Amid all the constant talk about the promise of restaurant technology and the so-called seamless customer experience, it’s important to remember that the era of the digital restaurant has to be inclusive to everyone — even those who may not have a bank account or smartphone. That conversation was reignited this week when the Big Apple announced plans to ban cashless business models. Read more on the issue below, as well as new ghost kitchen operations and the latest tech initiative from one of the QSR scene’s biggest tech advocates.
NYC to Ban the Cashless Business Model
The New York City council voted on Thursday to ban cashless businesses — that is, those only accepting card or digital payments. Councilman Ritchie Torres, who surfaced the issue back in 2018, drafted the bill, which takes effect 90 days after it was signed and makes it illegal for stores, restaurants, and other businesses to refuse cash-paying customers. Some businesses have pushed back on the bill, saying the cashless model allows them to keep better track of finances and also present a more seamless experience for customers. Of course the other side of that argument is that cashless stores discriminate against the unbanked and underbanked population, which numbers in the millions in the U.S.
Saladworks Launches Its First Ghost Kitchen
Fast casual chain Saladworks announced this week it has signed on with Kitchen United to operate a ghost kitchen out of the latter’s facility in order to speed up and streamline off-premises orders. The move follows another announcement by Saladworks from December that the chain plans to have multiple ghost kitchens and potentially even launch new food concepts like “Sandwichworks” and “Pizzaworks.” The ghost kitchens are slated to open in Chicago, IL, Austin, TX, and Scottsdale, AZ.
McDonald’s Launches Career App for Employees
McDonald’s launched a career-focused mobile app this week that helps employees “maximize education benefits and take the next step in their professional journey,” according to a press release. The app was created in partnership with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and Inside Track. Through it, restaurant workers can connect with advisors and coaches as well as take an assessment on their career interests and opportunities, both at McDonald’s and elsewhere. The app builds on McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program, which helps employees earn diplomas, get help with tuition, and improve English-language skills, among other things. It may also help McDonald’s improve retention among its staff by helping them “move up the ladder,” so to speak, through more in-depth career opportunities.