Chipotle Invests in Delivery

Off-site orders are the future Chipotle sees. So much so, in fact, that the new CEO, Brian Niccol, has spent some $3m outfitting stores with new flatscreen ordering systems.  So far, Chipotle as outfitted about 300 stores with these $10,000 platforms–and expects to roll out to another 600 stores this year.

The platforms are the brand’s effort to streamline and lean in to the mobile and delivery segment of the business.  Employees see images of an order’s ingredients, instead of words, and labels are printed automatically instead of handwritten. The new system makes it easier and quicker to train workers, and orders are more accurate according to Chief Digital and Information Officer Curt Garner. The move will improve the additional production lines — dedicated to digital, online and catering orders — that Chipotle has added to supplement the front lines that serve in-store diners.

Taco Bell, KFC and McDonald’s are all now offering the service in some capacity, while Panera Bread has built its own network with 13,000 drivers. Chipotle, meanwhile, is eager to prove it can recapture growth.  Chipotle has said about 8.8 percent of orders go to its second production lines. The chain is working to boost its delivery capabilities — in April it announced a partnership with DoorDash Inc. to add the service to 1,500 restaurants. It also delivers at some locations through Postmates Inc. and Tapingo.

To read more, click here.

 

Shake Shack Returns to its Roots

Karl Marx will have to wait; the machines will not yet replace us.  The fully-automated ordering system Shake Shack put in place at it’s newish Astor Place location is being terminated to bring back people and cash.

On the most recent earnings call, CEO Randy Garutti discussed the feedback that the chain has received about this unit in particular.  Voices came in clearly via Twitter, Yelp, and direct feedback: guests want the option to pay in cash and want to place their orders with a person.

When Shake Shack opened the Astor Place location in 2017, it was touted as the company’s first foray into self-service kiosks and cashless operations.  The benefits of both are obvious–less labor, lower risk of theft, less waste, and more-accurate ordering.

However, the backlash came in hard and fast from guests who didn’t want to wait on the kiosks and who were inconvenienced by the credit-only policy.  Shake Shack is reinstating a cashier for all open hours and will begin accepting cash with said cashier.  The kiosks will be rolling out to other locations–but not in replacement of the cashiers.

Shake Shack has consistently be posting huge growth.  In 2016, average unit volumes were 3.5x the burger-segment median, at $4.5m.  However, net income was only 6.2%–a far cry from industry elder McDonald’s 20%.

To read more, click here.

Food Delivery Option is Now on Facebook

facebook

Have you ever giving out “thumbs” for delicious food photography on social networking sites? Don’t you want to actually taste those delicious food? Now, a powerful data analysis social media, Facebook, has added food delivery option on its social networking site. Aiming to fill out the gap between social and utilitarian, utilizing the advanced target advertising strategy in food delivery market could be a huge step forward in the restaurant industry. Business can now market its brand image on social media and bring the food to the right foodie.

You can read more about this topic here.

Cornell Research Shows Restaurants are Profiting from Tabletop Ordering Technology

presto-applebees

Tabletop ordering technology is becoming more and more familiar to restaurant patrons nowadays. When considering the implementation of this technology, restaurant owners must consider the cost of equipment installation and its effect on future profits. According to a new study from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University, the benefits of tabletop ordering technology significantly outweigh the cost. In the long run, tabletop ordering technology reduced servers’ labor time when meeting customers’ needs and ensured quality service. In other words, profits increased and labor costs fell.

You can read more about this topic here.

8/15-8/17: CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit

Registration is open now for the CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit, to be held from August 15th to 17th in Chicago. In their own words, the event is an opportunity to explore the many opportunities that retailers, restaurants and other B2C enterprises have for leveraging mobile and digital channels to build their brands, increase sales and improve customer engagement, experience and loyalty.

Registration is limited to managers and executives of restaurants, retail and other business-to-consumer organizations.

To read more or register now, click here.

All Pizzas To Be Cooked By Robots?

24-robot-pizza.w710.h473.2x

A former Silicon Valley executive with a love of pizza and robots is on a quest to make a better pie and deliver it faster than the big chains can. Alex Garden is making robots that make pizza and they are coming for Domino’s.

The future of pie delivery, argues Garden, is being pioneered by robots at his Zume Pizza, and Bloomberg got a look inside the new company. The process seems to involve a team of enormous and very expensive-looking robots preparing pies that then get baked by a giant bank of ovens en route to customers.

One of the robots (her name is Marta) expertly spreads sauce “perfectly but not too perfectly, so it looks just like an artisan product.” Another, named Bruno, then “gently, without disturbing it,” moves the pizza into an 850-degree oven to prebake. Traditional humans are still required for tasks like sprinkling cheese, driving the delivery truck, and walking sealed boxes to customers’ doors, but these seem like minor obstacles, really. After all, even Domino’s has robots that warm pies on the road and diligently hunt down customers using GPS.  Pizza seems the ripest for full automation within fast food, so it’s safe to assume the whole industry is steadily moving toward the all-robot business model.

Right now, Zume’s pies only appear to be available in Mountain View, but Garden warns his company is targeting massive chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut, which he says he’ll be able to dethrone by offering “the best-tasting pizza in the country delivered in 15 minutes for the same price as any of the other chains.”As Bloomberg points out, there’s “a lot of profit in robot-made pizza.” Just envision one of the major pizza franchises but with “virtually no” humans, Garden calmly instructs everyone. “It would be like Domino’s without the labor component. You can start to see how incredibly profitable that can be.”

Restaurants Are Googling You!

Service

Before you go to a restaurant, you probably look it up online for some reason or another. Maybe you’re making a reservation through the website or maybe you’re checking the menu. You might look at photos to see how fancy the place is or maybe you just need to look up the address. What if a restaurant were doing this to you?

Restaurants google the names of patrons who’ve made reservations more often than you might think. In 2010 the subject surfaced to the surprise, amusement and horror of restaurant goers and chefs alike. People were understandably alarmed, but most people didn’t seem to care. In a poll conducted by CNN, almost 40 percent of people were okay with restaurants googling them if it meant special treatment, and about 4 percent hoped restaurants would research them. Sixteen percent thought it was a little strange but could live with it, and 15 percent thought it was creepy. Four years later, the practice has grown further in the name of  offering bespoke and differentiated services. Justin Roller, the maître d’ at New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park googles every single patron that visits Eleven Madison Park. He looks for anything that can help make a customer feel special and at home. “If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we’ll put them together,” Roller told Grubstreet. He doesn’t stop at cursory information either. “If, for example, Roller discovers it’s a couple’s anniversary, he’ll then try to figure out which anniversary,” Grubstreet reports.

Restaurants also take notes on customers after they’ve dined, to track preferences and habits, like if someone is a good or bad tipper. According to the New York Times, hundreds of restaurants record traits and preferences about their customers, like allergies, favorite foods and even if a customer likes to linger at the table.

Read more here.