Truebird Swoops Into New York with Robotic Specialty Coffee Kiosks

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“(…) 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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Thailand’s South Gets Its Due in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Lately, when it comes to Thai food in New York, the spotlight has been on the spice-fueled cuisine of the Isan region, in the northeast. But the restaurateur Kittigron Lertpanaruk, also known as Khun Oh, is from the south, where curries dominate, and he feels it’s time to give that part of Thailand its due. His new restaurant, decorated with red hanging lamps, gilded Buddhist statues, temple bells and carved wood panels, features a long list of curries. They include cua kreang, a dry curry; gaeng kua, a black pepper curry; and tiplah, a salted fish paste curry. But Mr. Lertpanaruk, who founded the chain of Asian restaurants called Spice and who recently became a partner in Arun’s, a highly regarded Thai restaurant in Chicago, also knows what’s popular, so the menu has dishes like crispy spring rolls, tom yum soup, pad Thai, green papaya salad, satays and mango salmon.

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McDonalds Buys Dynamic Yield For $300 Million to Bring Big Data to Drive-Thru

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“In a testament to the value of personalization, McDonald’s announced plans to acquire an Israel-based startup that uses data to serve up personalized offers to customers. According to people familiar with the matter, McDonald’s will acquire Dynamic Yield for upwards of $300 million.

The acquisition will inject technology into multiple areas of the traditional fast food restaurant, starting with a core feature: the drive-thru. McDonald’s tested the technology in a Miami location, where, according to Wired, the company’s algorithms took real-life factors like weather and traffic into account, suggesting appropriate menu items.

Thanks to new technology, restaurants collect plenty of data. But the practical application of that data is big business, and McDonald’s is seizing that opportunity with the Dynamic Yield buy.

“Upon closing of the acquisition, McDonald’s will begin to roll this technology out in the drive thru at restaurants in the United States in 2019 and then expand the use to other top international markets,” the company said in a statement on the news. “McDonald’s will also begin work to integrate the technology into all of its digital customer experience touchpoints, such as self-order kiosks and McDonald’s global mobile app.”

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Michelin-Starred Kyo Ya’s Longtime Chef Is Leaving to Open His Own Restaurant

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“Kyo Ya has been open since 2007, one of the first kaisekis in the city before the influx of Japanese restaurants — serving an eight-course seasonal menu for $150 with ingredients from all over Japan, including raw fish like whelk, sea eel, and abalone. Times critic Pete Wells gave the restaurant a three-star review in 2012, praising Sono’s mastery of seasonal ingredients, and it’s been awarded a Michelin star for many years.

Despite its critical acclaim, the restaurant has remained a bit of a hidden gem, bearing no signage for its lowkey subterranean space. In 2015, it also spurred a French-Japanese spinoff called Autre Kyo Ya, which has since closed. Eater has reached out to the restaurant’s ownership for details on what’s next for Kyo Ya.”

“Chikara Sono — the executive chef who led acclaimed East Village Japanese restaurant Kyo Ya to a Michelin star — is leaving the restaurant after 12 years of cooking up a multi-course kaiseki menu of raw and hot small plates. The star chef plans to open his own restaurant. Sono tells Eater that he’s leaving on March 31 in order to open a restaurant of his own; he has already started scouting spaces. In the meantime, Sono will do catering and consulting.”

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Simple Roast Makes It Look Easy in Auburn, New York

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“Snagging a quick cup of coffee from a drive-through on the daily commute is a simple pleasure upon which many Americans depend. In Auburn, New York, Simple Roast is adding quality to the basic equation.

A second Simple Roast drive-through kiosk held its grand opening earlier this month, and owner Matt Peirson now believes he has enough skilled baristas at each location that he can devote the majority of his attention to the fire-engine-red Ambex YM-10 roasting machine inside the company’s 700-square-foot roastery, office and storage facility.

Three years ago, prior to opening any drive-throughs, Simple Roast sold its beans at area farmers markets, running through about 50 to 60 pounds per week. Now with two kiosks and a wholesale operation, the company runs through more than ten times as much from its headquarters in the picturesque city in New York’s Northern Finger Lakes region.”

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Halal Guys, Wetzel’s Pretzel partner with Kitchen United

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Kitchen United, which offers off-premise kitchen centers for brands and franchises, now has two new partners as well as a new restaurant concept. Halal Guys and Wetzel’s Pretzels are now partners with Kitchen United, which also launched Fresgo, a fast Italian offering serving out of the Pasadena, California kitchen center.

The Halal Guys and Fresgo are now available for pickup, delivery and catering from the off-premise kitchen space, with Wetzel’s Pretzels officially opening April 1, according to a press release. Kitchen United’s Pasadena kitchen center opened last year and is home to Canter’s Deli, AmazeBowls, Cheat Day, Grilled Cheese Heaven, Mama Musubi and The Pizza Plant.

“One of Kitchen United’s goals from the beginning has been to leverage our collective restaurant experience to help our restaurant partners take a leadership position in delivery, a fast emerging growth opportunity in the industry,” said Jim Collins, Kitchen United CEO, in the release. “As a team of restauranteurs, we are thrilled to launch Fresgo in order to provide valuable insight and learnings to our partners. We are very pleased to add The Halal Guys and Wetzel’s Pretzels to our family of restaurant partners in order to help them expand their reach into the Pasadena market.”

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Starbucks to test recyclable, compostable cups

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“The company announced on Wednesday that it is testing out a compostable cup in five locations — New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and London. Starbucks showed one of the cups being tested during its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.”

“The new cup looks just like Starbucks’ current paper cup. The difference is inside, where instead of a plastic liner, a biodegradable liner serves as a barrier to make sure liquid doesn’t leak out. That liner, developed by a Thailand-based company, makes the cup compostable in commercial composting facilities, which are rare.
Though the innovation may appear small to consumers, it’s a big moment for Starbucks, which has been struggling to find a greener alternative to its cup for three decades.
Most recently, in 2018, Starbucks committed to the NextGen Cup Challenge. Along with other food companies, Starbucks and Closed Loop Partners, a recycling-focused investor group, crowdsourced solutions for greener cups from the public. In February, the company announced 12 winners, including greener cup liners, barriers and cups themselves.”
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