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🍰 The Cheesecake Factory’s unlikely return

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Scientists at the University of Waterloo in Canada have determined that the best, splash-free urinal design is a tall, thin structure that pee hits at a 30-degree angle. Part of their research involved observing dogs.

In today’s email:

  • Eggs: Why the cluck are they so expensive?
  • Dope: Google’s plans for CBD ads.
  • The Cheesecake Factory: A phoenix among restaurants.
  • Around the web: Doppelgangers, an AI magazine, horsin’ around, and more interesting internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss eggflation, a TikTok ban, a metaverse slowdown, and more.

The big idea
chicken

Why are eggs so expensive?

Eggs are outta control, with prices up a whopping 49% this year.

In perspective: Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the average US price of a dozen large, Grade A eggs was ~$3.59 in November. Last November, you would’ve paid ~$1.72.

Why?

There are a few compounding factors scrambling up prices, but the biggest is bird flu.

You can eat an egg laid by a hen with bird flu, but most chickens will die if infected. This year, 57.7m+ poultry birds have been infected, the worst outbreak in US history.

Additionally:

  • The cost of chicken feed is up.
  • People still eat eggs when prices rise, driving the prices even higher, Daniel Sumner, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of California, Davis, told Marketplace.

BTW, if you look back at that BLS data, you’ll find egg prices also spiked in 2015. Why? Again, bird flu.

It’s not just the US

For example:

  • In Britain, egg prices are up due to bird flu, plus the war in Ukraine driving up energy and chicken feed prices. Farmers, who say they lose money on egg production, are cutting back or quitting.
  • In Japan, wholesale egg prices are up 31% YoY due to rising chicken feed costs and bird flu.

Meanwhile…

… chicken meat prices — up 14.5% YoY in October due to decreased supply and increased demand — are starting to fall.

Bird flu is less likely to impact broilers (birds used for meat) than layers (birds used for eggs) for one simple, if not morbid reason: they don’t live as long.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

A mystery: How did Donut the family dog know when her humans would come home from school? According to Alexandra Horowitz, a psychologist who studies dog condition, it’s possible she could “smell time.”

SNIPPETS

The US House of Representatives banned TikTok on government-issued phones, citing security issues.

To increase affordable housing, NYC’s new short-term rental registration law will require hosts to prove they live in their listing and that it meets zoning and safety requirements. It could boot ~10k Airbnb rentals.

Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko said he’s received more than five offers from US investors in the wake of Twitter’s turmoil, but he’s dedicated to remaining a nonprofit social platform.

Sales of VR headsets in the US dropped 2% YoY, despite metaverse buzz. Analysts expect 2023 to follow suit amid inflation and recession concerns.

Southwest Airlines flight cancellations continued, with 2.5k issued by Wednesday afternoon. US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says his department will hold the company “accountable.”

YouTube removed 5.8m channels in Q3 2022, the most ever in a single quarter. Over 91.2% were booted for being misleading, spamming, or scamming.

Digital marketing how-tos: Timesavers from Trendsters who know their shit. Peep the mega-compilation of case studies, like the three keys to six-figure product launches and nailing TikTok ads.

Cash is king: 82% of companies fail due to poor cash flow management. Don’t worry — we rounded up all the steps you can take to avoid it.

Chart
search interest for CBD
Oliva Heller

Google rolls out new rules for CBD advertising

Some may consider this dope news.

Google plans to start serving ads for some CBD products in January. A Google spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that the move comes as interest in CBD products has surged.

  • In 2021, the FDA reported that it expects the $4.6B CBD market to quadruple by 2026.

As part of the pilot, starting Jan. 20, Google will allow for the promotion of FDA-approved pharmaceuticals containing CBD. The ads will initially be restricted to people ages 18+ in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico.

Interestingly, the move comes as the FDA announced it’s reviewing regulatory plans for CBD-containing foods and supplements that it plans to outline in the coming months — a development that sank cannabis stocks between 5% and 9%.

Further reading: Weed brands have high hopes for the metaverse.

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King of Carbs
cheesecake slice

The Cheesecake Factory defies all odds

If you’ve ever eaten an entire loaf of brown bread while flipping through a menu the size of a small novel, you know the Cheesecake Factory.

First opened in 1978 in Beverly Hills, the restaurant now has 211 North American locations and consistently ranks as a customer favorite. And it’s seeing record revenues despite doing arguably everything wrong, per Vox.

Restaurant rebel

The rules for a successful restaurant are simple: minimize everything. Labor, ingredients, and menu offerings are often cut to scale successfully.

Meanwhile, the Cheesecake Factory:

  • Has 250+ items on the menu
  • Makes its food on-site from scratch
  • Strives for a lavish, in-person dining experience

During the pandemic…

… that spelled danger for the chain. The company furloughed 41k hourly workers and was charged by the SEC for failing to disclose it was bleeding out $6m in cash per week.

But Cheesecake pivoted its efforts to delivery, rehiring the majority of its employees to sling carbs to couch-bound customers.

Still cheesin’

Nevertheless, the Cheesecake Factory bounced back. The company reported record revenue of $769m in July 2021, and topped that with $832.6m in Q2 of 2022, despite inflation and reduced consumer spending.

Even more shocking: The restaurant’s most popular dish isn’t cheesecake at all. It’s fettuccine alfredo, which is ordered 200k+ times every month.

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AROUND THE WEB

📺 On this day: In 1949, KC2XAK in Bridgeport, Connecticut, became the first UHF TV station to implement a daily schedule.

🤯 That’s interesting: Did you know Brian Eno composed the Windows 95 startup sound?

🤣 Haha: A group honoring people who look like, but are not, Adam Sandler.

🤖 Huh: This online magazine, mostly full of clickbait, is written by AI.

🐴 Aww: And now, just horsin’ around.

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Sara Friedman, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Classic Basque Cheesecake” Dent.

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