Starbucks begins mobile ordering rollout in Beijing and Shanghai

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“Starbucks said it has begun rolling out its Starbucks Now mobile ordering platform to 300 select stores in Beijing and Shanghai and will expand the service throughout China over the next year.

Starbucks Now, available for Starbucks Rewards members through the company’s mobile app in China, allows customers to order their food and beverages ahead of time and pick them up in store.

“Starbucks Now represents a significant opportunity for Starbucks China to drive new, innovative customer experiences,” Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China said in a company release. “This builds on the latest of several digital initiatives in China, including Starbucks Delivers and locally relevant gifting and e-commerce experiences.”

Customers can use Starbucks Now to find a local store based on the mobile app’s GPS location, order food and customized beverages and make payment, with the order ready to pick up when they arrive at the location.”

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Yelp Will Now Tell You If a Business Is ‘Women-Owned’

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“The restaurants and shopping reviews app and website is adding a feature that will tell customers whether a business is women-owned. Businesses owned by women can mark themselves as women-owned via their Yelp accounts, and the distinction will appear in the “more business info” section of a Yelp page alongside features like “accepts credit cards” and “gender-neutral restrooms.”

“We’re excited to help raise the profile of millions of women-owned businesses who drive the local economies of our cities and towns,” says Miriam Warren, Yelp’s vice president of engagement, diversity, and belonging. “We’re hopeful that this new attribute not only makes it easier to identify and connect with great women-owned businesses on Yelp, but that it also drives more dollars directly to the bottom line for these female-owned businesses.”

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New York City Bill Proposes Eliminating Cashless Stores and Restaurants

New York City Bill Proposes Eliminating Cashless Stores and Restaurants

“Supporters of a new bill want to make sure New Yorkers are able to keep paying cash at their local stores.

The New York City Council held a hearing last week on the bill that proposes to ban stores and restaurants from refusing cash. The legislation is in response to a push for cashlessness across the city and the nation. Backers of the bill argue that by refusing cash, these establishments discriminate against the poor, victims of domestic violence, homeless people and undocumented immigrants—all of whom are more likely to be unbanked.

“Given the sheer prevalence of unbanked people, I worry deeply about the cashless economy,” said New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, who introduced the bill. “Not everyone has access to debit or credit, but everyone has access to cash.”

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Digital Ordering to Triple by 2020

Restaurant mobile app

Restaurant digital orders have grown an average of 23 percent, per year since 2013, and will triple by the end of 2020, according to a report from NPD Group.

The report, called Delivering Digital Convenience, found that 70 percent of a restaurant’s digital orders come through its mobile app or its website, with the remaining orders coming through third-party apps or websites. Customers used the restaurant’s own app most of the time because of rewards points or savings, and other brands appeal to customers because they want to create a custom order or take friction out of the ordering process.

Third-party apps like DoorDash, UberEats or Grubhub/Seamless accounted for 40 percent share of the 20 most used apps, and are used by consumers who want to look up various food items and check prices.

“Digital orders will remain an outsized source of growth for the restaurant industry over the next few years, and operators who desire to grow need to embrace a digital strategy,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry adviser and author of Eating Patterns in America, said in the announcement. “There are clear leaders in the digital ordering space, and third-party providers who have achieved critical mass the fastest.”

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Hy-Vee App Aims to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money

“Hy-Vee Inc. has begun piloting a mobile shopping app that helps grocery retailers cut back on food waste. Called Flashfood, and developed by a Toronto company of the same name, the app enables consumers to browse and buy food items nearing their “best before” date at “significantly reduced” prices, Hy-Vee said Friday.

To use Flashfood, customers download the free app (available in iOS and Android versions) and then start shopping deals on items such as meat, dairy, bread and snacks. Purchases are then made directly from their smartphone and picked up at any time from the Flashfood Zone shelves or refrigerators in the store.

The program gives consumers a way to lower their grocery bill and help the environment by reducing unnecessary food waste, according to Flashfood.”

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