Some weeks are all about the incremental developments. Such has been the case over the last few days, with much of the news in the restaurant-tech space about chains adding new tools and features to their digital-focused operations. As the weekend sets in, here are a few more of those developments.
Moe’s Southwest Grill Plans Digital-First Locations
Joining the growing number of restaurant chains experimenting with off-premises-focused store formats, Moe’s Southwest Grill announced this week it will launch its first-ever “all-digital/kiosk-only” locations in the first quarter of 2020, one in Pittsburgh, PA and the other in Charlottesville, VA. Each store will be equipped with four self-order kiosks and accept cash, Apple Pay, and, for, University of Pittsburgh students, university credit cards. Both locations will also offer limited in-house seating and one traditional cash register.
Denny’s Adds Pay-at-the-Table Feature
Denny’s, beloved pit stop of roadtrippers everywhere, plans to add tabletop devices in its restaurants that allow customers to pay for their meal, rather than having to wait for a server to run a credit card. The Spartanburg, S.C.-based chain has teamed up with restaurant tech company Presto, whose partners also include Applebee’s, Red Lobster, and Outback Steakhouse, among others. An initial deployment of Presto tablets at Denny’s is slated for 2020, and guests will be able to pay, complete feedback surveys, and access loyalty points on the devices. As of now, they will not be able to order food.
Now You Can Reorder Your Favorite Chipotle Meal With Alexa
Chipotle added a little extra beef to its existing Alexa efforts this week by announcing a reorder skill for the device that functions just as it sounds. Customers download the Alexa app, enable the Chipotle skill, link up their Chipotle profile, and say something like “Alexa, tell Chipotle to reorder my favorite for delivery.” While a very incremental development in the world of restaurant tech, as voice-enabled technologies improve and become more integral to the order process, we’ll see more restaurant chains offering similar functions for repeat customers.
DoorDash May Go for a Direct Stock Listing Instead of an IPO
There have been plenty of rumors about DoorDash’s IPO, which we first heard rumblings about in August. But according to Bloomberg, DoorDash many now opt for a direct stock listing, which would allow it to enter the public markets without incurring the burden of investor pressures that go hand-in-hand with IPOs. This is an approach both Slack and Spotify took when they entered the public markets, and it’s one that lets companies save on bank fees. Whether this is the better approach for food delivery companies, who continue to struggle with the problem of becoming profitable businesses, remains to be seen.