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Want to know where the food tech industry is headed? Look at pizza.
Americans love pizza and eat tons of it, so there is a constant demand. And where there is demand there is competition, and competition begets innovation.
And there was a lot of innovation in pizza in just the past week:
- Paris-based, PAZZI (née EKIM) raised €10 million for its robot pizza restaurants
- After using it for its own pizza, Zume is making its fully compostable, plant-based plastic-like food packaging available to everyone
- Domino’s announced it will test pizza delivery by driverless vehicles in Houston later this year
Pizza continues to disrupt itself up and down its stack. Robots can work at autonomous restaurants to make consistently delicious pies around the clock. Since pizzas are all (mostly) the same shape, new types of eco-friendly packaging (good-bye non-recyclable greasy box!) can be easily scaled up and adopted on a national or global scale, even. And software-powered autonomous driving could bring more efficient routing and faster delivery (also, around the clock).
The point is, our appetite for pizza isn’t going to disappear, so it’s actually a perfect platform for trying out new technologies like these. You want to see the future of food tech? Keep your eyes on the pies.
And if you want to see the future of food tech up close and personal, get your ticket to our upcoming Smart Kitchen Summit in Seattle. Hurry, before our ultra-early bird tickets are gone!
I’ll vouch for this
Food delivery is booming, and it’s not going away any time soon. This presents existing restaurants with a problem: how do they get people off of their couches and into restaurants?
One answer could be to pay for their ride.
Spoon writer Jenn Marston recently brought to light a bit of news buried in a recent Nation’s Restaurant News podcast. An exec for TGI Friday’s said that the casual dining chain has been using Uber vouchers as a way to increase foot traffic. In a very reductive nutshell, restaurants are picking up the cost of getting you in their door.
This is incredibly smart and something that really wasn’t possible a few years back when there were just cabs and busses. And it seems especially smart for Uber, which, unlike DoorDash or GrubHub, could actually create a two-way revenue stream with vouchers. Earn money dropping people off at a restaurant, then the driver could pick up a delivery order to take on the way out.
For restaurants, it’s the opportunity to tie special offers in with the Uber vouchers to bring people in and get them to spend money. At the very least, people might pony up for more drinks knowing they don’t have to drive home.