Checkers and sibling chain Rally's have introduced a delivery platform and point-of-sale system that include DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates and Amazon Restaurants. The system, designed by Olo, is live at 336 locations, and the chain plans to have it operating in all 900 restaurants by the end of the year.
Chains are embracing back-of-the-house technology such as Arby's mobile-app-connected HVAC system and Bluetooth-connected ovens. Stoner's Pizza has installed Wi-Fi-enabled smokers for roasting meats and smart thermostats that trigger an alert when the freezer is above a safe temperature.
Restaurant operations in the quickservice category are becoming more dependent on technology, with the online ordering business growing 23% in the US during 2018, according to Statista. Tech tools that enable online ordering give restaurants an opportunity to expand orders away from the counter and collect and analyze valuable customer data.
According to a study from WorkJam, 57% of hourly millennial employees would prefer to use their personal mobile devices for accessing training items and schedules. The practice could have benefits for restaurants, since binders with training materials can quickly become outdated, plus in-house tablets can be expensive and are at risk for theft and breakage.
Restaurant industry executives discussed the applications of artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality during a panel session at the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit in Louisville earlier this month. CKE Restaurants Holdings is working on a virtual training system to teach employees how to make a menu item, while Taziki's is hoping to use sensors at farmer providers to track temperature, moisture and other factors.
Food scientists from The University of Alabama and Penn State experimented with Lego bricks to improve the texture of cultured meat. Their work resulted in a starch fiber scaffolding that could grow aligned muscle cells in a way that more closely resembles steak.
Restaurants in Indianapolis can now call on an app called SnapShyft to find more staffers when conventions increase service demand. Around 280 of the city's restaurants, bars and caterers use the labor marketplace app to post and fill shift openings that happen because of business surges, turnover and employee illnesses.
Target's store brand Archer Farms coffee will become fair-trade certified by 2022, the company announced. Fair Trade USA works to give coffee farmers a minimum price for their product, and about 20% of the Archer Farms line currently qualifies.
Kroger's QFC banner in the Pacific Northwest will complete its phaseout of single-use plastic bags effective April 1, following Kroger's announced plan to drop the bags from all of its stores. QFC is encouraging shoppers to buy reusable bags and will donate $1 to The Nature Conservancy for each one sold in April, up to $10,000.
When Dollar Shave Club launched in 2012, co-founder Michael Dubin had no idea the firm's launch video would immediately go viral, attracting 12,000-plus customers in just three days. Four years later, the company was acquired by Unilever in a $1 billion deal, and DSC now offers more than 36 products and has more than 4 million subscribers.
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