Truebird Swoops Into New York with Robotic Specialty Coffee Kiosks

Truebird coffee

“(…) Could the surly and spirited humans of old New York embrace a joe by droid? A new company called Truebird has fluttered in to find out.

Like its predecessors, Truebird pitches its system squarely at the specialty coffee crowd, claiming that its automated coffee kiosks offer drinks that are “consistently as good as those made by the best baristas using the finest ingredients and equipment.”

At a Truebird coffee station, customers are able to choose a fresh and locally roasted coffee from a touchscreen menu, then designate a type of milk and an espresso beverage style for the machine to execute.

The flat ceramic “standard” burrs of one of the machine’s two integrated grinders break the beans. An extraction occurs, and milk is stretched by unseen internals as the customer waits, while a trio of cute, black magnet-driven pucks charmingly coordinate to nudge cups around on the visible surface behind glass.

“We chose our magnetic transport solution versus other options, including an articulated robotic arm, for a variety of reasons, but chief among them was the surprisingly warm, approachable, and magical experience it creates,” Truebird CEO and Co-Founder Josh Feuerstein told Daily Coffee News. “We believe a coffee break is not just about the quality of the drink, but about the feel of the experience. We’ve tried to make every element of our product warm, approachable, and beautiful, from the design of the micro-cafe itself, to the mesmerizing experience of watching your cup glide from the espresso machine towards your hand. We keep that emotional component top-of-mind in our design process. It’s a fascinating challenge, especially for an automated product.”

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Former Darden executive named president of Union Square Hospitality Group

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“Former Darden Restaurants Inc. executive Chip Wade has been named president of Union Square Hospitality Group, the company said Thursday.

Wade, who moves into the role officially in mid-May, fills a position that has been empty since 2015, when it was held by Jeff Flug, who stepped down after the public offering by Shake Shack, which was once a part of the New York-based multiconcept group.

In his new role, Wade (left) will work directly with CEO and founder Danny Meyer, the board and the restaurant group’s leadership team to enhance and evolve the company’s culture, drive guest experience and bolster profitability, the company said.

“USHG is growing in some pretty exciting ways right now,” said Meyer, whose group operates about 18 restaurants under various brands, from the acclaimed Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern to the more casual neighborhood café Daily Provisions, the barbecue concept Blue Smoke and taco joint Tacocina.”

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Toby’s Estate Brooklyn Changes Name to Partners Coffee

Partners coffee

Fresh off the heels of a second Brooklyn roastery opening and new cafe, Toby’s Estate New York today announced a name and brand change, becoming Partners Coffee.

Toby’s Estate in Brooklyn has been building a passionate following and impressive wholesale roster since opening with a Williamsburg roastery in 2012. Co-Owners Amber Jacobsen and Adam Boyd had licensed the name from the popular Australian roastery, founded by Toby Smith, of the same name.

While 2012 and the subsequent years turned out to be fortuitous times for Australophile specialty cafe businesses riding the Third Wave in New York, the change to Partners Coffee serves to better reflect the local ownership.

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“We are only as great as the sum of our partners, and we are excited to continue evolving and growing with a new look, feel and name that fully embodies who we are and what we stand for,” Jacobsen and Boyd said in an announcement of the rebranding.

The Partners Coffee effort was assisted by the New York design firm Love & War, which sought to “develop a bold, dynamic design aesthetic that evokes heritage coffee brands and the classic energy, optimism and simplicity of old-school New York coffee counters,” according to the Partners Coffee announcement today. (…)”

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The New York City Restaurant That Prohibits Cell Phone Use

Il Triangolo

“(…) Gigliotti, who is 52-years-old, opened Il Triangolo in April 2011, which specializes in Southern Italian food. He created many of the recipes including homemade fettuccini ala Triangolo, chicken frangelico and shrimp limoncello.  It seats around 60 people.

He owns a cellphone bought for him by his daughter and thinks they’re a useful gadget for ordering items.

But back in 2014, when cellphone use started proliferating and most of his customers starting taking out their smartphones during their meals, Gigliotti became irritated. He noticed that “people weren’t paying attention to their food, their surroundings or their own family members.” No longer were his customers conversing; they sat there and ate and checked their cell phones as if they were dining alone. In fact, their behavior slowed everything down in the restaurant. Instead of eating and leaving quickly, they’d spend more time dining because they weren’t concentrating on eating their food and instead zeroed in on checking their emails or the web.  Meals that once took two hours were taking two and a half hours, and guests waiting longer for a table.

Gigliotti put up a small sign that said no cellphones placed on the table. When he encountered new customers, he’d tell them in person about the policy. If customers receive a phone call during the meal, they’re asked to step outside of the restaurant so as not to disturb any guests. Almost everyone complies.”

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32 Places for Breakfast in Manhattan

The Lobster Club

Major Food Group’s (the Grill, Carbone) Midtown Japanese restaurant has breakfast that’s decidedly more American than the lunch and dinner menus. Dishes such as an open-faced bagel and lox and a sticky bun pull from the group’s Soho Jewish restaurant Sadelle’s — though there is a bento with a shiitake scramble, teriyaki salmon, rice, pea greens, and miso soup. The colorful space may be a bit much early in the morning, but it’s certainly a unique option in Midtown.

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Giant Food Stores Opens 6 locations in 4 States

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“With the six new locations, Giant now operates 178 supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The stores also include 132 pharmacies and 99 fuel stations.

“These multiple store openings align with our aggressive long-term growth strategy: entering new markets where it makes sense and expanding our offerings for our current customers,” Giant Food Stores President Nicholas Bertram said in a statement.

Giant’s latest strategic investments have focused mainly on its core Pennsylvania market.

In February, the grocer launched Giant Direct Powered by Peapod, an e-commerce hub in Lancaster, Pa. The company, which has four other e-commerce centers in Pennsylvania, said that banner will become its online grocery brand going forward. Giant also unveiled plans to open three more Giant Heirloom Markets in Philadelphia. The urban store format premiered in the city’s downtown in late January, and the next location is due to open this summer, with all the stores in operation by the end of the year.

A couple of new supermarkets are in the works as well. Giant said it plans to open new stores this year in East Stroudsburg and Walnutport, Pa. In November, the chain had opened a Giant store in Lancaster’s Willow Valley area that was acquired from Darrenkamp’s Markets.”

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Will Legal Marijuana Create New Restaurant Opportunities?

Will legal marijuana create new restaurant opportunities?“If you’ve been to a food conference lately you’ll notice there’s at least one session talking about cannabis, CBD, cannabinoids, or whatever term we’re using now. I’ve been to two conferences in recent weeks that addressed the topic and I’m writing this post while in California, where voters legalized recreational use of marijuana via referendum in 2016. Therefore, I have pot on the brain — so to speak.

At NPD we’re always analyzing how trends affect the food and beverage industry and if you talk to a — what shall we call them, “pot enthusiasts” — you’ll know food plays a major role when they use marijuana. This can be from how they ingest the marijuana to the munchies leading them to eat a variety of indulgent foods.

We took a look in our SnackTrack information, which monitors the consumption of ready-to-eat, convenience-oriented snack foods in the U.S., to see if there are changes since legalization occurred. In those states that legalized recreational marijuana, brownie consumption has increased a whopping 107 percent compared to pre-legalization times. Chewy candies, which had a stable consumption level for years, grew by 17 percent after legalization, and fruit snacks also increased after legalization.

I’m not sure yet if this is a result of the munchies, pot brownies or gummies, and all I can fully say with confidence is these changes are correlations. However, these correlations are in line with what we’ve known anecdotally for some time about recreational pot usage and can point to growth opportunities should more states allow it.”

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