July 27, 2021
Restaurant Technology SmartBrief
On the Front Burner
Grocery-restaurant hybrids, delivery-only models and other unconventional service models are continuing to find traction in the industry amid changing consumer demand, writes Emily Newton, editor-in-chief of Revolutionized Magazine. "Customers increasingly want to spend money in a way that supports their local community, meaning groceraunts and hybrid models that serve as community hubs or community spaces may draw more attention than similar restaurants that take a more conventional approach," Newton writes.
Full Story: QSR (7/26) 
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The Connected Restaurant
Canada-based Meltwich's early investments in point-of-sale technology sped the grilled cheese concept's shift to online ordering during the pandemic and aided efforts to expand to the US, Meltwich Vice President of Revenue Ryan Hillis writes. "When it comes to breaking into a new country, online ordering capabilities are an essential way for brands to tap into essential off-premises market shares," Hillis writes.
Full Story: QSR (7/19) 
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Miami-based ghost kitchen startup Reef will roll out an app in its home market that will offer delivery from local restaurants including digital-only eateries. The company operates 300 delivery-only kitchens and it plans to use its in-house fleet to deliver orders generated in the app.
Full Story: Modern Retail (tiered subscription model) (7/26) 
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Tech Talk
The rapid growth of digital ordering during the pandemic has driven restaurants to improve their apps, make better use of customer data and explore technologies such as geofencing that can help improve the customer experience. "It was a sink-or-swim situation for the majority of restaurant operators," the National Restaurant Association's Hudson Riehle said. "The lifeline they pursued was technology integration."
Full Story: Adweek (7/23) 
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DoorDash is Domino's biggest competitor because they each are food companies with a focus on artificial intelligence, automation and logistics, but DoorDash can offer a wider variety of foods. Business analyst Ray Wang argues that Domino's and companies in similar positions should offer their platforms and technology to other businesses, although such a pivot requires complete organizational transformation.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (7/23) 
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Restaurants that were prepared to handle the pandemic-era shift to digital ordering built relationships that could spur customer loyalty well into the future, Brightloom CEO Adam Brotman said. The customer growth platform, which launched in February and recently signed national brand partners including Ruby Tuesday and El Pollo Loco, helps eateries use the customer data they collect to grow sales and build stronger customer relationships, Brotman said.
Full Story: PYMNTS (7/15) 
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Startup Spotlight
NotCo, a startup that makes plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, has raised $235 million in a new funding round that values the company at $1.5 billion. The company has raised more than $350 million thus far from a large group of investors that includes Danny Meyer's EHI, Bezos Expeditions and musician Questlove.
Full Story: Reuters (7/26),  TechCrunch (tiered subscription model) (7/26) 
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News from the National Restaurant Association
Join executives from Tender Greens and White Castle for our webinar, "Leveraging Technology to 'Weatherproof' Revenue in Challenge Times and Grow the Business," July 29 at 3 p.m. ET. Tender Greens' Sean Skuro, VP of finance and accounting, and John Miller, White Castle's director of information systems, will talk about how the industry leveraged technology to guide businesses through the challenges of COVID-19. The Association's Kevin Steele moderates. Register now.
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