Taco Bell and Chipotle Want to Shave Time off Food Deliveries

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“When it comes to restaurant delivery, speed matters. And the burrito chains want to be faster.

Taco Bell –– which now offers delivery at roughly two-thirds of its U.S. restaurants through GrubHub Inc. with plans to continue expanding the service –– says its average delivery time is 34 minutes. The company acknowledges that’s not good enough for today’s demanding customer.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., meanwhile, says it’s averaging between 28 and 32 minutes for delivery, but it thinks it can shave four minutes or so as it expands pickup shelves across the nation. It’s also introducing prepaid delivery so drivers don’t have to pay in stores. It’s all part of a digital push that is a key part of the comeback plan laid out under Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol in his first year on the job.”

“While restaurant delivery has long been part of the culture in major cities like New York and San Francisco, pizza was often the only option in many markets. That has started to change as on-demand delivery services like DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats have proliferated, joining GrubHub to expand delivery options.”

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Papa John’s Accepts $200 Million Investment From Activist Hedge Fund

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“Papa John’s International Inc. is handing over the keys to the embattled pizza chain in exchange for a $200 million investment.

Activist fund Starboard Value LP is supplying the funds and its chief executive officer, Jeffrey Smith, is becoming chairman. He steps into the role vacated last year by Papa John’s founder John Schnatter after reports emerged that he used a racial slur. Schnatter tried to make his own similar deal and said he was shot down.

The infusion comes as the pizza chain also reported preliminary results for the fourth quarter and last year that missed analysts’ estimates. The company had already been in a sales slump before the latest controversy began last summer. Papa John’s plans to use the proceeds to repay debt and invest in the business, it said in a statement. Starboard is making its investment through the purchase of new convertible preferred stock, and the deal includes the option of an additional $50 million investment.

Shares of Papa John’s gained as much as 11 percent to $42.74 in New York trading Monday, the biggest intraday jump since July.”

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NYC’s Most Anticipated Openings of Winter 2019

“To be sure, increased costs is having its impact. Some of the city’s most exciting restaurateurs are focusing their efforts on smaller spaces. The Franks of Italian favorite Frankies 457 are now working with one of Long Island’s most legendary pizzamakers, Umberto Corteo, but it will be for a slice shop. All-day dining — a format that, for some, is a way to help maximize sales — continues to flourish, like at Gertie, Pilar Cuban Bakery, and Bourke Street Bakery.

Money, after all, still runs things. The biggest change to the dining scene will be the debut of all the restaurants at Hudson Yards, the behemoth Manhattan far west side development from Related Companies that has cost $20 billion. Most of the chefs in it needed to have at least $2 million in upfront capital. It arguably isn’t great for the future of NYC dining.”

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Why Did NYC Lose 15 Kosher Restaurants In 2018?

Why Did NYC Lose 15 Kosher Restaurants In 2018? by the Forward

“Everyone knows opening a restaurant is a tricky business. Only 21% of restaurant start-ups survive past 15 years, the average restaurant lifetime is 4.5 years, and 17% of restaurants fail within their first year of business. In the kosher community, all of those percentages are a whole lot higher.

2018 was a particularly terrible year, with 15 kosher restaurants closing up shop. Veteran Manhattan kosher restaurants — midtown’s Cafe K, the Upper East Side’s Italian restaurant Va Bene, and Amsterdam Burger on the West Side — shuttered their doors this year. The gourmet kosher supermarket, Seasons, on the West Sider; Basta, an Israeli artisanal pizza spot in midtown east; Maoz, a vegetarian falafel chain throughout Manhattan — all closed.”

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Fast Food Prices Rise to Better Reflect True Costs

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“Dollar cheeseburgers and discount nuggets are getting Americans in the door at their favorite fast-food joints, but the savings end there.

Even as the recent fast-food discount wars rage on, with Burger King advertising 10 chicken nuggets for $1 and Pizza Hut offering $5 pies, fast-food items that don’t make it onto value menus are actually climbing in price. Median fast-food hamburger prices have jumped 54 percent over the last decade to about $6.95, according to menu researcher Datassential. Chicken sandwiches are up 27 percent. Both surpass overall U.S. price inflation during that same time.”

“McDonald’s Corp., the world’s biggest restaurant chain, recently started touting a $6 meal including a burger, fries, a drink and a pie, but it’s also offering plenty of items at the other end of the price scale. Its honey-barbecue glazed chicken tenders are more than $6 without any drinks or sides, and the new Bacon Smokehouse Quarter Pounder meal runs nearly $9 in Chicago.”

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Pizza Hut Says It Will Use Robots to Cook Pizza En Route

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“Pizza Hut is fusing two of America’s favorite pastimes — pizza pies and pickup trucks — in a bid to cut delivery times as fast-food competition heats up.

As part of the restaurant’s latest partnership with Toyota Motor Corp., Pizza Hut has unveiled a robot-operated mobile pizza factory in the bed of a modified Toyota Tundra. The prototype will use automated technology to cook pies on-the-go in six to seven minutes, letting the chain expand its delivery area without the pizzas getting cold.

“We’re bringing the oven closer to the consumer’s door; nobody is doing that,” Pizza Hut’s chief customer and operations officer in the U.S., Nicolas Burquier, said in an interview. “We are pretty obsessed with improving the customer experience. The more we can get closer to their homes or the point of delivery, the better and hotter the product will be.”

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7 New Restaurants at the Jersey Shore

A bone-in, rib-eye steak topped with seared scallops at Prime 13 Wood Fire Grill and Bar, which has locations in Point Pleasant Beach and Brielle.

Prime 13 Wood Fire Grill and Bar, Brielle 

“Earlier this month, two Jersey Shore restaurateurs came together to open the second location of Prime 13, a steakhouse in Point Pleasant known for its prime rib and 40-ounce rib-eye for two.

The restaurant opened in the space previously occupied by Brielle Ale House, owned by Chris, Frank and Matt Gullace. The brothers run the bar, and Gerard Tortora, owner of the Point Pleasant Beach restaurant, leads the kitchen. The menu is similar to Point Pleasant Beach: wood-fired filet mignon, dry-aged strip steak and rack of lamb with the option to add seared scallops, lobster tail and foie gras ($29.99 to $76); seafood dishes, and cocktails, plus 10 beers on tap, more than a dozen bottles, and nearly two dozen wines.”

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