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National Restaurant Association Releases 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report
The National Restaurant Association released its 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report, which measures the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant industry and examines the current state of key pillars including technology and off-premises, labor, and menu trends across segments based on a survey of 6,000 restaurant operators and consumer preferences from a survey of 1,000 adults. The report also provides a look at the path to recovery for chains, franchises, and independents and the year of transition ahead.
Key findings regarding the impact of coronavirus on the restaurant industry include...
Beyond Meat Unveils Plans for New Global Headquarters
Beyond Meat, Inc. announced its plans to enter a 12-year lease in a new, nearly 300,000 square foot space at 888 N. Douglas Street in El Segundo, California. The building is currently under development by Hackman Capital Partners with anticipated completion in spring 2021. The site will serve as the company’s new state-of-the-art global headquarters, making it one of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced plant-based research centers. The cutting-edge campus is slated to open in fall of this year and is a substantial increase in the company’s footprint that will support...
Walmart and HomeValet Pilot Smart Box Technology to Receive Fresh Deliveries
When Walmart launched its grocery delivery service in 2018, the company did it for one reason – customers wanted it. Since then, it’s been a lifesaver for busy families. They can simply shop their local store from anywhere and schedule a time to have it delivered right to their front door. It’s incredibly convenient.
But as Walmart's founder, Sam Walton, once said, “To succeed, stay out in front of change.” It’s why Walmart is continuously testing new technology, like drones and autonomous vehicles, to find new ways to serve customers. "Which made us think – what if we could...
Albertsons Companies Debuts Automated Grocery PickUp Kiosk in Chicago
Albertsons Companies announced that it is the first American grocer to pilot an automated and contactless grocery PickUp kiosk. The kiosk, located at one of its Jewel-Osco stores in Chicago, demonstrates continued expansion of the company’s eCommerce business and deep commitment to providing easy service through its websites and apps.
The automated, temperature-controlled kiosk, created by Cleveron, provides a contactless pickup experience. Customers who select the “Kiosk PickUp” option will be offered 2-hr time slots during which to pick up their groceries.
When customers arrive at the kiosk, they scan a code on their phone and their groceries are...
Kroger Shares Top 10 Trending Foods of 2020
The Kroger Co. announced the top 10 trending foods of 2020, as well as its food trend predictions for 2021.
Based on year-over-year sales growth across Kroger's business, including nearly 2,800 retail stores and pickup, delivery and ship, the trending foods and beverages of 2020 included:
Panasonic Explores How the Pandemic has Transformed Food Services and Food Retail Industries
Panasonic Corporation of North America, a leading technology company, released its industry survey as to how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed Food Services and Food Retail businesses. The new study reveals that one in four Food Services and Food Retailers now view their companies as tech-forward early adopters, up from one in eight prior to the pandemic.
The research is a follow up to a previous study conducted by Panasonic shortly before the coronavirus outbreak. In late 2019, Panasonic conducted a food industry pulse survey in association with...
7-Eleven Introduces Innovative In-App Wallet
No pin pads to touch, less cash to handle and an easy, contactless way to pay, that's the 7-Eleven Wallet. 7-Eleven's new app-based mobile wallet offers all customers — including those who would like to load cash — a true contactless, convenient way to pay nationally at participating U.S. stores.
Easily accessible in the 7-Eleven app, 7-Eleven Wallet customers can securely load funds to use upon checkout using cash, debit and credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay and...
Church's Chicken Reinvents Brand Standards Measurement
When Church's Chicken re-imagined its restaurant-level brand standards measurement program to comply with COVID-19 travel restrictions, the goal was simple – make sure restaurants keep a high level of quality and service, without in-person visits from regional management and field teams. In just 60 days, the Global OPS Services team transformed the 5+ hour in-person Operation Excellence Review (OER) into a streamlined, Remote OER visitation that can now be implemented remotely. This enhanced evaluation of a restaurant's operation provides operators a detailed action plan with specific recommendations on improving brand standards. Since these Virtual OERs are much shorter than the standard visit, the brand can now conduct more visits more frequently, allowing the Operations team in the domestic and international business to provide added support for their franchisees.
"COVID-19 has caused us to innovate in so many ways. We realized that we can't send our field teams to the restaurants like we've done for years – we had to figure out how to conduct our visits remotely. These virtual visitations allow the field team to measure the operations using our proprietary mobile app called...
National Pork Board Launches AgView, A Tool to Help Protect from Foreign Animal Disease Fallout
The National Pork Board announced the launch of AgView, a technology solution to help the U.S. pork industry respond faster than ever before possible in the event of a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak. The web-based tool will allow participating producers to easily share their farm’s FAD status updates and pig movement data with state animal health officials. The opt-in, no-fee technology – funded by the Pork Checkoff – will allow for contact-tracing of infected animals to help rapidly contain or regionalize a potential FAD outbreak.
While any FAD outbreak on even a single farm would be devastating, the potential collective losses are staggering. According to a recent study from Iowa State University, an outbreak of...
Technomic's Take: What’s to Come in 2021
It’s not easy to forecast the future when the ground keeps shifting underneath. The foodservice industry has had to be more nimble than ever this past year, and everyone is eager to bounce back and embrace a clear sense of normalcy. Yet several big questions loom large: Is a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon soon? Which areas of the country will recover quickest? And when will consumers feel comfortable about dining indoors again?
Despite the many ambiguities that exist, Technomic's outlook for the industry remains optimistic. Up-to-the-minute strategies are positioning foodservice segments to kick off a wider resurgence through 2021. Optimizing the menu, directly...
Tyson Foods Pilots New Technology to Improve Trucking Safety via Enhanced Driver Vision
Tyson Foods is testing a new technology to improve safety for its truck drivers. The Stoneridge MirrorEye Camera Monitor System (CMS) replaces traditional rear and side-view mirrors with integrated external mounted cameras and interior mounted monitors to help give drivers a more complete view of the road and the truck’s surroundings, including common blind spots.
The health and safety of Tyson team members is the company’s top priority and this project is part of more than $500 million the company has invested in technology and automation over the past three years.
Tyson, which operates one of the nation’s largest refrigerated trucking fleets, has been working with Stoneridge, Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of highly engineered electrical and electronic vehicle systems, to develop...
White Castle to Expand Implementations with Miso Robotics
White Castle announced plans to expand work with Miso Robotics – creators of autonomous grilling and frying kitchen assistant, Flippy – to target up to 10 new locations, in addition to the initial testing location, following completion of their current pilot. The announcement comes following early results at one test location. The move will accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence and robotics in the restaurant industry, critical technologies needed to tackle new pandemic challenges such as social distancing in kitchens, takeout and delivery demand, and higher standards for health and safety via contactless solutions.
White Castle will implement the new commercially available version of Flippy Robot-on-a-Rail (ROAR), announced earlier this month, into kitchens to enhance production speeds, empower teams behind the counter and maintain consistent quality and taste – while continuing to ensure...
Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes to Modernize Its Drive Thru Experience
Restaurant Brands International Inc. announced that it is modernizing the drive-thru experience at more than 10,000 Burger King and Tim Hortons locations, with Popeyes beginning its own rollout later this year. More than 40,000 digital screens are being installed with powerful 'predictive selling' technology, integration with restaurant loyalty programs and the ability for remote, contactless payment, reflecting the strategic importance and value of the drive thru experience to RBI's iconic restaurant brands.
"Our guests have sought out our drive-thru lanes for our iconic food and beverages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – even in the face of mandated dining room closures around the world," said Jose Cil, CEO of RBI. "We believe strongly that it is time to...
Cargill Study Shows Consumer Support of Farmers Grows As a Result of COVID-19 Challenges
A recent Cargill study found a majority of consumers stand ready to rally around farmers in support of their efforts to put food on tables around the globe. Consumer recognition for the challenges and expectations farmers face grew amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as processing and transportation bottlenecks, especially in the protein industry, stretched the global food supply. In the latest Feed4Thought survey, Cargill found nearly one-third of consumers in the U.S., Brazil, Vietnam and Norway have a renewed appreciation for animal agriculture.
“Farmers and ranchers have faced tremendous pressures caused by COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. And those pressures came on top of the multitude of challenges farmers already faced as they worked to feed the world in...
Kroger Launches Chefbot to Help Consumers Reduce Food Waste
The Kroger Co. launched the first generation of Chefbot, its AI-powered Twitter recipe tool that helps users' pair the groceries in their fridge and reduce food waste by providing mealtime inspiration and personalized recommendations.
Developed in partnership with integrated creative and media agency 360i, and technology partners Coffee Labs and Clarifai, Kroger's Chefbot offers an innovative and user-friendly conversational solution for breaking away from mundane mealtime routines and unwanted at-home food waste—common challenges for many as families continue to enjoy more meals together at home. Chefbot's AI analyzes photographs to recognize nearly...
Tripadvisor Launches Menu Connect for Restaurants to Manage Their Complete Online Presence
Tripadvisor has launched Menu Connect an online listings management solution that enables restaurants to easily publish, update and manage their menu and business information across an expansive network of sites. Menu Connect utilizes SinglePlatform's industry-leading technology that was acquired by Tripadvisor in December 2019. The launch expands the U.S. and Canada-based solution to restaurants all around the world.
Why Menu Management Matters
For restaurants, the accuracy of information online, particularly menu information, is crucial to attracting new diners. A recent study showed that 80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses if they see incorrect or inconsistent information posted online. However, updating menus all over the internet takes time that busy restaurateurs don't have, especially now as...
Walmart Now Piloting On-Demand Drone Delivery
Walmart's latest initiative has the company exploring how drones can deliver items in a way that is convenient, safe, and fast. Walmart is taking the next step in the exploration of on-demand delivery by announcing a new pilot with Flytrex, an end-to-end drone delivery company.
The pilot is launching in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and focuses on delivering select grocery and household essential items from Walmart stores using Flytrex's automated drones. The drones, which are controlled over the cloud using a smart and easy control dashboard, will help...
Panera Accelerates Digital Commerce and Off Premise Offerings
Panera is making it easier to order food through Google Search, Google Maps and Google Assistant. As more people search for and order food online, the integration with Google's platforms expands Panera's off-premise capabilities and accessibility to meet the customer where they are. Available at participating bakery-cafes across the country, guests can easily order their Panera favorites through Google for contactless Curbside Pick-Up or Delivery with the touch of a button. For a limited time, guests who order Panera through Google will receive 20% off their first Delivery or Curbside Pick-Up order of $20 or more.
The ability to order directly on Google will allow Panera to further embrace the growing trend of mobile food ordering, where guests can easily place an order directly from their local bakery-cafe. Seamlessly integrated with contactless payments including...
Kroger Ship to Integrate a Marketplace this Fall
The Kroger Co. announced Kroger Ship will expand to offer an extended ship-to-home assortment through a marketplace offering of third-party sellers powered by Mirakl, the leading software platform enabling B2C and B2B digital marketplaces.
"Our customers are increasingly turning to our e-commerce solutions provided at Kroger.com for their grocery and household essential needs. To better serve our customers, we're continuing to invest in technology that enables us to expand our digital services to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere," said Jody Kalmbach, Kroger's group vice president of product experience. "Leveraging Mirakl's best-in-class marketplace solution, we are...
Merck Animal Health Acquires IdentiGEN
Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, today announced the completion of its acquisition of IdentiGEN, a leader in DNA-based animal traceability solutions for Livestock and Aquaculture from MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
IdentiGEN’s technology combines each species’ unique DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and data analytics to provide an evidence-based animal traceability solution, called DNA TraceBack, to accurately and precisely trace beef, seafood, pork and poultry that is verifiable from farm-to-table.
Food producers, processors and retailers are looking for accurate and complete animal traceability solutions that provide full accountability, as well as...
Kentucky Fried Chicken and 3D Bioprinting Solutions to Use a Bioprinter to Produce Nuggets
Kentucky Fried Chicken is taking the next step in its innovative concept of creating a "restaurant of the future" by launching the development of innovative 3D bioprinting technology to create chicken meat in cooperation with the 3D Bioprinting Solutions research laboratory.
The idea of crafting the “meat of the future” arose among partners in response to the growing popularity of a healthy lifestyle and nutrition, the annual increase in demand for alternatives to traditional meat and the need to develop more environmentally friendly methods of food production.
The project aims to create the world's first laboratory-produced chicken nuggets. They will be as close as possible in both taste and appearance to the original KFC product, while being more...
Chipotle Expands Digital Platform with Canadian App Launch and U.S. Ordering Enhancements
Chipotle Mexican Grill announced a series of innovations to its digital platform to increase access and convenience for guests, including the introduction of the Chipotle app in Canada. Now guests in Canada can order their favorite Chipotle meals via Chipotle.ca or the Chipotle app, as well as through DoorDash and Uber Eats.
"Investing in our digital ecosystem in Canada will enhance the guest experience and position us well for future growth," said Anat Davidzon, Managing Director – Canada, Chipotle.
Chipotle is also introducing a series of enhancements to its mobile ordering capabilities including Pepper, its Concierge Bot on Facebook Messenger. Beginning June 22, customers can...
DoorDash Launches Initiative to Continue Supporting Local Restaurants
DoorDash announced Main Street Strong, an initiative to help restaurants navigate the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this initiative, DoorDash is launching a suite of products, programs, and policies to help restaurants grow their business and take control of the customer experience by building their own digital ordering solutions.
As part of the "Main Street Strong" initiative, DoorDash is announcing new products and programs aimed at helping restaurants build their own brands online according to their unique needs.
Launching DoorDash Storefront, a service that enables restaurants to create their own online stores, providing them with a turnkey solution to offer their customers on-demand access to their restaurant without investing in in-house logistics. By our estimate, 40% of our restaurant partners today do not have...
TOURtech Touchless Menu Technology Helps Restaurants Reopen Safely
TOURtech unveiled its Touchless Menu technology, which broadcasts digital menus onto guests' personal smart devices. This system eliminates the need for disposable and reusable menus, supporting social distancing guidelines and helping reduce multi-touch items that can spread COVID-19 and other germs.
"We all want to reopen bars and restaurants, but in the safest possible way," said Allen Cook, founder and CEO of TOURtech. "Our technology provides safe ordering for customers and staff so restaurant owners can focus on...
Emerging Consumer Demands Lead to Increasing Role of In-Store Technology
According to Nielsen, brick and mortar retail may be preparing for a resurgence. Consumer demands are pointing to an increasing role of technology in stores. Investments in in-store technology spiked nearly 60% to $3.7 billion in 2019. Research also forecasts that digital natives will open another 850 physical stores by 2023.
Trends for fast-moving consumer goods may follow, as consumers have never been more receptive to technology than they are currently. Approximately 64% of consumers claim their lives are getting busier, providing...
Walmart Adds Grocery to Flagship App
For years, Walmart has had two mobile apps: the Walmart app and the Walmart Grocery app. Customers navigate both apps, but would like an easier way to shop without having to switch between the two.
The company is excited to announce its adding Walmart Grocery to the flagship Walmart app. Now, customers can access everything Walmart has to offer in one, definitive experience – the Walmart app.
Here’s what the updated Walmart app offers...
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