• As Starbucks continues its massive push into China, it’s now opening a new store there every day. The coffee chain sees China as its biggest opportunity for growth: Last year it announced it would open 500 Chinese outposts per year for five years, and it’s also preparing to open a fancy Roastery location in Shanghai.
• Interestingly, Starbucks competitor Peet’s Coffee also just opened its own fancy roastery in Shanghai.
• McDonald’s in Japan is finally accepting credit cards, which will surely come in handy for American tourists who are short on yen but have a hankering for a Pikachu McFlurry.
• Bakery-cafe chain Au Bon Pain just launched an “endless coffee mug”: It costs $199 and entitles the purchaser to endless free refills of hot coffee through the end of 2018. According to the fine print, users are limited to one refill every half hour, which is a hell of a lot of caffeine.
• The private equity firm that owns a majority stake in Arby’s wants to buy Buffalo Wild Wings.
• Hero chef José Andrés continues his post-Hurricane Maria recovery work in Puerto Rico:
Amazing job by @ChefVentura and team #ChefsForPuertoRico in Adjuntas. We went to El Lago community and used the trip too to give away solar lamps to people with no electricity yet.... pic.twitter.com/9VecIvWtsz— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) November 14, 2017
• Legendary chef Jeremiah Tower is not a fan of Instagram foods. "These crazy-looking foods are for desperation and done for the gimmick value and will disappear," he tells Bon Appetit. As for Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, Tower says, “It looks like the cat threw up.”
• Worldwide, tea is still more popular than coffee, but people aren’t willing to plunk down as much cash for a cup of tea as they will for a latte. To compete, experts say tea needs to up its snobbery factor: “They need to develop the snob appeal and connoisseurship and make it like wine,” says Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World.
• French Laundry kingpin Thomas Keller just opened a branch of Bouchon Bakery in Dubai, marking his first restaurant outside the U.S.:
Thrilled to be back in Dubai to celebrate the official opening of Bouchon Bakery @TheBeachDubai #FromYountvilleToDubai pic.twitter.com/RBH7Q29N2n— Thomas Keller (@Chef_Keller) November 14, 2017
• Here’s a very weird sentence that is nonetheless completely true: Actor Steve Martin’s bluegrass band just released a new music video that chronicles the long-distance relationship between a taco and an order of french fries. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯