Is The Future of Dining Digitization? Allset CEO Thinks So!

We are living in a world with a live and thriving “on-demand” economy.

From having the choice to watch your favorite TV shows on your own time and schedule, to ordering meals and groceries through your mobile phone or online.

Companies seem to have finally figured it out…

Time is of the essence!

People seem to be willing to pay for their precious time to avoid time-consuming, mundane tasks. And with so many efficiencies taking place in different aspects of people’s lives, consumers are getting accustomed to speedy services so they can get back to what’s most important to them.

This phenomenon has us thinking… Is the future of dining digitization?

On this episode of On Foodable Feature, we learn from Stas Matviyenko, CEO and co-founder of Allset—a San Francisco-based application that aims to help restaurants provide a more efficient dining experience to guests who are short for time.

Watch the full interview to learn how this app can help increase a restaurant operation’s bottom line, how the technology integration would look like, and costs associated with the service!

How The World's First OatMeals Cafe Has Reimagined The Use of The Traditional Grain

“I really believe that if you start your day with oatmeal you normally make better decisions throughout the rest of your day… So, this brand has a lot of legs in today’s world,” says Stephens.

On this episode of Emerging Brands, Samantha Stephens, chef and founder of OatMeals shares with Foodable the origins of her single-ingredient fast casual concept and how she built it from the ground up.

OatMeals is the world’s first oatmeal cafe located in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood in New York known for its brownstones buildings. Stephens believes her brand in very on-trend right now especially with the rise of the health movement and all the benefits and versatility that oats have to offer.

What sets this concept apart is the fact that not only it is a business concept that revolves around oats, but also the fact that it aims to evaluate the way traditional breakfast meals involving oats have been regarded for decades.

“So, it’s a build-your-own toppings bar. We’re sort of putting a non-traditional twist on old-fashioned oatmeals...,” says Stephens. “The more and more I ate oatmeal the more I realized it’s very similar to risotto or rice… You could really think about it as like a savory side dish. It’s so versatile! It sort of adapts well to any kind of topping you put on it…”

Stephens went on to explain how she experimented with the grain by adding parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, truffle oil, goat cheese, eggs, and bacon. She offers savory oatmeals as well as the traditional breakfast and sweet oatmeal offerings.

Listen to the podcast above to learn about how Samantha Stephens gained the confidence to build this business, the challenges she faces when figuring out a reasonable price point for her menu items, and how her concept aims to stay relevant in the food world in terms of trends.

To learn more about the Shark Tank-backed concept—OatMeals— check out the The Barron Report Live video interview below!

Danny Meyer-Backed Fast Casual Pizza Concept Transitions to Full-Service

It appears as though the Danny Meyer-backed pizza concept Martina wasn't performing as well as a fast casual concept. The New York pizzeria has transited from the fastcasual format to full-service.

The Union Square Hospitality Group, which started the fast casual success Shake Shack, closed Martina last week to complete the revamp.

The new restaurant opened back up Monday and is serving bigger portions and a new menu.

The menu includes more wine selections and a new Reuben with mortadella, artichoke slaw, and cheese.

Martina was opened in August of 2017 by the renowned chef Nick Anderer as a more affordable version of his restaurant Marta. Before the revamp, people would order at the counter then pick up their thin-crust pizzas at the counter after their buzzer went off.

Although this format has been proven successful for the better-burger chain Shake Shack, Martina has much more competition in the pizza market. Not only is it in a city known for its thinly slice pizza slices, but the pizza fast casual market is now much more saturated.

There's Blaze pizza, Mod Pizza, &pizza– just to name a few of the pizza-focused fast casuals rapidly expanding across the country.

Then Pizza's consumer Sentiment is down too. Customers are ordering pizza-less.

According to Foodable labs data, Pizza delivery is down by 18.5 percent year over year. This is partly because the quality of the pizza being delivered most of the time isn't up to customers' standard.

Will this influence guests to visit pizza fast casual concepts in store more? Or have guests developed a taste from different cuisines as more fast casual chains have emerged serving new exciting cuisines like Mediterranean food?

But USHG isn't giving up on the pizza concept, instead, the group is aiming to elevate it. Its rare for a restaurant to transition into a more formal format as the demand for on-the-go food becomes more widespread.

Do you think this revamp will pay off?

Read more about Martina's big change at "Eater" now.

Foodable Labs tracks over six million influencers and over 100 pizza chains. Want to find out what else is causing the slip in pizza Sentiment? Watch the video about the decline in pizza delivery below.

Amazon Will Open New Offices in These Two Cities



When the tech giant Amazon announced that it was deliberating on where to set-up its second headquarters, this ignited a bidding war from different cities in the country.

Amazon received 238 proposals and in January announced the 18 finalists that included L.A. and Chicago. But this month, the Seattle-based company finally made its decision.

Instead of setting up another large headquarters, which Amazon had called HQ2, the tech mogul will be opening two new offices– one in Queens, New York and another just outside of Washington, D.C.

Amazon, which is the world's third-most valuable company, is investing $5 billion to build the new office and will be getting $2 billion in tax credits.

The new developments are expected to create over 25,000 jobs in both the NYC and D.C. areas.

So why did Amazon pick these cities?

"Amazon talked up Long Island City’s breweries, waterfront parks and easy transit access. Rents there are typically lower than in Midtown Manhattan, which is just across the East River. The former industrial area also has a clock counting down the hours until the end of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first term in office," writes "Reuters."

But not everyone thinks this is a win for NYC.

“Our subways are crumbling, our children lack school seats, and too many of our neighbors lack adequate health care,” said Michael Gianaris, New York State Senator and Jimmy Van Bramer, City Council Member in a joint statement. “It is unfathomable that we would sign a $3 billion check to Amazon in the face of these challenges.”

The other office in Arlington, Virginia is close to the U.S. capital and Amazon is bidding for a $10 billion cloud-computing contract from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Both of these areas had quality schools and helicopter landing pads.

These new offices are just part of Amazon's plans to rule the E-commerce space.

Read more about the company's decision at "Reuters."

When the tech giant acquired Whole Foods, the food industry was forever changed.

It meant the company saw potential in the organic grocery and specialty food sector too.

Check out The Barron Report episode below to see how this acquisition impacted the industry and how the company is expected to steal customers from not only other retail giants and grocery chains but from foodservice businesses too.

Walmart's is Now Selling Blue Apron Meal-Kits



Its official, the e-commerce company owned by retail giant Walmart, will be the first retailer to sell Blue Apron meal-kits.

Now, customers in New York City, along with surrounding areas like Jersey City and Hoboken can receive a meal-kit with next-delivery through Jet’s City Grocery service.

Both companies announced the partnership on Monday and there will be two meal-kit recipes rotating specifically for customers.

For the launch, four meal-kits are available for delivery including the Togarashi Popcorn Chicken with Sweet Chili Slaw & Jasmine Rice and the Dukkah-Spiced Beef & Couscous with Tahini-Dressed Broccoli recipe.

The meal-kits, which feed two, are priced between $16.99 to $22.99 and customers don't have to subscribe to Blue Apron to get a meal-kit either.

“Teaming up with Jet enables us to dynamically serve the lifestyle of metropolitan consumers, who will now be able to conveniently fill up their online shopping carts with high-quality Blue Apron meals that can be cooked in 30 minutes or less while shopping for other everyday needs, " said Brad Dickerson, CEO of Blue Apron in a press release. "This exciting launch is another step forward in our channel expansion strategy and reflects the strength of the capabilities we are developing to readily support a variety of opportunities to broaden our access to consumers.”

This appears to be the latest strategic move by Blue Apron as the on-demand delivery space gets more competitive.

As meal-kit delivery services struggle to grow their subscriptions, partnering with retailers is a clever way to gain more customers, especially those that aren't sure about the subscription-based model.

Blue Apron was the first meal-kit company to go public, but its debut on the New York Stock Exchange was lukewarm. The Whole Foods acquisition by Amazon was announced the same month the meal-kit company went public, which diminished some of Blue Apron's momentum.

But now, Blue Apron has a partnership with one of Amazon's biggest competitors.

Will meal-kits ultimately survive in today's saturated market? In July, Foodable reported that the QSR chain Chick-fil-A announced that it will also be offering meal-kits.

Watch this recent On Foodable: Industry Pulse to see what needs to happen for some of these companies to stay in business.