News Feature | February 21, 2017

Restaurant And Hospitality News – February 20, 2017

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Taco Bell And McDonalds Millenial Appeal

In news this week, President Trump tries again with a new Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta and Taco Bell is launching a new wedding package at their flagship cantina in Las Vegas this summer.

Trump Nominates Alexander Acosta As New Labor Secretary

With the withdrawal of Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary nominee, President Trump has offered up a new pick in Alexander Acosta, according to Fox News. In the announcement, Trump noted that Acosta has been through three previous Senate confirmations for past positions, stating “He has had a tremendous career. I think he’ll be a tremendous secretary of labor.” If chosen, Acosta would be the first Hispanic addition to the Cabinet.

The announcement follows Puzder’s decision to withdraw from consideration for the post amidst controversy surrounding his employment of an undocumented worker and claims that he abused his ex-wife.

CNN reported that Acosta is currently the dean of the Florida International University School of Law and is a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, nominated by former President George W. Bush. According to The Nation’s Restaurant News, Matthew Haller, senior vice president for communications and public affairs at the International Franchise Association Matthew Haller believes that Acosta’s background is impressive and  he could have an easier time gaining Senate confirmation, though the IFA is disappointed that Puzder dropped out of consideration for the post. Haller said, ‘We think this is missed opportunity to put someone with business knowledge in the position.”

“Mr. Acosta's nomination is off to a good start because he's already been confirmed by the Senate three times,"  Senator Lamar Alexander told Reuters. Alexander chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that will be vetting the nomination.

While some progressive groups were already responding negatively to the Acosta appointment, including Allied Progress’ allegations of mismanagement of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division under his leadership, union groups have had far more measured responses to his nomination.

"Unlike Andy Puzder, Alexander Acosta’s nomination deserves serious consideration," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "In one day, we’ve gone from a fast-food CEO who routinely violates labor law to a public servant with experience enforcing it."

The nomination, which has a strong likelihood of being confirmed, will have a far more balanced impact on both sides of labor than Trump’s initial nomination of Andy Puzder.

Taco Bell Says “I Do” To Wedding Packages

Taco Bell has announced the opening of a 24-hour Cantina and wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip this summer, where customers can tie the knot for just $600. Beginning in summer 2017, Taco Bell’s flagship restaurant in Las Vegas is saying, “I do” to weddings. Customers with a marriage license can order a wedding right off the menu at this Vegas location. The wedding package includes a ceremony at the chapel performed by an ordained officiant; a private reception area for up to 15 of your guests; custom merchandise including a sauce packet garter and bow tie, “just married” t-shirts for the bride and groom, Taco Bell branded champagne flutes, and a  Taco 12-pack with tacos and a Cinnabon Delights cake; and the use of a sauce packet bouquet for the bride.

In anticipation of the new offerings, the company is running  a “Love and Tacos” sweepstakes for the privilege of becoming the very first couple to wed at their on-site chapel this summer. Winners will also receive an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas for the ceremony.

“From sauce packet proposals to couples catering their wedding parties and after parties with Taco Bell, we have known for years that some of our most creative fans have been incorporating Taco Bell into this momentous occasion,” Marisa Thalberg, the chief marketing officer at Taco Bell Corp., said in a statement.

According to the Taco Bell statement, “As the saying goes, ‘first comes love, then comes marriage.’ Whether your first love was a Cheesy Gordita Crunch or your life partner, for fans who want to take their relationship to the next level a Taco Bell wedding in Las Vegas is now a legitimate option to ‘taco ‘bout.’”