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GrubHub moves into food delivery

GrubHub moves into food delivery
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  • GrubHub moves into food delivery

    Post #1 - February 6th, 2015, 10:00 am
    Post #1 - February 6th, 2015, 10:00 am Post #1 - February 6th, 2015, 10:00 am
    GrubHub is getting into the delivery business.

    For the past decade, the Chicago-based technology company's primary business was providing an online platform for restaurants to accept orders. Now it's going to offer delivery service, too.

    GrubHub said this morning during an earnings announcement that it's buying two restaurant-delivery services—Dining In and Restaurants on the Run—for about $80 million. That means GrubHub, which provides order-taking capability for 30,000 restaurants, will offer delivery services for about 3,000 restaurants.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... d-delivery
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #2 - February 7th, 2015, 10:07 am
    Post #2 - February 7th, 2015, 10:07 am Post #2 - February 7th, 2015, 10:07 am
    Problem is it costs the restaurants around 20% and won't allow you to add the expense into the pricing. Just had a meeting last wk about it. So already low margins are even lower.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #3 - February 7th, 2015, 10:51 am
    Post #3 - February 7th, 2015, 10:51 am Post #3 - February 7th, 2015, 10:51 am
    Jazzfood wrote:Problem is it costs the restaurants around 20% and won't allow you to add the expense into the pricing. Just had a meeting last wk about it. So already low margins are even lower.


    Just for my own curiosity - is it a better (more profitable) option for a restaurant to run their own delivery crew at regular menu prices instead of getting (perhaps) greater exposure through GrubHub?
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #4 - February 7th, 2015, 11:19 am
    Post #4 - February 7th, 2015, 11:19 am Post #4 - February 7th, 2015, 11:19 am
    Prob cheaper but less exposure to impulse buyers. There's expenses/liabilities doing it yourself as well. We actually priced a menu adding in the new expenses which made sense to us but they wouldn't allow. Going to give it a try to see if we make it up on volume.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #5 - December 10th, 2018, 4:57 pm
    Post #5 - December 10th, 2018, 4:57 pm Post #5 - December 10th, 2018, 4:57 pm
    Doing business with GrubHub as a customer is infuriating. It's the toll extracted for laziness and convenience. Doing business with them almost never works out satisfyingly, or even acceptably.

    It seems that no problem, no matter how large or small, is one for which GrubHub willingly takes responsibility. For not the first, second or third time, I recently had an order that I placed with GrubHub show up exceedingly late -- in this case -- nearly an hour late. I knew, because the restaurant called me to say the food had been sitting at their establishment for nearly a half-hour, that the fault was with GrubHub. Even more annoyingly, I received this call after some anonymous drone-bot at GrubHub texted to inform me that the order had been picked up.

    Unsurprisingly, when the food finally showed up, it was ice cold, soggy and spent. I decided to contact GrubHub since this was clearly their error. When I finally reached a live person there, no easy task, she was incompetent, clueless and impotent. She kept telling me that she was going to make it right by putting some free "grub" in my account. I had to ask her several times how much free "grub" she was talking about. When she finally revealed that I'd be receiving a $5.00 credit (on a $60+ order), I'll admit that I politely went ballistic. I explained as calmly as I could that since this was clearly GrubHub's fault, that wasn't an adequate solution.

    I hung up and decided that I might do better going through their online live chat conduit. After a lengthy back-and-forth with a CSR there, I was able to extract nearly a full refund for the order. I say nearly because in the end, GrubHub would not refund the charge for their service, even though it had been entirely unacceptable and arguably dishonest.

    Here's an excerpt from the transcript of my chat with the CSR:

    (02:24:05) me: why not for the full amount, if I may know?
    (02:24:32) CSR: The processing and delivery fee. The meal was delivered and the processing is for using the GH service.
    (02:25:34) me: considering the circumstances, GH should be the first party willing to give up their fee
    (02:26:51) CSR: I totally understand that thought. And I will be sure to pass on the suggestion
    (02:27:07) me: i mean, saying the food was picked up when it hadn't been is hardly worthy of charging the customer a fee
    (02:28:52) CSR: One moment please

    The chat went on for a brief time after that without resolution and concluded with fake pleasantries on both sides.

    At first, my goal was far more modest -- hell, maybe a simple apology would have sufficed -- but the longer I had to plead my case, the more insistent I became. Motivating me was GrubHub's abject unwillingness to accept responsibility for their error, as well as their possible attempt at deception in the matter. It was pretty clear that the food had not been picked up even after they'd informed me that it had been.

    Conversely, Caviar, which I'm guessing is a much smaller player in this market, and which, admittedly, seems to charge more than GrubHub, has been nothing short of wonderful in resolving issues. I haven't had many but a couple of times when I've reported missing or incorrect items, they've voluntarily offered full refunds. In fact, I've never asked for a full refund from Caviar yet I cannot remember an instance where one wasn't proactively provided by them. So while there are downsides with Caviar, they seem to be far more focused on customer satisfaction. GrubHub comports itself with the attitude that customers have no alternative but to use them. Well, customers always have alternatives. Always.

    It's convenient to order food online. And in some cases, especially when there's a language barrier, it can be a fine option. But in the end, ordering via GrubHub provides virtually zero advantage over simply calling a restaurant and ordering from them directly. It costs more, it costs the restaurant more and it puts a disinterested bullying party between the restaurant and the customer. I guess this is the wave of the future but if GrubHub ever becomes the only conduit through we can order delivered food, it'll be a sad day for all of us.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #6 - December 10th, 2018, 5:26 pm
    Post #6 - December 10th, 2018, 5:26 pm Post #6 - December 10th, 2018, 5:26 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:it was ice cold, soggy and spent.
    <censored response>
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - December 10th, 2018, 7:24 pm
    Post #7 - December 10th, 2018, 7:24 pm Post #7 - December 10th, 2018, 7:24 pm
    Hi,

    I will guess the refund they offered will result in the restaurant who prepared the food not getting paid.

    Since the restaurant alerted you the food was waiting for GrubHub to collect, it seems especially poor form GH made sure they themselves were whole.

    Why not take issue via your credit card company?

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - December 10th, 2018, 10:48 pm
    Post #8 - December 10th, 2018, 10:48 pm Post #8 - December 10th, 2018, 10:48 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:I will guess the refund they offered will result in the restaurant who prepared the food not getting paid.

    I thought the same thing but wished to be wrong. I felt that if I'd cancelled the order, the restaurant would be left holding the bag (so to speak) entirely. I hoped that by demanding a refund after taking delivery, the restaurant might get paid since they did prepare the food within the promised time frame.

    Cathy2 wrote:Since the restaurant alerted you the food was waiting for GrubHub to collect, it seems especially poor form GH made sure they themselves were whole.

    Yes and bordering on unethical, imo.

    Cathy2 wrote:Why not take issue via your credit card company?

    It's my experience and understanding that if the delivery of the goods was made, I'd have no recourse with my credit card company. If it happens again, I'll likely try, though. That said, I'm now actively working to eliminate GrubHub from my life. They're not worthy of my business because they're parasitic barnacles.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #9 - September 25th, 2019, 8:09 am
    Post #9 - September 25th, 2019, 8:09 am Post #9 - September 25th, 2019, 8:09 am
    Hi,

    My sister lives on a farm located about 10 miles from a big town and 5 miles from a little town. Delivery? Never. A 10-20 mile round trip for pick up or going out to eat can be a pain.

    Two weeks ago, she discovered she can order food delivered. This news was as astonishing to me as it was to her. Where she lives is truly under served, though it is understandable why. Never thought she would be in anyone's delivery range.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - September 25th, 2019, 12:54 pm
    Post #10 - September 25th, 2019, 12:54 pm Post #10 - September 25th, 2019, 12:54 pm
    I received an update to my car insurance policy today. Geico has completely reworded their standard policy to specifically exclude and coverage for vehicles used as ride shares or any delivery service for which you are compensated or that you have to declare on your taxes.

    They made a lot of changes, no loopholes were left. Even short term leases and rental exclusions were added.
  • Post #11 - October 5th, 2019, 9:10 am
    Post #11 - October 5th, 2019, 9:10 am Post #11 - October 5th, 2019, 9:10 am
    I called my State Farm Agent about Diving for Uber, all he said is that they highly recommend that I don't
    "I drink to make other people more interesting."
    Ernest Hemingway
  • Post #12 - May 12th, 2020, 9:48 am
    Post #12 - May 12th, 2020, 9:48 am Post #12 - May 12th, 2020, 9:48 am
    Uber Technologies Inc. has made an offer to acquire food-delivery startup Grubhub Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reports.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... over-offer
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #13 - May 18th, 2020, 7:34 pm
    Post #13 - May 18th, 2020, 7:34 pm Post #13 - May 18th, 2020, 7:34 pm
    If you believe GrubHub, you might think a new, likely independently owned (semi?-)authentic pizza restaurant has opened in Skokie. But it's just GrubHub's alias for Chuck E. Cheese.

    Though it's a few weeks old, I came across this Food & Wine article today, with third-party delivery app scrutiny all the rage.
    Trying to Support a Local Pizza Joint? Just Make Sure It Isn't Actually Chuck E. Cheese
    user named u/KendallNeff placed a Grubhub order from a place called Pasqually's Pizza & Wings, believing that she was doing her part to support a local business. But when she received her food, she was slightly suspicious about where it really came from. "Just curious," she texted her Grubhub driver. "Was this food from Chuck E. Cheese?"....
    Philadelphia isn't the only place where Chuck E. Cheese is offering to-go pizza from "Pasqually's." There are dozens of Grubhub listings for Pasqually's, from Denton, Texas to Oceanside, California, to Skokie, Illinois, and all of them share an address with Chuck E. Cheese.

    If you thought this would cause a course correction, you'd be wrong. Pasqually's Pizza & Wings remains a result among Skokie pizza options.
    Pasqually's Pizza & Wings
    h/t to G Wiv for posting links with a specific label so I can see how it's done.
  • Post #14 - May 19th, 2020, 6:28 pm
    Post #14 - May 19th, 2020, 6:28 pm Post #14 - May 19th, 2020, 6:28 pm
    Anyone see this funny and sad piece on Doordash and their economically counterintuitive practices?

    https://themargins.substack.com/p/doord ... -arbitrage
  • Post #15 - May 19th, 2020, 6:51 pm
    Post #15 - May 19th, 2020, 6:51 pm Post #15 - May 19th, 2020, 6:51 pm
    bweiny wrote:If you believe GrubHub, ...


    If you believe Chuck E. Cheese, that is.
  • Post #16 - May 19th, 2020, 6:59 pm
    Post #16 - May 19th, 2020, 6:59 pm Post #16 - May 19th, 2020, 6:59 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Anyone see this funny and sad piece on Doordash and their economically counterintuitive practices?

    https://themargins.substack.com/p/doord ... -arbitrage


    Great article - thanks for sharing.

    I had a big problem with a delivery order placed through Uber Eats to a board favorite.

    An hour after ordering, hungry, and wondering where my food was, I look at the app and see that the order had been cancelled. No explanation given. I called the restaurant and they said they are on Grubhub, but not Uber Eats. When I placed the order through Uber Eats, the driver *drove* the restaurant to place the order in person. When told it would take 30 minutes to cook, the driver cancelled it. The restaurant host was incredibly apologetic, but was also incredibly upset that this can happen.
  • Post #17 - May 19th, 2020, 7:20 pm
    Post #17 - May 19th, 2020, 7:20 pm Post #17 - May 19th, 2020, 7:20 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Anyone see this funny and sad piece on Doordash and their economically counterintuitive practices?
    I read that one too yesterday. Last place I saw a price disparity like that was a pizza place called Vinnie's on Waukegan Rd in Glenview. Food looks good, but I haven't tried yet.
  • Post #18 - May 20th, 2020, 4:05 pm
    Post #18 - May 20th, 2020, 4:05 pm Post #18 - May 20th, 2020, 4:05 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Anyone see this funny and sad piece on Doordash and their economically counterintuitive practices?
    https://themargins.substack.com/p/doord ... -arbitrage

    Picked up by the BBC:
    Man makes money buying his own pizza on DoorDash app
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #19 - May 31st, 2020, 7:04 am
    Post #19 - May 31st, 2020, 7:04 am Post #19 - May 31st, 2020, 7:04 am
    bweiny wrote:If you believe GrubHub, you might think a new, likely independently owned (semi?-)authentic pizza restaurant has opened in Skokie. But it's just GrubHub's alias for Chuck E. Cheese.

    Though it's a few weeks old, I came across this Food & Wine article today, with third-party delivery app scrutiny all the rage.
    Trying to Support a Local Pizza Joint? Just Make Sure It Isn't Actually Chuck E. Cheese
    user named u/KendallNeff placed a Grubhub order from a place called Pasqually's Pizza & Wings, believing that she was doing her part to support a local business. But when she received her food, she was slightly suspicious about where it really came from. "Just curious," she texted her Grubhub driver. "Was this food from Chuck E. Cheese?"....
    Philadelphia isn't the only place where Chuck E. Cheese is offering to-go pizza from "Pasqually's." There are dozens of Grubhub listings for Pasqually's, from Denton, Texas to Oceanside, California, to Skokie, Illinois, and all of them share an address with Chuck E. Cheese.

    If you thought this would cause a course correction, you'd be wrong. Pasqually's Pizza & Wings remains a result among Skokie pizza options.
    Pasqually's Pizza & Wings
    h/t to G Wiv for posting links with a specific label so I can see how it's done.


    A lot of restaurants are doing this lately - listing alias restaurants under their primary address on Grubhub. It bothers me that Grubhub seems to be deliberately deceptive about this practice. The alias restaurants are often missing an address so you can't tell unless you google the name - then it will show up. My guess is that GH is the one suggesting it to restaurants, since they would have to approve of listing multiple aliases under one account, and because it's such an odd, tech-y algorithm-y thing to do.

    Many of the alias restaurants have poor reviews, and this might be because they are often very generic, which is probably necessary when trying to serve 2-20 different menus out of one kitchen. Here are some I found that deliver to Rogers Park, and there could be more:

    Sarpinos - 2428 Main St, Evanston - this is basically the same Sarpinos menu under a different name
    Alias on Grubhub: Dough Factory

    Dat Pizza Dough - 750 Chicago Ave, Evanston
    Alias: Stix n Stuff

    Niko's Grill -1215 w Devon
    Aliases: Boxers Chicken - Wrap Me Up - Chicago Italian Beef - Pasta Factory - American Jerk

    Papa Rays Pizza and Wings - 4757 n Sheridan
    Alias: Absurd Bird

    Taco in a bag - 4603 n Lincoln - this makes a little sense - the alias is serving a version of what they already do
    Alias: The Nacho Dispensary

    Sanabel Bakery - 4213 n Kedzie - this one is odd because I don't think Sanabel itself is even on Grubhub, but they have all these random cuisines offered on there, so maybe I'm missing something? I'll correct if this is wrong
    Aliases: American Jerk - Yummy Kabobs - Extreme Sandwiches - Max's Gyros - Spaghetti Bowl - Moroccan Delight - Ramen Noodle Bowl - Chicken Shaq - Flamingo - Fresh Catch - Persian Room - Tunisian Fusion - Burrito Bowl - Main Spain - Garden of Eden - Paul's Peirogis - Rita's Fajitas - Juanitos Burritos - Papa Pork - Taylor Street Dogs - Brazil Bowl

    Si Pie Pizzeria -5505 n Lincoln
    Aliases: Famous Brown's Fried Chicken - Burger Mania - Wingz n Thingz - Chicago Street Eats

    Candlelite Pizza - 7452 n Western - this one I kind of get, since their alias focuses on one section of their menu, and they do have good burgers
    Alias: Burger Town
    Logan: Come on, everybody, wang chung tonight! What? Everybody, wang chung tonight! Wang chung, or I'll kick your ass!
  • Post #20 - June 10th, 2020, 5:23 pm
    Post #20 - June 10th, 2020, 5:23 pm Post #20 - June 10th, 2020, 5:23 pm
    Just Eat Takeaway to Acquire Grubhub for $7.3 Billion

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/10/tech ... t-eat.html
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #21 - June 10th, 2020, 5:48 pm
    Post #21 - June 10th, 2020, 5:48 pm Post #21 - June 10th, 2020, 5:48 pm
    Just Eat Takeaway to Acquire Grubhub for $7.3 Billion
    Market cap was only $5.3B during trading. Congrats to the winners, but this is an industry I want to see crash and burn. I'm not holding my breath in the slightest though.

    It doesn't seem like it should be rocket science for the restaurant industry to fund coding for a platform that they can all use that takes no cut. The lack of an aggressive counter-attack from the victims has been sad.
  • Post #22 - June 11th, 2020, 6:58 am
    Post #22 - June 11th, 2020, 6:58 am Post #22 - June 11th, 2020, 6:58 am
    bweiny wrote:It doesn't seem like it should be rocket science for the restaurant industry to fund coding for a platform that they can all use that takes no cut. The lack of an aggressive counter-attack from the victims has been sad.

    The problem is that the "Restaurant Industry" isn't a single voting bloc. Even if they all feel the same way, there's no muscle there: Each restaurant negotiates with GrubHub, and not from a place of strength: "If you want your food delivered, do what we say - the next pizza place down the street caved, they'll get your business."

    I'm sure the chain restaurants, and maybe bigger groups like Lettuce, One-Off, Boka, are able to negotiate better terms. But without some union-like negotiating body where they can say, "None of us will let you deliver our food unless you give us these terms", the best hope might be lobbying for state regulation of those delivery services.

    Giving the delivery service a small cut is not unreasonable: They're providing marketing in addition to the delivery. But the size of the cut should be based on service-level agreements: customer ratings, volume, etc. The 30+% kickbacks I'm hearing about just aren't sustainable for the restaurants.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #23 - June 11th, 2020, 8:04 am
    Post #23 - June 11th, 2020, 8:04 am Post #23 - June 11th, 2020, 8:04 am
    JoelF wrote:The problem is that the "Restaurant Industry" isn't a single voting bloc. Even if they all feel the same way, there's no muscle there: Each restaurant negotiates with GrubHub, and not from a place of strength: "If you want your food delivered, do what we say - the next pizza place down the street caved, they'll get your business."

    I'm sure the chain restaurants, and maybe bigger groups like Lettuce, One-Off, Boka, are able to negotiate better terms. But without some union-like negotiating body where they can say, "None of us will let you deliver our food unless you give us these terms", the best hope might be lobbying for state regulation of those delivery services.

    Giving the delivery service a small cut is not unreasonable: They're providing marketing in addition to the delivery. But the size of the cut should be based on service-level agreements: customer ratings, volume, etc. The 30+% kickbacks I'm hearing about just aren't sustainable for the restaurants.
    I understand the practical reality you describe. My vague "restaurant industry" term was meant to suggest trade groups and whatever other organizations would be paying for lobbyists to push for regulation, directly fund the tech, because it seems like the return on that investment would be much greater. Restaurant owners would be wise to at the very least try and join others of similar size/scale in common geographic areas before ever negotiating with GH, UE, etc. alone. They're such a common enemy, the failure of firms to act in their own best interest by pooling resources is what bothers me.

    To be honest, because these restaurant businesses could be doing more on their own along these lines, GH has a strong case, one I ironically would have to take their side on, that government coming in to interfere in the market by essentially picking winners and losers when these private companies aren't doing what they could through the market, is wrong. This isn't to say GH et al aren't or shouldn't be vulnerable to antitrust action if consumers can make the case that way.
  • Post #24 - July 25th, 2020, 11:17 am
    Post #24 - July 25th, 2020, 11:17 am Post #24 - July 25th, 2020, 11:17 am
    bweiny wrote:If you believe GrubHub, you might think a new, likely independently owned (semi?-)authentic pizza restaurant has opened in Skokie. But it's just GrubHub's alias for Chuck E. Cheese.

    Though it's a few weeks old, I came across this Food & Wine article today, with third-party delivery app scrutiny all the rage.
    Trying to Support a Local Pizza Joint? Just Make Sure It Isn't Actually Chuck E. Cheese
    user named u/KendallNeff placed a Grubhub order from a place called Pasqually's Pizza & Wings, believing that she was doing her part to support a local business. But when she received her food, she was slightly suspicious about where it really came from. "Just curious," she texted her Grubhub driver. "Was this food from Chuck E. Cheese?"....
    Philadelphia isn't the only place where Chuck E. Cheese is offering to-go pizza from "Pasqually's." There are dozens of Grubhub listings for Pasqually's, from Denton, Texas to Oceanside, California, to Skokie, Illinois, and all of them share an address with Chuck E. Cheese.

    If you thought this would cause a course correction, you'd be wrong. Pasqually's Pizza & Wings remains a result among Skokie pizza options.
    Pasqually's Pizza & Wings
    h/t to G Wiv for posting links with a specific label so I can see how it's done.

    A lot more detail on this "trend" can be found in this informative, thoughtful piece by Anna Wiener that was posted at the New Yorker's website last month . . .

    at newyorker.com, Anna Wiener wrote:Last fall, walking down Mission Street, in San Francisco, I noticed a new addition to an otherwise unremarkable parking lot at the base of Bernal Heights Hill: a large, white trailer, about the size of three parking spaces, plastered with a banner that read “food pick up here.” On one side was a list of restaurant brands with names and logos that seemed algorithmically generated: WokTalk, Burger Bytes, Fork and Ladle, Umami, American Eclectic Burger, Wings & Things. The trailer was hooked up to a generator, which was positioned behind two portable toilets; it occupied parking spots once reserved for Maven, an hourly-car-rental startup, funded by General Motors and marketed to gig-economy workers. (G.M. shut down Maven in April.) Through a small window cut into the side, I could see two men moving around what appeared to be a kitchen. The generator hummed; the air carried the comforting smell of fryer oil; the toilets were padlocked. One of the men came to the window and apologized: I couldn’t order food directly, he told me—I would have to order through the apps.

    The trailer, along with a few others in San Francisco, is operated by Reef Technology, a startup based in Miami. According to marketing materials, Reef creates “thriving hubs for the on-demand economy” by “reimagining the common parking lot.” By bringing in utilities like electricity, gas, and water, and setting up “proprietary containers,” the company hopes to turn parking lots into reconfigurable community hubs. Lots might be “formatted” to include mobile kitchens, beer gardens, retail pop-ups, vertical farms, auto-body shops, medical services, rental stations for electric vehicles, and so on. “We have these pods, which arguably are not pretty, but they’re functional. They can support any kind of application,” Ari Ojalvo, the C.E.O. of Reef, told me. “If you want to put a grocery store in there, put a grocery store in there. Laundry, put laundry.” Ojalvo compares his company to Apple: just as the App Store allows developers to create and sell iOS-based tools and services, so Reef provides infrastructure for parking-based businesses. “Apple uses connectivity as a platform; we use proximity as a platform. We allow third-party applications to stand on this proximity platform and get closer to consumers,” he said.

    Ojalvo and one of his three co-founders, Umut Tekin, met as undergraduates at Northwestern University, in the late nineteen-nineties. After graduation, both worked as management consultants: Tekin in technology, and Ojalvo focused on supply-chain optimization. They started their company in 2013, in Miami, under the name ParkJockey, and initially offered an app for reserving parking spaces in advance, which launched the following year in London and Chicago. The app included a back-end service for parking operators, and the company continued to build out its garage-management software. In 2018, ParkJockey raised nearly a billion dollars from SoftBank Vision Fund, and acquired the two largest parking operators in North America, Impark and Citizens Parking. In the trade publication Parking Today, publisher John Van Horn speculated about the repercussions of ParkJockey’s ascent. “I have received a number of calls from operators across the fruited plain asking about ParkJockey,” Van Horn wrote. “Who are they? What does their software do? Yikes, are we prey?” Shortly after the acquisitions, the company changed its name to Reef, to evoke a thriving ecosystem. It now manages 1.3 million parking spaces in forty-five hundred locations—city centers and residential neighborhoods, as well as airports, hospitals, stadiums, and hotels—in Canada and the United States. (Tekin left the company in 2019.)

    In the past, Reef has pitched itself as anticipating a world in which autonomous cars are the norm, and fleets of self-driving ride-share vehicles make parking mostly obsolete. In such a world, parking lots would have to be repurposed. Over the past two years, though, the company’s narrative has changed somewhat: Reef’s executives now emphasize their work in “creating the next phase of a neighborhood” by forming local logistics and mobility hubs. This year, Reef launched a partnership with Bond, a logistics startup that operates “nano-warehouses”: fulfillment centers, often in vacant storefronts, that can be used for last-mile delivery. City-dwellers may someday pick up their Amazon packages and clamshell-carton dinners in a parking lot or empty retail space, like college students dipping into the campus center before retreating back to the dorms.

    For now, though, Reef is focussing on food preparation as a test case—a proof of concept for other sorts of “applications” that might make sense in some later, future time. Food prep is a sensible first experiment for Reef’s modular approach to repurposing parking lots: over the past few years, delivery has been on the upswing, and delivery-only kitchens—referred to as “ghost kitchens” or “dark kitchens”—are having a moment. Reef operates kitchens across eighteen cities in the United States, in seventy-odd parking lots. In the trailer on Mission Street, meals from all six of the advertised restaurants are prepared on site—the culinary equivalent of a multicolor retractable pen. The restaurants are “internal” to Reef: designed and staffed by its employees, with menus developed by a culinary team that includes former executives from Roti Modern Mediterranean, Potbelly, and Jamba Juice. The menus lean toward comfort food, and are a little arbitrary. Wings & Things offers mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, cronuts (“dusted with cinnamon maple sugar and served with a side of Canadian Maple dipping sauce”), Skittles, Red Bull, and two kinds of Greek-yogurt bowls.

    Currently, the food offered by Reef’s internal brands comes from US Foods, a food distributor that works with colleges, hotels, and hospitals, and is a wholesale supplier for independent restaurants and diners. In San Francisco, the menu items are delivered to a central commissary in the Bayview area, and come individually wrapped; precise assembly instructions are provided to line cooks. Every night, Reef’s trailers, which are managed under a subsidiary, Vessel CA, return to the commissary, where the gray-water tanks are drained, the potable-water tanks are refilled, and the refrigerators are restocked. Reef has ambitions to offer fresher, more sophisticated fare, eventually. But, for now, customers may find themselves paying a premium for meals similar to those found at a fast-food restaurant, or in a supermarket freezer.

    Our Ghost-Kitchen Future

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #25 - July 25th, 2020, 11:41 am
    Post #25 - July 25th, 2020, 11:41 am Post #25 - July 25th, 2020, 11:41 am
    Meet Chowbus = https://techcrunch.com/2020/07/22/inves ... staurants/
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #26 - July 30th, 2020, 3:04 pm
    Post #26 - July 30th, 2020, 3:04 pm Post #26 - July 30th, 2020, 3:04 pm
    Here is an Eater Chicago story from a few months ago showing how little the restaurant made over one month on Grubhub.
    https://www.eater.com/2020/5/1/21243966 ... n-facebook

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