Openings almost on pace, against the odds

Openings almost on pace, against the odds

October 27, 2020, 07:07 PM UTC

A version of this article appeared in Eat.news, 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!

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The Industry Appetizer

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

  • Openings on pace, against the odds: A ray of sunshine to cut through the industry's gloom, as Yelp's latest quarterly figures show that the number of restaurant openings almost returned to pre-pandemic levels in August and September—though for Q3 overall they're still down 10% YoY. (Restaurant Dive / Yelp)
  • Biz interruption insurance ruling?: A judge in North Carolina found that a local restaurant group had indeed suffered a "physical loss" even after its insurance company had denied its claim for business interruption insurance due to pandemic-related shortfalls. If it holds, this may offer helpful precedent to other operators pressing their insurers to pay up. (Restaurant Dive)
  • Black-owned restaurants struggle as stimulus stumbles: With any relief package still a ways off as talks in Washington are stuck in a "stalemate", CNBC reports that Black-owned restaurant operators are facing particularly dire circumstances. (CNBC)

Tech Talk

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

  • Shhh...: Secret menus are not exactly cutting-edge restaurant technology, but during the pandemic some operators are digitizing their off-menu offerings to keep tech-savvy customers curious—and, hopefully, coming back for more. Think a BBQ joint offering a hot chicken-themed "restaurant within a restaurant" accessible only by a specific QR code. Smart... and no surprise, given that Eater's editor says "the pandemic is pushing QR code menus into the mainstream." (Restaurant Business / Eater)
  • "Regular" kitchens go ghost: As the pandemic wears on and select markets reenter indoor dining shutdowns, DoorDash has one idea for keeping shuttered traditional restaurants afloat—by turning them into temporary ghost kitchens (via virtual kitchen co. A Lá Couch) to serve the 3PD's customers. DoorDash already operates a ghost kitchen of its own in Northern California. (Restaurant Hospitality)
  • It's complicated: The relationship between restaurant operators and the delivery platforms that get their food to the end consumer, that is. According to a new report, nearly 40% of restaurants with 3PD partners say they've gotten a bad review due to something that went wrong during delivery. Argh. (Restaurant Business)

Pantry Staples

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

  • Sell it well: No matter why you've decided to try to sell your restaurant, here are some best practices that will help you maximize the price you're able to get. (Back of House)
  • 3PD close-up: Finding the right delivery partner can be a frustrating experience. Take a closer look at some of the most popular options! (Back of House)
  • Cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting: They're words we hear a lot these days, and even use interchangeably. But they don't mean exactly the same thing. Pandemic vocab lesson! (Trust20)

[Photo: Artem Beliaiken via Unsplash]