Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

Amazon’s New York plans get squashed, McDonald’s actually lose a trademark battle and Patisserie Valerie gets thrown a lifeline by an Irish private equity firm.

We caught up with our columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and Founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.

1. McDonald’s actually lose a trademark battle…to the Irish

Coming from Irish parents, it’s always good to see the Irish fighting spirit in action. In terms of punching above its weight, it doesn’t get much bigger than winning a trademark war against McDonald’s. But that’s exactly what’s happened when Irish fast food chain Supermac won a landmark legal battle against McDonald’s over the use of trademarks.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office cancelled the use of the trademark ‘Big Mac’ which will now allow Supermac to expand into Britain and Europe.

Supermac founder Pat McDonagh got the nickname Supermac after dominating a Gaelic football match in the ’60s. He took that name and opened up 106 stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Always good to see a win for the little guys against a massive company notorious for gobbling up every trademark they can.

2. Patisserie Valerie is saved by Irish (yep, they’re on fire) private equity firm

It seems to be a flavour of the week, but Patisserie Valerie were saved after Causeway Capital Partners sorted a rescue deal that will save 100 stores.

The company had gone into administration after falling into a black hole with suspected fraudulent accounting being pointed to as the culprit. The Irish firm purchased them for £13m, a fair way off the £450m it was once worth.

Causeway Capital’s Matt Scaife said on Thursday: “Patisserie Valerie is a heritage brand, much loved by its loyal customers. This investment should mark the end of a turbulent period for customers and suppliers alike. We are delighted to partner with the team and look forward to helping the business return to growth.”

3. Amazon pull the plug on New York HQ plans

The people have spoken. After a very public and drawn-out bidding process as to where Amazon would drop their headquarters anchor, they’ve given in to community backlash and withdrawn their plans to build a massive campus in Long Island, NY.

The neighbourhood fired up amidst concerns around public subsidies (To be fair, I doubt Amazon need $3 billion in public funds) as well as the gentrification of the neighbourhood that would lead to a rise in the cost of living.

It is a quick 180 for Amazon who made a very big deal out which city would win the rights to host the tech giant’s new shop. 50,000 jobs will now apparently be spread amongst its current outposts which keeps it leaner and more flexible.

4. Exports of Scotch whisky hit a record high last year

2018 was a great year for Scotch Whisky where exports grew 4% (£4.7bn) on the year before. The US became a £1bn market as the biggest market for scotch in the world, while sales also boomed in India and France.

All this while brexit looms over like a dark cloud.

“(The) industry does not take continued growth for granted,” said Karen Betts, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

“We also want to see the UK and EU agree to an open and positive future relationship, which delivers frictionless trade with the EU, and the UK to secure ambitious trading relationships with key markets around the world.”

5. A non-stop flight between London and Sydney is getting nearer to reality

A 10,600-mile trip. 20 hours. That would be the non-stop flight Qantas Airways are inching towards as Airbus and Boeing work on their proposals to get this tasty piece of work.

But there’s plenty that needs to go into consideration that includes a lot more than just adding more fuel tanks. Workplace arrangements for pilots for the long haul flights, the amount of seats, costs and cabin layout all have to be worked out with a view for the first flight in 2022.

The longest flight currently is Singapore Airline’s haul from their home capital to New York – 1,000 miles shorter than this would be.

‘Project Sunrise’ is a pretty cool code name, but I do wonder if I could still on a plane for 20 hours straight…

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