David Chang's Delivery-Only Restaurant "Ando" Acquired By UberEats

David Chang's Delivery-Only Restaurant "Ando" Acquired By UberEats

David Chang’s delivery-only restaurant, Ando, announced Monday that they have been acquired by UberEats.

It’s an interesting move for the delivery giant after Foodable reported on Uber’s jump into building virtual restaurants in established kitchens. It seems the next chapter for UberEats is producing their own food to deliver.

Uber is already on par to dominate the food delivery sector in 2018. “We’ll be the largest food delivery company in the world this year,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Monday at DLD in Munich.

According to the notice on Ando’s homepage, the company is shutting down its service, effective immediately, as it begins to integrate with Uber Eats. Since launching in May 2016, the company had been working with Uber Eats as a delivery partner, alongside other delivery services and a few of its own people.

UberEverything, the portion of the business not focused on ride-hailing, is run by Jason Droege who said in a statement, “We are committed to investing in technology that helps consumers, delivery and restaurant partners alike. Ando’s insights will help our restaurant technology team as we work with our restaurant partners to grow their business.”

It sounds like Uber will be combining their proprietary technology, which has allowed the business to anticipate and fill gaps in food offerings, with Ando’s technology, though Ando has not specifically said what their role will be in the new partnership.

Read More

How are These Restaurants Using Digital to Increase Revenue 

How are These Restaurants Using Digital to Increase Revenue 

As we see more and more former icon brands like Chili's and Applebee's struggle in today's market, restaurant marketers on looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition. The last thing a brand wants to do is become stale. 

Most of these struggling brands have finally jumped on the online ordering bandwagon, but this was done more so as a reactionary response. Consumers have started to expect that restaurants have online ordering and/or offer delivery. 

But catering to the on-to-the-go consumer with digital services is apparently paying off, according to "Nasdaq."

"Mobile ordering in particular is fast becoming a crucial part of many restaurants' plans, given what it can bring in enhanced sales. This is because when using a phone to order their food, customers, on average, tend to spend more and visit more often. Going forward, mobile ordering will form the crux of customer's experience, rather than just being a point of differentiation," writes "Nasdaq."

"Notably, pizza giants Domino's and Papa John's International Inc. (PZZA) have been the industry bellwethers in the digital ordering space. Domino's continues adding to its digital capabilities with the launch of various ordering apps and platforms. The extended ways to order a pizza has thus kept this company in the forefront of digital ordering and customer convenience."

Read More

Do Pizza-Making Robots and High-Tech Delivery Trucks Mean Dystopia — or More Dough?

While the restaurant and hospitality industry is people-driven, any way you slice it, you can't deny that technology is changing how we're approaching customer service — and Zume Pizza knows that innovation isn't just a pie in the sky.

And no, not merely because their pizza boxes are made of sustainably farmed sugarcane fiber and are 100-percent recyclable and compostable. This one-year-old Silicon Valley startup makes more than 200 pizzas a day, all thanks to its team of robots. (And about four to six people in the kitchen.) 

Each robot has a name and a specific job, according to CNN Tech. John and Pepe layer on the sauce, Marta spreads it evenly to near-circle perfection, and Bruno slides the pies into the oven. Perhaps this science is to be expected, considering this brand is just two miles away from Google headquarters, but that's not the most impressive part about Zume.

This concept is delivery-only, and their pizzas hit the streets with a method just as savvy as their kitchens: a high-tech delivery truck complete with 56 ovens programmed to bake the pies while they're traveling to customers, which prevents them from getting cold before hungry mouths can dig in.

The robot Vincenzo "mans" the responsibility of loading those pizzas into the truck's ovens. Two human employees, the driver and someone to assist with the boxing, are the only ones on staff when it comes to these deliveries.

Marta doing her magic. The Zume kitchen is open from 11am-11pm today. #flickofthewrist #saucin' 🍅

A video posted by Zume Pizza 🍕 (@zumepizza) on

Is this just the beginning of an "I, Robot"-esque dystopian plotline? Or could this be the beginning of a more profitable future for foodservice?

"We're a co-bot situation," Zume Pizza Founder and CEO Julia Collins said to CNBC. "There are humans and robots collaborating to make better food, to make more fulfilling jobs, and to make a more stable working environment for the folks that are working with us."

How do the presence of robots make these jobs more fulfilling? For one, the more repetitive and time-consuming tasks are taken care of first. Although this sparks a debate on whether or not this process takes away from the "artisan" touch of pizza-making, Zume robots saucing the pies and loading them into 800-degree ovens do so hundreds of times a day, increasing staff efficiency.

"That's a highly repetitive task and one that can be dangerous for human beings, so integrating robots into that makes a lot of sense," Collins said. 

These robots cost between $25,000 and $35,000, but the CEO asserts this initial cost is easily paid off, considering that these costs are much less than the salary and benefits of human employees.

This new model of replacing chefs with bots cuts labor costs, but Zume Pizza — which now only spends 14 percent of its earnings on payroll, compared to Domino's 30 percent — reinvests in the human employees who are a part of the company.

Zume's human workers, whether they are a programmer, delivery driver, or in the kitchen, all receive subsidized health, vision, and dental coverage. Zume will also contribute to employee education if those classes allow their team members to move to different sectors of the brand as their kitchen becomes more and more automated.

Tuesday night pizza cravings 😋🍕 #Sonrisa #VeggiePizza #DailyPizza

A video posted by Zume Pizza 🍕 (@zumepizza) on

Only about 50 people make up their team, a majority in the kitchen and in the truck, while the rest are in executive, management, or engineering positions. Fewer staff members also means better pay. Compared to bigger brands such as Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's whose delivery drivers only make $8 an hour plus tips, Zume Pizza delivery drivers make an average of $18 an hour, and Zume Pizza reaffirms to customers that deliveries are always cashless and free, "no tipping, please. :)"

Where else does Zume put its profits toward? With its creative menu that features fresh and gluten-free options, Zume Pizza is committed to using locally sourced ingredients. Due to the funds saved from automation, a barrier other concepts and fast casuals have faced, this robot-friendly restaurant is able to get its goods from organic farms in the area. As more and more restaurants become automated — and the reality is that artificial intelligence designed to handle routine human tasks can impact up to 60 percent of U.S. jobs — perhaps more will be inclined to buy local to a greater extent, as well.

"We hope to see more growth [in high-quality food], as an industry, as a result of these [automation] companies," Collins said to Quartz.

Justifiably, groups of people are concerned about job security once automation and technology gradually replace human labor. Artificial intelligence will surely spread to other areas in foodservice and other markets as time goes on. CNBC cited a Forrester report that stated about 6 percent of careers in customer service, trucking, and taxi services will be eliminated within five years by robots. 

But in Collins' eyes, she assures that the company will always need human employees for food preparation, recipe development, and response to customer feedback. She also said that the American workforce has constantly learned to adapt to increasing technology since the Industrial Revolution, and she wholeheartedly believes that the country will continue to do so, even with these major movements. 

"I think history will ultimately prove that we've created more jobs in automation," she said. Read More

Small Products, Big Edge: Consumer Tech in Restaurants

Small Products, Big Edge: Consumer Tech in Restaurants

By Michael Hunte, Foodable Industry Expert

There’s no denying the restaurant industry is a crowded space. With over 600 thousand restaurants in the U.S. and more opening every day, it can be hard to really stand out from the crowd. Customers show up for the food, ambience, and service but I encourage you to think a few steps ahead.

Consumer technology products have a place in restaurants. These small additions can do quite a lot to increase customer perception. So, let’s examine three popular items and examine the pros and cons of incorporating them into your establishment. We’ll take a look at offering Wi-Fi, utilizing tablets, and making portable chargers available to your guests.

Wi-Fi

No longer is offering wireless internet just for cafés. If you don’t already offer Wi-Fi to diners and guests, think about what this change could do for you. For larger establishments, be sure to look into commercial-grade providers from companies like Ubiquiti.

Read More

Are You Prepared? 3 Ways the Right Prep Equipment Helps Operations

Are You Prepared? 3 Ways the Right Prep Equipment Helps Operations

By Jaclyn Morgan, FCSI, JM Foodservice Consulting, LLC

A kitchen staff without the right preparation equipment is like a DJ showing up to a sold-out Cubs game at Wrigley Field with a mixed tape and a boom box. Not even John Cusack hoisting the stereo over his head can save this disaster on the field. The playlist might be the perfect and well-rounded menu, but the execution will be severely flawed.

Say anything you like, but investing in the appropriate food preparation equipment will help maintain recipe consistency, save labor, and simplify training in a high-turnover environment.

Recipe Consistency

Plates served are beautiful symphonies of flavor and presentation. Executive chefs put extensive time and artistry into their recipes. An excellent kitchen will have a standard recipe book, available either on cards or electronically.  

A modern kitchen will have recipes and cooking times uploaded via jump drive to a willing and waiting combi oven or other piece of cooking equipment. While technology can take away some of the human error involved in setting cooking times, temperatures, and steam percentages, the size and proportion of raw food needs to be accurate if it’s to be cooked as immaculately as envisioned. Enter the prep equipment beyond the knife: manual slicers, food processors, vegetable prep machines, blenders, and more.

Read More