From a dry rub starring brown sugar, guajillo chiles and smoked paprika to the low & slow mesquite smoke, Boar’s Head NEW Bold PitCraft™ Slow Smoked Turkey Breast brings the taste of real pit BBQ straight to your local deli.
While indoor dining has dropped way down during the pandemic, food delivery has grown considerably. DoorDash and Uber Eats, the two largest delivery apps by market share both saw their sales double from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020.
But while it might be an easy decision for customers to use these third-party delivery apps, the decision for restaurants is not so easy. There is a lot to consider, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
It’s hard to think of a bigger restaurant success story over the last decade than Shake Shack. The high-end burger chain began as a hot dog cart in 2001 in New York City’s Madison Square Park by famed restaurateur Danny Meyer. The menu was handwritten written by Meyer on a single sheet of paper in about 10 minutes and is about 85 percent the same today.
But there’s so much more to this story. Like for three years after 9/11 that hot dog cart paid the bills at the crown jewel of Meyer’s restaurant empire, Eleven Madison Park. Or how he wasted over a million developing a line of French fries only to throw them away out of pure pride. If Danny Meyer is the heart and soul of Shake Shack, its longtime CEO Randy Garutti is the engine that powers it. Here’s how they built Shake Shack.
Tipping is a quintessential American custom. In the U.S. consumers tip for services ranging from baggage handlers at the airport to housekeepers at hotels. But according to some analysts, tipping has created an environment where restaurant servers are subjected to sexual harassment and low pay.
About 70% of tipped workers in the restaurant industry are women and about 45% are people of color. In a recent study by One Fair Wage and UC Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center over 78% of restaurant workers reported witnessing hostile behavior from customers who were asked to follow Covid-19 safety protocols, more than 40% noticed a change in the frequency of unwanted sexual comments from customers and 83% said their tips had declined during the pandemic.
With Covid-19 leaving millions to do essential work for low pay there have been renewed calls for a $15 minimum wage and the elimination of the tipped minimum wage — the base salary for many restaurant workers. Forty three states, including Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, have a tipped minimum wage for workers who in some cases are paid as little as $2.13 an hour by their employer.
But many in the full-service restaurant industry oppose the proposed changes, saying they would lead to higher menu prices and fewer hours for workers. According to the National Restaurant Association, the pandemic has already enacted a devastating toll on the industry, wiping out 2.5 million restaurant jobs and more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments in 2020 alone. Watch the above video to find out what the $15 minimum wage and the elimination of the tipped minimum wage would mean for restaurants and their employees.
Demand for food delivery has soared amid the pandemic, but restaurants are struggling to survive. In a fiercely competitive industry, delivery services are fighting to gain market share while facing increased pressure to lower commission fees and provide more protection to their workers. Video/Photo: Jaden Urbi/WSJ
Horn Barbecue pitmaster Matt Horn fell in love with barbecue from a young age, when he learned to get a feel for how to make juicy, tender, and smoky brisket, ribs, and other meats from his grandfather’s smoker without even using a thermometer. Now, he cultivates his “West Coast-style” barbecue, inspired by a combination of Central Texas barbecue, traditions from the deep south, and Horn’s Bay Area roots, at his restaurant in Oakland.
Americans love The Cheesecake Factory. The restaurant known for its massive 21-page menu, dozens of dessert options and ancient Egypt-inspired decor was ranked as one of the top casual dining restaurants in the U.S. in 2019. But the eatery popular with everyone from NBA stars to cheesecake aficionados has fallen on hard times as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry. In October, The Cheesecake Factory reported third-quarter sales fell by 12% and same-stores sales were down 23% from a year earlier. So after 40 years in business will The Cheesecake Factory be able to regain its momentum and will the chain’s takeout and delivery service be enough to offset the decline of the dine-in restaurant experience?
As the oldest café in Italy—and the world, in fact—Caffè Florian recently celebrated its 300th anniversary on December 29 with no fanfare. It was a far cry from the 290th celebration in 2010, with cakes, an enormous party, and a live concert. The café famed for its celebrity clientele—from Charles Dickens to Andy Warhol—now faces closure since the pandemic has taken a toll on tourism.
The café was opened in San Marco Square in 1720 by Italian entrepreneur Floriano Francesconi (locals knew it as Floriano’s). It has been a gathering place for locals, a place to woo tourists, and a hot spot for A-listers for hundreds of years.
In 1895, the idea of the Venice Biennale was born here, to pay homage to King Umberto and Queen Margherita, and scenes from Hollywood films have been shot here, such as The Talented Mr. Ripley (starring Matt Damon) nd Summertime (starring Katharine Hepburn). Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens were frequent visitors, as well as Friedrich Nietzsche, Casanova, and Charlie Chaplin. Ernest Hemingway would sit out on the patio drinking coffee in the sun, while Claude Monet charmed the pigeons into standing on his head in the same spot.
Ghost kitchens are kitchens designed for delivery-only businesses, without dine-in areas or customer facing storefronts. The pandemic has ravaged dine-in eateries, and companies that have focused on delivery could come out on top if the current trends continue. Watch the full video to see why ghost kitchens are taking over the restaurant industry.
Here are some of the top Ghost Kitchens:
With a $10 million dollar investment from Google Ventures, Kitchen United has been one of the leanest (and fastest-growing) startups in the space. Founder Jim Collins has turned down hundreds of millions of investment dollars to focus on growing more organically. Currently, Kitchen United plans on conquering the global restaurant space — with 5,000 kitchens planned in the next four years.
All in all, Kitchen United offers a turn-key, light-capital model, delivering a complete, code-safe kitchen replete with appliances and cooking implements. All that’s left to do is to…cook.
The fastest-growing and most investor-friendly ghost kitchen startup, CloudKitchens, has already taken in over $400 million from investors. $150 million interestingly invested by its founder (former Uber superstar) Travis Kalanick. Like Kitchen United, CloudKitchens offers fully-equipped kitchens (branded as “smart kitchens”) for the delivery-only model. Honestly, you can’t ignore a project that Travis is a part of.
Another not-so-surprising entry into the ghost kitchen space is DoorDash, which has already premiered locations in San Francisco and Redwood City. Currently, DoorDash’s model is focused on catering to high-delivery areas for established brands like Chic-Fil-A, but we’re sure they have plans in the works for new locations, as well.
For the time being, DoorDash Kitchens is still in the experimentation phase, with only a few locations. And, like others on this list, it provides everything a restauranteur would need for a single monthly fee.
For the moment, we’ll set aside the possible conflicts associated with Uber’s ex co-founder Travis Kalanick — who’s also operating CloudKitchens. We’re sure that bridge will need crossing at some point if Uber expands its operations. For the time being, the ridesharing company has been keeping a low profile in the ghost kitchen space. To date, it has been testing ghost kitchens in a few markets, though it remains curiously reluctant to share the delicious details pertaining to its Paris operations.
Virtual Kitchen Co.
Another new entry is Virtual Kitchen Co. — which already operates several successful ghost kitchens. They plan to open 15 more kitchens over the next few years, driven by $15 million dollar Series A. Again, Virtual Kitchen Co. offers a similar pricing structure: Restaurants can pay a monthly fee for everything.
The one small difference here is that Virtual Kitchen Co. seems to be targeting existing restaurants that want to enter the delivery space.