The Drive-Thru: The companies revolutionising retail, All-Star Weekend approaching, and layoffs at Wayfair, Walmart, and Kohl's

Olive Garden customers can get a breadstick bouquet for Valentine’s Day.Olive Garden


Happy Friday! Can you think of a better way to spend your Valentine’s Day than by scrolling through The Drive-Thru, Business Insider’s weekly roundup of the biggest stories in restaurants and retail? I know I can’t.

If you haven’t subscribed to The Drive-Thru yet, you’re in luck! Today, we’re offering a Valentine’s Day special, so signing up is free of charge! That is how much we adore you.

It’s also free to subscribe on other days as well, but that’s beside the point. Subscribe here!

Anyway, if we haven’t met before, hello! I’m Shoshy Ciment, junior reporter here on the retail desk. I’ve been pretty swamped with sneaker-related news in anticipation of All-Star Weekend (more on that later) but there’s a lot more going on outside of sportswear and athletics in the retail world this week.

Here’s everything you need to know:

Layoffs at Wayfair, Kohl’s, and Walmart’s Jet Black
Kohl’s is just one of the retailers to announce layoffs this week.AP Photo/David Duprey

This week was filled with layoffs at retailers across the board.

Kohl’s is laying off about 250 employees, which includes an entire “layer” of regional store leadership. The company said the reorganization comes “from a position of financial strength,” and no store closures were announced.

Wayfair confirmed to Business Insider on Thursday that it would be laying off more than 500 employees, or 3% of its global workforce. The company’s CEO sent an email informing employees on Thursday morning.

Finally, Walmart is shutting down Jet Black, its New York City-based, members-only shopping service, on February 21. A Walmart spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that 293 of the over 350 jobs with the service would be cut.

What does it all mean? It’s a scary time for retail workers, even at companies that seem to be bucking the trend of mass store closures.

Revolutionising Retail: A series from Business Insider
A cleaning assisting robot was rolled out to Stop & Shop stores about a year ago.David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The retail desk at BI put together a series on the companies, trends, and technologies revolutionising retail. We covered everything from AI to the Amazon impending takeover of the grocery industry.

Here were some highlights:

Hayley spoke to Stephenie Landry, Amazon’s vice president of grocery delivery, about how the e-commerce giant is poised to take over grocery. Bethany wrote about how the retail apocalypse has turned stores into places for shoppers to take a “vacation from reality.”

Plus, I interviewed Phil Raub, president of B8ta, whose company is helping retailers like Toys R Us, Macy’s, and Lowe’s revamp their store experience.

Read more in the series:

All-Star Weekend sneakers are still iconic
The Air Jordan 11 sneakers that Michael Jordan wore during the 1996 All-Star Game are still one of the top All-Star pairs to sell on eBay.eBay

All-Star Weekend begins today, and some highly anticipated shoes are set to debut.

Nike is dropping the Adapt BB 2.0 on Sunday. The self-lacing sneakers are set to go for $US400 at retail, but some pairs are already selling for more than that on StockX and GOAT.

The shoes that debut at this series of NBA-hosted events and games, which culminates in the All-Star Game on Sunday, are known to be iconic. Ahead of this weekend, eBay released a list of the top 10 most iconic All-Star Weekend sneakers to sell on its website in the last year. Unsurprisingly, Air Jordans reigned supreme.

If you do manage to cop a pair of some highly coveted shoes this weekend, here’s how you can sell them on Instagram to make a massive profit.

Taste test of the week: Which pasta chain is best?
The chocolate brownie lasagna cost $US10.49 at Olive Garden.Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Irene and Priscilla celebrated Valentine’s Day “Lady and the Tramp” style – that is, by sharing plates of pasta at two of the most popular Italian-style chain restaurants.

The two taste testers ate similar meals at Olive Garden and Buca di Beppo and found that they enjoyed the second a lot more.

A notable low point at Olive Garden was the chocolate brownie lasagna ($US10.49) that Irene described as “a cloying bite of sweet with a touch of sour and a hint of existential despair.”

Read the full taste test here.

Everything else you need to know: