Taco Bell bucked industry trends this week by announcing it will test paying select managers at some company-owned locations $100,000, which is roughly double the average salary for restaurant managers. Between that, new vegan drinks from Starbucks, and a slew of other announcements, much happened in the world of restaurants this week. Here’s a wrap of a few other stories from ‘round the web:
Grubhub Says It Is Not for Sale
Reports surfaced earlier this week that Grubhub had hired financial advisors to explore a sale or acquisition — news that sent the troubled delivery company’s stock surging. However, a spokesperson for the company told the folks at Restaurant Dive today that “there is unequivocally no process in place to sell the company.” The spokesperson added that Grubhub believes there will be acquisition opportunities this year and that the company’s profitability “remains secure.”
McDonald’s Is Creating a New Tech Department
Meanwhile, if there were any doubts former CEO Steve Easterbrook’s sudden departure would stall the mega-chain’s tech ambitions, those should be sufficiently quelled by this week’s news. On Wednesday, McDonald’s announced it is creating a digital customer engagement team and the role of Chief Digital Engagement Officer. Lucy Brady, who has spent the last three years as SVP of corporate strategy and business development at McDonald’s, will step into the new role. Brady’s group formerly led the development of McDonald’s delivery program as well as the $300 million Dynamic Yield acquisition that happened last year. The new team will oversee digital ordering, personalization, payments, loyalty programs, and delivery, and report directly to newly appointed CEO Chris Kempczinski.
Olo Supposedly Planning a 2020 IPO
Olo is said to be planning a U.S. initial public offering for this year, according to a Bloomberg article that cited “people with knowledge of the matter.” The company’s software streamlines the process of adding delivery partners for restaurants, among other things, and has been steadily gaining popularity in the restaurant tech world over the past few years. Sources say Olo had interviewed potential advisors at the end of 2019 and could seek a valuation of $1 billion for an IPO. Olo itself declined to comment on the story.
Wow Bao Expands to the East Coast
Fast-casual Asian-food chain Wow Bao will expand to the East Coast, with three new locations set to open in the first quarter of 2020, according to an email sent to The Spoon. Wow Bao is known for its tech-centric approach to fast-casual that leverages Brightloom’s end-to-end tech stack for restaurants. Given that focus, which includes self-order kiosks, pickup cubbies, and digital ordering, it makes sense the chain’s new planned locations will be in airports, where super-speedy service for high volumes of people is the norm — or at least the norm restaurants aim for. Planned locations are for Dulles International Airport, Boston Logan International Airport, and Raleigh-Durham International Airport, according to the press release.