Restaurants Feel the Heat (and the Cold)

A version of this article appeared 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.

  • Restaurants feel the heat (and the cold, too): Skip the Game of Thrones jokes, because this is serious—with winter on the way, cities across the continent are work-shopping ways to keep their restaurants in business once outdoor dining is no longer the, uh, natural option. Last week, NYC released official heater guidance for restaurants aiming to sustain sidewalk seating into the coldest months. Beyond the Big Apple, Eater did a bigger dive on how municipalities are thinking about the challenge. (Restaurant Dive / Eater)

  • PPP tax facts: Unless something changes, restaurants with PPP loans could eventually face a tax liability of 20-30% of their loan total, even if/when it's forgiven. In the ongoing mall-business lobbyists are trying to work in language that would make the entire loan deductible. Oy. (Restaurant Business)

  • How this year's Beards went bad: It feels like years ago but it was really only late August that the James Beard Foundation announced it was effectively canceling its prestigious awards until 2022. Confusion and frustration swirled, with allegations that the organization had attempted to rig its own awards. There was coverage on it in the moment; now that the dust has settled, here's a hard look at what went down from someone who's served as an award judge since 2007. (Eater)

Tech Talk

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

  • Celebs get ghosted: Great look here about how the rise of virtual and ghost kitchens has created a lane not only for online-only brands, but also for celebrity-driven concepts to power those brands. Brave new world... but one that still relies on the IRL delivery sector to get to customers. (HNGRY)

  • Reviewing racist reviews: Yelp announced last week it'd begin affixing warnings to business profiles when those restaurants—or their owners—had been credibly accused of racist behavior. (See the image up top.) At Expedite, journalist Kristen Hawley read this move as "an acknowledgement from Yelp that there’s inherently right and inherently wrong behavior by businesses, not just the subjective experiences of consumers." (Eater / Expedite)

  • FOD funding $$$: The pandemic has been economically rough—existentially rough, even—for restaurants. But tech businesses looking to bring food to customers have been raking in fundraising: $380M for GoPuff, $200M for InstaCart, $116M for Zomato... there's money moving, and a lot of it, in the on-demand space. (Food On Demand)

Pantry Staples

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

  • Delivery, distilled: Looking to implement a third-party delivery service but not sure which one to choose? We took a closer look at five popular options. (Back of House)

  • No reservations (about reservations): Reservations are a great tool in your arsenal for controlling crowds and creating safer dining spaces, especially with winter coming. For the uninitiated, here's a primer on how to get the most of of your restaurant management service. (Back of House)

  • The new dine and dash: Our pals at Trust20 have a great piece for diners about how to more efficiently and safely move through a meal. Here's hoping they get the message! (Trust20)

[Photo: Bonnie Meisels vis Unsplash]