Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Food Delivery Apps Battle for Your Stomach, No One’s Winning

Rising and Fortune 500 companies alike have been slowly realizing that people eat food. Like, a lot. Responding to this very basic acknowledgement, new food apps and online verticals have been popping up on consumer sites throughout this year. Like, a lot.

Maybe, too much.

The newest addition, UberFRESH, is the latest venture in Uber’s quest for world domination.

Given all the recent negative press surrounding Uber, numerous people have voiced concerns about trusting the company with their information. For the hordes of people who still prefer the service to Lyft and Curb, you can now also trust an Uber driver with your lunch order. The service is currently only available in West Los Angeles and Hollywood and exclusively honors lunch orders from select restaurants, but expansion is expected.

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Recent Square acquisition, Caviar, possesses an Uber-like courier service that encourages everyday cyclists to deliver food for the company. Each courier is supplied with a GPS that allows you to track your order from mostly upscale restaurants that are required to post high quality photos of all menu items.

Both UberFRESH and Caviar offer an elitist feel to an everyman market, but Caviar insists that their company wants to appeal to a wide variety of customers and restaurants.

“Our thinking is that the ‘best’ food doesn’t have to mean expensive food,” a spokesperson for Caviar commented. “We look for restaurant partners that offer the best of everything—you know, those places that people get excited about and look forward to eating meals from.”

Both UberFresh and Caviar offer an elitist feel to an everyman market, but Caviar insists that their company wants to appeal to a wide variety of customers and restaurants.

Since food delivering processes become very habitual for consumers, it’s important for these types of services to make excellent first impressions. While service loyalty is great for these companies, the competition segregates the market and can also hide local restaurants from customers.

For a long time, I primarily used GrubHub for my noms needs, but my favorite Thai restaurant only operates through their online ordering portal and, to my recent realization, Eat 24. While my love for this restaurant pushed me to use their janky portal and even go old school with a few phone orders, this discovery has prompted a more 50/50 split between my use of the two food delivery giants (I eat a lot of Thai food).

Abby Hunt, director of public relations for GrubHub Inc., seems pretty undeterred by the increasing industry competition.

“GrubHub Inc. is the clear leader in the US restaurant food delivery space,” Hunt boasted. “Nobody is doing what we do, at our scale.”

With more than 30,000 restaurants across the country and in London listed on GrubHub platforms, she has every right to brag.

When large companies like Amazon Local and Uber attempt to disrupt the food delivery industry, however, it shrinks the market share of existing companies like GrubHub. While this process is capitalism at its finest and will eventually result in a clear winner, it makes it difficult for restaurants to make their food as available as possible to customers.

“GrubHub Inc. is the clear leader in the US restaurant food delivery space,” Hunt boasted. “Nobody is doing what we do, at our scale.”

Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese in Los Angeles, CA, began exclusively offering local delivery through Caviar four months ago and they see no problems with limiting themselves to one service.

Greenspan on Caviar

“We have been loyal thus far to Caviar based on their excellent network of clientele,” Jay Perrin, partner of Foundation Hospitality Group which owns and operates Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese, predictably stated. “They have an extremely high-valued and immediate response to customer service that we find aligns itself perfectly with our brand.”

The restaurant is open to using other delivery services in the future, but they maintain that they are very transparent about Caviar in-store and on their website. Greenspan’s 73 Yelp reviews and undisclosed number of check-ins, however, have arrived at the conclusion that the hipstaurant doesn’t deliver at all.

When people are more confident that you cater rather than deliver, it’s safe to say your customers have not been made aware of your niche delivery service.

As newer apps and websites are developed, they try to appeal to the sensibilities of certain types of restaurants in order to break into the market. Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese was lured in by the chicness of Caviar, but the pairing does not prove as symbiotic as the restaurant believes it to be.

When people are more confident that you cater rather than deliver, it’s safe to say your customers have not been made aware of your niche delivery service.

For now, there’s just enough choice to make things interesting for consumers, but if this trend continues, restaurants could end up footing the bill.

Amazon Local, UberFRESH and Eat24 could not be reached for comment.

Categories
Technology

Square Order App Lets You Ditch the Coffee Shop Line

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If you’ve ever waited in a line at Starbucks, with the pressure of being late to work hovering in the back of your mind, you’ll definitely appreciate this news.

According to Engadget, the Square Order app now offers a service where you can put in your coffee order ahead of time through your phone, and simply walk in to pick it up. No lines.

Once you put in your order, using the location settings on your phone, the barista gets notified when you’re getting closer to the coffee shop, and they can get started on your drink so it’s ready when you arrive.

The payment is automatically processed through the app, so you can just walk into the shop, grab your drink and get the hell out of there in a matter of seconds. Laughing at the suckers in line optional.

The app also saves the specifics of your orders, so if you like your coffee customized a certain way, it’ll save it for a smoother ordering process the next time around.

So far, Blue Bottle is the only cafe teamed up with Square, but it does open the door for other cafes and chains to join in. We’re looking at you, Starbucks.

PicThx Engadget

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Japanese Farmers are Growing Heart-Shaped Watermelons

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Do we need watermelons grown into shapes of squares and hearts? Well, yes and no.

No, they don’t taste any different (we’re guessing). Sure, they’re probably easier to store. Yes, they will melt your heart.

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Farmer Hiroichi Kimura from Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture underwent a long series of trial and error to create his proprietary watermelon heart-mold, which was inspired by a comment from a neighbor. Rocket News reports, “Mr. Kimura’s heart watermelons have a crunchy consistency that gives way to pleasantly sweet juices. Once you’ve gulped down the red flesh, you’re left with a mellow sweetness that lingers on the tongue. The taste was better than Mr. Kimura imagined.”

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Watch this neat featurette to see how he did it and start planning your Valentine’s Day shipment now. Bonus points if you figure out a way to hide an engagement ring inside. This is some Grade-A Pinterest sh*t.

H/T + PicThx Design Taxi

Categories
Sweets

Square Nutella Bacon Cronuts Offer Just the Right Amount of Strange

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Are we tired of the Cronut yet? Yes.
Is a huge reason that we’re from the west coast and bitter because we can’t try some for ourselves? Probably.
Are we, however, also huge advocates of anything deep-fried and slathered in bacon and nutella and therefore going to cover this new Cronut knock-off anyway? Abso-f*cking-lutely.

Available at the Le Petit Bakery in Brooklyn, these “Squats” (or “Square Cronuts”) are said to be even better than the original: “Denser [ . . .] more doughnut-like, with a crunchier outside and fluffier inside,” according to DNAInfo. They’re also named for the kind of exercise you’d need in order to not totally ruin your beach bod. You know, in case you had any delusions of maintaining fitness while practically inhaling that crispy, buttery, savory piece of geometric perfection.

In the week or so since the pastry has appeared on Le Petit’s shelves, the bakery’s sales have already tripled – which isn’t too hard to believe, considering there’s no limit on how many Squats you can pick up at a time. There is, however, probably a limit on how many squats you can finish while eating Squats, which means it’s a good thing’s summer more than halfway over, huh? Exactly.

H/T + PicThx Gothamist

Categories
Opinion

Why 2013 is the Year to Do Away With ‘Cash Only’

There has been more than a few times in my life that I stepped up to a counter to order food only to find out that they only accepted cash. Is there anything more disappointing? So much of a good meal is the anticipation that comes with it. Waiting in line to order, watching your food cook in a pan, sitting with your friends salivating over everyone else’s order. But all of that anticipation can be turned to disappointment at the sight of one of those god-awful “Cash Only” signs.

So, do I think the movement for some food establishments, like TRU Deli and Wine in North Carolina, to stop accepting cash and only cards is a good one? Sure I do. And here’s why: Nearly everyone who chooses to go out to eat carries some type of card, whether credit or debit. Will it alienate some potential consumers? Maybe, but probably not. Even if you show up and learn that they are card only, you’re not left high and hungry like being cashless at a cash only debacle.

TRU Deli’s owner, Dwight Debree, chooses to use the San Francisco based company Square as his company’s card reader, and says that not using cash has sped up the ordering and serving process. He also says that though there is a fee that goes along with only using cards, the money is more than made back through the increased efficiency.

Will all restaurants adopt this trend? Obviously, no. But should they? Hell ya! Carrying cash is so 2012.

H/T QSR + PictureThx ROQBOT