Insider Retail: COVID “gag orders,” Ruby Tuesday pensions, and Discord


Wake up! September is officially over!

Happy first Friday of October. Congrats, it is now acceptable to actually drink your PSL in public, even though you’ve probably been doing so since Starbucks launched it in August. (Shade.)  

I’m happy to bring you another week of Insider Retail, Business Insider’s weekly round-up of everything that’s happening in restaurants and retail. If you haven’t already subscribed, click here to get me, Shoshy Ciment, and my colleague, Kate Taylor, in your inbox every Friday. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Ruby Tuesday times square

Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant in Times Square in 2016.

Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

Irene got the inside scoop on Ruby Tuesday abruptly stopping to pay pensions to more than 100 retirees, a move that left many scrambling during the pandemic as the chain continues to struggle.

According to documents, Ruby Tuesday advised its trustee, Regions Bank, to halt payments in July. Regions Bank filed a lawsuit against Ruby Tuesday on Monday to determine if the chain’s actions were legal or not.

“What are we supposed to do, get a job at Starbucks?” Mark Potter, who retired in 1999 after 28 years at the company, told Irene.

Read Irene’s full scoop here.

rei worker curbside pickup

A REI employee delivers a curbside order to a customer.

Elaine Thompson/AP Images

Aine and Catherine dug into a current issue among retail workers regarding “gag orders” from employers, which require employees to stay silent and not discuss positive COVID-19 cases with staff.

While frustrating, such orders are considered legal, so The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which protects workers from unsafe work conditions, can’t do much about these rules.

Read Aine’s and Catherine’s full investigation here.

discord sneakerhead communication 4x3

Discord; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

This week, I took a deep dive into Discord, the messaging platform that has become an unlikely hub for the sneakerhead community. 

I traced the platform’s history, from gaming haven to alt-right hangout to now a sneakerhead hotbed. Today, the platform resonates with more mainstream collections of interests, connecting more than 100 million monthly active users. 

Check out my full story to see why why sneakerheads are flocking to Discord.

A major avocado distributor had a “disappointing” IPO this week.

olindana/Getty Images

Mission Produce, a major avocado distributor went public on Thursday, with shares priced at below what the company initially expected.

While CEO Steve Barnard called the $12 share price “disappointing,” he said the company will target sales of its Hass avocados in international markets like Europe and Asia.

“We were a little disappointed in that, but for every problem, there’s an opportunity,” Barnard said.

Read about the avocado company’s plan for international expansion here.

What’s happening in fast food and dining?

Restaurant coronavirus

Il Canale restaurant is open for outdoor dining in Washington, DC.

Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post/Getty Images

The state of the restaurant industry is in constant flux. Here were some of this week’s stories:

A strangely political week for McDonald’s

McDonalds spicy chicken nuggets

Irene Jiang/Business Insider

Whether for its wildly popular Travis Scott meal or its Spicy Chicken McNuggets, McDonald’s was on everyone’s minds this week. Here’s are some headlines the chain made:

And in political news … 


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