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After Prom Party Guide

After Prom Party Guide
After Prom Party Guide
How To Plan, Finance, Promote And Stage A Fun Substance-free After Prom Party.
After Prom Party Guide

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After Beyoncé Shout Out, Red Lobster Makes “Lobsterworthy” Shirts For Valentine’s Day

Matt Cowan / Getty Images

Red Lobster, the restaurant chain embraced by Beyoncé as a reward for excellent sex, is giving away “Lobsterworthy” t-shirts to its most, erm, accomplished customers for Valentine's Day.

In case you forgot, this is Beyconcé’s poetic lyric about Red Lobster in “Formation.”

In case you forgot, this is Beyconcé's poetic lyric about Red Lobster in "Formation."

Via youtube.com

After the song hit last weekend, Red Lobster sales on Sunday increased 33% compared to the same Sunday a year earlier. It's possible now the bump from the salacious lyric could be sustained through Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day is one of the chain's busiest days. “Red Lobster did a study several years ago and found 42% of Americans think lobster is the most romantic food,” spokeswoman Erica Ettori told BuzzFeed News.

“Lobsterworthy” has some pre-Beyoncé history at the company — for a marketing campaign in February 2015, the chain had added the term to Urbandictionary.com to mean “a moment or an occasion that you consider so special that you have to go celebrate with a delicious lobster, as if it was an edible trophy or…something.”

The term, of course, has a whole new meaning post-Beyoncé.

And here it is, Red Lobster’s sexy new t-shirt, a gift fit for lovers.

And here it is, Red Lobster's sexy new t-shirt, a gift fit for lovers.

Red Lobster

So how is Red Lobster reacting to all the attention it's getting thanks to Beyoncé, queen of hype, bestower of wonder?

The restaurant — which disappointed fans with its lackluster response on Twitter to the “Formation” shout out — denied to BuzzFeed News that the Lobsterworthy shirt promotion is a response to “Formation.”

“That’s the beauty of #lobsterworthy…it means different things to different people,” said Ettori. “It’s a nice coincidence that these two things came together.”

Uh huh, sure, Red Lobster. “Coincidence.”

Uh huh, sure, Red Lobster. "Coincidence."

Via de-klein.tumblr.com

For seven days starting Feb. 12, the chain is giving away 1,000 lobsterworthy shirts daily to customers who take of photo with their date in their restaurant and post it on Twitter or Instagram with the tragically unromantic hashtag #rlshirtoffer. Whether you are truly lobsterworthy, however, is for someone else to decide.

Red Lobster Sales Shot Up 33% After Beyoncé’s “Formation”

People Are Going To Red Lobster Now Because Of Beyoncé

BuzzFeed – Business

Red Lobster Sales Shot Up 33% After Beyoncé’s “Formation”

Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Last weekend, Beyoncé blessed fans with this lyric in her new single “Formation” — or, more specifically, she blessed casual seafood chain Red Lobster:

Via youtube.com

Now the Orlando-based restaurant chain says its sales this Sunday were up 33% compared to Sunday a year ago, following the mention from Queen Bey.

Red Lobster spokeswoman Erica Ettori told BuzzFeed News the company “had no advance warning” about the song and was “completely surprised.” She said they “continued to see positive momentum into Monday,” but also noted that the current Lobsterfest promotion may be partly responsible for the bump.

(Yeah, sure, Red Lobster. It was the Lobsterfest. Definitely Lobsterfest.)

Via gossipgirl.alloyentertainment.com

There's no doubt “Formation” kindled excitement for Red Lobster on Twitter:

Even if they were let down by Red Lobster's less inspired response to the whole thing.

The sales bump from Beyoncé's amorous lyric may not be over for Red Lobster yet. Valentine's Day is right around the corner.

Here’s the full “Formation” music video.

youtube.com

People Are Going To Red Lobster Now Because Of Beyoncé

BuzzFeed – Business

There’s Now A Concert Venue Named After The Store Express

Express / Via express.com

There is now a concert venue named for mall chain Express in its hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

The LC Pavilion, which hosts acts like Ellie Goulding, Vance Joy and The 1975, will be renamed to Express Live!, the retailer said today. It was previously named for an apartment builder in the area.

While it's not unusual for a retailer to buy the naming rights to a venue — i.e. Levi's Stadium, Target Field — Express is substantially smaller than those companies, with just over $ 2 billion in annual sales. (Levi's has annual sales of $ 4.8 billion, while Target's is $ 73 billion.) It's also a throwback for those who best remember Express from high school, when it somehow occupied a place in suburban minds as a destination for both professional-looking clothes and club-wear.

PromoWest Productions / Via Facebook: promowestlive

“Music plays an integral role in the identity and social interactions of EXPRESS shoppers, who follow an influx of artists on social media,” the retailer said in a statement without specifying how much it paid for the rights. “Attending a performance at the newly named EXPRESS LIVE! venue offers the ultimate connection and experience for a true fan.”

Presumably, it will also get big music acts and concertgoers to tweet, 'gram and Facebook post that they're at “Express Live!”, though whether they will use upper-case letters and an exclamation mark remains to be seen.

Express, which has also partnered with Kate Upton and basketball player Stephen Curry in the past year, has been doing relatively well in a tough retail environment, especially as it ramps up its outlet business. It's posted increases in its same-store sales for the past three quarters and expects another for the fourth quarter, and saw its stock rise 18% last year.

BuzzFeed – Business

Urban Outfitters Drops To 6-Year Low After Pivot To Pizza

The company isn’t spending all that much to acquire a chain of Italian restaurants, but that, combined with its results yesterday, left a bad taste in investors’ mouths.

Wall Street Journal / Via wsj.com

Urban Outfitters' stock closed at a six-year low on Tuesday, after the combination punch of reporting tepid earnings and announcing the acquisition of a gourmet pizza chain.

The acquisition of a group of Italian restaurants, including Pizzeria Vetri, was touted as a way to help drive traffic to stores yesterday, as well as a successful standalone concept.

“A big attraction of this concept is the enormous breadth of its appeal,” CEO Richard Hayne said on an earnings call yesterday. “Very young to very old, everyone loves great pizza.”

Academic research backs up Hayne's claim: everyone really does love great pizza. But Wall Street isn't shouting Mozzerella Tov just yet. Instead, the move has confused analysts and investors, and served as a warning shot for the retail industry.

The purchase represents an “overly optimistic solution to reverse a decline in sales momentum,” Eric Beder, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities wrote today. He added that the company is facing a “crisis of investor confidence.”

Worse, while the retailer's purchase might be viewed as a creative solution to declining foot traffic in malls, it served as “a form of affirmation that the traffic-dependent retail model is facing structural concerns,” Simeon Siegel, an analyst at Nomura Securities, wrote in a separate note today.

That concern was reflected in Urban's stock: After falling 7.4% on Monday it tumbled another 3.8% Tuesday, closing the day at $ 21.80. That's the lowest closing price since July 2009. Urban has lost more than $ 300 million in market value in the past two days.

Deliciousnessrules.tumblr.com / Via giphy.com

Urban Outfitters' purchase of the Vetri Family group of restaurants, which also includes higher-end Italian eateries in Philadelphia, cost less than $ 20 million, the company told Bloomberg News. The company's CFO, Frank Conforti, told the news outlet that it will spend only $ 1 million each to add new restaurants.

Hayne told investors yesterday that new locations “can be standalone restaurants or part of a larger retail complex.”

Urban Outfitters reported sales and earnings that missed analysts' estimates, amid weaker-than-expected customer traffic — something Nordstrom and Macy's also noted last week. In addition the company, which also owns Anthropologie and Free People, has been dealing with a shaky transition to a new fulfillment center, and is recovering from missteps at the Urban and Anthropologie brands.

“We wonder what the overriding need was to invest the company's capital when they could have probably franchised the restaurant expansion,” Beder of Wunderlich wrote of the company's decision to invest in the restaurants. “Frankly, it seems a poor use of company capital.”


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BuzzFeed – Business

After Rampant Growth In 2014, Chipotle Is Slowing Down

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Chipotle has a more cautious outlook now after it gleefully tore through 2014.

The Denver-based chain, started 22 years ago, grew sales at restaurants open at least 13 months by 16.8% in 2014, an impressive feat for any restaurant company. But it now appears that this period of supernatural growth has passed.

Chipotle said Tuesday it expects same restaurant sales to increase by “low-to-mid single digit” percentages this year, and expects just a “low-single digit” percent increase in 2016. Company executives told investors on Tuesday that October sales so far have been “choppy” and that it needs to continue to increase awareness of the brand and its branding message about food quality.

BuzzFeed News

One of the chain's challenges now is the very thing that helped it soar — its strict food standards that include, among other things, raising animals without antibiotics.

Specifically in 2015, Chipotle's sales were hurt by a carnitas shortage. The chain pulled pork off menus in a large share of restaurants in January when a supplier failed to comply with its animal welfare policies. The search for a replacement took months: in late September, the company announced carnitas had returned to about 90% of restaurants thanks to a new U.K. based pork supplier. The absence of the meat, however, had already dented growth.

As Chipotle worked through supplier issues this year, competing fast food chains also made announcements that they would gradually adopt some of Chipotle's popular food policies, which have won favor with consumers. McDonalds, for instance, will stop using chicken raised with antibiotics that are important to human medicine in the U.S. by March of 2017. Subway announced Tuesday that it will eliminate antibiotics use in all meats in the U.S., starting with chicken in 2016, followed by turkey, and then pork and beef by 2025.

Still, the changing landscape doesn't mean Chipotle is past its growth stage. The chain will open a total of 215 to 225 new restaurants in 2015, and about the same number again in 2016.

As for the two smaller chains Chipotle owns, the company says it not yet ready to ramp up expansion. Both ShopHouse and Pizzeria Locale are still in what the company called an “early brand building” stage, though they both do provide another avenue for Chipotle to grow.

BuzzFeed – Business

People Are Upset After Adobe Showed Off A New Tool By Editing A Smile Onto A Woman

“It’s extremely not okay to sell a product by demonstrating its power to manipulate women to your liking,” one user wrote.

As you’ve probably heard, Apple did its annual fall event where it shows off its new products on Wednesday.

As you've probably heard, Apple did its annual fall event where it shows off its new products on Wednesday.

Stephen Lam / Getty Images

One of the presentations at the event was by Adobe, the maker of Photoshop and Flash.

instagram.com

During the presentation, Adobe’s director of design Eric Snowden introduced a new feature called Adobe Fix. The feature has facial detection, and lets you change a person’s facial features in a photo.

instagram.com


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BuzzFeed – Tech

SpaceX Rocket Explodes After Liftoff On Space Station Cargo Mission

The private space company’s scientists are trying to work out what went wrong.

An unmanned SpaceX rocket on a cargo mission to the International Space Station exploded shortly after liftoff on Sunday in Florida.

instagram.com

The Falcon 9 rocket from entrepreneur Elon Musk’s space firm exploded shortly after it took off at 10:22 a.m. in Cape Canaveral.

instagram.com

NASA Launch Commentator George Diller said on the space agency’s live blog that they had confirmed the rocket had broken up, but it’s not clear yet exactly what went wrong.

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BuzzFeed – Tech

The Morning After: Dick Costolo and Jack Dorsey Discuss Twitter’s Future

Murky answers to straightforward questions.

Twitter co-founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey.

Mary Altaffer / AP

You can learn a lot from the things people don't say.

Soon-to-be-former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and his interim replacement, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, jumped on the line with BuzzFeed News this morning to discuss Costolo's resignation. It's a time of uncertainty for Twitter; the executive suite change is amplifying talk of a potential takeover and the company's seeming disconnect with Wall Street. But the two transitioning leaders, when asked outright about both issues, hardly gave definitive answers.

Though Costolo wouldn't acknowledge Wall Street ire as a possible reason for his departure, he has been under fire for not delivering the user and revenue growth many investors believed they were signing up for when Twitter went public in 2013. Asked if he might have set investor expectations too high at the time, Costolo punted. “I don't think that's our concern to be frank,” he said, before diving into a discussion of the product.

Wall Street values Twitter at more than $ 23 billion, yet the company only brought in slightly over $ 1.4 billion in revenue in 2014. Investors clearly expect better from Twitter and may press for additional change if those expectations aren't met.

One possible change: a takeover. Asked if Twitter might be better off being acquired by a larger company, Dorsey responded with a pre-rolled PR bullet point about Twitter independence. “We do have a fiduciary obligation to make sure that we're maximizing shareholder value and we believe that there's every reason we should be able to do that as an independent company,” he said. “That is what we're optimizing for and that's what we're pushing.”

As for Twitter's product, there are some changes in the pipeline — the question is, how dramatic? Costolo said Twitter's goal has always been to build a product that appeals to a broad range of users and quickly evolves newbies into power users. “We want to deliver a product experience that works both really well for those core users who delight in it today and also makes it so much easier for new users to jump in and get the product right away, [and become] core, heavy users,” he said. “We think that's possible. We have products that we're working on right now to achieve that, and those have begun to roll out and will continue to roll out over the course of the year.”

Since announcing his departure, Costolo has talked about how much he loves Twitter (his goodbye email to Twitter employees contained the subject line “#LoveWhereYouWork”) and his happiness with its performance, which is somewhat odd for a man who just quit his job. When asked about his personal reason for leaving, Costolo offered up this dusty corporate chestnut: more time with family. “This is just going to be some time for me to get some time to spend with my kids, having achieved so much of what we originally set out to achieve and with still so much ahead for the company,” he said.

Though Costolo is stepping down, he appears ready to continue to play an active role in the company. “I'm going to be still on the board. I'm going to be involved of the company,” he said. “Our new Atlanta office space is opening in September, I'm still going to be out there for that. I'm going to stay close to the company. I love everything about it.”

BuzzFeed – Tech

Days After Obama, New York Attorney General Proposes Data Breach Laws

In addition to strengthening notification laws, Attorney General Schneiderman is proposing incentive programs to ensure businesses comply with laws.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has proposed a set of rules that would overhaul statewide data security laws and strengthen consumer protection.

As New York State rules stand, businesses are required to notify those affected by a security breach if “private information” is compromised. But “private information” according to New York State Technology Law 208 only includes social security numbers, drivers license or non-driver ID numbers, or any account numbers and passwords “which would permit access to an individual's financial account.”

The newly proposed rules, however, would mandate that businesses also notify users affected if a data breach included email addresses and passwords, security questions, or medical or health insurance information.

Schneiderman's announcement comes just days after President Barack Obama announced a legislation proposing a national standard for consumer protection in the face of a data breach. Though President Obama gave few details about the proposed legislation (some expect him to go into more detail at the State of the Union on Tuesday), he did say that companies would be required to notify users of a data breach within 30 days.

Schneiderman also proposes a mandate that every company that stores private information must be required to have reasonable security measures such as employee training, regular tests of controls and procedures, and protection of physical places where information is stored.

Under the bill, Schneiderman proposes that New York State offer an incentive program for businesses to adopt a “model security” standard, as well as a program to incentivize companies to share forensic reports with law enforcement by ensuring that the disclosure would not be considered a breach of privilege or protection. Businesses that meet the model security standard would be granted some form of safe harbor protection that could include an “elimination of liability or burden shifting effect in litigation surrounding a data breach.”

In an initial draft of the announcement of the bill provided by the Attorney General's deputy press secretary Elizabeth Bold, the proposed incentive programs included tax breaks as an option. But ultimately, Bold told BuzzFeed News, that aspect of the incentive program “never got past initial stages of bill drafting.”

This isn't the first time Schneiderman has spoken out on technology issues in New York. In October of last year, Schneiderman faced a slew of criticism and was seen as a new technology opponent after a series of legal battles against companies like Lyft, Uber, and Airbnb. But in more recent battles between government regulators and Uber and Lyft, Schneiderman has come out staunchly in support of the tech companies. As BuzzFeed News reported in November, Schneiderman wrote a letter to the TLC criticizing a proposed set of rules for restricting competition.

There are currently security breach notification laws in 47 states, but the breadth and depth of the laws vary greatly. Schneiderman claims the bill as proposed would be the nation's most comprehensive. “Let's act now to make our state a national model for data privacy and security,” Schneiderman said via a press statement.

BuzzFeed – Tech

Uber Offers Customer £20 After She Reported Her Driver’s Sexual Harassment

The customer said her driver offered her oral sex during her journey in London in March. Uber told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that it had kicked the driver off its service.

An Uber customer who reported that her driver offered her oral sex during a ride in London in March was offered £20 ($ 31) credit as compensation, Newsweek reported.

An Uber customer who reported that her driver offered her oral sex during a ride in London in March was offered £20 ($ 31) credit as compensation, Newsweek reported.

Sergio Perez / Reuters

The rider notified the company of her driver's misconduct in an email, which Newsweek reported seeing. The email said: “Driver was very forward and quite creepy. Asked me if I wanted him to go down on me. Not cool.”

She received a response from an Uber marketing manager who apologised for the “intrusive experience” and said the company's driver operations manager was “already investigating this … and I can assure you that the necessary actions will be taken to avoid a similar incident in future,” Newsweek said.

The manager signed the response by thanking the customer for “for raising this with us – while painful to hear, it's the best way for us to address any incidents like this”, Newsweek reported.

Unhappy with the response, the female passenger reportedly wrote back with a more detailed account of the event. She said the driver invited her to sit in the front of the cab with the driver, and she took him up on it because she felt car sick.

Towards the end of the journey he was asking if I liked blow jobs, saying that he was very good at going down on girls or giving “sucky sucky” to girls and did I want him to do it to me. He even suggested that he could pull over into a side street and do it now if I wanted, which was I think the scariest part of the drive.

I am aware that this kind of thing becomes very much a he-said, she-said kind of deal, but I did want to make you aware of it as I feel that people really trust the Uber name (as I do) and my trust was completely violated. I am pretty relaxed and outgoing and I feel that I can take care of myself, and if I felt so uncomfortable I dread to think how a more timid girl would have felt. I won't be taking this any further but I do implore you to take this quite seriously as I worry for other women who could find themselves in a similar situation.


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BuzzFeed – Tech

Apple Didn’t Want Alabama’s LGBT Rights Bill Named After Its CEO

Rep. Patricia Todd called her bill to ban discrimination against LGBT employees the Tim Cook Economic Development Act. Update: Apple has issued a statement citing a “miscommunication.”

AP Photo/Bob Gathany, AL.com

Representative Patricia Todd, the only out lesbian in the Alabama State Legislature, had a plan to get attention for a bill that would ban discrimination against LGBT state employees: Name it the “Tim Cook Economic Development Act.” The bill's title would honor Apple's CEO, who came out as gay in October. Cook recently criticized Alabama — his home state — for allowing discrimination against LGBT employees.

Apple was less enchanted with the idea of a LGBT-rights bill named after its chief executive, Todd said.

“I did get a call from Apple asking me not to name it the Tim Cook bill,” she told BuzzFeed News. “They don't want their corporation tied up in the political battle. I understand where they are coming from. I quickly said I would not name it after him.”

But it's difficult to begrudge Todd, a Democrat, for trying to get attention. Naming the bill after Cook was a “kind of tongue in cheek” way to give her bill a boost in a hostile climate, she said. “I don't think I'll get very far because the Republicans have a supermajority in the legislature. You have got to have a sense of humor if you're going to be a liberal in Alabama.”

On being the only out gay person in the Alabama legislature, Todd laughed. “It's lonely.”

Todd introduced a similar bill in 2011 that would prohibit the state from discriminating against employees, such as teachers, on the basis of their sexual orientation. That legislation never got a hearing, Todd said. “The committee chair is Republican and he told me in no uncertain terms that the bill would never see the light of day.”

This time around, Todd intends to pre-file the bill before the 2015 legislative session begins in spring and add protections for transgender employees.

Taking a somewhat adversarial stance, Republican Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's office recently told the Anniston Star that the federal Civil Rights Act already bans the state from discriminating based on sexual orientation. But Todd said she knows public-school teachers in Alabama who were fired for being gay, and that she was fired from a state university because the university's board discovered she is a lesbian. Todd argued that banning LGBT discrimination would help repair the state's reputation as hostile to civil rights, a stigma that she said scares off Fortune 500 companies that want to employ a diverse workforce.

She said the GOP majority is all but certain to scotch her latest bill. “They don't think anybody is being discriminated against,” she said. “What's interesting is that they are all white men who say that.”

Todd said she promotes long-shot legislation to spark conversations about issues that get little attention in her southern state. “I do have a lot of fun doing this, especially when you know you're not going to win. It's not always about winning,” she said. “It's about, can I move the ball forward a little bit?”

Apple has come out in support of same-sex marriage, and the Human Rights Campign has given Apple a perfect score on treatment of LGBT employees. Apple did not respond to questions by the time this story was published.

BuzzFeed – Tech