Restaurant Meals at Home with Forage
Remember Foodzie? It was awesome and perhaps even ahead of its time. Think: Etsy for artisan, small-batch packaged foods. Now its founders are back in the food+tech game with another smart idea: Forage, which delivers all the goods to make your favorite restaurant meals at home. (Down to pre-measured pats of butter and single eggs; it’s really hard to screw this up.) The California company works with restaurants to create at-home versions of favorite menu items (pro tip: those AltaCA pierogies, omg), then delivers the prepped ingredients and recipe to your door. Smart! Especially since Forage caters to a crowd that enjoys delicious restaurant meals. Plus, often the hardest part of cooking at home is actually gathering all of the necessary ingredients — hence Forage’s appropriate tagline, “We gather. You cook.” California and Nevada residents can sign up now; everyone else, Forage should be heading your way very soon. Awesome.
Make One-Click Plans with Sosh Concierge
Starting today, San Franciscans (and soon New Yorkers) have another option for last-minute dining at hot restaurants. Sosh, which has been on the make-plans scene for a while, has released Sosh Experiences, which offer tables with pre-set tasting menus daily at partner restaurants. Unlike some other new services, Sosh isn’t selling reservations or access — they’re selling the full experience. They’re quick to distinguish this service from reservations and meal ticketing, and while it’s not completely different, it does resemble the Groupon model of pre-paying for a certain event or experience. Still, with San Francisco restaurants like Rich Table and Tosca Cafe, it’s worth an app download.
Square + Caviar = Awesome!
It’s official: mobile payment company Square has acquired restaurant-delivery service Caviar, for a reported $90 million in stock. This deal was rumored last month and makes a whole lot of sense. Caviar allows customers to order restaurant meals online from spots that otherwise probably wouldn’t deliver. Combine that with Square’s order ahead and payment tech, and you get one-click ordering from fantastic restaurants. It’s a natural fit, and another step in the trend toward a cashless restaurant future.
More Uses for iBeacon Tech in Restaurants
Creepy or awesome? Every few weeks another “iBeacon” technology ends up in the news. This time, it’s a German company that’s using the technology to track customers’ dining habits. The app can record customer habits like favorite tables, favorite orders, and even if the customer gets up to use the restroom. Or smoke. Or anything else you do that you might not want to have tracked. It can also do some sort of ranking so VIPs can get preferential treatment.
This begs the questions: 1. Just because you can do this, should you do this? And, 2. When does a real-life situation become so data-driven that you forget about the human touch? Having data to analyze is great; having too much data cloud your human opinion of hospitality is potentially dangerous.
Are Bad Yelp Reviews Worth a Fine?
I’ve read and heard this story from no fewer than five news outlets, from The Verge to NPR. But in case you haven’t heard. There’s apparently a hotel in trendy Beacon, New York that has threatened to fine for bad Yelp reviews. The language is already removed from the Union Street Guest House’s website, but it previously read: “If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and / or attending your wedding or event.”
For its part, the hotel claims that the language on the site, which was originally discovered by the New York Post, was, basically, a joke stemming from some sort of previous incident. So, call off the witch hunt, because this probably isn’t a thing. I guess the situation raises an interesting point about setting and managing expectations, but mostly it’s totally ridiculous.