The Drive Thru: New bankruptcies, protests at Adidas, and the slow reopening of NYC

Juneteenth saw the highest number of phone calls about noisy fireworks in New York City, with 1,700 complaints. Associated Press

Congrats – we’re one Friday closer to the end of the month!

Like many companies, the BI team was mostly out of the office last Friday to celebrate Juneteenth, but we’re back again this week with The Drive Thru, your weekly round-up of everything that’s happening in restaurants and retail.

If you haven’t already, subscribe here to get me, Shoshy Ciment, and my colleague, Kate Taylor in your inbox every Friday. And if you have already subscribed, spread the word to your friends!

Retail and restaurant bankruptcies are in full swing. Plus, New York City is opening up some restaurants and stores and we got a first look.

Here’s what you need to know.

GNC and Chuck E. Cheese file for bankruptcy

Chuck E. Cheese
In the last three years, Chuck E. Cheese has gone through several unsuccessful IPO attempts and has tried to modernise its image by overhauling its restaurants’ aesthetic. Mark Sullivan/WireImage

A few major bankruptcy filings happened this week. In restaurant news, the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese – CEC Entertainment – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday.

The news comes after three years of several unsuccessful IPO attempts and a failed attempt to modernise the brand’s image. The pandemic, it appears, was the final nail in the coffin for the beloved chain, known for its prize tokens, pizza, and animatronic performances.

GNC, the vitamin and supplement chain, filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday night and plans to close 248 stores.Here’s the full list.

Also, here’s our running list of pandemic-era bankruptcies and store closures for 2020.

Adidas employees call out ‘systemic racism’ at the company, with limited Black representation inside and a general dismissal of a global problem

Adidas employees racism culture workplace 2x1

I spoke to some Adidas employees across the globe who say a disconnect between Adidas’ American and German headquarters is impeding the company’s ability to address and solve what they describe as racism within the company.

In a June 3 email to Adidas’ North American leadership that she shared with Business Insider, Adidas designer Julia Bond described her experience with what she called “systemic racism” in the company. Other employees have spoken up with similar stories.

“The messaging from Germany has long been that this is a US problem,” said a current Black employee at Adidas’ Portland, Oregon office, explaining how this disconnect among leadership makes it tough to address internal issues.

An Adidas spokesperson referred Business Insider to a June 5 company statement that read “racism is an issue that exists not only in the US, but in all countries. We all want to see justice, action, peace, and most importantly, progress. As a global sports company, Adidas is committed to creating change.”

A new wave of outdoor dining and department stores in New York City

New York Restaurants reopening outdoor dining pandemic 3

Monday was the first day New York City allowed restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining.

Irene took a stroll through the city’s Lower East Side neighbourhood and spoke to some restaurant owners and workers about how the reopening process was going. What she learned was that footpath dining will likely not help restaurants pick up their businesses to pre-pandemic levels.

In retail news, some of New York City’s biggest department stores reopened on Wednesday including flagships for Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Bethany visited Saks shortly after it opened with limited hours and several enhanced safety precautions, including ultraviolet light handrail sanitizing. Bethany said she didn’t see many shoppers, but the employees she spoke to seemed happy to be back.

Strangest shopping trends of the week:

In lighter news, shopping habits continue to be strange. Here are some unexpected items that people are buying:

  • Fireworks: Sales of the festive explosives are skyrocketing (pun intended) in the US. Apparently, so are noise complaints.
  • Caffeine and snacks: Turns out the pandemic is making parents more tired and hungry than usual.
  • Other people’s clothes: A new report says resale is expected to hit $US64 billion in the next 5 years.

Plus some things you can’t buy anymore (at least for now)