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The Industry Appetizer
A quick snack on some headlines that caught our editors' eyes this week.
Parking king for The King: Fast-food heavy Burger King unveiled some new design concepts in which "the car is treated like royalty"—a sign of the COVID-19 times, when diners are less likely than ever to actually want to exit their vehicles. Independents with big parking lots, take note—leveraging those spaces for carhop-style or enhanced curbside service may be a viable play, especially with colder months coming. (Fast Company)
And speaking of carhops...: ...it's one of 640 ideas that resulted from the Chicago's open call for suggestions on helping the city's restaurants as the Windy City's weather turns frigid and patios are buried under piles of snow. Here's hoping we see more cities calling for—and then implenting!—good ideas for keeping their F&B industries afloat. Seeing innovation work in major markets can be what it takes to convince smaller municipalities to take those leaps. (Eater)
Kits a miracle!: Meal kits, that is. A Coca Cola Company survey of 1,500 customers and 483 restaurants found that 53% of people want meal kits and only 22% of operators offer them. Whoa. Even crazier, that breakdown is 79% diners vs. 29% restaurants when it comes to buying/selling groceries in house. Not the sexiest growth opportunities, but growth opportunities nonetheless, folks. (Restaurant Business)
The restaurant software, hardware, and solutions stories we've been chewing on lately.
Uber Eats goes on-premise: The third-party delivery juggernaut saw new "eaters" jump by 50% in Q2. Wow. Now, it's offering operators on its platform new functionalities, like contactless dine-in ordering, and pick-up, too. Those options will be fee-free to operators through the end of the year. (Expedite)
Mask politics, meet Yelp: Vengeful reviewers have long been a problem for Yelp, but the ubiquitous review platform's challenge with unfair one-starring has taken on new dimension in the pandemic, with some customers unfairly docking restaurants and bars for their employees' adherence to local mask ordinances. Yelp says that's not the norm, and a violation of their policies. (Eater)
Ghost kitchens get their due: Or should we say their "boo"? (Oof, brutal ghost pun. Apologies.) Anyway, with the pandemic thrusting ghost and virtual kitchens into the mainstream, Restaurant Business kicked off a five-part series on how this low-overhead approach is changing the industry. Parts One and Two have really stuck with us since we read them. You might even say they've been "haunting" us. (OK, we'll stop now.) (Restaurant Business)
Resources for restaurant operators, created and curated by our team.
It's not you, it's your pandemic dining habits: Dating during quarantine is hard generally, and eating out—a pillar of pre-COVID-19 courtship if there ever was one!—is not exempt. Our pals at Trust20 put together a pandemic date night guide for diners, but we think it's useful for operators too; after all, if your space is optimized for love, at least your customers won't break up with you. (Trust20)
Respect the curb: Curbside takeout service is here to stay. If your restaurant hasn't yet gotten its curbside operation... well, operational, now is the time. We've broken down the tech you'll need to power your curbside experience and keep your staff and customers safe while making sales this fall. (Back of House)
Tap, swipe, scan...: ...just don't touch! Contactless payment and fulfillment solutions are crucial to restaurants' success for the foreseeable future, and diners' expectations are evolving apace. Here's an overview of how the coronavirus pandemic has catalyzed a contactless wave—plus how to get in on it, and what might be coming up next. (eat.news)