Jun 26, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 422 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: Facebook will begin labeling posts that break its rules but are deemed "newsworthy." Go deeper.

  • Earlier this afternoon, Unilever announced it will stop buying ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the rest of the year.

🎧 Axios Re:Cap, our new afternoon podcast, digs in with Boston Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy. Hear it here.

1 big thing: Fast food catapults to the future

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated trends in fast food, giving franchises that stayed open a new leg up over their dine-in competition.

Why it matters: Social distancing was a seismic event for customer behavior, prompting rapid changes from some American classics.

The big picture: Drive-through and advance ordering have higher margins for restaurants, with a side benefit of luring more customers, the WSJ reports.

  • "Franchisees can reduce labor costs by operating stores without the usual dine-in service."
  • "While urban locations are suffering, suburban stores with drive-through service are seeing a massive increase in demand."
  • "Starbucks is planning to build more locations in urban areas designed specifically for takeout and advance ordering."

Efficiency plays a big role...

  • Chains are reducing menu options, closing dining rooms and offering better deals.
  • McDonald’s has cut 25 seconds off its average drive-through wait time, its CEO said last week.

Between the lines: This is also a moment when other food chains, including grocery stores, are looking to chip away at the power of delivery services.

  • Kroger and Albertsons are among the grocers that are willing to do the shopping for customers, with no fees for pickup.

The bottom line: Necessity and competition have spurred a solid 5 years or more of innovation in about 4 months.

2. Pic du jour
Photo: Mark Makela/Reuters

Journalists maintain physical distance while Joe Biden speaks yesterday during a campaign event at a recreation center in Lancaster, Pa.

3. Catch up quick
  1. Florida and Texas have closed bars as the outbreaks surge. Florida's confirmed cases yesterday were the highest single-day tally of the pandemic. Go deeper.
  2. 16 of the NBA's 302 players tested positive for the coronavirus after league-wide testing. Go deeper.
  3. Microsoft will permanently close most of its physical retail stores, but 4 campus locations will remain open as Microsoft showrooms dubbed "experience centers." Go deeper.
  4. The House voted to recognize Washington, D.C., as a state, largely along party lines, 232-180. It won't go anywhere in the Senate. Go deeper.
  5. The last surviving Ku Klux Klansmen who bombed a predominately Black church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963, killing four girls, has died from natural causes while serving a life sentence. Go deeper.
4. Country music reckoning
Country singer Rissi Palmer, from left; Chuck Harmony, left, and Claude Kelly of Louis York; and country rapper Breland. Photos: AP

The country music industry is beginning to address its long and complicated history with race, AP reports.

  • Why it matters: Historically country music was created by and played in both white and Black communities in the South, but the music became marketed along racial lines in the Jim Crow era, said Amanda Marie Martinez, a historian and writer who is studying country music and race.

The bottom line: Black artists say the industry needs to do more than just the easy stuff, like name changes and expressions of solidarity.

Worthy of your time.

Mike Allen