business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Kroger announced that it has opened its latest Kitchen United MIX virtual food court inside one of its Dallas stores, giving customers "the option to mix and match items from various restaurants on one order for pickup or delivery, ultimately allowing individuals and groups to enjoy variety without having to compromise."

According to the announcement, "Kitchen United MIX houses local and national restaurants, including Dog Haus, Curry Up Now, Monkey King Noodle Company, Celebrity Chef David Chang's Fuku, Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, Carl's Jr., Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos and The Impossible Shop.

"This opening marks the first Kitchen United MIX in Dallas and third partnership within Kroger. Kitchen United MIX has a total of four locations in Texas, which includes a new location in Frisco that opened last month.

•  Having announced that he is closing 16 stores around the country because of safety concerns, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he plans to close more stores "that are 'not unprofitable' due to an uptick in safety-related problems including crime, homelessness and drug use in bathrooms."

“This is just the beginning, and there are going to be many more,” Schultz said. “It has shocked me that one of the primary concerns that our retail partners have is their own personal safety.”

"Not unprofitable" is such an interesting - and vague - phrase to use.  Forgive my cynicism, but I think it is worth asking whether Schultz could be using safety issues - and nobody here is denying that they exist in some places - as an excuse to close stores that are the focus of unionization efforts.  Or maybe Schultz would just like to cull the herd without having to admit that the company has oversaturated certain places, without having to admit it.  Not sure why I find Schultz to have so little credibility at the moment, but that's just what my gut is telling me.