This edition of MRM News Bites features Aramark, Starbucks, KFC and FRCH NELSON, OpenTable and Capital One, Toast, MOD Pizza, Coolgreens, Virtual Kitchen, Punchh, The OC Restaurant Association, NCR Corporation and Shake Shack.
The Best Chefs in the U.S.
Aramark is hosting an intense culinary competition to determine its best U.S.-based chefs. With knives sharpened, toques neatly packed and bragging rights on the line, Aramark’s top chefs from across the country will descend upon its Global Headquarters, in Philadelphia, PA, on November 20 to compete in the Inaugural National Finals of the Aramark Culinary Excellence (ACE) Competition – a showcase of the company’s domestic culinary talent and menu innovation.
Fifteen chefs from participating U.S. lines of business (Business Dining, Education, Healthcare Hospitality, Leisure, and Sports & Entertainment) beat the kitchen heat in sector championships to earn their spot in the national competition. The top three finishers from each industry have formed a team to compete for the honor of 2019 Aramark Culinary Excellence National Champions.
“We could not be more excited for the National Finals of the Aramark Culinary Excellence Competition. These talented chefs go above and beyond each day, creating and serving amazing meals to millions of sports fans, students, employees, hospital patients and travelers,” said John Zillmer, Aramark’s Chief Executive Officer. “I applaud all of the chefs for excelling in the kitchen, and thank them for their devotion and dedication to continuously innovating our customers’ dining experience.”
In addition to vying for the ACE Championship Copper Pot, each team of three will compete on behalf of one of Aramark’s non-profit partners. The winning team’s charitable organization will receive a $10,000 donation from the Aramark Charitable Fund.
Business Dining will compete on behalf of Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Education on behalf of Hope Center for College, Community and Justice; Healthcare Hospitality on behalf of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation; Leisure on behalf of the National Park Foundation; and Sports & Entertainment on behalf of Back on My Feet.
For the ACE Finals, judges from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – the largest professional chefs association in North America – will evaluate and score chefs against the rigorous criteria of ACF competition standards. Competitors have 30 minutes to create a menu, 4 hours for allotted cooking/service time, and 30 minutes for clean-up. The winning team of chefs will successfully prepare and present a four-course menu, utilizing a mystery basket of 16 fresh, seasonal ingredients, as well as demonstrate a mastery of cooking technique.
The daylong intensive culinary challenge will culminate with an evening awards ceremony, honoring all the national finalists and recognizing their culinary achievement.
Follow the competition throughout the day, including live look-ins, on Facebook and Twitter and using #AramarkACE.
Over 100 chefs from Aramark’s U.S. Business Dining, Healthcare Hospitality, Education (Higher Education/K12), Leisure, and Sports & Entertainment accounts competed individually in business sector competitions.
Aramark Culinary Excellence National Finals Team Competitors
(Comprised of top three finishers from each business sector final)
New York Life
Christopher L. Bee
University of North Carolina-
Kent State University
Tracey A. Hopkins, Sr.
Einstein Medical Center
Warren Memorial Hospital
William F. Bolger Center
Chauncey Hotel and
Ross School of Business at
Sports & Entertainment
Philadelphia, Baltimore &
Oregon Convention Center
Starbucks' Largest Immersive Coffee Experience
Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago, top photo, opened its doors to the public on Friday, November 15. Located on North Michigan Avenue and Erie Street on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, the opening of Chicago Reserve Roastery marks Starbucks sixth global Roastery and third location in the U.S. Starbucks largest-ever immersive coffee experience – across five floors and 35,000 square feet of retail space – celebrates the company’s heritage and is a tribute to the roasting and the craft of coffee. Visitors will be able to see, hear and learn about coffee’s extraordinary journey through intentional and unparalleled design, while enjoying a menu featuring exclusive coffee beverages exclusive to this location. The Chicago Roastery joins locations in Seattle, Shanghai, Milan, New York and Tokyo.
“Over the past five years, we have created the ultimate immersive experience around all-things-coffee in spectacular Starbucks Reserve Roasteries in flagship cities around the world. This week we are delighted to open our doors on the sixth global Roastery in an iconic building located on Chicago’s renowned Magnificent Mile,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks ceo. “These Roasteries amplify the Starbucks brand, serve as innovation hubs, and create experiences for millions of customers around the world.”
“The design of the Chicago Roastery was inspired by the iconic Chicago landmark, and the city itself,” said Jill Enomoto, vice president of Roastery Design & Concept for Starbucks. “We embraced the building’s natural light, married it with shades of classic Starbucks greens and intentionally wove in design features to encourage customer exploration and highlight the love and respect we have for coffee.”
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago is a working coffee roastery where Starbucks Roasters will be small-batch roasting Starbucks rarest single-origin coffees and blends called Starbucks Reserve. The coffee roasted in Chicago will be served exclusively to visitors of the location, available in handcrafted beverages as well as freshly scooped whole bean coffee.
Unique Food and Beverage Experiences
There are three main coffee bars at the Roastery, which in total offer seven brewing methods, including espresso, pour over, coffee press, siphon, Chemex®, Clover® and cold brewing.
- Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Upon entering the Roastery, visitors can visit the Reserve coffee bar on the main level, where baristas are crafting classic espresso beverages such as cappuccino, latte and cortado.
- Experiential Coffee Bar: The third floor is home to the Experiential coffee bar which provides customers the opportunity to immerse in the art, science, and theatre of coffee. It features elevated brew methods and pairings, as well as specialty Roastery creations and brew comparison flights.
- Barrel-Aged Coffee Bar: The barrel-aged coffee bar is found on the fourth floor and showcases a variety of spirit-free coffee beverages whose beans have been carefully aged in barrels. Here, visitors can explore a menu of cocktail-inspired coffee creations exclusive to the Chicago Roastery, including the Smoked Cold Fashioned (a lightly sweetened whiskey barrel-aged cold brew with aromatic bitters, smoked tableside), Minted Cold Brew (whiskey barrel-aged cold brew, shaken with mint syrup and served over pebble ice) and more.
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago is the only Starbucks location in the U.S. to offer on-demand liquid nitrogen gelato. Designed to pair with Starbucks Reserve® coffee, nitrogen gelato is mixed by hand, with every scoop made right on the spot and offers another way for customers to enjoy specialty Starbucks Reserve coffees. Nitrogen gelato previously debuted at the Milan Roastery when it opened in September 2018.
Arriviamo™ Cocktail Bar
The Chicago Roastery will feature a dedicated Arriviamo™ Bar, like the Starbucks Reserve Roastery locations in New York and Milan. Inspired by the Italian tradition of apertivo, the Arriviamo Bar will be a destination for customers looking for a carefully crafted cocktail. Located on the fourth floor, the Arriviamo™ bar features an assortment of traditional and unique cocktails, all concepted by local mixologists Julia Momose, Annie Beebe-Tron and Rachel Miller. In addition to a menu of classic cocktails and a selection of local Chicago beer and wine, exclusive specialty cocktails featuring Starbucks Reserve coffee and tea that nod to the culture and traditions of Chicago include:
- Roastery Boilermaker: A Chicago riff on the classic beer and a shot, this cocktail is inspired by a Stiegl Radler and includes Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew, Koval Four Grain Whiskey, local favorite Malort, grapefruit bitters and a sidecar of Rhine Hall Bierschnapps.
- Pour Over Bijou: An ode to Chicago’s stunning architecture, particularly Louis Sullivan’s jewel box style, this classic cocktail pour-over features Nikka Coffey Gin, Carpano Bianco, Green Chartreuse, and Liquore Strega extracted through Starbucks Reserve Coffee.
- Lake Shore: Inspired by icy paletas, this cocktail offers a taste of Chicago summer that’s good all year round, with Teavana® Zen Clouds Oolong, El Tesoro Añejo Tequila, Mango Yogurt Syrup, Mango Popsicle, Lime Juice, Lime Zest, and Sea Salt Tincture.
In addition to coffee beverages, Roastery visitors can enjoy food at Princi™, the renowned artisanal boutique bakery and cafe founded by Italian baker Rocco Princi. As the exclusive food purveyor at Starbucks Reserve locations, Princi offers on-site baking of fresh breads, cornetti and focaccia, pizza and salads, plus cakes and tarts. A full menu of items will be available on the second floor Princi bakery, while select items will also be available throughout the Roastery for customers looking to pair their coffee with a savory or sweet bite.
Exclusive to the Chicago Roastery will be a bakery conveyor that has been designed by Starbucks to transport fresh baked goods from the Princi bakery on the second floor, to the Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar on the main level.
In a nod to the city’s vibrant history, artwork from local Chicago artists that tell stories and encourage customers to explore can be found throughout the building’s five floors. Customers can also purchase limited-edition merchandise from Chicago-based visual artist Mac Blackout to take home with them.
Creating a Positive Impact
To further show support for city of Chicago, Starbucks recently announced an investment of $10 million into four established Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) to drive economic opportunity in the city. The investment, dispersed among Accion Chicago, Chicago Community Loan Fund, Local Initiative Support Corporation and IFF, is expected to generate more than 500 loans toward supporting Chicago’s small businesses, community development projects, and the economic vitality of the city’s underserved neighborhoods.
KFC Opens World’s First Drive-Thru Only
International retail design firm FRCH NELSON partnered with KFC SOPAC to design an innovative, pilot project in Newcastle, Australia opening to the public this week. With a growing number of consumers ordering through online channels, the goal of the new concept was to develop a more efficient operating model that celebrated this change in consumer behavior.
The new concept includes five drive thru lanes that allow customers to order and pay for a meal through the brand’s app or website, including designated lanes for more traditional, on-the-spot orders. For online orders, customers can drive up and enter a four-digit code, generated by the app, on a touchscreen, which will then send their order to the kitchen where it is freshly prepared and ready for collection.
Not having a public-facing interior, the FRCH NELSON team found key opportunities to celebrate the brand on the building’s exterior. “With traditional restaurants, the building is the experience, but with this new concept it became a fixture – one element supporting the overall experience. We had to utilize every exterior touchpoint from the landscaping, to the signage, to the architecture of the drive-thru portal, to create a holistic experience for guests,” said Marty McCauley, design director at FRCH NELSON.
The goal of the new design was to create a holistic drive-thru experience, leveraging architecture, communication, service, and landscape to create an elevated guest experience.
Guests are first greeted by a larger than life halo-lit Colonel Sanders layered atop the building’s wood cladded walls, complete with a Kentucky Fried Chicken lit branding on the wall. Once guests pull around they are met with the drive thru portal where bold architecture creates a true beacon for the experience. “The portal architecture was an opportunity to create an ownable element for the brand. We needed a bold moment that dialed up the scale since the entire guest journey is taking place within a car,” said McCauley. Again, the repetition of the red stripes reinforces the brand, while the outline is a wink toward the restaurant’s signature chicken bucket. The subtle slope of both the building and the drive-thru portal provides gentle encouragement of guest direction, queuing drivers from order to pick-up.
The overall design reflects the brand’s signature hospitality, while still offering moments of the Colonel’s signature feistiness, leveraging natural materials in conjunction with steel and glazing. The architectural elements play hero and exude the brand’s confidence in delivering an unforgettable guest experience. The end result is a branded celebration that leverages contrast and vibrancy through architecture, color, and communication to proclaim a distinctly kinetic, ownable bastion of service and convenience.
OpenTable Teams with Capital One
OpenTable and Capital One Financial Corporation partnered to offer Capital One credit cardholders access to hard-to-get reservations at prime dining times in more than 15 different US cities. Select sought-after restaurants on OpenTable will now allocate tables during their busiest shifts, which can be booked exclusively by Capital One credit cardholders via the OpenTable app.
“We know that coming across a 7pm Saturday night reservation at the hotspot can sometimes feel impossible. Now, there’s a way to get those reservations without scouring our site or planning months in advance,” said Debby Soo, Chief Commercial Officer, OpenTable. “By partnering with Capital One, we’re able to offer their credit cardholders Premium Access to coveted reservations all while introducing our restaurant partners to new diners.”
“We know our customers are passionate about memorable dining experiences, which is why we’re excited to partner with the leader in online and mobile dining reservations, OpenTable, to bring them access to exclusive reservations on a national scale,” said Lauren Liss, Vice President of U.S. Card at Capital One. “Through this partnership, we’re able to bring our credit cardholders hard-to-get reservations at nearly 300 restaurants in 15+ different US cities.”
With access to these exclusive reservations, Capital One cardholders can enjoy top dining destinations across the country. Examples of participating restaurants include: Boka and Girl & the Goat in Chicago, Republique, Here's Looking At You and the NoMad Restaurant in Los Angeles,Brennan’s and Shaya in New Orleans, The Loyal, Daniel and La Esquina in New York City, Delfina Restaurant, International Smoke and the Slanted Door in San Francisco, Bresca and Kith/Kin in Washington D.C. and many more.
“At Kith/Kin we foster an environment for friends and family to celebrate and make memories around the table,” said Kwame Onwuachi of Kith/Kin. “Through this new partnership between OpenTable and Capital One, we will be able to welcome so many new people into our home.”
In January, OpenTable plans to expand Premium Access reservations to its VIP diners. Qualifying diners will be able to redeem their OpenTable Dining Points to book prime time reservations at participating restaurants. Capital One credit cardholders will continue to enjoy access to Premium Access reservations without needing to redeem any OpenTable Dining Points to book.
“We are excited to participate in this program and introduce our restaurant to new diners through Capital One,” said Jason Berry of Succotash and Mi Vida restaurants. “We love opening our doors to new diners who experience our restaurants for the first time – and who will hopefully visit again soon.”
Toast Capital Launches
Toast unveiled Toast Capital: a solution designed from the ground up to provide restaurants of all sizes with access to fast, simple, flexible funding to cover working capital needs and invest in their growth.
Nearly 52 percent of restaurant professionals rank high food and operating costs as a top challenge in running a restaurant, according to the Toast Restaurant Success in 2019 Industry Report. Access to capital from brick and mortar financial institutions has historically been a challenge for restaurants due to perceived risks common within the restaurant industry, such as seasonality and thin profit margins.
Based on Toast’s experience in serving the restaurant community, Toast Capital simplifies life for restaurateurs and provides them with quick and reliable access to funding to help grow their business. Benefits include:
- Fast, flexible funding: Toast Capital Loans provide easy access to the financing restaurants need, when they need it. Members of the Toast Restaurant Community can apply in just a few minutes and, once approved, receive funds as soon as one business day.
- An eligibility engine designed for restaurants: Eligibility for a Toast Capital Loan is determined by a number of attributes, such as sales history, time in business, and time as a Toast customer. Unlike traditional business loans, Toast Capital Loan eligibility guidelines take into consideration specific industry challenges, such as seasonality.
- One fixed, transparent cost: Toast Capital Loans offer funding at a fixed cost that is tailored to each restaurant. Toast Capital Loans have no compounding interest or personal guarantees. Funding is available between $5,000 and $250,000, based on eligibility.
- Simple, automated repayments: Toast Capital Loans are repaid as a fixed percentage of daily credit card sales. This means repayment flexes with restaurant sales volume so when sales are slower, restaurants repay less than on busy days.
“Since investing in Juvia and Sushi Garage with Toast Capital seven months ago, our revenue increased by over 15 percent,” said Tim Sandoz, director of operations at Juvia Group in Miami, Florida. “Funding through Toast Capital allowed us to expand our dining space and increase the number of covers we can handle each night. Historically, reservations would book up four days in advance, which meant a lot of disappointed potential diners. Since the expansion with Toast Capital, we now have additional seating which allows us to accommodate more guests, grow our revenue, and increase server tips.”*
“Toast Capital is a restaurant-first funding partner committed to the success of the Restaurant Community,” said Tim Barash, chief business officer, Toast. “We understand the unique challenges restaurant owners face when it comes to running a business and securing a loan. That’s why a Toast Capital Loan provides access to transparent financing with one flat fee, empowering restaurant owners to do what they love and thrive.”
MOD Pizza doubled down on its commitment to tackle childhood hunger by proclaiming, “This is Not a Pizza Place,” as they launch their annual Spreading MODness celebration. From November 18-22, 2019, MOD will donate a portion of every pizza sold to help create meals for kids struggling with food insecurity — an issue that affects a staggering one in five nationwide.
As with previous years, MOD’s donation will help fuel community meal-packing events in partnership with Generosity Feeds and other non-profits dedicated to ending childhood hunger. These compact and nutritionally dense meals will be distributed through school backpack programs and food banks in MOD communities across the country. To date, MOD has helped pack and distribute over one million meals.
“We have built MOD with the intention to positively impact as many lives as possible. In fact, we often say that pizza is just a front for our true purpose. MOD exists to serve people and our Spreading MODness week highlights one of the many ways we work to be of service,” said Ally Svenson. “For our customers, it’s simple — when they enjoy a pizza, they’ll also be helping to feed a child. This is the ripple effect of Spreading MODness.”
MOD’s 2019 Spreading MODness celebration kicked off with a “take over” of its Seattle flagship location, using a giant neon sign to announce This Is Not A Pizza Place. Once customers entered This Is Not A Door, they experienced an active meal-packing event taking place, demonstrating how MOD’s platform of pizza can make an impact in unexpected ways.
In an effort to best protect its guests, Coolgreens, an innovative healthy lifestyle eatery, is making the switch to tamper-proof packaging in November for its third-party delivery.
Coolgreens, like many other restaurants, has been impacted by a wave of guests wondering if their meals have been tampered with through third-party delivery. The brand’s Vice President of Operations Amanda Powell made it a priority to find a solution to this industry-wide problem. Now, with tamper-proof packaging, delivery guests will know if their food has been interfered with before they open it.
“This was not a cost-saving idea, rather, an investment to better protect our guests,” said Coolgreens Equity Partner Todd Madlener. “Coolgreens promises ‘more than’ experiences, so we have to do everything we can to live up to that expectation. This is one way we can improve and ensure we give the enhanced experience that our brand is known for. We want our delivery guests to know that we will provide their meal the way they ordered it and in a safe manner. We expect this part of our business to continue to grow, and to that end, we felt this was an area that needed to be addressed.”
Off-premise has seen strong growth at Coolgreens. Online orders have jumped to six percent of sales, and this percentage is expected to grow with the implementation of Coolgreens’ mobile app that launched in mid-July. Additionally, third-party delivery orders have skyrocketed from four percent to almost 10 percent – a 150-percent increase.
Virtual Kitchen Launches
Virtual Kitchen Co, a food tech and logistics company focused on building delivery-optimized kitchens, announced today its formal launch alongside a $15M Series A financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Base10 Partners. Other investors include Rappi co-founder Sebastian Mejia, former Yelp SVP of Engineering Michael Stoppelman, Opendoor co-founder JD Ross, and Maple VC founder Andre Charoo. Andrew Chen from A16z and Adeyemi Ajao from Base10 will be joining the board. The company has raised $17M to date and will use the funding to build new facilities, R&D, and hiring.
Virtual Kitchen Co’s mission is to empower restaurants to expand delivery coverage and bring great food to more people. The company provides a turnkey solution to restaurants, combining space, operations, and tech that allows restaurants to increase their delivery presence with minimal costs. With multiple delivery-optimized kitchens already in San Francisco, the company will open another dozen Bay Area facilities in the next six months. Early restaurant partners include local favorites such as DOSA, Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers, Poki Time, and more.
"For a few years now we’ve seen customers opting for more casual dining and the convenience of delivery,” said Anjan Mitra, DOSA owner and Executive Chef. “Combined with rising costs, labor shortages, and changes in the business climate, we have had to evolve DOSA's business model away from full-service restaurants. As we explored various options, Virtual Kitchen was the only partner who had a feasible solution for our customers, while also making financial sense for us. They will seamlessly give us the reach across the Bay Area, without the risky financial investment and operational costs required by other dark kitchen providers. Virtual Kitchen is a wonderful partner that has designed a solution that respects innovative restaurant brands, and also understands the challenges of running a neighborhood restaurant."
“Local food brands are beloved by consumers, but can always use a leg up in their business and operations. It’s fantastic to see how our cities’ best restaurants can scale beyond their retail footprint using food delivery,” said Andrew Chen, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “We’re seeing a ton of innovation happening rapidly in this space right now. The Virtual Kitchen team has the perfect blend of expertise to build this startup, and we couldn’t be more excited to start our journey with them.”
Virtual Kitchen Co was founded by Ken Chong, Matt Sawchuk, and Andro Radonich. Chong formerly led Marketplace product teams at Uber, developing it’s next-gen network pricing, marketplace health, and real-time pricing systems. Sawchuk spent six years at Uber developing a number of large business lines including UberX and UberEATS in San Francisco. Andro Radonich built one of the largest high-end corporate catering businesses in the Bay Area over the past decade.
“We were surprised to see our favorite restaurants growing rapidly on Uber Eats, but when we talked to them, they told us bottom-line wasn’t growing with the current brick and mortar setup,” said Ken Chong, co-founder and CEO. “Consumers love the convenience of food delivery apps, and demand keeps growing. We want to equip food entrepreneurs with the best platform to take advantage of the food delivery economy.”
“In what is a true breath of fresh air for a Silicon Valley based company, Matt, Ken and Andro got together to help food entrepreneurs not only survive but thrive in the food delivery economy,” said Adeyemi Ajao, Managing Partner at Base10. “They know too well the unintended consequences that unchecked ‘disruption’ and ‘automation’ could have on an industry. We are pleased to be partnering with the team as they continue to scale.”
Punchh Raises $40M
Punchh, the leader in customer marketing solutions for physical retailers, today announced it has raised $40 million in a Series C funding round led by Adams Street Partners and Sapphire Ventures, with AllianceBernstein also participating in the round. The new funding will be used to further augment Punchh’s AI capabilities as it expands into new verticals such as convenience stores and other physical retail segments. Robin Murray of Adams Street Partners will also join Punchh’s board.
As part of this expansion, Punchh also announced a partnership with Casey’s General Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: CASY), a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest convenience store brands in the United States, operating 2,100 stores in 16 states throughout the Midwest.
“Consumers expect ubiquity of experiences online and off. In-store retail remains extremely popular and is one of the most powerful relationship building channels ever created. However, ecommerce has changed expectations for personalization so dramatically that marketers need to incorporate AI in order to remain competitive,” said Shyam Rao, CEO of Punchh. “Our platform gives retailers an unparalleled understanding of how customers engage with their brand in the real world, along with the ability to use that understanding to create AI-powered experiences that keep customers coming back for more.”
“Punchh is the undisputed leader in this category. They work with the biggest brands, have the most sophisticated technology, and drive real results for their customers,” said Robin Murray, Partner at Adams Street Partners. “While everyone else got distracted by maximizing ecommerce, Punchh took the best technologies and practices from that space and applied them to physical retail. Now the world is coming back around – just look at Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods – and Punchh is already 10 steps ahead of the game.”
“Analysts predict ecommerce will account for just 10 percent1 of total retail sales in 2019, which means about 90 percent of transactions are still taking place in store,” said Jai Das, managing director, president and co-founder of Sapphire Ventures. “There’s tremendous opportunity in brick-and-mortar retail, and brands are looking for ways to better understand their customers and build data-driven relationships that translate into increased customer lifetime value. Punchh’s solutions allow retailers to do that in a highly scalable manner, which is why they’re trusted by so many leading brands, and why we’re so optimistic on their long-term growth.”
Nearly 200 global enterprise brands currently use Punchh’s solutions in more than 93,000 retail locations across the globe – including Yum! Brands, Denny’s and Casey’s: the company’s flagship convenience store customer.
“Punchh is exciting because they’re constantly pushing the boundaries of how retailers can leverage AI to enhance every step of the customer journey – from new customer acquisition to loyalist activation and beyond,” said Art Sebastian,Vice President of Digital Experience for Casey’s. “Brands need every edge they can get In today’s highly competitive retail climate, and Punchh delivers that edge by making advanced customer AI technology applicable to brick-and-mortar.”
The OC Restaurant Association is excited to announce the acquisition of the coveted domain, TacoTuesday.com. Recently purchased by OC Restaurant Association Founder and President Pamela Waitt, TacoTuesday.com will launch in Spring 2020 as planet Earth’s ultimate Taco Tuesday resource. The first and only hub where restaurants upload their profiles and menu specials—and a simple zip code search takes consumers to the nearest Taco Tuesday—the website will serve as an unbiased, all-inclusive and non-contentious platform for everyone everywhere to share, watch, read about and applaud everything tacos.
“This is an exciting day for us,” says Waitt, an Orange County native and restaurant industry powerhouse who is also the creator and executive producer of the Golden Foodie Awards and the founder of OC Restaurant Week and Pacific Wine & Food Classic. “Considering its rich history and connection to Orange County, we think it’s the perfect place and time to give the beloved taco, which has made Tuesday the new Friday, a virtual home that’s accessible to all and absolutely free—free for restaurants and consumers and, more important, free from litigation. Rather than trying to own two words that have become part of American culture in many places across the U.S., we are democratizing Taco Tuesday, with a vision to establish TacoTuesday.com as the go-to site where establishments and taco lovers can share their favorite taco stories, images, videos, humor, events and recipes with anyone.”
The term Taco Tuesday has taken center stage in a big way thanks to LeBron James, who is trying to make the remarkable phrase un-trademarkable. Despite scuffles around the phrase, there is nothing serious about TacoTuesday.com except the fact that people are serious about Taco Tuesday. A quick Google search for the phrase returns more than 92 million results, with more than 3 million #tacotuesday posts on Instagram and Twitter, all pointing toward the tremendous potential to build an online community partnering for the greater good of the taco.
“We would love to serve as a peacemaker,” adds Waitt, who knows a thing or two about bringing people together. Her festive culinary events have been wildly successful, and the Golden Foodie Awards have become renowned as the People’s Choice Awards of Food. “In the same way the OC Restaurant Association has helped develop Orange County as a world-class dining destination, I believe TacoTuesday.com will create a unique community and togetherness, with the mighty taco connecting us all.”
Currently in development, TacoTuesday.com will include an initial database of approximately 500 restaurants in the five states with the highest search volume for Taco Tuesday: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Florida and Nevada. In addition to giving consumers a convenient way to find taco deals on Tuesdays, the site will eventually expand as an umbrella brand for taco events, social media activations, media tours, guest chef interviews and an opportunity to foster strategic partnerships, corporate citizenship, philanthropic giving and beyond.
NCR Acquires POS Solutions
NCR Corporation acquired POS Solutions, a point-of-sale and restaurant solutions provider in central Texas.
This is the fourth local office acquisition NCR has made in the Lone Star State. It further expands the reach of NCR’s restaurant technology – which is trusted by more than 100,000 restaurants around the world. Solutions including the signature NCR Aloha point-of-sale platform and NCR Aloha Essentialssubscription package provide everything restaurants need to run their business, boost efficiency and increase growth.
“Bringing POS Solutions into the NCR family aligns with our strategy to increase our capabilities to deliver our solutions and serve our customers in thriving local restaurant markets, like Austin,” said NCR President and CEO Michael D. Hayford.
NCR will maintain POS Solutions’ existing customer sites with the POS Solutions management team and staff of local Austin restaurant experts. The integration of the POS Solutions team into the NCR local office network accelerates NCR’s ability to bring innovative solutions to the Austin community.
“Our customers will continue to work with the same team they’ve grown familiar with through the years – and now, we have access to global resources and can deliver even better service,” said Allen Devino, president of POS Solutions.
Shake Shack Begins Nationwide Delivery
Shake Shack has officially begun delivery nationwide with Grubhub.
"As we begin our integrated partnership with Grubhub, we're focused on creating the best delivery experience for both our restaurant operators and our guests," stated Randy Garutti, chief executive officer of Shake Shack. "We're committed to being an accessible omnichannel business, giving our guests the chance to experience Shake Shack whenever they want it, with convenience and ease. We're excited to launch this partnership nationwide and begin our marketing efforts together across the country."
After various pilots, Shake Shack chose Grubhub as its exclusive integrated national delivery and marketing partner. Delivery on Grubhub is now available at nearly all Shake Shack locations nationwide and other elements of the partnership will be launching throughout 2020. With Grubhub's "Just in Time" technology, pickups by drivers will be timed to the moment an order is ready, resulting in faster delivery, fresher food and a better guest experience. Shake Shack will also benefit from Grubhub's enterprise support team, with dedicated resources for both customer and operations support. In addition to leveraging the expansive diner base of Grubhub's marketplace, the relationship will also leverage a unique data-sharing partnership, allowing both Shake Shack and Grubhub to reward loyal diners with special experiences and promotions throughout the year.
"We've been able to build out a deeply-integrated and robust partnership that positively impacts all parties, including the restaurant and our diners," said Matt Maloney, founder and chief executive officer at Grubhub. "Shake Shack is an exciting addition to our growing number of restaurants, and we know diners will be eager to order their favorites for delivery. With the power of both brands, we're confident in our execution ahead and the large opportunity that this partnership represents for both Shake Shack guests and our diners. "