Cover Debuts “Float”
Mobile restaurant payment app Cover, which has done a fantastic job of encouraging mobile payments at great restaurants without forcing users to pull out their phones for an annoying, distracting, potentially rude period of time. The whole experience is quick and seamless. Splitting the bill with a group is simple.
Now, they’ve introduced a new feature that eliminates another potentially awkward tech situation: when you want to split the bill using Cover, but your dining companion doesn’t have the app. Instead of trying to find it in the app store and wait for it to download (which never works in a busy restaurant for some reason anyway), Cover will…. cover your dining companion’s portion of the bill until they’re able to download the app. (They have seven days, otherwise you’ll be charged for their portion.) Venturebeat has a great profile of the new feature, including the team’s reasoning behind it.
I’m not sure of the biggest win in this situation: the fact that this makes it very easy for customers to discreetly pay with Cover, or the fact that it leverages current app users to encourage their friends to download the app. Either way: smart idea.
The New Face of Valentine’s Day
There’s also the fact that such a big dining holiday puts the spotlight directly on the services themselves: if you’ve ever thought “I will not pay for a restaurant reservation,” you have not been one half of a couple who promised a great dinner to her SO but forgot to actually make the reservation. (Thanks, Resy!) Reserve and Table8 are also perfect for this sort of thing. If there were questions about these becoming game-changers, there’s no answer like the proof of a successful Valentine’s Day dinner.
California-based Forage, which delivers ingredients to recreate restaurant meals at home, is also offering an extra-special option to its subscribers: smoked trout salad and chocolate chip cookies from AltaCA and a steak + potatoes dish from Bar Tartine, both of San Francisco. (If you know these places, you will be excited about this.) In this case particularly, you get standout dishes from two different white-hot restaurants, which is even better than visiting just one in the flesh that evening.
All great stuff — but also interesting to see the shift here. Sure, some people love dining out in honor of a holiday, but mostly we want to celebrate with really, really great food, and thankfully there are lots of technologies that will bring it right to us. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Bone Broth, aka Stock
Bone broth. Does the term make you cringe? Because it sounds gross or because bone broth is literally just stock. But, if you’ve done (or are doing) the paleo thing, you’ve heard about bone broth. I first heard about it when Brodo in New York started serving the stuff (though I have been a longtime fan of Momofuku’s duck broth in a cup that they give you after one of their special full duck meals, no idea if that counts as “bone broth” or what). Now a number of places tout the hot, flavorful beverage (snack? drink? I don’t know.)
If you’re rolling your eyes, I got you: there’s a Twitter bot called @StockSticklerthat responds to Tweets about “bone broth” with a friendly “That’s also called ‘stock.’” Good stuff.
Yelp Buys Eat24
Yelp announced today that it has bought food delivery service Eat24 for a cash + stock deal totaling $134 million. The move appears to be another step by Yelp to become a one-stop resource for restaurant information, reviews, reservations, and now, actual food delivered to your door. It fits — and with literally dozens of food delivery services to choose from, having the backing of one of the largest food/restaurant companies in existence can’t be awful for business.
The Pliny the Younger Email Service
As with any seasonal, delicious commodity in short supply, Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Younger triple IPA is much-loved by fans across the country. So loved, in fact, that you can now receive an email when a keg is tapped somewhere near you. Two PtY-lovers created Taplist, a service that works with Untappd’s API. (Untappd is an app that lets you “check in” when you’re drinking a certain beer.) So: set an alert for the Pliny and you are good to go.
Of course, this service does entirely rely on someone actually posting about Pliny the Younger on Untappd, but given our love of oversharing, especially when it comes to fleeting, coveted, delicious things, I’m not too concerned it’ll be a limitation. (Unless bars start following suit with that Portland bar that, last year, banned tweeting, posting, or otherwise internetting about Pliny the Younger.)
- A Singapore restaurant plans to replace servers with drones (watch this video!) — GrubStreet
- Resy is featured on CNBC; founders talk about taking advantage of the on-demand economy. Great clip. — CNBC
- There’s a new food+tech show on Heritage Radio Network — @TechBitesHRN