UberEats Expands, Takes Prominence in App
I first saw this story on Monday, and rolled my eyes as the people at Business Insider dissected an app update to pieces, claiming UberEats posed “a threat to GrubHub.” Yes, the app does emphasize food delivery, in that it’s an option alongside the other options like “UberX” or “UberPool.” Does that mean it’s a threat to the largest established food delivery operation in the country? Not yet, I think.
I live in San Francisco, where there’s no less than ten ways to have dinner delivered to your door on any given day. I figured UberEats would skip my city, focusing on other areas that don’t have the same delivery saturation, but I suppose it can’t hurt. UberEats launched yesterday in SF, though you’ll have to sign up on a waiting list to get access, and they’re only delivering lunch in a couple neighborhoods. The model is pretty good for the indecisve eater — they offer only a handful of selections daily, so your options are limited but still great.
Of course, UberEats is likely to follow the same trajectory as others before it: start with a small list of restaurants, grow interest from consumers, hire more drivers, build cache of restaurants, expand. And, honestly, while their may be a whole host of options for food delivery, a business that brings great meals to your door is far from the worst thing.
Coming Soon to SF: Robots Serving Lunch
Well, kind of. A new “fast food” chain called Eatsa will offer salads and quinoa bowls in San Francisco starting August 31. Order via touch screen, and pick up your order inside an adjacent cubby. Real, actual humans will make the food though — but according to a KQED piece, the chain can afford better quality ingredients because its employee costs are significantly lower than the restaurant industry average (which sits at about 30 percent, according to the piece.)
Replacing human labor with computers and robots: hardly an innovative idea. I’m not sure why we seem to be lauding this in the restaurant industry yet get up in arms when we “can’t talk to a real person” on a customer service line, or our bank tellers are replaced by ATMs. So I find the cost-cutting angle interesting. (Though I’m certainly pro-bot in certain cases. Do my laundry, drive my car, clean the floors please!)
Kitchit Eliminates High-End Chef Service
Kitchit, one of the original Chefs+Tech companies of interest because of its unique blend ofchefs+technology, has slightly changed its strategy. Instead of delivering private high-end chefs for high-end dinner parties, the company will focus on a service it launched as Kitchit Tonight, $39/per personchef-cooked meals for groups of two or more. The biggest difference, besides the price, is that thesechefs can be booked same-day, before 1pm. Previously, users had to arrange their chef at least a week in advance.
This is interesting in that it’s moved more toward the dinner-on-demand market that we’ve seen so much of. From Din to Sprig to UberEats to SpoonRocket — with so many ways to get dinner to your door, I’m surprised a completely different idea didn’t take off in its own direction. But, smart of Kitchit to recognize this shift and adjust accordingly.
Food Instagramming and Copyright
Innnnteresting. In Germany, a 2013 ruling (am I really just hearing about this now?) on copyright includes intricately-plated dishes. Therefore, snapping and sharing could land you in the realm of infringement. Apparently, you can ask the chef or server permission to post an image. (And we thought discreetly photographing a dish caused a distraction.) Also worth noting: as of now, no chef or restaurant has filed a complaint.
..to Epicurious, which just turned 20! That’s pretty remarkable. They’ve posted a lengthy history of the site in the form of an interview with those involved in its launch. Great read.
- The Infatuation posts an all-emoji review. It’s a good one. — The Infatuation
- New York! Check out this Fail Friday event (tomorrow, on a Thursday.) Learn from others’ failures and build better food+tech businesses together. — Meetup
- All about Culinary Agents: matchmaking for restaurants and staff — NBC News
- Bon Appetit’s top 26 restaurant food trends this year — Bon Appetit