Elon Musk’s dream of building a 1950s-themed Tesla Supercharger station, complete with rockabilly music and roller skates, is closer to becoming a reality after The Drivenoticed a permit filed with the city of Santa Monica for a “Tesla restaurant and supercharger station.”
A Tesla spokesperson wouldn’t confirm whether an “old school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant” was indeed the plan for this particular location, but allowed that it was possible. (Tesla’s PR department spends an inordinate amount of time scrambling to explain their boss’s enigmatic tweets.)
Gonna put an old school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant at one of the new Tesla Supercharger locations in LA
The Boelter Companies, Inc., one of the nation’s leading food service design, equipment and supply companies, announced this week the launch of Boelter Blue, a custom mobile app that simplifies restaurant marketing.
The app, designed to help independent restaurants drive customer engagement and traffic, builds on mobile application technology Boelter gained when it acquired Anchor 5 Digital last year. Boelter will introduce the app at next week’s Midwest Foodservice Expo.
“We’re not just providing our customers digital marketing technology, but also decades of Boelter foodservice expertise,” said Eric Boelter, president of the Boelter Companies. “With Boelter Blue, we’ve made it easy for restaurants to reach and engage customers so they can focus on what they do best – preparing great food and entertaining guests.”
Boelter Blue customizes and sets up each restaurant’s app. Then with just a few clicks, Boelter Blue customers can pre-set or send on-the-go messages and photos directly to customers’ phones and connect customers to existing online services including reservations, menus, ordering, delivery, and loyalty programs. The app includes an easy-to-navigate dashboard so restaurants can measure real time results and trends to see how they’re doing.
“What sets this apart is our service extends well beyond launching the app,” said Dan Holen, co-founder, Boelter Blue. “To help our customers stay top-of-mind, it’s important we help them deliver the right marketing content, at the right time, to further entice customers through the doors.”
According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly a third of consumers say technology influences their decision on where to dine out or order delivery/take-out. It’s certainly made a difference for some of Boelter Blue’s initial users.
Today, Ando, the popular delivery-only New York restaurant from famed Momofuku chef David Chang, shut down operations, as it's been acquired by UberEATS. The restaurant had been working with UberEATS since it launched in 2016, and now it will be full… Engadget RSS Feed
If one of the best-run restaurant groups in the country walks away with a 12 percent margin, imagine your how your local restaurant is doing.
Americans will spend $ 260 billion on takeout this year — and most savvy restaurant owners understand that, as so many consumers place orders via mobile, offering digital ordering is a must for a successful run. That’s why giants like Grubhub, Seamless and UberEats have popped up, promising to work with restaurants to deliver their food to hungry paying customers.
But the thorn in the side of this burgeoning market is the business model — because, frankly, it’s not sustainable. The majority of restaurants already operate on some pretty thin margins, and building their businesses atop the shoulders of the delivery industry is only a recipe for failure.
Let me tell you about the delivery industry today. While it may seem like it’s in its relative infancy — thanks to increased attention on the first string of venture capital-backed upstarts — delivery has been around for decades. The only difference is that restaurants handled it on their own, employing a small fleet of couriers to run pizzas to family homes in their private vehicles. We’ve all seen the Honda Civic with the glowing “Domino’s” sign on top.
To their credit, companies like Postmates, Grubhub, and UberEats recognized the potential for overhaul. Most restaurants have a hard enough time staying in business as it is (something like 80 percent of restaurants fail in the first five years) — if someone could come in and handle a difficult section of the business for them, why would they say no?
That was a few years ago. Now these delivery companies have built their businesses on the backs of restaurants, gaining billions of dollars in from venture capital firms to provide courier services, customer acquisition and advertising.
But today, the system is in a dangerous place.
Something’s gotta give
Recently, at the TechTable Summit in New York, Kevin Boehm, co-founder of Boka Restaurant Group (they’re behind some of the most successful spots in Chicago) spoke about just how severe this issue really is.
According to Boehm, unlike many establishments in the country, Boka Group actually owns many of the properties at all of their restaurants and thus have very few real estate costs. Despite this, the group’s profit margins are around 12 percent — which isn’t much. If one of the best-run restaurant groups in the country walks away with a 12 percent margin, imagine your how your local restaurant is doing.
The tech companies behind delivery aren’t doing any better. If fact, their margins are much worse. UberEats, which The New York Times recently called the “surprise success of Uber,” is only profitable in 27 of the 108 cities where it’s offered — meaning they are actively losing money in approximately 70 percent of their markets. That’s with Uber taking 30 percent to 40 percent of every order from the restaurant and charging the customer a $ 5 delivery fee.
So with profitability in, let’s say, 30 percent of their markets, money has to come from somewhere. To date the negative margins have been covered by investor dollars — but when that money runs out and relationships become fraught, something has to give. The combination of an industry that has very thin margins (restaurant) with an industry that has upside down margins (delivery) is not a wise nor healthy combination.
Ultimately, with restaurants having no margin to spare and delivery companies like Uber, Postmates, and DoorDash all losing money while charging higher and higher fees, we’re on a path that will end badly for many. The current situation is not sustainable.
Where do we go from here?
Delivery is most successful when localized. Restaurants with their own drivers — or contracting with smaller local courier companies — can better control their businesses and aren’t forced to pay unnecessary fees. And with a rise in minimum wage coming Jan. 1, this could very well be the “straw that will break the delivery industry’s back,” as it were.
Restaurant delivery was never designed to become a standalone multibillion-dollar industry. The recent delivery model has only been sustainable up until this point thanks to venture capital money. Now investor appetite for funding delivery companies is going away, just as courier wages are going up.
As the foundation starts to crumble, restaurants and the people who love them need to be prepared for what’s to come. Operational costs and commissions are going up, and these delivery companies will need to offset costs somewhere — most likely, that will look like hiking up customer delivery fees. If we’re not prepared to pay the price, we’ll have to become our own delivery drivers.
And for the restaurants grappling with this market — be wary of building too much of your business on the shoulders of these venture capital-fueled delivery companies. Because eventually, they will run out of gas.
Chris Webb is the CEO of ChowNow, an online ordering system and marketing platform for restaurants. At just 19 years old, his interest in markets and trading led him to start his career at Bear Stearns and then Lehman Brothers. While working in the financial sector, Webb made a founding investment in the now popular Tender Greens restaurant chain in Southern California. His experience with Tender Greens brought to light the gap in the market for online ordering solutions for local groups and independent restaurants. From that discovery came ChowNow, which today powers online ordering at more than 9,000 restaurants across the country and recently launched its own app. Reach him @ChrisChowNow.
It's midday, your stomach is growling and you haven't brought a packed lunch. You could go outside and queue for some Pret a Manger, or — if you live in east London — you could try Deliveroo's new Lunchbox service. It's a £6 meal de… Engadget RSS Feed
If someone told you that there’s a mobile game with Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, on the App Store, you would probably expect to find a basketball game, but Chef Curry [Free] has nothing to do with that sport. Instead, the game relates more to Ayesha Curry’s career rather than her husband’s. Ayesha Curry has her own Food Network show and a series of cookbooks and cookware, so you shouldn’t be surprised that the mobile game is all about running a restaurant. In Chef Curry, you have to race around the kitchen trying to prepare and serve all kinds of meals and keep the frantic kitchen under control
The restaurant is filled with different personalities, and you’ll have to cater to each one. Chef Curry features the voices of Stephen and Ayesha, and it will be a treat for fans of either or both of them. And it does look pretty well done (pun intended). Chef Curry is out now and it’s free to play, so if you like management games or either of the game’s namesakes, go check it out.
Today, Uber announced a few changes to the UberEATS app aimed at helping users decide on what to eat. First, the company has brought a five-star rating system to the restaurants listed in the app and users can now rate a restaurant they've ordered fr… Engadget RSS Feed
The latest update to Google Maps is rolling out on the beta channel now. This is the version that brings the just-announced restaurant wait times. That appears to be the only notable addition users will be able to see right away. A teardown also brings more meat to the upcoming motorcycle-specific enhancements.
Restaurant wait times
Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)
Coordinates can be copied with a tap
Restaurant wait times
Scroll down to on restaurant listings to the popular times section and you’ll be treated to the new wait times.
Nobody likes waiting at a restaurant, especially when the default response is “5-10 minutes” and the actual wait time is significantly longer. To alleviate this, Google has announced that both Search and Maps will soon feature wait times for hundreds of thousands of sit-down restaurants, enabling you to plan your meals ahead.
When this functionality rolls out, you’ll be able to use it by searching for the restaurant on Google, opening the business listing, and scrolling down to the ‘Popular Times’ section.