What is a snack?

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“Most consumers say what defines a snack is not the category but the convenience and how it is used and consumed.”

To read more click here

How will the L Train effect restaurants

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“We feel however many small restaurants & bars with a similar set up are feeling the pinch especially in Williamsburg. Increases in wages with more to come, product cost and operating costs all add up and make it difficult to break even, that and the uncertainty of the L train going down and how that will effect business were all factors.”

Read full article here

Chipotle Invests in Delivery

Off-site orders are the future Chipotle sees. So much so, in fact, that the new CEO, Brian Niccol, has spent some $3m outfitting stores with new flatscreen ordering systems.  So far, Chipotle as outfitted about 300 stores with these $10,000 platforms–and expects to roll out to another 600 stores this year.

The platforms are the brand’s effort to streamline and lean in to the mobile and delivery segment of the business.  Employees see images of an order’s ingredients, instead of words, and labels are printed automatically instead of handwritten. The new system makes it easier and quicker to train workers, and orders are more accurate according to Chief Digital and Information Officer Curt Garner. The move will improve the additional production lines — dedicated to digital, online and catering orders — that Chipotle has added to supplement the front lines that serve in-store diners.

Taco Bell, KFC and McDonald’s are all now offering the service in some capacity, while Panera Bread has built its own network with 13,000 drivers. Chipotle, meanwhile, is eager to prove it can recapture growth.  Chipotle has said about 8.8 percent of orders go to its second production lines. The chain is working to boost its delivery capabilities — in April it announced a partnership with DoorDash Inc. to add the service to 1,500 restaurants. It also delivers at some locations through Postmates Inc. and Tapingo.

To read more, click here.

 

C-Stores Evolve With Guests

What’s old is new again.  Conveniences store, the oft-forgotten stepchild of the grocery, restaurant, foodservice continuum are stepping into a new age.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen the restaurant industry eclipse grocery sales in America, which was a huge first.  Now, restaurant revenues have finally started to slow–not slip!–and some spending to return to other formats.

And C-stores want a piece of the action.  At Choice Market in Denver, guests can get artisan sandwiches and staples like quinoa or kombucha on tap.  Housed in 2,700 square feet–about the size of an average Chipotle, places like Choice Market and Green Zebra, in Portland, are finding a new niche between QSR’s and grocery stores, but well above the traditional Doritos-and-candy convenience store.

Traditional players, like Wawa, have long known the value of the their real estate and already provide an up-scaled convenient experience.  And now Amazon is getting in on the action with Amazon Go–a cashless, cashier-less store that tracks you and bills your Amazon account.

We’re seeing a confluence of trends merge on similar themes again and again: grocery stores relying on prepared foods for sales, restaurants capitalizing on the fast casual trend, and automation in point of sale.

To read more, click here.

Shake Shack Returns to its Roots

Karl Marx will have to wait; the machines will not yet replace us.  The fully-automated ordering system Shake Shack put in place at it’s newish Astor Place location is being terminated to bring back people and cash.

On the most recent earnings call, CEO Randy Garutti discussed the feedback that the chain has received about this unit in particular.  Voices came in clearly via Twitter, Yelp, and direct feedback: guests want the option to pay in cash and want to place their orders with a person.

When Shake Shack opened the Astor Place location in 2017, it was touted as the company’s first foray into self-service kiosks and cashless operations.  The benefits of both are obvious–less labor, lower risk of theft, less waste, and more-accurate ordering.

However, the backlash came in hard and fast from guests who didn’t want to wait on the kiosks and who were inconvenienced by the credit-only policy.  Shake Shack is reinstating a cashier for all open hours and will begin accepting cash with said cashier.  The kiosks will be rolling out to other locations–but not in replacement of the cashiers.

Shake Shack has consistently be posting huge growth.  In 2016, average unit volumes were 3.5x the burger-segment median, at $4.5m.  However, net income was only 6.2%–a far cry from industry elder McDonald’s 20%.

To read more, click here.

Gertie at Frieze New York

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Gertie will be opening in Brooklyn this summer, but if you can’t wait to try their food you can have some at the Frieze Art Fair this weekend. Gertie will open on the corner of Marcy and Grand in Williamsburg and will offer all-day food. At the art fair they will offer a selection of pastries, sandwiches and beverages as a sneak peak toward their full menu.
You can read more about the event here.

Real Food x Real Talk

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Join Pilotworks at their new location in Brooklyn for a day of panels and business owner showcases. This will be a great opportunity to hear from people involved in the New York food scene, learn about new brands, and network.

You can sign up here.

Thu, April 26, 2018

2:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Pilotworks

630 Flushing Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11206