Future-proof your restaurant with a Milk Bar
Hi to “menus hosted by a local merchant.”
DoorDash introduced a tech upgrade this week that makes it a lot easier for restaurants to sign up for additional services on the platform. Its new set of tools for merchants include expanded customer insights and a learning center with how-tos and suggestions. It’s organized in a way to provide fast access for restaurants to do more with DoorDash— including one that I found particularly interesting: brand licensing.
DoorDash is now acting as a broker of sorts, offering brands like Milk Bar to its restaurant partners. The pitch: “Host a well-known brand in your kitchen.” It promises incremental revenue with limited costs — restaurants use their existing staff, equipment, and in some cases, ingredients, to make food from an existing restaurant. Then, restaurants offer it for delivery on DoorDash, and DoorDash labels the food as “menus hosted by a local merchant.”
It’s a softer version of the ghost kitchen model, which aimed to disrupt the restaurant industry by offering an easy solution for building, growing, and expanding businesses. As the ghost kitchen situation evolved, though, it became clear who might benefit from it — huge corporations with large footprints, established brands looking to expand quickly — and who wouldn’t: independent restaurants.
In fact, some of the worst news in restaurant technology over the past two weeks comes thanks to CloudKitchens, the extremely well-funded real estate venture that rents kitchen space to would-be restaurant owners for delivery-only businesses. A few recent media reports feature horror stories of entrepreneurs signing pricey year-long contracts only to be met with unsanitary conditions and glitchy technology once they got into their CloudKitchens spaces. It was an example of expectations not aligning with reality. On paper, the model looks great for restaurateurs hoping to launch a new business. In practice, the outsized promise was too far out of reach for many.
About that future-proofing…
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