Between trick-or-treat excursions, earnings calls galore, and the fact that AI is going to take over the restaurant industry, it’s been a busy week. While you battle the comedown from your Halloween sugar high, here are a few more bits of news from the restaurant industry this week.
Grubhub Had a Bummer of a Week
The Grubhub versus NYC restaurants showdown continues. This week, 30 members of the New York City council signed a letter demanding refunds for restaurants who were allegedly charged incorrect phone order fees by Grubhub. The letter is a response to a class-action lawsuit by a restaurant operator claiming they were charged for calls that did not result in actual orders, and it’s the latest event in an ongoing saga between Grubhub and NYC over how the third-party delivery service treats its restaurant partners. It also comes just on the heels of Grubhub’s disappointing third-quarter results, which show the service is slowing down in terms of growth and losing ground to DoorDash.
Choco Raises $33.5M for Ingredient Ordering Platform
Ask just about any restaurant operator, and they’ll tell you that sourcing ingredients is a time-consuming, error-prone process that still heavily relies on leaving voicemails and sending faxes. A company called Choco wants to change that with its mobile ordering platform for restaurants and suppliers that essentially acts like a food delivery app for ingredients. The company announced this week it has closed a $33.5 million Series A round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The service is currently available in 15 cities across the U.S. and Europe, at chain restaurants and Michelin-star joints alike.
Little Caesars Takes its Pizza Portal to Canada
Little Caesars unveiled its Pizza Portal technology to Canadian customers this week. The heated, self-service pickup station, which has been in the U.S. for a little over one year now, lets users order a pie via the Little Caesars mobile app then skip the in-store line and simply scan a QR code to unlock their “portal” and grab their food. The Pizza Portal is now available in “nearly all” Little Caesars locations in Canada. Whether the chain will ever join the masses and start offering delivery remains unknown, but as Pizza Portal’s expansion suggests, delivery or no, Little Caesars isn’t sitting on its hands when it comes to improving and growing its digital strategy.
Waitr Partners With Checkers & Rally’s for Delivery
Louisiana-based delivery service Waitr announced a partnership this week with burger chain Checkers & Rally’s to deliver from over 200 of the latter’s locations in the U.S. The move looks to be part of an ongoing effort on Waitr’s part to team up with larger, higher-profile restaurant chains.