Restaurant automation company eatsa announced yesterday a new suite of products aimed specifically at virtual restaurants and delivery-only restaurant concepts. Third-party delivery service Deliveroo is the first to use the technology, at its new food hall in Singapore.
This is eatsa’s first foray into virtual restaurants, also called ghost kitchens, which are basically restaurant-grade kitchen spaces with no dining area and, most of the time, not even a pickup area. More and more restaurants are using these to offload delivery orders from the main kitchen or test out new food concepts. Some restauranteurs also use them to kickstart a brand in a cheaper, less risky way than would be with a full-service operation.
To that end, eatsa’s new tech suite is all about making the prep, pickup, and delivery of food more efficient. New software, called the Omnichannel Intelligent Queue Software, calculates the exact status of an order based on kitchen throughput. With that capability, the eatsa app can give a customer a minute-by-minute status update. For drivers, this more precise ETA helps them know exactly when to get to the restaurant to pick up the food, so it doesn’t sit for too long.
Drivers also get some directional help via the new features — literally. Eatsa’s already known for its digital status boards it has up in restaurants. A version of these will be in the virtual kitchens, along with pickup stations. Eatsa’s shelf-like surfaces that are controlled by sensors and can display the name on the order as well as branding for the third-party service delivering the order.
The first customer for eatsa’s new features is Delveroo, who just opened another Editions site, at Alice @ Mediapolis in Singapore. Customers can order delivery or pickup from the food hall, which features 10 kitchens serving Korean, Vietnamese, Greek, and Japanese food (among other types). In the case of pickup, customers order at self-service kiosks in the hall and retrieve it from one of eatsa’s cubbies, which function much the same way as the aforementioned shelf system.
Companies across the delivery chain are now involved in virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens, from companies like Kitchen United, who rents out kitchen space, to Uber Eats, who might start peddling its own restaurants and food concepts via ghost kitchens.
Eatsa has already teamed up with a few notable names over the last couple years, for traditional restaurants, including Wow Bao in Chicago and MAC’D in San Francisco. The eatsa tech’s popularity is said to be soaring, and expanding overseas and teaming up with a high-profile company like Deliveroo seems to prove that point.
It’s smart for the company to move into the virtual kitchen space, where it’s tech could help it stand out quite a bit. As CEO Tim Young told me a while back, the company’s system is designed to make restaurant operations easier and more efficient, and it’s end-to-end, which means you can roll up every step of your operation into a single system. As restaurants large and small adjust to a world where mobile order and delivery needs to be as efficient as in-house dining, an all-in-one automated platform like eatsa’s could solve several problems at once.