McDonald’s grabbed the main spotlight this week for its acquisition of voice-order tech company Apprente, which it says could make your future drive-thru experience faster and simpler. But while Mickey D’s continued its evolution from burger chain to tech company, plenty of other new developments unfolded in the restaurant space this week past week.
Panasonic Unveils Kiosk-as-a-Service Solution
Panasonic, which has over 11,000 kiosks deployed at QSRs around the country, introduced a new hardware-software offering this week that promises a one-stop-shop solution for restaurants when it comes to integrating kiosks into daily operations. Dubbed ClearConnect, the platform rolls hardware, the company’s iQtouch software, installation, integration with existing restaurant systems, and after-sales service into a single system restaurants pay a monthly fee for. The new solution also includes a suite of drive-thru technologies. No voice-order capabilities yet, but it’s only a matter of time before we see such a feature make its way to the kiosk.
Ordermark Expands Kiwi Partnership
Ordermark, who helps restaurants organize and streamline restaurant orders, said this week it has expanded its partnership with Kiwi, whose six-wheeled bots enable autonomous delivery service on a few different college campuses right now. According to the press release, the deal gives Kiwi access to Ordermark’s portfolio of restaurant customers, which will expand as the former rolls its bots out to other locations, including Sacramento and Palo Alto.
Blaze Wants to Take on Big Pizza With Delivery Strategy
LeBron James-backed pizza chain Blaze unveiled two new initiatives this week: larger pies and an integrated delivery partnership with DoorDash. Up to now, Blaze has been known for its 11-inch personal pies loaded with customizable toppings that don’t exactly travel well. The addition of larger, more shareable 14-inch pizzas makes Blaze’s offerings better candidates for delivery. As with a growing number of integrated delivery options, customers can place orders directly through the Blaze website or app and still get food delivered via a DoorDash driver. (Customers can also order Blaze via DoorDash or Postmates.) Blaze also says it’s taking on Big Pizza with this new delivery partnership — though it will be some time before an upstart pizza brand has the same reach as a behemoth like Domino’s.