Tag Archives: food

Munchery shuts down operations in LA, New York and Seattle

Munchery, the on-demand food delivery startup, has shut down its operations in Los Angeles, New York and Seattle, the company announced on its blog today . That means the teams from those cities are also being let go. In total, 257 people (about 30 percent of workforce) were let go, according to a Munchery spokesperson. “We recognize the impact this will have on the members of our team in those regions,” Munchery CEO James Beriker wrote on the company blog. “Our teams in each city have built their businesses from scratch and worked tirelessly to serve our customers and their communities. I am grateful for their unwavering commitment to Munchery’s mission and success. I truly wish that the outcome would have been different.” With LA, New York and Seattle off the table, Munchery says it’s going to focus more on its business in San Francisco, its first and largest market. This shift in operations will also enable Munchery to “achieve profitability on the near term, and build a long-term, sustainable business.” The last couple of years for Munchery has not gone very well, between scathing reports of the company wasting an average of 16 percent of the food it makes, laying off 30 employees and burning through most of the money it raised. During that time, Munchery tried a number of different strategies. Munchery, which began as a ready-to-heat meal delivery service, in 2015  started delivering  meal recipes and ingredients for people who want to cook. Then,  Munchery launched an $8.95 a month subscription  plan for people who order several times a month. In late 2016, Munchery opened up a shop inside a San Francisco BART station to  try to bring in new business. But it’s not just Munchery that has struggled

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These Raspberry Pi 3 bundles will cover everyone, from coders to gamers – WBRC FOX6 News – WBRC.com

WBRC FOX6 News - WBRC.com These Raspberry Pi 3 bundles will cover everyone, from coders to gamers WBRC FOX6 News - WBRC.com If you love DIY projects like the Kano computer but robots are more up your alley, check out the new Picar-S robot kit from Sunfounder. This package includes a model B computer board along with all the materials necessary to construct your own little ...

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Vegan meal kit startup Purple Carrot raises $4M from Fresh Del Monte

Purple Carrot announced this morning that it has raised $4 million in strategic funding from Fresh Del Monte Produce. The company, which delivers completely plant-based (vegan) meal kits to subscribers, was founded in 2014. It has, in part, gotten attention through celebrity involvement, first by enlisting food writer Mark Bittman as its chief innovation officer ( Bittman departed in 2016 ), then by partnering with football star and notorious strawberry hater Tom Brady to launch TB12 meal kits . Purple Carrot had previously raised $6 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. The company says that this new investment will allow it to improve its supply chain, get access to more retail opportunities and explore expansion into other categories. “Securing this strategic investment from Fresh Del Monte is a huge validation of our business model, and an important step forward for our company,” said Purple Carrot founder and CEO Andy Levitt in the announcement . “Helping people eat more plant-based foods represents our differentiated, purpose-driven commitment to making the planet and the people who live on it healthier.” Fresh Del Monte (which is the company behind Del Monte pineapples and other produce) is just the latest established player in the food and grocery world to invest in meal delivery startups. Last year, for example, Unilever backed Sun Basket and Nestlé led a $77 million round for Freshly .

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How did Thumbtack win the on-demand services market?

Earlier today, the services marketplace Thumbtack held a small conference for 300 of its best gig economy workers at an event space in San Francisco. For the nearly ten-year-old company the event was designed to introduce some new features and a redesign of its brand that had softly launched earlier in the week. On hand, in addition to the services professionals who’d paid their way from locations across the U.S. were the company’s top executives. It’s the latest step in the long journey that Thumbtack took to become one of the last companies standing with a consumer facing marketplace for services. Back in 2008, as the global financial crisis was only just beginning to tear at the fabric of the U.S. economy, entrepreneurs at companies like Thumbtack and TaskRabbit  were already hard at work on potential patches. This was the beginning of what’s now known as the gig economy . In addition to Thumbtack and TaskRabbit, young companies like Handy , Zaarly , and several others — all began by trying to build better marketplaces for buyers and sellers of services. Their timing, it turns out, was prescient. In snowy Boston during the winter of 2008, Kevin Busque and his wife Leah were building RunMyErrand, the marketplace service that would become TaskRabbit, as a way to avoid schlepping through snow to pick up dog food . Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Marco Zappacosta, a young entrepreneur whose parents were the founders of Logitech, and a crew of co-founders including were building Thumbtack, a professional services marketplace from a home office they shared.

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A Restaurant In Boston Is Using Robots To Cook Its Meals – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo A Restaurant In Boston Is Using Robots To Cook Its Meals Ubergizmo Subscribe to Ubergizmo on Youtube. We've known for a while that robots would eventually replace the jobs that we do, or at least some of it. Over in Boston, there's a restaurant called Spyce that seems to be well on its way of proving just that as the ... and more »

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Toast launches a new handheld device and kitchen display system for restaurants

Toast , the Boston-based technology developer for the restaurant industry, has launched a new handheld point-of-sale device and a kitchen display system to integrate the front and back of any restaurant. Using the devices any waiter can become an expert on menu offerings at the touch of a button. The new device lets waitstaff know when items are in or out of stock, what ingredients are in which dishes, and can find potential drink pairings for meals, the company said. The integration with the back-of-the-house kitchen management system means that waiters also get a notification when food is ready without having to constantly check in with the kitchen. The company’s new software has other perks for waitstaff and kitchen alike — by prioritizing orders automatically based on prep time. If one menu item takes longer to prepare than another, the ordering system will place the dish with the higher cooking time ahead of other menu items in the queue for each order. Allergy information can also be communicated via the app so waiters don’t have to go back and forth with the kitchen. As for the devices, they’re wifi enabled and have a battery that lasts over 14 hours on a single charge. One restaurant that beta-tested the new technology said that turnover increased dramatically with the new device. At Austin’s Odd Duck,  turnover increased by 45 minutes and a Friday night crowd went from 250 guests to 400 guests served thanks to the software. “That equates to an extra half million dollars in annual sales,” said the restaurant’s general manager, Corey Neel in a statement. “And with more tables come more tips: servers each take home about $7,000 in additional gratuities per year.” Backed with well over $100 million in venture financing from Generation Investment Management and Bessemer Venture Partners, the new hardware offering from Toast is the latest foray in its quest to dominate a market that also includes vendors like TouchBistro, Revel and Upserve — all of whom are vying for a slice of the restaurant industry pie.  

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From dorm room to Starbucks, Rip Van Wafels is bringing Euro-inspired snack to the masses

Rip Pruisken waffled in college (we got that pun safely out of the way for now). He was a student in the Ivy League at Brown University, and had focused on academics for much of his life. His parents were physicists, and “I thought I would study some sort of cookie-cutter path of studying something that I would use post-college,” he explained. “I didn’t really consider entrepreneurship to be a viable option because I was still in that frame of mind.“ It was during a study trip to Italy that he had an epiphany. He was inside an Italian bookstore looking through business books when he suddenly realized that he had discovered a new passion. “If you can build stuff at a profit, you can build more stuff, and how cool is that? That was my aha moment,” he said. Being an entrepreneur was one thing, but it wasn’t clear what Pruisken should sell. He had grown up in Amsterdam, where he used to eat stroopwafel, a snack composed of two thin waffle pastries melded together with a syrup center. During his freshman year, he had brought over a large quantity of them to school, and “all of my friends devoured them.” Remembering their popularity, “I literally started making them in my dorm in college, and started selling them on campus” during his junior year. Selling ‘Van Wafels’ at Brown University That was 2010. Today, Rip Van Wafels can be found in 12,000 Starbucks locations, and is a popular snack at tech companies, with some larger companies going through tens of thousands of units a week. Their popularity comes from the intersection of a number of food trends. The snacks are made with natural ingredients and are healthy, with low calorie counts and limited sugar. Perhaps most importantly, they taste great, with different flavors that are designed to strike different moods (a chocolate wafel can work as dessert, while the strawberry wafel feels more like breakfast)

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Why the tech industry should care about the farm bill being drafted right now

For some food stamp recipients, 2018 could shape up to be a particularly aggravating year, including for one of the only startups trying to find ways to innovate on the ways that food stamps are delivered and managed. It’s not something that’s talked about much in tech circles, but perhaps it should be, given that 42 million Americans rely on the more than 50-year-old, anti-hunger program behind the stamps — called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , or SNAP — for basic food assistance. What’s the problem? It’s twofold essentially. First, let’s take a look at the farm bill, which subsidizes SNAP. The farm bill, which got its start in 1933 as part of FDR’s New Deal legislation, expires and is updated and passed anew by Congress every five years, after which the sitting U.S. president signs it into law. The last bill was signed in February of 2014, so Congress is working on the next version now. But things aren’t looking very promising for SNAP recipients. Already, the first draft of the House Republicans’ farm bill, which passed through one committee, looks to cut $20 billion from the program over the next 10 years, potentially cutting off two million people in the process. The cuts will be debated on the House floor beginning early next month, meaning it’s far from clear what happens from here. While Republicans argue they want to promote self-sufficiency (the cuts are expected to come via tightened work requirements), poverty experts see the proposal as chipping away at the already shrinking safety net for America’s most vulnerable. As an article about the bill in Vox notes, half of the 42 million people who are living below the poverty line and relying on SNAP for food assistance are children. By now you might be wondering what startups have to do with any of this.

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Instacart now suggests 5% tip default

Instacart has revamped its checkout process to make it easier for customers to leave better tips. Now, Instacart suggests a 5 percent default tip. If someone wants to leave more, or less, there are still options to tip nothing at all, 10 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent and other amounts. Instacart has had a rocky relationship over the years with its drivers and shoppers. In 2016, Instacart removed the option to tip in favor of guaranteeing higher delivery commissions. About a month later, following pressure from shoppers, the company reintroduced tipping. “After announcing this change, we heard a lot of feedback from our shopper community,” the company said in a blog post at the time . “While our shoppers liked most of the changes, they did not like the fact that we were removing tips from our online platform. Taking that feedback into account, we have decided to continue to accept tips as part of this change.” In addition to putting tips more front and center, Instacart also changed its service fee from a 10 percent waivable fee to a 5 percent fixed fee. Just earlier this month, Instacart raised $150 million in funding, valuing the company at $4.35 billion.

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