What’s on a restaurant tech wishlist?


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At last week’s Restaurant Leadership Conference, a panel of restaurant marketing managers were asked what technology products they want someone to build.

CMO’s job is inseparable from today’s technology, and their responses highlight some of the challenges (opportunities?) in the industry today. This is what they wanted:

Ryan Ostrom, Jack in the Box: A Control-Alt-Delete button that removes all legacy technologies.

If only it were that easy! Ostrom said the burger chain still had elements in its ’80s and’ 90s tech stack, and trying to uproot has been intimidating. The process is a bit like “Jenga”.

“You can’t get rid of anything, and you’re only as strong as your weakest tech in all of your stack,” Ostrom said.

Kelly Cooke, Salsarita’s: An automated data analysis system.

The Mexican fast casual has benefited from an influx of customer data since expanding its order channels and launching a loyalty program, but collecting that data is still largely Cooke’s responsibility. She fantasized about software that would send her a notification every morning with information gleaned from yesterday’s orders.

Jodi Boyce, Teriyaki Madness: A tool that can tie disparate technologies together into one system.

“Besides cloning people,” Boyce joked, she would like a better way to integrate the many technology products available.

“We have so much data, but if the systems aren’t communicating with each other, they’re broken,” she said.

Minneapolis has permanently capped third-party delivery charges. The city council voted unanimously last week to permanently limit the fees charged to restaurants by delivery providers to 15%.

It becomes the third city with a permanent cap, after San Francisco and New York. Delivery companies have sued both cities over the measures.

Minneapolis Law includes a provision that allows delivery companies to charge more than 15% per order as long as a restaurant agrees to pay more for additional services.

Meanwhile, ChowNow is taking its own hit on the delivery companies. The online ordering and delivery market last week unveiled a new tool for customers called Diner Impact Score. It shows how much money a customer has helped restaurants save over time by ordering through ChowNow, which, unlike competitors DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub, does not charge restaurants an ordering commission.

The score is calculated on the basis of 20% delivery costs and 10% for pickup. Shipping costs typically range from 15% to 30% or more. The score is updated each time a customer places an order.

Uber Eats made the first food delivery to space. The delivery company has teamed up with entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa to bring ready-to-eat canned Japanese dishes to the International Space Station on Saturday, a 248-mile-plus eight-hour journey. As part of the publicity stunt, Eats will be offering $ 10 off orders of $ 20 or more to the first 248,000 customers who use the code SPACEFOOD through December 19.

Uber eats in spaceYusaku Maezawa at the ISS for Uber Eats. / Photo courtesy of Uber Eats

Nextbite launched its first Asian virtual brand. Lucky Dragon Fried Rice Take Out has only three menu items: Classic Fried Rice, Spicy Fried Rice, and Yum Yum Fried Rice, made with a special Yum Yum sauce. All include a combination of rice, vegetables, and a choice of protein.

Notably, none of the recipes are frozen: Nextbite encourages restaurants to change the ingredients of Lucky Dragon as they see fit. “Don’t you like our special meats?” No problem: use yours. Not in our recommended rice? All is well: use your rice, his website reads.

Chefs Tom Colicchio and Spike Mendelsohn are launching a range of NFTs. (This means non-fungible tokens, unique digital assets that can be bought and sold online as collectibles.) The Chef’s collection is called CHFTY Pizzas. It will feature 8,888 images of cartoon pizza slices wearing different outfits and accessories. NFTs are still in development, and pricing for each has yet to be announced. But the footage will apparently have real-world connections, including pizzas or dinners with celebrity chefs, according to the CHFTY Pizza Site.

Reef Technology hired a product manager. Dylan Casey, a former technology leader at Goldman Sachs, Yahoo and Google, has been appointed to the newly created role in which he will lead product development and “instill a product-driven philosophy” at Reef, CEO Ari Ojalvo said in a statement. The Ghost Kitchen Operator has hundreds of locations in the United States and abroad.

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