DoorDash Opens Silicon Valley Home For ‘Virtual’ Restaurants

DoorDash Opens Silicon Valley Home For ‘Virtual’ Restaurants

Lisa Baertlein | Reuters | October 30th, 2017

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – After helping customers bypass dining rooms, food delivery company DoorDash is giving chefs the option to do the same with delivery-only “virtual” restaurants run out of its new commissary in Silicon Valley.

Bay Area restaurateur Ben Seabury, who wanted to test the delivery-only concept as well as demand for his upscale “The Star” pizzeria concept in San Jose, California, was first to sign up. He took one of the four kitchens in DoorDash’s new 2,000-square-food commissary that opened earlier this month.

The launch of DoorDash Kitchens comes as restaurants are experimenting with ways to cut costs on labor and rent while adapting to fast-changing consumer tastes and demands in a highly competitive market.

“I jumped at the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone,” said Seabury. Privately held DoorDash will exclusively deliver his food from the commissary, where rent is based on a percentage of gross sales.

“The landscape of dining in America is changing,” said Seabury, whose portfolio includes six traditional restaurants that are on pace to do $18 million in sales this year. Delivery accounts for about 20 percent of his overall restaurant business.

DoorDash Kitchens is also an option for restaurants looking to open overflow kitchens for delivery or catering, said Broderick McClinton, general manager of DoorDash for Business.


To Survive in Tough Times, Restaurants Turn to Data-Mining

To Survive in Tough Times, Restaurants Turn to Data-Mining

Karen Stabiner | New York Times | August 25, 2017

The early diners are dawdling, so your 7:30 p.m. reservation looks more like 8. While you wait, the last order of the duck you wanted passes by. Tonight, you’ll be eating something else — without a second bottle of wine, because you can’t find your server in the busy dining room. This is not your favorite night out.

The right data could have fixed it, according to the tech wizards who are determined to jolt the restaurant industry out of its current slump. Information culled and crunched from a wide array of sources can identify customers who like to linger, based on data about their dining histories, so the manager can anticipate your wait, buy you a drink and make the delay less painful.

It can track the restaurant’s duck sales by day, week and season, and flag you as a regular who likes duck. It can identify a server whose customers have spent a less-than-average amount on alcohol, to see if he needs to sharpen his second-round skills.

So Big Data is staging an intervention.

Both start-ups and established companies are scrambling to deliver up-to-the-minute data on sales, customers, staff performance or competitors by merging the information that restaurants already have with all sorts of data from outside sources: social media, tracking apps, reservation systems, review sites, even weather reports.

They have an eager audience. The NPD Group, a market research company, is predicting “flat” growth in 2017 restaurant traffic, with a 2 percent decline among full-service restaurants and no growth for quick-service restaurants. A 2016 National Restaurant Association survey reported that four out of five restaurateurs believed that business would improve if they embraced technology, and a third worried that they were lagging in those efforts.