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The Industry Appetizer
A quick snack on some headlines that caught our editors' eyes this week.
Restaurant aid delayed: The HEROES Act, a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package contained $120 billion in restaurant relief, is facing "slim chances" of becoming law after President Trump called off negotiations between the Treasury and House politicians last week. (Washington Post / Restaurant Hospitality)
"Karen's Killer Reviews": As the pandemic grinds on, restaurant review platforms like TripAdvisor and Yelp have faced criticism for allowing reviewers to punish operators for enforcing mask mandates and other local Covid-19-related ordinances. Last month, one company launched a billboard campaign to pressure those platforms to rethink its review policies, and earlier this summer high-profile critics like the Washington Post's Tom Sietsema made similar pleas directly to diners. With indoor dining on the horizon, and pandemic fatigue very much in effect, one wonders whether preaching patience will fall on deaf ears. Hmm. (SFist / Eater / Washington Post)
The "new normal" is anything but: Great reflective piece from a veteran journalist on the big forces reshaping the restaurant business, based on the premise that the pandemic ain't going away anytime soon. Band-aids and quick fixes are giving way to semi-permanent strategy shifts. "We’re still in the pandemic, but we’re also entering a new era in restaurant operations," wrote Kristin Hawley. You can say that again. (Expedite)
The restaurant software, hardware, and solutions stories we've been chewing on lately.
To TikTok, or not to TikTok?: That is the question—at least for restaurants that want to stay relevant with Gen Z diners. From big chains (Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts...) and independent operators (Liberty Hall Pizza in Lambertville, NJ), operators across the country are tapping into the video-sharing app to get huge returns on marketing investment. (Restaurant Business)
Ghost marketplace: Zuul Kitchens, a ghost kitchen start-up in New York City, is pioneering Zuul Marketplace, which it touts as a brand-new way to do delivery ("a $26bn industry everyone hates," as its co-founder puts it.) The firm is partnering directly with landlords of commercial and residential buildings to deliver multiple orders from multiple concepts via a single courier. (HNGRY)
Delivery dollars & deficits: Speaking of that enormous delivery industry, a recent filing shows that Uber Eats' soon-to-be-subsidiary PostMates has $929.3M in accumulated debt through June 2020, meaning the former company's acquisition of the latter may not be quite as savvy as it initially appeared. (Wall Street Journal)
Resources for restaurant operators, created and curated by our team.
Restaurant marketing, now and forever: Pandemic or not, marketing your restaurant is vital to its success, so we put together a big ol' guide on everything you need to know about restaurant marketing, plus another one that's specifically focused on helping you reach customers during Covid-19. (Back of House)
Off-premise, optimized: With chilly season approaching in most markets, diners are going to be more keen than ever to order takeout and delivery. We've got tips on how to turn your off-premise operation into a well-oiled machine. (Back of House)
Yes, reservations!: If you're in a position to offer indoor dining, reservation management systems can be a powerful tool to help keep your staff and customers safe. Here's what you need to know. (Back of House)
[Photo: Norma Mortenson via Pexels]