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Monday, Jun 17, 2024

LABJ Insider: February 20

New Chief for Norms

Every incoming chief executive feels the heavy burden of duty. But Eric Wyatt may feel it most. He is the new head of Norms Restaurants, and you can almost hear Angelenos from Arcadia to Westlake Village exclaim, “Just don’t screw it up, Eric.”


Norms has been a favorite ever since used-car salesman Norm Roybark opened his first 24/7 diner in 1949 near Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood. After all, there just aren’t that many places that reliably serve, say, country-fried steak with mashed potatoes or ham and eggs with hash browns – including a dash of Googie architecture – at 3 a.m.

Fans of Norms may be reassured that Wyatt is an accomplished hand at the restaurant business. Most recently he was a senior vice president at Carl’s Jr. parent CKE Restaurant Holdings.

Among his first tasks is overseeing the opening of two new diners, one each in Hollywood and Ontario, which will give the Bellflower-based chain 23 restaurants, all in the L.A. area. 

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Beyond Meat’s beaten-down stock had at least one nice day recently: it went up 12% on Wednesday. Why? It may have something to do with news that day that McDonald’s is rolling out chicken-like nuggets, made of plant material by the El Segundo company, in 1,400 restaurants in Germany.    

European customers have generally been more receptive to plant-based meat substitutes than their burger-munching counterparts in the states. The McPlant burger, made by Beyond Meat, is now on the menu permanently in much of Europe, while it was pulled from American McDonald’s restaurants last year.

Beyond Meat could use the help. It has suffered disappointing earnings and sagging growth; its stock is down 60% over the past year – and that’s figuring in last week’s bump. 

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Los Angeles lost a towering leader Feb. 9 when Nelson Rising died at 81. He was a lawyer who became a real estate developer and ultimately a civic leader. Rising also was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco for several years and led Tom Bradley’s several runs for mayor and governor. He was known as a guy who had a knack for getting big, intricate projects accomplished – such as constructing the U.S. Bank Tower, which for years was the tallest building in the West.

But he was also known for his ability to listen to all sides and reach consensus despite daunting odds – which may explain his ability for getting big, complicated tasks done.

Th Insider is compiled by Editor-in-Chief Charles Crumpley. Submit ideas to [email protected]. 

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Charles Crumpley, Editor-In-Chief Author