Ando, David Chang’s delivery-only restaurant that morphed into a fast casual last fall, is no longer. The concept, which has been acquired by Uber Eats, shut its virtual and brick-and-mortar doors today in New York City.
“We’re working with Uber to power our delivery from the start, and we’re excited our team and technology will play a role in their vision of building the world’s leading food delivery service going forward,” the Ando team announced on its website.
An Uber Eats representative declined to comment on the details of the deal or the future of Chang’s Ando concept, part of his Momofuku restaurant group and known for its comfort food like chicken fingers and cheesesteak sandwiches.
“We are committed to investing in technology that helps consumers, delivery and restaurant partners alike,” Jason Droege, head of all of Uber’s non-ride-hailing ventures, said in a statement. “Ando’s insights will help our restaurant technology team as we work with our restaurant partners to grow their business.”
Ando’s latest move isn’t entirely surprising. On announcing the switch from a delivery-only concept to a 12-seat fast casual in September, Ando CEO Andy Taylor told Restaurant Business that “virtual” restaurants simply don’t have the necessary infrastructure behind them for profitability.
“The algorithms are not there yet,” Taylor noted at the time. “You don’t have that critical mass yet. They’re doing single deliveries, which means it’s slow and it’s expensive. We’ll get there. I don’t know when that’s going to be.”
Chang’s previous delivery-only concept, Maple, went dark last May and was sold to London-based Deliveroo.
Uber Eats launched a redesigned dashboard for operators last summer and has grown to include some 80,000 restaurants in the last two years.
It’s too early to tell whether a takeover by Uber is the missing piece in the delivery-only puzzle that has confounded many. But as Taylor said last fall:
“The food is there, the demand is there,” he said. “The last piece is the logistics—getting food from A to B. … Somebody will solve it. There’s a lot of money behind solving it.”