Danny Meyer tries a food shop
The fine-dining guru is scheduled to open the retail complement to his updated Union Square Cafe tomorrow, in a slice of space next door to the restaurant’s new location in New York City. The shop, Daily Provisions, marks not only Union Square Hospitality Group’s entry into retailing, but also into breakfast. Among its intended signatures will be egg sandwiches, priced from $6 to $8, and a variety of crullers and other pastries. The featured coffee is from Joe Coffee, in which USHG has made an undisclosed investment.
At lunch, the focus shifts to rotisserie chicken, available in made-to-order sandwiches and salads.
Customers can buy a whole bird to take home for dinner for $18.50, along with freshly baked sourdough bread. They can also buy craft beers and refill their growlers.
Among its other points of distinction: Daily Provisions will not accept cash. It's credit card and app-based payments only.
Coffee without the human touch
A coffee shop that opened this week in San Francisco provides plenty of the showmanship for which Starbucks is known, but without the expense of baristas. Patrons of Cafe X, the U.S. outpost of a shop that’s been functioning for some time in Hong Kong, input their orders on a touchscreen or via a smartphone app. They can choose such brews as Peet’s, Verve or AKA. A robot speedily completes the order inside a glassed-off production area.
Only one size of coffee, an 8-ounce cup, is available, but guests can customize their order. Prices range from $2 to $3.
The concept’s backers say they have already secured $5 million in capital to open more of the kiosks.
Hooters gives a Hoot
Many casual chains have cycled through attempts to condense their concepts into a fast-casual format—only to learn a changeover is tougher than it looks on paper. But with limited-service competitors like Wingstop finding success, Hooters is giving it a try, announcing this week that it will spin off a fast-casual variation called Hoots.
The brand is also seizing the opportunity to get away from another signature, an all-female wait staff, often clad in T-shirts and short shorts. Men as well as women will run orders to customers’ tables, Hooters disclosed, and none will show as much skin as what customers are likely to spy in a full-fledged Hooters.
The menu will be scaled down, with the focus squarely on wings.
New York magazine called the new venture a “restaurant for a man who loves wings but hates objectifying women.”
It will also be easier to develop because of a smaller footprint and presumably less resistance from neighborhood groups who have objected to the breastaurant’s full-service formula.
The prototype is expected to fire up its fryers later this month.
The all-body restaurant?
So-called headless or ghost restaurants—places that consist solely of a kitchen for preparing delivered orders—are fairly common in big-city dining markets, thanks to brands like Maple, Sprig and a host of local ventures. Now an overseas entrepreneur is trying the exact opposite: a pop-up restaurant consisting solely of a dining area, with no kitchen.
All the food served at Take In is delivered—though apparently to the restaurant, not an individual. The patrons place the order with one of four fine-dining restaurants in the area through a new app called Wolt. The food is plated and served by Take In’s staff, which also prepares and serves drinks. Customers are seated at common tables to facilitate interaction.
The Helsinki restaurant is intended to serve as a haven for diners who love takeout but don’t relish eating alone in their apartments.
Despite a slew of overseas coverage, Take In’s business model is still not clear. But apparently it’s being underwritten in part by Wolt and its vendors.