Fighting the restaurant "cold" war

A version of this article appeared on 11/10/20 in, a free weekly newsletter from Back of House with news, resources, and more curated by our team. It goes out to thousands of restaurant operators each Tuesday morning. Subscribe today to get our coverage of the restaurant technology space directly to your inbox!


The Industry Appetizer

A quick snack on some headlines that caught our editors' eyes this week.

  • Fighting the "cold" war: While outdoor dining has been extended in nearly all major northern cities including Denver, Chicago, Boston and New York City, one thing can't be contained—winter. To counteract the "big chill", restaurants in colder climates are getting creative with winterization efforts. On that tip, in a move that other major industry players may emulate, Grubhub just launched a $2M winterization grant program to dole out $10k apiece to participating restaurants. And in a move more cities might copy, Chicago launched its own $10M grant program. Cool! (Restaurant Business / Restaurant Dive / Chicago Sun-Times)

  • What does Biden/Harris mean for restaurants?: It was a long week, but by Saturday most major news outlets had called the presidential election for Joe Biden. What can President Biden do for the beleaguered restaurant business? We shall see. (Restaurant Business)

  • FL goes for "living wage": Speaking of elections and their consequences, Florida passed a ballot measure mandating that its minimum wage be raised to $15/hour by 2026 (it's currently $8.46/hour.) It's the eighth state in the country to do so, and the first in the American South. Wonders Cameron Albert-Deitch for Inc., is this a shift in momentum for the "living wage"? (Restaurant Business / Inc. Magazine)

Tech Talk

The restaurant software, hardware, and solutions stories we've been chewing on lately.

  • Uber ups and downs: What a week for Uber. Last Tuesday, California voters went for the much-discussed Prop 22, meaning (more or less) that the company could keep classifying its drivers as contractors. Cue the highest stock jump since acquiring Postmates. But just two days later, Uber announced that it lost $1.09B last quarter, even as its Uber Eats offering grew by a staggering 190 percent. Yikes. (CNBC / Eater)

  • Cap the apps?: Meanwhile in Chicago, city officials are once again considering a 5% cap on fees that 3PD services would be able to charge. If enacted, that would be the most restrictive limit in the country; for example, SF's cap is 15%, and NYC's 20%. Stay tuned. (Eater)

  • Restaurants "flipping" For robots: To help navigate the surge in delivery, Flippy, the burger-flipping and fry-frying robot from Miso Robotics, is making major headway with chains like White Castle. The QSR chain ‘flipped’ over their first test with the new iteration of the autonomous-arm chef that connects to a kitchen wall for access to the grill and fryer stations. (Food On Demand)

Back of House Banter

>>>Read our interview with Christine Schindler, CEO and co-founder of BOH Verified Vendor PathSpot.

Pantry Staples

Resources for restaurant operators, created and curated by our team.

  • Pandemic restaurant closures nationwide: We've compiled a 50-state index that we'll be updating weekly to find up-to-date information on the restrictions affecting bars and restaurants in their states. (Back of House)

  • E-commerce for restaurants: What to look for when choosing the right e-commerce platform for your restaurant. (Back of House)

  • Boosting restaurant revenue: Looking for some crafty ways to help boost sales? Check out these creative takeout tips. (Back of House)

[Photo: Pablo Cordero via Pexels]