KFC-Owner Yum Brands (YUM) Tries Saigon Street Food
Is America ready for Saigon street food? Yum Brands - the owners of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC - is betting that many people will like the taste of banh mi sandwiches, Asian salads and wok-fried food. Yum opened its first "fast casual" Banh Shop in Dallas. "With Southeast Asian cuisine growing in popularity in the U.S., we saw an opportunity to design a unique fast-casual concept that emulates delicious Saigon street food, with a focus on the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich," Yum Brands executive Christophe Poirier told Nation's Restaurant News. Vietnam is famous for its Chinese and French-influenced cuisine, and for years many business travelers and tourists have been raving about the quality of its fresh and spicy street food.
E-cigarettes are coming to the movies. For nearly two decades, product placement has been off limits to tobacco companies. But that doesn't apply to e-cigs. "I don't see a problem with glamorizing something that saves lives," SmokeStik's CEO Bill Marangos tells The Wall Street Journal. His company paid for product placement in a new film adaptation of Shakespeare's Cymbeline. Actress Milla Jovovich puffs at a SmokeStik and in one scene signs for the brand hang in a convenience store.
Income equality is squeezing state budgets. The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report today by Standard & Poor's. Even as income for the affluent has accelerated, wage increases have barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double-whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to spend less of it than others do, thereby limiting sales tax revenue. As the growth of tax revenue has slowed, states have faced tensions over whether to raise taxes or cut spending to balance their budgets as required by law. Credit analyst Gabriel Petek says rising income inequality is more than a social issue because it "presents a very significant set of challenges for the policymakers."
Vermont's largest city has a new success to add to its list of socially conscious achievements: 100% of its electricity comes from renewable sources. With little fanfare, the Burlington Electric Department crossed the threshold this month with the purchase of a nearby hydroelectric project. The Washington Electric Cooperative, which serves parts of northern and central Vermont, reached the goal earlier this year. Some question the accounting methods used to make the claim because the utilities sell the rights to the renewable energy to other utilities. But the utilities then buy less expensive credits to offset the sale.
A lot is riding on the Fed this week. Policymakers at the Federal Reserve are to meet Tuesday and Wednesday. Markets will be watching for any change in guidance about the future direction for U.S. interest rates. A strengthening U.S. economy could lead to a rate hike sooner than was expected. Bond prices have been falling in recent days, as yields rise. Stock averages fell last week for the first week in six. There are also growing concerns about some large economies overseas. China's factory output in August rose nearly 7 percent. But that's a slower rate of growth than normal, and there has been a slump in China's real estate development. Today, European finance ministers are talking about proposals to boost private investments as a way of improving the economy.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow