at Wendy’s last year may have had something to do with its current endeavors. This company confirmed plans for an additional 5% hike in 2022.!

“We did talk about taking 5%-plus pricing,” said Todd Penegor, president and CEO of Wendy’s. “We’ve got to find that point where we can balance passing on some price but still being of relative value to the consumer.”

Burger King’s largest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group is also feeling the pressure.

“Even if inflation moderates in the back half of this year, we’re likely to feel its impact on our cost structure for some time,” said CEO Paolo Pena. “To deal with it, we are going to need to adapt and evolve as never before. And to do that, we are going to need to look at all aspects of our operations with fresh eyes.”

Meanwhile, reports regional burger chains have seen growth in visits this year including In-N-Out Burger, Whataburger , Sonic Drive -In and White Castle.

Read also: Jokr to Slowly Shift Focus on Latin American Markets and Halt Operations in the United States

Jokr to Slowly Shift Focus on Latin American Markets and Halt Operations in the United States

The use of delivery apps and services like Doordash, UberEats and Jokr has been a lifesaver for many during this pandemic. The providers ensure that their customers’ needs are met even when others can’t reach them physically in order to purchase products online with ease. However, Jokr revealed it had plans to slowly cease U.S. delivery operations and shift focus elsewhere.

The company has notified its partners that it is shifting focus to Latin America markets, which they believe will be more profitable. Additionally, Jokr will be pulling the plug in Boston and New York.

Read also: Tension Rises Between Amazon and Staten Island Facilities Union

“We have decided to stop our business activities in the U.S. for now, which have lately only accounted for about 5% of our business,” said Chief Executive Ralf Wenzel on Wednesday. “Latin America is particularly underpenetrated and underserved, that’s why Jokr has put its focus and emphasis on the Latin American opportunity since the beginning.”

Jokr announced that it will be closing nine fulfillment centers and cutting 50 workers, which accounts for only 5% of their global workforce. The decision to close these facilities comes after months upon cancellation from both Boston-based operations as well New York City counterparts.

Jokr has a base in New York and headquarters in Luxemburg. Bloomberg reported that despite the halt to serving customers, this would not affect all the employees working for them in the New York base as they will be retaining some people.

The company is still active in South American countries, but it has cut back its delivery services across Europe.

Months ago, Joker was reported to have raised $269 million in Series B funding at a $1.2 billion valuation.

Jokr’s most recent effort to increase revenue was through the use of advertising in their app and delivery bags.

In an effort to make up for lost revenue, grocery delivery companies have had trouble with the economics of their model. A report estimated that on-demand services lose as much at $20 per order.

Read also: Investors Set for Misery as S&P 500 Enters a Bear Market

Investors Set for Misery as S&P 500 Enters a Bear Market

It is time for investors to start preparing for the long haul. The S&P 500 has officially entered bear market territory, according to the Bank of America on Monday.

Stocks are volatile lately because of the looming inflation and interest rate hikes from The Federal Reserve. A 75 point increase in stock prices is expected Wednesday, which is higher than the anticipated 50 point hike.

The latest report follows Friday’s hot CPI inflation estimate which exceeded economist expectations and indicated no signs of slowing down.

Read also: Americans’ Wealth Takes a Hit from Stock Market Collapse

The Bank of America isn’t alone in thinking that we’re at the bottom until inflation prints its peak.

“Wall Street sentiment is dire but no big low in stocks before big high in yields and inflation,” said the Bank of America. “The latter requires uber-hawkish Fed hikes in June and July.”

The current state of Wall Street is a result of several factors, including global growth optimism declining to its lowest point in 14 years and fears that inflation will reach unprecedented levels. This all combines with corporate profit outlooks being at their worst since 2008.

The market has shown that it’s not a one-and-done situation when the bear cycle arrives. A V-shape recovery is typically seen in bank stocks, which indicates an upcoming recovery similar to what happened last time – around March 2020.

Chris Murphy of Susquehanna International Group analyzed all 12 bear market sell-offs that occurred through the decades.

“Looking at the other 12 bear markets, we see that on average, after the SPX enter bear market territory, it continues to fall another 14%, taking 103 trading days before reaching a bottom,” said Murphy.

There’s no telling how low the S&P 500 could go if another major crash happens, but many estimate it would fall to 3,250.

Investors will be able to breathe after the midterm elections in early November which could signal that markets are bottoming out as the bottom of the market rarely happens around summertime.

Read also: The White House Believes Americans Are Well-Positioned for the Economic Storm

July Plans for President Biden Includes a Visit to Saudi Arabia

The White House announced that President Joe Biden would be visiting Saudi Arabia next month in a foreign policy trade-off, hitting the brakes on his campaign pledge to make them “a pariah”. The trip has been speculated to be a move to seek aid for the record-high gas prices.

Joe Biden will travel to the Middle East next month, where he’ll stop at Israel and visit with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The US president is also expected to join a major gathering of regional leaders in Saudi Arabia.

“The President looks forward to outlining his affirmative vision for US engagement in the region over the coming months and years,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “The President appreciates King Salman’s leadership and his invitation. He looks forward to this important visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been a strategic partner of the United States for nearly eight decades.”

Read also: Assault Weapon Ban “Rational” for Gun Control, Says President Biden

The trip had been planned for months with US officials consulting their Saudi and Israeli counterparts. Initially, the President was set to visit this month but due to G7 and NATO summits in Europe, the schedule had to be pushed further. Additionally, with speculations of a trip going around for months, the White House had to deny any plans.

“We’re now in a place where we feel this has come together in a very constructive way for everyone involved, and the President’s looking forward to it,” said a senior administration official.

While in the Middle East, Biden will not only meet athletes in an international Jewish sporting event, he will also view the US-provided systems. The President will also attempt to reignite peace talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The President is also set to meet Mohammed bin Salman, but it remains unclear if they will have a one-on-one meeting.

The decision to go ahead with Biden’s visit has drawn criticism from some quarters, who feel that he is going back on his pledge after Jamal Khashoggi’s death in 2018. 

Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiance, was outraged by the decision and accused Biden of losing his moral compass, saying:

“President Biden’s decision to meet MBS is horribly upsetting to me and supporters of freedom and justice everywhere.”

Read also: The White House Believes Americans Are Well-Positioned for the Economic Storm

Rossann Williams Bids Starbucks Goodbye on Tuesday, Sara Trilling to Assume Her Position

Starbucks is seeing more changes as Rosann Williams, one of the brand’s most prominent figures and head for the North American market, decided to leave the company. A statement from Starbucks announced this past Friday that she would be vacating her post effective this Tuesday.

The company has announced that they will be replacing Rossann Williams with Sara Trilling, a veteran who’s spent two decades helping the Asian Pacific Market out of Hong Kong.

Read also: Jokr to Slowly Shift Focus on Latin American Markets and Halt Operations in the United States

Starbucks has had a series of high-profile departures from their top spots in recent months. Kevin Johnson stepped down as CEO, and now Williams is quitting after over 18 years with the company. Howard Schultz took over for Johnson as interim CEO while they look externally toward finding someone who can lead them into an uncertain future for the long-term.

Under his leadership, Schultz has committed $1 billion to raise the wages of all chain employees and hit the brakes on their stock buyback program. He’s also been firm in his stance against union efforts.

In a surprising move, Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver revealed in his letter to employees that they have mutually agreed upon the departure of Rossann Williams.

“As we embark on the next chapter, we have made a difficult but necessary change to our North America business; a change that creates new leadership for a new era at Starbucks,” the letter wrote. “The decision was not taken lightly and was once preceded by discussion about a next opportunity for Rossann within the company, which she declined.”

Rosann Williams has been with Starbucks since 2004, and during her early career she worked at Blockbuster and Toys ‘R Us. In 18 years with the company, Williams has been firmly against unionization.

Regardless, over 150 Starbucks cafes have signed to form unions.

Johnson’s departure and Schultz’s comments indicated that major change was coming. The interim CEO suggested one of Starbucks’ primary problems is an inability to meet customer demand for customizing drinks through multiple channels. He also suggested bringing in a CEO from the outside, a move that would bring a comprehensive overhaul.

Read also: McDonald’s Thrives While Wendy’s and Burger King Suffers From Inflation

Skinovatio Pushing Medical Spa Services to The Next Level

Medical spas have risen in popularity across the country these past few years. And as more providers arise, it seems that there’s really nothing new under the sun. At least that’s until one encounters a center like Skinvatio, which continues to reinvent the way people think about medical spa services and bring experiences to a whole new level.

Skinvatio is a medical spa franchise that started back in 2015. Since its early days, it has become one of the premier modern beauty destinations for people in the Chicago, Illinois area. The company doesn’t shy away from the spotlight, but it has many unique aspects that make it stand out unquestionably. For one, the company is 100% women-owned and run. The company founders Katarzyna Vigneau Sallam and Aleksandra Waibel have conquered all to create a brand of beauty and rejuvenation that has become a status symbol for many of their clients across Chicago. Moreover, the company uses some of the most recent technologies in cosmetic medicine to bring top-level results for anyone looking for transformation or relaxation.

In the last seven years, Skinvatio has pushed the envelope as far as medical spa experiences are concerned. To date, the franchise has expanded to six sites, with many more now in the works. Katarzyna and Aleksandra will stop at nothing to bring their vision to the next level. An important aspect of that is constant market education. 

“We want to educate our readers and inform them that it is very important to choose the right facility for their procedures,” shares the two women founders. “Cheap treatments are not always good treatments. You can still receive your procedure out of cost but it is very important to make sure that it is done by a highly trained injector or laser technician since the majority of these treatments carry on the risk of long-life side effects.” 

Skinvatio Medical Spa has also committed to providing top-tier expertise to its clients. Their team of highly-trained medical practitioners and aesthetic specialists have spent countless hours learning proprietary therapies and using cutting-edge technologies that bring out a beauty that does not look fake. Many of their services are fast treatments. The centers also focus mostly on minimally invasive treatments so that there’s little to no downtime on the client’s end. It’s also a priority at Skinvatio to seek out the most painless or virtually painless solutions so that there’s a positive experience without all the hassles and fears that come along with keeping one’s beauty.

Katarzyna and Aleksandra remain driven to continue their company’s growth. They won’t stop until they become the first-ever medical spa to have a branch in all states. The duo’s passion for beauty services and customer experience helps them stay competitive. They are not to be taken lightly. Highly driven, the two female entrepreneurs have a vision that they will not be denied. Katarzyna and Aleksandra are also highly motivated by their dreams of making Skinvatio the most convenient medical spa choice across America.

Skinvatio hopes to branch out of the Chicago metro soon and is readily available for franchising. Learn more by visiting the company’s website.

Ann Marks’ The Full Feedings Method Helps Parents Build Consistent Sleep Routine for Babies

Parenthood brings many joys, but all parents, especially new ones, share one challenge in common – building effective sleep habits for their babies. Sleeplessness and parenthood are often perceived to go hand-in-hand, but Ann Marks says differently. The creator of The Full Feeding Method, Ann Marks, has played an instrumental role in guiding parents to put their babies to sleep effectively and consistently, building a system that prevents neither the parent nor the child from losing a good night’s sleep.

As a mother of three herself, including twins, Ann Marks knows how difficult it can be to implement consistent sleep habits for infants. Hence, she developed The Full Feedings Method, which has proven effective in helping parents achieve consistent nighttime sleep from birth. The method veers away from the popular sleep training method of crying it out. Instead, the method helps parents meet the baby’s need for enough food to fully satisfy their stomach, ensuring that there is no need to feed at night (when age-appropriate) as well as preventing them from sleeping too much during the daytime (so 12-hours of nighttime sleep is possible). Once all age-appropriate needs are met, The Full Feedings Method guarantees a baby can sleep naturally every night and even help keep the consistent nighttime sleep through the many transitions of baby’s first years of life. 

“My method can begin from birth and involves no crying. It also encourages parents to hold and help their babies to sleep, which is good for sleep and mental health,” said Ann Marks, emphasizing that The Full Feedings Method is ideal for babies of all ages. The program is available for parents who registered for membership in the life-changing coaching course where Ann Marks offers tools and all the ingredients needed to develop healthier sleep patterns. The program also offers phone and email support for parents who may have questions at any given time, a service signifying the founder’s commitment to genuinely helping parents address the problem of sleep deprivation.

With the membership, parents get access to a simple three-step method explaining how to establish consistent sleep, as well as monthly guides showing parents age-appropriate sleep routines for their children. The program also provides over 80 helpful videos and 50 PDFs to help parents understand their baby’s eating and sleeping problems better anywhere they want. 

“I honestly just wanted my daughter to sleep so that I could sleep too. That was my only goal. I was searching for a method that would get my daughter sleeping through the night as quickly as possible, without compromising her needs at any time or leaving her to ‘cry it out,” Ann Marks said. “I wanted something flexible and gentle yet effective. I decided to create an alternative – a full night of sleep for any parent who wants it, without having to sleep-train their baby,” she added further. 

Ann Marks shared that she developed the program because of her love for sleeping, understanding that a good rest is crucial for people to function to their fullest, especially for parents whose responsibility is to care for their children. She saw many parents being conditioned that parenthood would cause them to never sleep again, and she wanted to give parents an alternative…a full night of sleep for any parent who wanted it. Today, The Full Feedings Method has changed not only her life but also the lives of many parents worldwide.

She can be found helping parents daily on Instagram @fullfeedings and via her Online Programs at https//

The White House Believes Americans Are Well-Positioned for the Economic Storm

On Monday, the White House spoke of its confidence that Americans will be able to face the economic storm with Biden’s efforts.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the White House is closely monitoring the stock market, and they are aware that since Biden took office last year there has been a decline in its value.

“We know families are concerned about inflation and the stock market,” said the press secretary. “That is something that the President is really aware of.”

Jean Pierre pointed out that the United States was not alone in its inflation crisis as other countries were also dealing with high prices.

According to the Press Secretary, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the pandemic contributed to the economic problems. Jean-Pierre also stated that the country is better prepared to handle the problems than before Biden’s presidency.

Read also: Inbound International Flight Travelers No Longer Required to Take COVID Test in the U.S.

“The way that we see this is the American people are well-positioned to face these challenges because of the economic historic gains that we have made under this President in the last 16 months,” said the press secretary.

However, Americans are still feeling the negative effects of an economy in shambles, with unemployment rates at 3.6%. 

A gallon of regular gas prices reached $5 for the first time, consumer confidence hit an all-time low and U.S inflation is growing higher than expected; stocks also plunged into a bear market making investors grow nervous at the prospect of harsh rates from the Federal Reserve – which could lead to more economic problems in America’s future.

“We know that high prices are having a real effect on people’s lives,” said Jean-Pierre. “We get that, and we are incredibly focused on doing everything that we can to make sure that the economy is working for the American people. But we are coming out of the strongest jobs market in American history, and that matters. And a lot of that is thanks to the American Rescue Plan.”

The Treasury Secretary says that without former Vice President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan, inflation would have been worse than expected and gas prices might’ve gone up even more.

The President spoke earlier this month, saying he could do little to make an immediate impact on lowering gas or food prices.

“There’s a lot going on right now, but the idea we’re going to be able to click a switch, bring down the cost of gasoline, is not likely in the near term. Nor is it with regard to good,” said the President at the White House.

Read also: Americans’ Wealth Takes a Hit from Stock Market Collapse


White House Adamant That Americans Are Resilient Enough to Face Economic Crisis

Capture Films Takes Content Creation to a Whole New Level

The advent of the modern age has paved the way for numerous opportunities that make use of digital tools like social media. True enough, the last couple of years have shown just how much of a difference technology has made in multiple trades across the globe. One of the industries that have been gaining traction because of technological advancements is content creation. Taking heed of the rise of this content-driven environment, leading authorities and experts have been helping brands grow and flourish through creative strategies and techniques. Such is the case with Capture Films founder Brennan Strader, a visionary whose passion for his craft has helped go-getters translate visions into reality. 

Widely acknowledged as a beacon of excellence and trustworthiness, Capture Films is armed with an impressive track record of pushing brands toward the spotlight. Since its launch, the company has worked with numerous power players around the world, such as Shell, P&G, BIC, Team USA, and NFL.

With how competitive the online landscape has become, brands are now more compelled to step up their games and fight for their place in the industry. For this reason, Capture Films has addressed itself to the challenge of exploring new ways that would help brands gain exposure and attract more audiences. An approach that the company has been tapping into is the user-generated content (UGC) side of the market. Through UGC, it can give consumers the opportunity to participate in a brand’s growth instead of being mere spectators. 

Standing at the helm of Capture Films’ UGC division is Damien Foster. The luminary is hailed for his creative prowess and incredible flair. As a matter of fact, he is the powerhouse behind the company’s amazing TikTok videos. 

“With this rising generation being used to digital ads throughout their entire life, the best way to market on an entertainment platform is to be the entertainment,” Brennan Strader said. “And since Gen-Zs can spot an ad a mile away, brands have got to stop looking and sounding like an ad. The way to solve this is to let creators make the ad,” he pointed out.

Nowadays, people are more selective about the brands they interact with and purchase from. This is especially true for ever-fickle Gen-Z. In an effort to elevate the content creation process, Capture Films primarily produces high-end films and top-notch content. As a matter of fact, the company specializes in high-end video production and creates everything else, including 2D and 3D animation and photography.

At its core, Capture Films wants to address the increasing demand for user-generated content. According to Brennan Strader, this kind of content is native to the TikTok platform and connects more powerfully to the viewers than high-end advertising traditionally used to. “We have a database of creators that can make native TikToks that advertise any brand without looking like a traditional advertisement,” he explained. “They are often filmed on mobile devices and look scrappy. We produce these verticle ads from conception and casting to filming and editing. Brands can sit back and let us take the wheel,” he added. 

In the coming years, Brennan Strader envisions Capture Films at the forefront of the industry. The founder believes that his company and his brilliant team of creatives will continue to serve business and marketing leaders looking for growth and exposure. 

Champions League Final Chaos Opens the Door for NFT Integration

The final of the Champions League had to be delayed after it became apparent that many people were trying in vain to get in despite counterfeit tickets. In addition to the long queue, gatecrashers caused major delays and created an unsafe environment, which led French authorities to eventually step in with force.

The French government has considered implementing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for ticketing at sports events in order to improve security.

Read also: English Club Liverpool Requests Formal Investigation Surrounding Security Chaos from Champions League Final

The chaotic scene at the European final was only matched by an embarrassing setback for authorities when police turned to tear gas in their attempt to restore order. The resulting delay caused mass confusion and frustration among fans who had traveled from all over Europe just to be there, also embarrassing authorities.

The country revealed that it plans to integrate NFT tickets for the 2023 Rugby World Cup and 2024 Paris Olympics.

The French Government has sent a report recommending steps that may be taken in order to prevent another chaotic episode like those seen at past sporting events. One recommendation includes universal use NFT ticketing.

The implementation of this new ticketing system ahead of the rugby event and Olympics would make it possible to “prefigure planned systems,” said Cadot in his report. This means that they are able break into working methods with ease by implementing what he calls “a multi-factor management approach.”

The French government is looking into using blockchain technology to issue non-transferable digital tickets that can be distributed via SMS before events, and they’ll only work within a security zone around the venue.

ticketing with NFTs will create a higher level of security and prevent scalping, which is good for both sponsors as well as the attendees. 

NFTs are more than just an investment opportunity, they can provide other functions like access to VIP areas or receipts for souvenir items.

The use of ticketing for sporting events is one way NFTs can make their way into the world. They have been part of the digital landscape since 2020 when it became popular, but now they’ve grown more common and may even include fan engagement like voting or access to physical collectibles.

Read also: Former European Champion Kevin-Prince Boateng Holds First-Ever Metaverse Moon Wedding