3.18.2015: Fuku at SXSW / Reserve at Coachella


Reserve at Coachella

One time I went to Bonnaroo and ate nothing but mixed nuts and a couple slices of pizza for the entire weekend. To me, that’s music festival food, but restaurant-concierge app Reserve thinks differently. This year, they’re offering dining reservations during Coachella, inside the festival.

First thought: If there is a reservations shark, we may have jumped it. But as incongruous as this seems upon first consideration, it makes a lot of sense. In a festival that takes place just a few hours from Los Angeles and caters to a celeb- and luxe-loving set, adding a fancy, exclusive food option is a natural extension. The best news, though, is that unlike coveted All-Access or Artist passes, anyone (with the Reserve app and a paid VIP ticket) can take advantage. Coachella reservations are $5 apiece, and give VIP ticketholders access to a $50 tasting menu. Reserve’s blog post has all the details— plus a cool option for those holding a regular ticket.

illustration by April V. Walters
illustration by April V. Walters


Fuku, Food, Tech, and SXSW

Next week marks two years of Chefs+Tech newsletters. What started as a tiny niche with a lot of good ideas has grown into an industry, with new products, new ideas, and a whole lot of excitement. Similarly, the festival that started as a tiny gathering of nerds in Austin has grown into one of the year’s biggest marketing events: SXSW Interactive just wrapped up its biggest year yet.

Among several well-reviewed food+technology panels, there was the David Chang keynote, where he announced his latest New York City concept: a fried chicken restaurant called Fuku. He also mentioned that the restaurant would have its own app, likely similar to Taco Bell’s, which he says he admires. (He should, it’s the best.)

Many people weren’t surprised by the news, which comes after months of intelligent speculation. But some were surprised at his choice of venue: announcing at a tech conference 1,700 miles away from the actual restaurant. But it’s a smart move given the attention on Austin this week, the trend-setting, early-adopter crowd, and the continued interest in innovation in restaurant technology. (I think it’s awesome!)

This isn’t without precedent. Last year Dominique Ansel (of cronut fame) used SXSW to launch his bakery’s newest offering: the milk and cookie shots. (Remember those?) I’m encouraged to see all of the food and restaurant+tech coverage coming from SXSWi this year and look forward to continued innovation after the conference ends.


Sous Vide-Ready Meat for Your Smart Sous Vide

Nomiku, the new-ish, sous-vide device that turns any stock pot into a sous vide cooker at home, is expanding its product offerings to include recipes and food delivery. The company is partnering with beloved San Francisco grocer Bi-Rite to deliver vacuum-sealed, seasoned meats to customers’ doorsteps — just pop them in the circulating water and enjoy. It’s a smart idea: hook your customers for good instead of just a one-time hardware purchase. (This household is likely to take advantage of this option. I’ll report back.)


On Restaurant Crowdfunding, From ChefsFeed

Crowdfunding is the new investor-wooing, at least when it comes to several recent and future restaurant openings. Thanks to the power of the internet, food- and restaurant-lovers can back their favorite chefs and restaurateurs, literally putting their money where their mouth is. Food- and restaurant-recommendations app ChefsFeed recently shared a great blog post all about crowdfunding (and a few other options) for raising funds for a new restaurant. Worth a read.


…to Postmates, which will deliver Starbucks, starting in (ha) Seattle. It’s a partnership, though — so you can only order it through the dedicated Starbucks app.


  • *LAST DAY TO SUPPORT THIS AWESOME PROJECT!* They hit their goal, but more is always better for a great cause. A video of Loco’l R&D from Daniel Patterson and Roi Choi — YouTube
  • One filmmaker is making a documentary about what she calls Yelp’s “bullying” practices —  The Bold Italic
  • Restaurant delivery startup DoorDash raises a $35 million round, increasing its valuation to $600 million — SV Business Journal
  • Details and results of the McDonald’s-sponsored “shark tank” competition at SXSW — AdWeek

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