Walmart surpasses Amazon as online shoppers’ most popular grocer

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“The world’s largest retailer has surpassed the e-commerce giant in a survey of online food shoppers, more of whom said they most recently visited Walmart’s site for groceries. Local supermarkets were in third place, fueled in part by logistics provider Instacart, which handles orders for grocers like Kroger Co. and many others.

Walmart has moved ahead thanks to the rapid deployment of its curbside grocery pickup service, which is now in about 2,000 stores. An additional 1,000 will come on board by the end of 2019, the company said at a recent investor conference.

Walmart also works with delivery services like DoorDash and Deliv to bring groceries to customers’ homes for a fee. Amazon, meanwhile, offers grocery delivery from Whole Foods Market stores for its Prime customers in 60 cities, with in-store pickup now available in 10.”

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Chipotle Is Tired of Being Behind on Digital Strategy

“Chipotle’s new CEO Brain Niccol pulled no punches when he sat down for his first earnings call in April and candidly described Chipotle as an invisible brand. “This brand needs to be leading culture, not reacting to it,” Niccol said at the time.

In day-to-day operations, that’s led to a significant shift in the way that the company thinks about growth. Niccol said that he encourages more of a “test-and-see approach” on new initiatives under his watch, and in practice, the team has been freed up to move much more quickly on making decisions and testing new innovations. Niccol himself practices what he preaches — three months after he officially started as CEO, Niccol announced that Chipotle would be relocating its headquarters from Denver to southern California and closing down the New York City office.”

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Restaurants at New York’s Hudson Yards Have a Big Plan to Feed Office Workers

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“More details are emerging about the dining roster at the $25 billion Hudson Yards project, and as a food editor who also happens to be a native New Yorker, I can say that it’s time to get very excited. By mid-March the megaproject’s 25 restaurants and food concepts, from José Andrés’s Mercado Little Spain food hall to the fish temple Estiatorio Milos, should be open.

Hudson Yards anticipates more than 40,000 employees arriving to work daily—a new epicenter of Manhattan supporting companies from Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management to Tapestry, VaynerMedia, and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs.

The question of feeding all those workers, as well as the thousands of residents and tourists who will be flowing through the 1-million-square-foot space, has obsessed Kevin Stuessi, vice president at Related Companies LP, the real estate company developing the project. He’s determined that most of the restaurants will have continuous service, starting at about 11:30 a.m., with late-night menus planned.

Following an exclusive hard hat tour in early September, Stuessi and Related Urban CEO Kenneth Himmel shared some of the most exciting details of the project’s signature concepts.”

Read more here.

Best Restaurant POS Tools: How to Choose the Right System for You

Breadcrumb POS inside of a restaurant

“Understanding the needs of your restaurant is a most important first step in choosing the best POS software. After all, the needs of a small brewery with no food service differ greatly from those of a large restaurant. To assess your needs and find the best restaurant POS system for your growing establishment, here are a few things to consider.”

“You’re likely already using tools to manage your accounting, payroll, food costs and scheduling. These tools are essential for the daily operations in your restaurant. That’s why we suggest choosing a POS system that integrates with these tools that you already use. This will reduce the organizational disruption in your restaurant and ensure that your POS leverages data from the past to make more informed suggestions for the future.”

Read more here.

Enterprise Insight: Managing the Design and Construction Process

There is an enormous amount of work required in getting a foodservice enterprise open. A big part of that journey is the design and construction phase, and it is very easy to lose a lot of time and money on these processes. This month, we are going to discuss three items that can help alleviate some headache and heartache with design and construction:

  1. Know What You Want
  2. Do Your Due Diligence
  3. Constantly Reevaluate The Project

Know What You Want

Before signing with an architect, designer, or even a lease, it is important to have an idea in mind of the flow, service format, fixtures, finishes, and overall aesthetics. Bringing this collection of details to your architect and designer will help communicate to them what you’re looking for—and save a lot of dialogue and time. The closer to your own personal vision you can start the design team off with, the closer to it you will finish.

This can be as simple as a Pinterest board, or as in-depth as exact product samples; sketches on tracing paper or CAD drawings.  Whatever you’re capable of, do it and be prepared to explain what you’re looking for.

Do Your Due Diligence

Before singing a lease, bring your architect to the prospective spaces to poke, prod, and push around the site conditions. When bidding out the job, compile all of the RFI’s and ensure that the entire scope is accounted for in the bid set. Confirm with your architect of record that your space is properly equipped to handle your intended use, and if it’s not, what will the costs be.

In markets like New York, where operators are rarely going into new construction, field conditions can cause change orders that easily increase costs by 25% or more

Constantly Reevaluate The Project

You should reevaluate the project in both financial and emotional terms throughout the process. In 1995, Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. MacMillan developed a planning technique called “Discovery-Driven Planning.” In it, the authors laid out an approach involving five elements, with the chief one being, essentially, “what must prove true for this to work?”

Ask yourself this question throughout the design and due diligence process to ensure you’re still on target. If, for example, due diligence reveals that the space requires extensive foundation repairs that massively changes the budget, then the operator should pause and determine whether the future success of the business is enough to justify the cost.

Olive Garden’s Re-Branding Strategy

In an effort to gain back customers from newer fast casual chains such as Panera Bread or Chipotle, Olive Garden is rolling out a two phased re-branding strategy. Olive Garden has always advertised themselves to be the family-friendly neighborhood Italian dining option; now they will strive to maintain the same family-friendly vibe just at a slightly more sophisticated level. Darden Restaurants, Olive Garden’s parent company, announced last March that the brand was in need of a ‘renaissance,’ which would include updated décor, a new logo, smaller lunch portions, online ordering and speedier dine-in service.

Olive Garden’s new décor has a more modern feel to it and has parted ways with the monotone dull interiors. They are literally tearing down walls as part of the remodel to give the spaces a more open feel, redecorating with pop colors and modern art. The logo had not been updated in over fifteen years so Lippincott, a design firm, assisted in simplifying the old brand logo and replacing the tagline with “Italian Kitchen” rather than “Italian Restaurant” to connote a faster, higher-quality operation.

Hopefully these efforts will not be in vain and the chain can win back some of its customers. To read more about the changes and updates taking place at Olive Garden, click here

A Hackathon for Food Innovation

Food + Tech Connect is hosting the New York City based Hack//Dining event from June 27-29th. The event consists of an untraditional hackathon focused on designing software and hardware to solve problems pertinent to the food industry. This event will bring together a variety of individuals with different backgrounds such as chefs, designers, engineers and entrepreneurs to work together towards tackling obstacles commonly found in the food industry. Prior to the event, a virtual debate will be hosted by the organizers of the Hackathon about how information and technology could recreate the future of dining.

-Pre-register to apply by: May 16th

-Tickets to the event made available on: May 22nd

For more details on the application process and to read more, click here