We’re neck-deep in final preparations for The Spoon’s Smart Kitchen Summit, which kicks off Monday morning in Seattle. (There’s still time to snag a ticket, btw.) But news doesn’t stop just because we’re throwing a fab event, and for the restaurant industry, it was business as usual this week. Before I hop on a plane and head west, here are a few more pieces of restaurant-tech news from the last few days.
Papa John’s Publicly ‘Embraces’ Third-Party Delivery Apps
Still coming back from controversy that rocked its bottom line, Papa John’s made its stance on third-party deliver clear to the public this week when new CEO Rob Lynch told CNBC that third-party food delivery apps are “an opportunity” for the company, not a threat. This is a direct contrast to Big Pizza rival Domino’s, who staunchly keeps all delivery operations in house. Lynch, on the other hand, says his company continues to meet with multiple third-party delivery services (Papa John’s signed on with DoorDash in March). These apps, he said, have “an impact on our industry, an impact on business. But we believe that’s because we haven’t worked strategically with them.”
Free News Courtesy of Starbucks
As of September, Starbucks quit selling paper copies of national newspapers, which means no more scanning the nearby print copy of NY Times while you wait for your latte. But you can still do it digitally, for a limited time. In a blog post this week, the coffee giant said it is providing “complimentary digital news” with its free in-store Wi-Fi in the U.S. Sites participating include The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), USA Today, The Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and New York Daily News. Many of these papers have subscription paywalls in place that normally limits the amount of content you can see on the website for free. Starbucks also said it will offer discounted subscriptions for print and digital subscribers to the WSJ.
OpenTable Expands Delivery Options to Canada
OpenTable is expanding its delivery capabilities with Uber Eats to Canada, following the launch of the same feature in the U.S. in July. To be clear, you can’t order and pay for food direct from the OpenTable app. Instead, diners perusing restaurants on the OpenTable iOS app will see a “Get it delivered” button and be redirected to the Uber Eats app. It’s another way the company is trying to evolve into more than just a platform for booking restaurant reservations, and in doing so, keep customers inside the figurative walls of its own ecosystem as much as possible.
Revention Unveils New Restaurant Tablet Software
It’s another day and another tablet in the restaurant industry. Point of sale (POS) and mobile order platform Revention launched its own tablet software this week that integrates with the company’s existing POS and mobile order system. The new software, which is compatible with both iOS and Android tablets, promises to streamline restaurant operations, from entering an order to managing and training staff, and works both online and offline. Revention counts Dairy Queen, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and numerous pizza chains, including mall favorite Sbarro, among its customers.