<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Business News - Money, Financial & Corporate News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sun, 03 May 2015 18:57:01 -0500 Sun, 03 May 2015 18:57:01 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Chicago Moves to Further Regulate Crane Operators]]> Fri, 01 May 2015 22:04:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CHI-federated-crane.jpg Chicago is in the midst of a construction boom, and now officials are turning their attention to the people who construct those buildings. NBC Chicago's Charlie Wojciechowski reports.]]> <![CDATA[Sale Fail: Consumer Group Alleges Deceptive Pricing]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:45:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/shopping+sale.jpg

For hardcore shoppers, there may be no bigger buzz than the deep discount. But a new report out this week by Checkbook.org suggested some special prices at major retailers aren’t so special and alleged a pattern of deceptive pricing tactics at three national chains.

"They’re marking their merchandise with these steep discounts -- 30, 40 percent off," Checkbook.org Executive Editor Kevin Brasler told NBC Chicago. "[They're] making their shoppers think that, 'Oh, this is on sale. There’s some urgency here. I better buy this today.'"

But how special are those special prices? Checkbook.org took on the question by using mystery shoppers in stores and online to track prices on specific products each week for 44 consecutive weeks. What they say found is that in many cases the sale prices were the normal prices.

"If it's always on sale, if your special price isn't special, if that's the price you always charge, then I think you are deceiving your customers," Brasler said.

Checkbook.org accused three major retailers -- Sears, Macy’s and Kohls -- of consistently posting "special" prices and discounts that rarely, or never, revert back to a higher price.

Federal Trade Commission regulations, as well as some state laws, prohibit pricing policies that lure consumers into thinking they are getting a good deal when they are not. Both Sears and Macy’s denied using deceptive pricing practices.

"Sears disagrees with any suggestion that its pricing is misleading or deceptive," a company spokesperson said in a statement. "Sears is focused on providing its members with great prices on a wide variety of products and services," adding that it "complies with applicable pricing and advertising laws." 

"... as a multi-channel, leading integrated retailer we are uniquely positioned to provide discounts to our members and customers in a number of different, legally compliant ways, including things like member pricing, store or online only promotions, clearance offers, and offers from third-party marketplace sellers," the statement said. "It is unfortunate that Checkbook.org did not appear to take these factors into account before making its assumptions."

Macy's, in a statement, said pricing varies for each item, "based on the nature and seasonality of the merchandise, its family of business and customer response, among other things. Some items rarely go on sale prior to final clearance; others go on sale more frequently as part of promotional events."

The company said it strives to comply with all laws and regulations, "which generally allow for flexibility in connection with price promotions to allow retailers to respond to business trends. If a pricing error is brought to our attention, we act quickly to correct it."

Kohl's did not respond to a request for comment.

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<![CDATA[What Fonts You Should Use on Your Resume]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 11:10:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000012190919_1200x675_436963907904.jpg New study reveals the fonts you should and shouldn't use on your resume. ]]> <![CDATA[Popular German Restaurant to Close in Chicago]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 06:48:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/236*120/mirabell.jpg

A popular German restaurant on Chicago’s Northwest Side has announced it will close after 38 years.

Mirabell, a staple in the city’s Irving Park neighborhood, will close Sunday, the family who owns the restaurant announced.

“It is with mixture of sorrow and joy, that we announce the closing of the Mirabell,” owners Jeff and Anita Heil posed on Facebook. “We enjoyed having you and your family and friends, as our guests, at the Mirabell and we thank you and are very grateful for your business over the years. We just know that Chef Werner, our father/husband, is looking down from Heaven and is so very grateful and thankful too, for your continued support over the past 38 years.”

The eatery is the latest in a string of German restaurant closings in Chicago, following others like the Golden Ox and Zum Deutschen Eck.

“It has been a real pleasure serving our customers for the past 38 years,” Jeff Heil said in a statement.

The restaurant encouraged customers to join them for their final day of business Sunday, which will the last chance for customers to “raise a beer stein and yell ‘Zicke Zacke, Zicke Zacke, Hoy, Hoy, Hoy, Prost.’”  



Photo Credit: NBCChicago]]>
<![CDATA[Target 5: Investigating the Issues That Affect You Most]]> Tue, 08 May 2012 14:57:53 -0500 ]]> <![CDATA[$martMoney]]> Tue, 08 May 2012 09:08:56 -0500 ]]> <![CDATA[Chipotle Announces Delivery in Chicago]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 17:38:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/207*120/Chipotle+Sign.jpg

Chipotle fans rejoice! You can now get your chicken bowl delivered right to you.

The fast-casual Mexican food chain has announced a new partnership with Postmates, making them their official third-party delivery service.

The Chipotle delivery will be available in all markets where Postmates operates, including Chicago, New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Dallas, Seattle and Philadelphia.

“There have been a lot of people that have been delivering Chipotle through various services over the years and we’ve tried to in a lot of cases shut them down, because we weren’t sure whether the quality was going to be sufficient or whether they were following our rules,” Mark Crumpacker, chief creative and development officer at Chipotle, said in a call to investors. “This is different because we’ve made an official deal with Postmates and they have been delivering Chipotle for quite a while, too.”

Postmates said the delivery will start at $4.99 and is capped at $7.99, depending on distance.

Postmates, essentially an Uber for delivery food, was also pegged by Starbucks to test delivery in some markets.

The move comes as Chipotle announced a 10.4 percent sales increase in the first quarter of 2015.

“Strengthening our ecommerce program is a top priority for us this year,” Crumpacker said.

In addition to the delivery partnership, Chipotle also plans to incorporate a mobile payment option into its ordering apps. The chain plans to launch an ordering app for the Apple Watch, set to debut Friday, and will explore options of mobile payment services like Apply Pay and Google Wallet.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Closes 350 Stores in First Quarter]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:35:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/179*120/1491410191.jpg

McDonald’s has closed 350 underperforming stores worldwide in the first quarter, including several in the United States, the company announced.

The closings are in addition to the 350 restaurants the company originally planned to close in 2015.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman said the closing stores include 130 in Japan and 220 in the U.S. and China. The three countries house a total of about 22,000 McDonald’s restaurants.

The closures come as the Oak Brook-based company revealed global sales had declined by 2.3 percent in the first quarter, with results for April expected to be negative as well. The company also saw a 2.6 percent drop in the U.S., where people are increasingly heading to places that market their food as more wholesome.

The world’s largest hamburger chain also announced plans to unwrap details next month about a turnaround plot they hope will help revive sales.

CEO Steve Easterbrook, who stepped into the role just last month, said Wednesday the company will share "initial details" of the plan May 4.

"As the world's leading restaurant company, we are evolving to be more responsive to today's customer," Easterbrook said in a statement. "McDonald's management team is keenly focused on acting more quickly to better address today's consumer needs, expectations and the competitive marketplace. We are developing a turnaround plan to improve our performance and deliver enduring profitable growth.”

Already this year, McDonald's has announced a number of changes in the U.S. including a simplified grilled chicken recipe and curbing the use of antibiotics in raising chicken. Amid ongoing protests calling for pay of $15 an hour and a union for fast-food workers, it also said it would raise wages and offer vacation time for workers at company-owned stores.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kraft to Remove Synthetic Colors From Mac and Cheese]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 03:50:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kraft-alt-AP1102090112555.jpg

The iconic mac and cheese in a blue box will start showing its true colors.

Northfield, Illinois-based, Kraft Foods announced Monday it will remove artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from its “Original Kraft Macaroni and Cheese” in the U.S. starting Jan. 2016.

Kraft will replace the synthetic colors currently used with natural sources such as paprika, annatto and turmeric, the company said. The company hopes the move will “delight consumers with on-trend updates to meet consumers’ changing lifestyles and needs.”

“[Families] told us they want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families, including everything from improved nutrition to simpler ingredients,” Triona Schmelter, vice president of marketing meals at Kraft, said in a statement. “They also told us they won’t compromise on the taste of their mac and cheese – and neither will we. That’s why we’ve been working tirelessly to find the right recipe that our fans will love.”

The company’s announcement comes on the heels of other changes in its mac and cheese recipes.

Kraft’s “Mac and Cheese Boxed Shapes” in the U.S. launched last year with six grams of whole grains per serving, reduced saturated fat by 25 percent, lowered sodium by 100 milligrams per serving and no synthetic colors. Most recently, artificial preservatives were removed from the same product this past year.

The company’s Canadian division, Kraft Dinner, will begin removing synthetic colors from its “Kraft Dinner Original” by the end of next year. Synthetic colors were removed from “Kraft Dinner Boxed Shapes” last year while its “Original” recipe reduced sodium by 19 percent since 2012.

“Listening, extensive research and continuous improvement have been part of the Kraft Mac and Cheese 75-year heritage,” Schmelter said. “From packaging like convenient ‘Cups’ to products like ‘Deluxe,’ ‘Organic’ and ‘Whole Grain’ to light prep instructions, we’ve innovated this iconic brand through the years to remain North America’s favorite mac and cheese.”

Kraft Foods made headlines last month when it recalled about 6.5 million boxes of original flavor "Kraft Macaroni and Cheese" and merged with H.J. Heinz Company.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lilly Pulitzer Target Collection Sparks Shopping Frenzy]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:15:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lilly+pulitzer+for+target.jpg

Lilly Pulitzer's highly anticipated Target collection debut led to disappointment for many shoppers.

For many fans, the Sunday release was filled more with long lines, empty racks and website problems than purchases of the colorfully printed products.

The much-hyped collection was slated to go on sale early Sunday morning, but some online users reported problems with Target’s website. On top of the extreme online traffic, stores across the nation saw large crowds and long lines, with some selling out entirely in just a few minutes.

By Sunday afternoon, Target said products online were nearly sold out.

Target said the response to the debut was “nothing short of remarkable” both online and in stores, but heavy traffic caused slowness on the site that resulted in “an inconsistent experience for our guests.”

The Minneapolis-based company apologized for any disappointment the website troubles caused, but noted the site did not crash. Instead, the company said it took the collection offline for 15-20 minutes to “manage traffic to the site.”

“We took several measures throughout the morning to manage the extreme traffic levels and make the collection accessible to our guests,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it does not plan to replenish the limited-edition collection’s products online or in stores, a move that left many customers disappointed.

The fan frenzy gave several stores a Black Friday feel and had many taking to Twitter using the hashtag #LillyPulitzerforTarget.

Target, which said it would not apologize for items selling out quickly, did address fan frustration as items appeared on eBay for increased prices.

"Seeing items on online auctions reinforces that this collaboration is resonating with customers," the company said in a statement. "Items are becoming collector's items. However, it's disheartening to Target as a brand. Target does these collaborations to make designers available to people at a great price. Putting items on EBay takes away from the entire spirit of the program."
 



Photo Credit: Target.com
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<![CDATA[McD's Gives Free Food to Those With Taco Bell Receipts]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:58:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/McDonalds13.jpg

Apparently, some McDonald’s restaurants are giving away free Egg McMuffins to customers who bring in a Taco Bell breakfast receipt before Friday.

The promotion was first announced on April 3 and took place at McDonald’s stores in northeast Pennsylvania, limiting customers to one sandwich per person, per day. It was not immediately clear if stores in other regions were also participating.

The offer is the latest move in a fast food breakfast battle between the two chains.

Last year, Taco Bell aired a TV spot set to the tune of “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” showing a man who had been eating Egg McMuffins since 1984. After trying Taco Bell's breakfast, the man trims his mullet, switches to tighter pants, gets a smart phone and takes down his "Loverboy" poster.

The commercial was a follow-up to another ad that featured real-life men named Ronald McDonald professing their love of Taco Bell's breakfast.

McDonald's has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But the chain has faced stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.

McDonald’s recently announced plans to up its breakfast game and test all-day breakfast. The Oak Brook-based fast food chain, which has more than 14,000 U.S. locations, has also said it plans to step up its marketing of breakfast as it faces intensifying competition. 

McDonald's did not immediately return NBCChicago's request for comment.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
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<![CDATA[Report: Best Places to Work in Chicago Area]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:00:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Generic+Happy+People.jpg

Three words: Unlimited vacation time.

A new report has ranked the Best Places to Work for 2015 in the Chicago area and the top-ranked business not only offers employees the benefit of unlimited vacation time, but also a flexible spending account that provides pretax dollars for public transportation, child care and other necessities.

The list, released by Crain’s Chicago Business, ranked businesses in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties with more than 50 full-time employees as of Sept. 1.

Businesses were ranked on pay, fairness of pay, promotions, health care and other benefits, hiring practices, vacation time, relationships with management and co-workers, career development and other day-to-day workplace issues.

Chicago-based digital advertising firm Rocket Fuel, which has just over 1,000 employees, was named the best place to work for 2015.

“The company offers breakfast, coffee and snacks daily, plus a hot gourmet lunch Monday through Thursday. Its vast, sunlit, 13th-floor River North office has a contemporary lunchroom, meditation rooms, a spacious conference room that doubles as a yoga studio and phone booths for conference calls,” Crain’s wrote.

Following Rocket Fuel on the list was another digital advertising firm in Chicago, Centro.

Centro’s benefits include matching 401(k) contributions, medical, dental and free vision insurance, 12 paid holidays, 10 personal days and one Save the World day a year for charity, three weeks’ paid vacation, support for continuing education, plus snacks and soft drinks in the big, sunlit Centro Perk break room.

Others in the top 10 list include Chicago’s DigitasLBi, EMC, Oak Brook’s SWC Technology Partners, Assurance Agency, Radio Flyer, Point B, LaSalle Network and Factset Research Systems.

Crain’s also ranked the best places to work for Millennials and Gen X-ers.

For millenials, the top place was software and engineering consulting firm DMC and for Gen X-ers the best place was auditing, accounting and consulting firm Plante Moran.
 

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<![CDATA[6 Things College Seniors Should Do Before Graduation]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 09:17:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/graduation+generic+new.JPG

Summer is almost here and that means thousands of college seniors across the country will soon flood the job market in search of their first real job.

For the best chance of success in the job search, college seniors have a lot of preparation to do.

Here are a few tips to help those preparing to finish school get ready to enter the workforce – and hopefully land their dream job after graduation day.

Take advantage of networking organizations: Use networking events on campus as an opportunity to expand your contacts and to become more comfortable with making conversation with people you just met. You’ll also learn how to interact with prospective employers and what experience and skills hiring managers value.

Join your profession’s student group: You can build connections within your profession by attending industry student events. Treat every interaction like an interview – these people likely will be your contemporaries.

Become friendly with career services: Get acquainted with the career services on your campus – they are there to help you find a job. Use their resources, their connections and their expertise to help you prepare throughout the year to land that ideal job. Make an appointment with a staff member to get personalized advice and guidance.

Tap your network: You don’t have to go far to network – for industry insight, just look at your own network of family, friends, alumni and professors. Let them know you’re job hunting, they might know someone who’s already established in your desired field. Set up informational meetings when appropriate, or get in touch with an alumni in your desired field to build relationships and to learn what it’s like to work professionally in the industry.

Perfect your resume: Don’t wait until the last minute to perfect your résumé. You want to be sure that if someone requests it after a school networking event, or a job opportunity arises, you’re prepared to capitalize on it immediately. There are countless ways to write a resume, but our tip is to keep it short and simple.

Clean up your social media presence: It’s never too early to make sure your social media presence is work-friendly. Employers pay close attention to a potential candidate’s social media sites throughout the hiring process, so represent yourself well. If you wouldn’t show something to your mom or your teacher, take it down. Also, join LinkedIn to establish a professional online presence, and to connect with recruiters, alumni and industry leaders.

The sooner you get organized about your impending job search, the easier it will be. So before your last semester rolls around, begin to explore you desired career, network with industry professionals and work to build your resume. Give yourself the greatest opportunity to land the ideal job right from the start. Good luck! 

Gabe McDonald is an IT Branch Manager at Addison Group, a nationwide provider of professional staffing and search services. Addison combines a national network and localized service for broad reach with a personal touch. Specialized practices deliver the right candidate at the right time in Administration & Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Addison has received Inavero’s Best of Staffing award for both Client and Candidate service for the past four years. Learn more at www.addisongroup.com.
 

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<![CDATA[Pillsbury Doughboy Creator Dies at 89]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 15:38:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/doughboy.jpg

The Chicago man who created the advertising icon Poppin' Fresh, more widely known as the Pillsbury Doughboy, passed away Wednesday at the age of 89.

Rudolph R. Perz created the doughboy during the 1960s while working for the Leo Burnett advertising agency in te city. He is among the "30-second stars" the Museum of Broadcast Communications plans to honor later this year.

Perz was formerly of the suburb of Wilmette and lived in Glenview until his death.

"The one image I have of my dad was of him tapping the can of refrigerated dough against the kitchen table," his daughter, Martha Nora, told the Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch. "That’s how his mind worked for everything. The wheels were always turning and your never were sure what idea he would come up with. There was always a twinkle in his eye and he loved the element of surprise."

Visitation was scheduled for Saturday, April 4, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, located at 10045 Skokie Blvd. in the suburb of Skokie, according to an obituary on Legacy.com.

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<![CDATA[Best and Worst April Fools' Jokes of 2015]]> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 12:18:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/youngprofessional-frustrated1.jpg

It is officially April 1, notoriously known as a time for bad jokes, pranks and fools. It's a day where truth and ridiculously annoying (and occasionally funny) fiction collide.

With each passing April Fools’ Day comes a new round of creative pranksters hoping to one-up the competition, but some jokes will inevitably leave many questioning why the day of tricks is still a thing. 

Here are a few of the best and worst pranks from around the web this year:

Groupon Launches Grøüber

Groupon took the more obvious route when it came to their April Fools’ joke, announcing the launch of Grøüber, a transportation service with cats for drivers. Essentially Uber with feline drivers, Grøüber uses red lasers as a GPS for the four-legged friends behind the wheel.

Rdio Releases Cat-Owned Streaming Service

Not one to be outdone in the cat-themed April Fools’ pranks, Rdio launched the first-ever cat-owned global streaming service. The Rdio-Meowz and the “Meow Mix” station was reportedly founded by Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub, Piano Cat, I Can Has Cheezburger cat, Maru, and Nyan Cat, which apparently felt cats were misrepresented in the music world.

Backwards Google

Type com.google and everything appears backwards.

Retro Amazon

Amazon’s homepage went retro for the day, offering things like whoopee cushions and books on cubicle warfare. The site also lists Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin as the day’s music top seller.

Honda Releases HR-V Selfie Edition

In the spirit of the selfie sensation, Honda announced the release of the HR-V Selfie Edition, a car with 10 cameras across the interior and exterior to allow drivers to snap self-portraits in their car.

Miz Mooz Debuts Selfie Shoes

Selfie Shoes--When your leg becomes a selfie stick. Miz Mooz released a new shoe that holds your phone so you can stick your leg out for a selfie.

Esurance to Develop New “Presurance”

Esurance, owned by Chicago-based Allstate, announced Wednesday plans to develop a new product called “Presurance,” which alerts you seven days before your next “mishap.”

“The future is literally in the palm of your hand,” the company’s website reads.

CERN Confirms Existence of The Force

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced in breaking news that researchers confirmed the existence of the Force. May the force be with you pranksters.

Google Maps Becomes Pac-Man

Forget the arcade. Google Maps has turned the streets of your neighborhood into a Pac-Man game of its own.

Find out how to play here.

Microsoft Launches MS-DOS Mobile

Microsoft announced the launch of MS-DOS Mobile, a new OS designed for Lumia smartphones. "Black and white text has never looked so good," Tom Messett, marketer for Microsoft Lumia, said in a YouTube video about the new system. 

Smartbox

In another Google prank, the company introduced the new Smartbox—a smart mailbox that combines email and snail mail together.

Samsung Releases Galaxy BLADE Edge

Samsung revealed its latest product-- the “smartknife.” The “ultimate cooking companion” runs on the latest OS and comes with the features of a Galaxy S6, but its edge is so sharp and strong that it can also serve as a chef’s knife.

Motorola’s #MotoSelfieStick

Motorola debuts handcarved wooden and handmade leather selfie sticks dubbed #MotoSelfieSticks.

“It’s one of the most practical, useful accessories around,” a woodcarver says in a YouTube video for the product. “It’s like when the sun turns the rain into a rainbow.”

Hinge Launches App for Toddlers

Hinge launched its latest app called Playdating, a new tool helping toddlers find play dates.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Starbucks to Introduce New "Cold Brew" at Chicago Locations]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:57:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/starbucks+cold+brew.jpg

Starbucks customers in Chicago will soon see a new drink popping up on menus in the area.

Beginning Tuesday, the coffee company plans to introduce its new “Starbucks Cold Brew” to the menus of nearly 2,800 locations, including stores in Chicago and other cities where “iced coffee is most popular.”

The Cold Brew drink features coffee that is slowly steeped for 20 hours using cool water. The beverage is different from traditional iced coffee, which is made by brewing hot coffee at double-strength and pouring over ice.

“Iced coffee and espresso beverages have a stronger, roastier flavor with a bit of nuttiness that comes from brewing with hot water,” Michelle Sundquist with Starbucks’ Research and Development team said in a statement. “Our Cold Brew is smooth and rich, it’s very refreshing with chocolate and light citrus notes.”

Participating stores will only brew one small batch of the Cold Brew each day so quantities of the drink will be limited, the company said.

State's included in Tuesday's launch are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, DC and Wisconsin.

The release of the beverage comes after the company introduced a limited-time Birthday Cake Frappuccino to celebrate the blended drink’s 20th birthday.

The Frappuccino special ends Monday. 



Photo Credit: Starbucks]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's to Test All-Day Breakfast ]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:02:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mcdonalds+sign+new+1.jpg

Could you soon get an Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich after 10:30 a.m.?

A McDonald's spokesperson told NBC Chicago the company plans to begin testing all-day breakfast next month at select restaurants in the San Diego area. 

"We know our customers love McDonald’s breakfast and they tell us they’d like to enjoy it beyond the morning hours," the company said in a statement. "We look forward to learning from this test, and it’s premature to speculate on any outcomes. We’re excited to serve our customers in this area some of McDonald’s great-tasting breakfast sandwiches, hash browns and other favorites all day long."

The move comes as the fast food giant based in Oak Brook, Illinois, fights to maintain its slot at the top of the fast food breakfast chain.

The president of McDonald's USA, Jeff Stratton, told the Associated Press last year that the chain was in the early stages of looking at whether it can extend its breakfast hours.

According to the company’s website, the reason breakfast isn’t served all day is because of the size of their kitchen grills.

“They simply don’t have the room for all of our menu options at one time — especially considering we use our grill to prepare many items on our breakfast menu,” the website reads.

McDonald's has continuously entertained the idea of serving breakfast throughout the day. The company offers an "After Midnight" menu at select locations. The menu, available from midnight to 4 a.m., consisted of a limited mix of breakfast and lunch items so kitchen operations wouldn't be overwhelmed.

McDonald's has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But the chain has faced stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.

McDonald's, which has more than 14,000 U.S. locations, has also said it plans to step up its marketing of breakfast as it faces intensifying competition.

As for extending its breakfast hours, the world's largest hamburger chain is known for treading extremely carefully when discussing any tests or potential changes. Such matters are considered sensitive in large part because they would require the support of the company's network of franchisees.

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<![CDATA[Frappuccino Turns 20, Starbucks Releases New Flavor]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:31:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Birthday_Cake_Frappuccino_%283%29.jpg

Get it while it’s… cold?

Starbucks’ popular frappuccino has turned 20 and to honor the beverage's big birthday, the company has debuted a new specialty drink—the Birthday Cake Frappuccino.

The limited-time beverage, a vanilla bean and hazelnut mixture topped with raspberry-infused whipped cream, will be available at Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada from Thursday to Monday.

The iconic drink was first released in the summer of 1995 with coffee and mocha flavors available. The drinks was initially made without whipped cream.

“The first week of launch we were tracking sales, and it was something like 200,000 drinks the first week – when we were hoping for 100,000,” Dan Moore, director of brand management at Starbucks, said in a statement. “The next week it was 400,000 and the next it was 800,000. We had figured it would do well in Southern California – but it sold just as well in Chicago, Vancouver B.C. and Boston. It was huge.”

The drink changed the company’s customer base, giving them a way to bring in people who weren’t typically coffee drinkers.

In 1999, Starbucks released the Caramel Frappuccino, complete with the now-typical “dome lid” for whipped cream.

“At the time, domed lids were radical thinking, so was the idea of adding whipped cream,” said Dina Campion of Starbucks’ Digital Team. “But for our customers it represented a momentary break – an escape in their day.”

In 2002, came the Blended Crème beverage, followed by the Frappuccino Light. By 2010, customers could customize their frappuccinos to be made with milk or soy, various coffee types and their preferred syrups and toppings.

The blended beverages are now available in 66 countries with more than 36,000 different drink combinations.

Other countries have unique flavors like the Coffee Jelly Frappuccino and Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino in Asia, the Algarrobina Frappuccino in Peru or the chocolate Brigadeiro Frappuccino in Brazil. 



Photo Credit: Starbucks]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Launches Big Mac Fashion Collection]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:30:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/big+mac+shop+site.jpg

You might be able to smell like Burger King’s Whopper, but now you can also look like McDonald’s Big Mac.

The company on Tuesday released a new lifestyle collection, complete with clothing, bedding, wallpaper, boots, and even dog jackets, all of which are stamped with images of the fast food chain’s iconic Big Mac.

The line launched in Stockholm Sweden during a Big Mac fashion show, which featured models walking a “McCatwalk” in white garments covered in images of the meaty meal.

The move was part of a global “imlovinit” campaign that featured 24 hours of McDonald’s surprises in 24 cities.

The event also included a Ne-Yo concert in Los Angeles, an ice coupon machine in Rio de Janeiro, a ball pit in the shape of a giant coffee cup in Sydney, Australia, a giant Big Mac selfie in Dubai and a “Joy Maze” in Bucharest, Romania.



Photo Credit: Big Mac Shop
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<![CDATA[Why Less is More for Playboy.com]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:10:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/177*120/hugh+heffner.jpg

Playboy's website is now safe for work—well, some of it.

The iconic publication, a men’s lifestyle magazine known for its photographs of nude women, has transformed its online presence over the last year to feature more “safe for work” content and the move has apparently paid off.

According to Adweek, Playboy saw a 258 percent year-over-year increase in unique visitors from January 2014 to January 2015.

Last year, the brand began transitioning their digital content to clickable, shareable, readable articles like “19 Best Worst Excuses for Calling in Sick” and “When You Should Catcall a Woman” (spoiler alert: the answer is don’t).

The move reportedly comes after Playboy.com moved its editorial from a third-party content creator to in-house where they started emphasizing the “men’s lifestyle” element of the brand.

The publication grew from 5.5 million global unique visitors in July 2014, to 21.5 million global unique visitors in January 2015, Adweek reports. It also went from 50,000 video views in July 2014 to 6 million views by December 2014.

The brand was also named on Shareablee blog’s “Top 25 U.S. Social Brands 2014.”

Playboy ranked 15th on the list with more than 103 million social media interactions.

In addition to the safe-for-work content creation, Adweek reports Playboy also partnered with Stolichnaya Premium Vodka to create “The Playboy,” an advice section for millennial men.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[State Farm Gets FAA Approval to Test Drones]]> Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:41:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/drone+generic.jpg

State Farm says it has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to test the use of drones.

The Bloomington-based company is the first insurer in the U.S. to receive FAA permission to test unmanned aircraft systems for commercial use. State Farm said it plans to use the aircraft to “assess potential roof damage during the claims and respond to natural disasters.”

“The potential use of UAS provides us one more innovative tool to help State Farm customers recover from the unexpected as quickly and efficiently as possible," Wensley Herbert, Operations Vice President – Claims, said in a statement.

The first flights will be tested in Bloomington and will evolve to testing in real-world scenarios, the company said.

A spokeswoman for State Farm said the time frame is “fluid” but the company plans to begin testing after they pick which systems they will test and find pilots to man the devices.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[M Burger Dishes Out Free Burgers to Celebrate Birthday]]> Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:45:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/188*120/M+Burger.jpg

M Burger fans will want to hear this—the popular Chicago-based chain will give out free burgers with any purchase Wednesday.

The move is to celebrate five years since the company first opened its Huron Street location, but the free burger promotion will be available at any of the chain’s four Chicago locations and their Skokie store.

The free burgers include hamburgers, cheeseburgers, their signature M Burgers and, yes, any burger on their “Secret Menu.”

The first fast-casual burger joint from Lettuce Entertain You, M Burger was born on the wall opposite of Tru, one of Chicago’s top fine dining destinations. The location quickly drew a strong following for high quality burgers, fries and shakes at fast-food prices. 



Photo Credit: Facebook.com/MBurgerChicago]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Faces Complaints Over Worker Burns]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:09:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mcds-protest-1.jpg

A small group of protesters gathered outside a McDonald's restaurant on Chicago's west side Tuesday morning to lobby for more training and protective equipment that would protect injury, primarily burns.

The demonstration inside and outside the restaurant, on the 3200 block of West Roosevelt Road, comes one day after employees around the nation filed 28 health and safety complaints against the Oak Brook-based company.

"We don't have any actual cream or Band-Aids or none of that, so if you get cut, that's it. Or if you get burned, mustard is the treatment," said employee Adriana Alvarez.

Protesters marched with signs in English and Spanish that read "McDonald's, Don't Burn Me" and others that alleged employees have been told to treat burns with condiments.

The complaints were filed with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The federal agency said it would investigate the allegations.

A statement from the McDonald's corporate office said the restaurant and its independent franchisees "are committed to providing safe working conditions for employees in the 14,000 McDonald’s Brand U.S. restaurants. We will review these allegations."

Spokeswoman Heide Barker Sa Shekhem added that the company believes the complaints are part of a larger strategy to tarnish the McDonald's brand.

The protest was organized by the group "Fight for 15," which has held a number of demonstrations around the country to push for a $15 per hour minimum wage.



Photo Credit: Susan Carlson]]>
<![CDATA[Jelly Belly Puts Wisconsin Warehouse Up for Sale]]> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 13:09:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jelly_bellys.jpg

With Easter just weeks away, Jelly Belly Candy Co. said it plans to sell their Wisconsin warehouse and move their operations to Tennessee.

The warehouse property located in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin has been listed for sale, a company spokesperson confirmed with NBC Chicago. The company plans to move their distribution operations to Tennessee, but said a timeline has not yet been set.

“Tours continue per usual and we have a full schedule of summer activities planned,” spokesperson Jana Sanders Perry said in a statement.

The 25 employees of the warehouse and several part-time workers were reportedly informed of the news Monday.

The company, formerly known as Goelitz Confectionary Company, was originally founded in 1869 in Belleville, Illinois. The facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin opened for tours in 2001.

The candy company most recently made headlines last August when it eliminated 70 jobs from its North Chicago factory and moved production to Fairfield, California. The facility continues to make candy, however, and is responsible for "contract manufacturing."

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<![CDATA[Yelp Opens New Chicago Office in Merchandise Mart ]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 11:22:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Yelp+Generic+Screengrab.jpg

Popular business review site Yelp will open its new Chicago office in the city's Merchandise Mart Thursday.

Yelp announced plans to bring its new 60,000-square foot office to the Merchandise Mart last summer and said the company hopes to hire up to 400 people, mostly for sales positions.

"Yelp is an exciting company that has become globally recognized for supporting local business, the backbone of Chicago's economy, and we welcome them to the city," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

Yelp chose Merchandise Mart because its location  -- given the proximity near the CTA train and the Chicago River -- may be good for commuters, local businesses and restaurants.

The San Francisco-based company currently has offices in New York; London; Hamburg, Germany; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Dublin, Ireland. Merchandise Mart also houses other tech companies like 1871 and Razorfish.

"Chicago’s history as a leader in innovation and supporter of small business and tech industry growth fits seamlessly with Yelp’s initiatives, and we are excited to build a home here with Yelp’s seventh office,” Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp's co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.

The company had a monthly average of 138 million unique visitors in the 2014 second quarter.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday that Yelp has also partnered with Skills for Chicagoland's Future to find new employees for the Chicago location. 

“Yelp is a globally-recognized company and their decision to open a new Chicago office, creating hundreds of new jobs, speaks to the talent we have today and the economic future we are building for tomorrow,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

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<![CDATA[Negotiation 101: Get the Most Out of a Tough Conversation]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:12:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/handshake_web.jpg

For most people, negotiations happen every day at work, and topics are often varied, covering a wide spectrum – not just at your annual review over salaries. But whether you’re the employer or the employee, negotiations can be difficult to navigate. Both parties seek a positive outcome without negatively impacting the relationship.

To set yourself up for a successful negotiation – one with an outcome that’s in your favor – brush up on your negotiating skills with these tips from Addison Group, a nationwide provider of staffing services.

Identify your wants and needs before walking into the meeting. What do you need to consider the meeting a success? Get an idea of the outcome you’d like from a meeting and then reverse engineer your approach. Enter negotiations in a non-emotional way. You can meet your objective and leave the negotiation feeling like both parties won even in difficult negotiations.
Do your research. Preparation for the negotiation is crucial. For example, if you’re focused on negotiating salary, find out the salary ranges of other people in similar roles in your area. Websites like salary.com is a good place to start. It’s also important to know the cost of living in the area, especially if you’re moving to a new location. This should be reflected in the salary. Consider requesting relocation assistance if necessary. In non-salary issues doing your homework is equally as important- know the facts and approach a meeting without emotion.
Listen. Ensure that the conversation is a dialogue. While one party certainly can lead the discussion, they should avoid dominating the conversation. It can put you at a disadvantage if the other party feels like their input is not being heard. Negotiating takes collaboration, so it’s important to allow everyone to speak their mind. A great tip in negotiating is letting the other party know you are listening to them by restating their thoughts. For example, “If I hear you correctly, you would be supportive of (a raise/working on this project/my working at home) if I could (take on more responsibility/show that I have mastered the software/have a dedicated office and be available from 9-5).” By restating the other party's thoughts and concerns it shows you have listened and want an outcome that is mutually beneficial.
Stay positive. Unlike in an interview where the best practice is to reflect the posture, tone and other non-verbal cues your counterpart uses, in a negotiation, it’s best to maintain a positive attitude throughout the discussion. If the other party becomes defensive or aggressive, sustain a positive and calm demeanor.
Negotiation results. If negotiations go well both parties feel successful and the business relationship is strengthened. However, in the case where you did not achieve your desired outcome you need to ask yourself did the other party understand your view? If so, was the other party reasonable but perhaps did not have control to make changes? If the outcome was less than desirable and the other party was the barrier to a win-win situation you have to ask yourself how important is the issue and does the outcome warrant a next step and void of emotion make the best business decision.

Knowing how to negotiate your way to a successful outcome requires practice and preparation. But if done correctly, you might be surprised with the results! You’ll also be walking away with a valuable and powerful skill.

Bridget O’Connell is a Regional Vice President at Addison Group, a nationwide provider of professional staffing and search services. Bringing the best to the best, Addison combines a national network and localized service for broad reach with a personal touch. Specialized practices deliver the right candidate at the right time in Administration & HR, Engineering, Finance & Accounting, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Addison has received Inavero’s Best of Staffing award for both Client and Candidate service for the past four years. Learn more at www.addisongroup.com.



Photo Credit: NBC Local Media]]>
<![CDATA[Oprah's Harpo Studios in Chicago to Close]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 05:31:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/harpo2.jpg

Oprah Winfrey plans to close Harpo Studios in Chicago this year.

Winfrey announced the news Tuesday, laying out a timeline for the closing of her West Loop TV studios, where her iconic show was filmed.

“Harpo Studios in Chicago was not just my home but also my life for nearly 30 years," she said in a statement. "I’ve spent more time there than anywhere else. I am so proud of what we created. It has been a blessing in my life and I thank everyone who has been a part of this great run. I am now looking ahead to inhabiting the new space on The Lot in California and carrying on the legacy of Harpo Studios with OWN programming.”

Presidents of OWN and Harpo Studios, Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, said the studio should be closed in Chicago by December.

"We have been fortunate to have this spectacular city of Chicago as our home for over 25 years and are thankful to everybody who has been a part of this great company," the pair said in a statement.

Last March, Harpo Inc. announced it had entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay Cos. for the four-building campus on Chicago’s West Side.

"We have entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay for the four-building Harpo Studios campus in Chicago's West Loop," Harpo told Crain's in a statement at the time. "We expect the transaction to be closed in 30 days. The property will be leased back to Harpo for two years and the studio will continue to produce programming for OWN."

Winfrey first came to Chicago in 1984 to the morning talk show, "A.M. Chicago." A month later, the show was No. 1 in the market, and renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1985.

Winfrey moved to Harpo Studios in 1990 and is credited with transforming the once-gritty industrial area to a neighborhood filled with families and trendy restaurants.

Winfrey filmed "The Oprah Winfrey Show" at the studio from 1990 to 2011, when she ended the talk show to start her cable network.

In 2011, then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley named the street outside Harpo Studios "Oprah Winfrey Way."



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Chicagoans Make List of World's Billionaires in 2015]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:10:54 -0500 2015 Rank: #216
Net Worth: $6.5 billion
The Chicago resident began trading in his Harvard dorm room during the 1980s before founding the successful Chicago-based global hedge fund firm Citadel LLC. Griffin's local presence extends to philanthropic donations to institutions such as the Art Institute and a five-year term on the University of Chicago's Board of Trustees.]]>
2015 Rank: #216
Net Worth: $6.5 billion
The Chicago resident began trading in his Harvard dorm room during the 1980s before founding the successful Chicago-based global hedge fund firm Citadel LLC. Griffin's local presence extends to philanthropic donations to institutions such as the Art Institute and a five-year term on the University of Chicago's Board of Trustees.]]>
http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/171*120/kengriffin3.jpg
From Michael Jordan to the Pritzker family, here are billionaires with Chicago ties named to Forbes World's Billionaires List for 2015.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons]]>
<![CDATA[Hot Doug's to Return to Chicago for One Day]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 19:50:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/doug+sohn.jpg

It has been nearly five months since the beloved Hot Doug’s closed its doors for good, ending an encased meat era in Chicago, but it appears the famed hot dog stand will return for one day, and one day only.

The Chicago Tribune reports Hot Doug’s owner Doug Sohn will serve his meaty sensations once again on May 16 for Paulina Meat Market’s Hot Doug’s Appreciation Day.

The Lakeview meat market at Lincoln and Cornelia avenues, which once produced a number of sausages for Sohn, will bring back their Hot Doug’s specialties and serve some of the sandwiches that made the former Avondale eatery a staple in Chicago.

Sohn told the Tribune he won’t be cooking the sandwiches, but will be “designing the sausage” and “chit-chatting” with guests.

For the diehard fans who once inked their Hot Doug’s love with a promise of free sandwiches for life, well, that offer apparently stands on this special day.
 



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Social Reaction to Chargers-Raiders Stadium News]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 16:33:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+stadium+rendering+13.jpg

News that rival professional football teams the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders are joining forces on a proposal that could have them share a Southern California stadium surprised many when it broke late Thursday.

By Friday, some players and officials had taken to Twitter to share their thoughts on the plan to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, California, if the teams' efforts to construct their own new venues in their respective hometowns fall through.

Here's a look at some of the reaction seen so far:  

Shareece Wright, starting cornerback for the Chargers tweeted: 

Kevin Faulconer, mayor of San Diego had a four part message to share: 

Shawne Merriman, former Chargers linebacker said: 

Corey Liuget, the defensive end of the Chargers said: 



Photo Credit: MANICA Architecture
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<![CDATA[Elite Jumping Horses of Cuba ]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 11:32:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP247924812525_CubaHorses.jpg Already renowned for fine rum and fancy cigars, Cuba is carving out a new luxury niche that is attracting Latin American elites to the communist-run island: elite jumping horses.

Photo Credit: AP]]>