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Tech roundup: OpenTable partners with Clear to ease vaccine verification

It is the reservation platform's most robust tool yet to help restaurants navigate new guidelines. Also, DoorDash hits a milestone, Bite Ninja lands a big investment and more.
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Photo illustration by Nico Heins

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For the third time in as many weeks, OpenTable has announced a new tool intended to help restaurants navigate vaccine requirements.

The reservations company said Monday that it is partnering with Clear, an identity verification platform that issues digital vaccination cards, to help make it easier for restaurants to verify a guests’ vaccine status. 

Starting next month, when a guest makes a reservation at a restaurant that requires vaccination, they will have the option to create a digital vaccine card through Clear. When the person arrives at the restaurant, they can tap a button on their reservation confirmation to display the verified card. 

The integration applies only to OpenTable’s iPhone and Android apps.

The feature is OpenTable’s most robust yet in terms of managing diners’ vaccination information. The company is also allowing restaurants to keep track of which guests have been vaccinated, display their vaccine policies on their OpenTable page and communicate with guests via text message.

High-tech staffing platform Bite Ninja raised $675,000.The company founded by a Memphis restaurateur helps connect restaurants with remote contractors who work the drive-thru from home. The “Uber-like” labor solution attracted some big names in a pre-seed funding round, including Y Combinator, an early investor in powerhouses like DoorDash, Airbnb and Instacart. AgFund and Manta Ray also contributed. Bite Ninja also said that it has “multiple household name brands” in its customer pipeline.

Grubhub and robot delivery company Yandex are rolling out at their first college campus. Students at Ohio State University will be the first in the U.S. with access to the new partnership that allows them to order food on Grubhub and have it delivered by a Yandex robot. The Russia-based company’s fleet of 50 rovers will operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week and will be able to reach every residence hall on campus as well as two libraries. 

Grubhub integrates with meal plans at more than 250 colleges that can opt in to add robot delivery through Yandex. 

Yandex robots at Ohio StatePhotograph courtesy of Grubhub

DoorDash delivered its 2 billionth order. The company hit the milestone on Aug. 3, in the form of a meal from Panda Express delivered through its white-label Drive service. The accomplishment is a sign of both DoorDash’s prominence and the rapid growth of delivery during the pandemic: It took the company seven years to complete one billion orders, but only nine months to fulfill the second billion.

Nextbite is launching three new virtual breakfast brands. Hatch House, Crack’t and HuevoRito will be available for restaurants next month, allowing them to tap into what Nextbite called “the hottest segment in delivery-only food”—breakfast. Hatch House and Crack’t both offer different spins on a.m. sandwiches, while HuevoRito specializes in breakfast burritos. 

Nextbite now has more than 15 delivery-only concepts. It recently hired Chipotle branding expert William Espey to help develop more.

Crackt's chicken and waffle sandwichCrack't chicken and waffle sandwich / Photograph courtesy of Nextbite

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The owner of TGI Fridays invested in digital restaurant company C3.

Fee caps are taking a bite out of Just Eat Takeaway's U.S. plans.

Why the company that pioneered the cash register is getting into cryptocurrency.

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