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Operations

How Panda Express is luring convenience-focused diners

The nearly 40-year-old fast casual, known for its hot foods serving line, is eyeing new store formats and upgraded tech to shorten the “customer journey” to its heaping plates of orange chicken.

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Food

Tender Greens wants to be known as more than a salad concept

Corporate executive chef Oliver Plust is on a mission to expand and enhance the menu, recently adding a line of artisan sandwiches and a holiday steak plate.

Financing

Last quarter’s big winner: Higher menu prices

The Bottom Line: Other winners included Potbelly and third-party delivery, while Freshii, quick-service pizza and lower-income consumers were left out.

Financing

For Starbucks, unspent gift cards become a big business

The Bottom Line: As customers returned to Starbucks, revenue from unspent gift cards did, too, providing the coffee giant with a weird and profitable source of funds.