Restaurant restrictions cause friction as states eye shutdowns

A version of this article appeared on 12/1/20 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.

  • Chang wants to be a (charity) millionaire: Let's start with some good news, shall we? David Chang, he of the Momofuku empire, went on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire... and won the whole shebang. The chef and restaurateur is donating the entire $1M prize to Houston's Southern Smoke Foundation. (Eater)

  • Michigan operators upset: Many restaurant owners in Michigan are frustrated with the stat's recent shutdown of indoor dining service. In addition to defying the order itself, they've banded together to form the "United Group of Michigan Restaurant Owners" to issue a letter to the MI Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS.) They say the the industry cannot survive another round of extended closures. (Eater / Detriot Free Press)

  • CA org files suit: Meanwhile, the California Restaurant Association (CRA) filed a suit last week aiming to overturn Los Angeles' three-week outdoor dining closure, arguing that “the county of Los Angeles’ own data shows that restaurants are not the leading cause of the recent increase in transmissions." Just before the holiday, a judge struck down the group's request for an injunction, but said the case could proceed. It's just one of several lawsuits led by restaurant groups across the country, including in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Oregon, and beyond. (Nation's Restaurant News)

Tech Talk

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

  • Delivery dilemma: 3PD platforms have enjoyed record consumer demand during the pandemic, but they've also come under increased scrutiny for their treatment of workers, who are classified as independent contractors. The New York times did a dive on the conditions those couriers face in New York City, where workers say they face low pay and heightened risks as the weather turns wintry. (New York Times)

  • $2.8B vs. $2.5M: Both numbers are DoorDash-related. The first is the rumored target amount that the 3PD giant is hoping to raise as it begins its "roadshow" en route to its eventual IPO. The second is the amount of money the company agreed to pay to settle a suit in the District of Columbia over its tipping policy; $1.5M of that will go directly to its Dashers. (Restaurant Hospitality)

  • Robots on a roll: On the restaurant robotics tip, there's now a state-of-the-art Boba-making machine that will allow restaurants to easily add the offering to their location or place as standalone in college campuses and malls (that is, if they’re still a thing after all this.) (Restaurant Business)

Back of House Banter

>>>Read our interview with Joe Gallagher and Ariel Upton of 86 Repairs, a BOH Verified Vendor.

Pantry Staples

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

  • E-commerce for the holidays: Cyber Monday may be over, but the holidays are just setting in; since the "most wonderful time of the year" is looking a tad different, find out the 5 best ways to use e-commerce to boost your holiday revenue. (Back of House)

  • HEROES & RESTAURANTS status: Stay up-to-date on the latest moves on the economic stimulus effort in Washington with our tracker. (Back of House)

  • Ghost kitchen primer: Cloud or "ghost" kitchens are very much on the rise. If you're interested in potentially opening one of your own, or just want to understand more about how the business works, we've got you covered. (Back of House)

[Photo: Karolina Grabowska via Pexels]