Find out what was important for the food industry this election, as well as see how McDonald's is trying to make fast food even faster with a mobile app. Yes, this is America.
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Eat With Your Ballot
We were going to have a witty intro here, but we just can’t. It’s the ultimate hangover for Americans, so C+T would be remiss to not take a stab at just what was at stake this November 8th when it comes to our beloved food industry. Few policies directly affect us all like those come to bear on American diets, with some of our nation’s most media-popular chefs like Tom Colicchio advocating out in front — you are what you eat, after all. So, thanks to Eater, you can have a look at what was actually contested in this crazy 2016 election, and how it shook out on dinner tables from sea-to-shining-sea. Ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your cherry pie … we’ve got high hopes for the future of minimum wage and sustainability, in particular.
How Much Did You Pay for That Burrito?
The time has come, the walrus said … to bring Uber surge pricing to Uber Eats. We’re pretty certain the folks at ye olde uber-popular ride-sharing app were just sitting on their hands until the day they felt it appropriate to roll out the the demand-driven price-jacking on their food delivery arm. Quartz (and its sited Morgan Stanley study) says it’s a “bad idea” and “people will go elsewhere for their burrito,” but honestly I don’t buy it, especially if an expense account is paying. If you want it badly enough … well, bring on the best burrito that a Prius can transport. Interestingly, Postmates has actually used a surging model for some time now — and while Postmates isn’t exactly the gold standard of food delivery, its pricing structure doesn’t seem to deter the masses.
Not to mention: Why shouldn’t a chunk of the delivery cost — an aggregate of the drivers’ time, mileage, and gas — be passed on to the consumer? The delivery business has slim to no margin, so it’s unclear to me why some variable cost wouldn’t be on he-who-shalt-not-live-without-burrito.
Screw the Drive Thru: Order McDonald’s From Your Phone
God forbid you need to line up with all the other lazy eat-in-car masses to procure your big mac and shake. Now, Mickey D’s appears to have gotten with the times offering mobile ordering alongside its fat-filled buddies like Taco Bell (who launched similar technology in 2014 whilst McDonald’s was apparently still in testing), Chik-fil-A and Dunkin’ Donuts. Given the millions served, they likely wanted to make sure the app was airtight before opening the floodgates with a nationwide rollout. Servers go down, the app crashes, and one thing leads to another — that’s one super unhappy meal.
Good Eats Revival to Strike a Nerve with Food Nerds
The guilty pleasure that was watching Alton Brown’s kitschy but iconic food TV show is about to be back in full force, as Brown announced during an epic Facebook Live cast that Good Eats would be returning any day now. Whether you enjoyed his scientific breakdown or just why bread rises or manic grocery shopping trips around an early Atlanta, Georgia Whole Foods, the show’s revival will be driven by more of the good stuff his devoted fans have come to love — so much so that Brown used the Book to solicit input from his audience. Unclear what is exactly acceptable in the Facebook live duration category but Brown’s announcement was nearly an hour-long and reminiscent of all that quirky personality his groupies adore. We’re into the whole live cast as a preview to the show itself, but verdict’s still out on just where the project will actually air — if he’s live-streaming it on his own, we’ll absolutely be tuning in.
One of These Things Is Just Like the Other
In other news from the hallowed halls of culinary world stalwarts, Christopher Kimball has shed his bow-tie (okay, may be not, but definitely America’s Test Kitchen along with it) and opened (another) now global multimedia brand (full monty of magazine, online, TV, etc.) called Milk Street. Genesis of the name? The location of Kimball’s new 8,000 square foot office and studio in the ground floor of the Flour & Grain Exchange in Boston’s financial district. New location, yes, but as Kim Severson of the New York Times reports, that’s about all that’s changed according to the America’s Test Kitchen family.
The almost 30 year-old organization Kimball founded with Cook’s Illustrated at its core is suing its founder for walking away with everything from copying the ATK style and business model to how recipes are written, according to the Suffolk County (Mass.) Superior Court. And, frankly, grab this month’s issue of the new Milk Street magazine and you’ll find it certainly gestures in the direction of old Cook’s not to mention new Bon App’s and Saveur. Perhaps we all better face the music: doing something truly new and interesting in food media is harder than it looks these days.
- Is TripAdvisor making a shared economy move in the food space? Perhaps. Ring the dinner bell.
- Freaky Friday or a Chefy Shuffle? The Gelinaz takes over. Chefs: they’re just like us.
- If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? If a robot makes your pizza, is it still artisanal? We, along with the Washington Post, aren’t sure but definitely want a slice of the action.
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Photo Credit: From agricultural strategy to broader food policy, there were issues of food policy at stake in this year's U.S. elections. Pictured are slices of apple and other kinds of American-friendly pie. See-ming Lee / Flickr
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