Big brands make big mores on employees and automation this week, while one indie app tries to get a slice.
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Starbucks CEO Aims to Hire 10,000 Refugees in Five Years
The news of this past weekend’s political occurrences are almost too much to bear, so we’re relieved to see the industry rallying around the workforce on which it operates. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, ever the forerunning one, joined the vocal tech entrepreneurs who have spoken out thus far on he-who-must-not-be-named’s ban on immigration, specifically of Muslims seeking refuge in the United States. In rebuke, Schultz vows to hire 10,000 refugees over the course of the next five years, in a highly necessary F-U to the American value-threatening order, focusing in large part on those who have served as interpreters or served as support to the U.S. military abroad. Stand tall, fast casual America… or is it Venti? Either way, this is our kind of order.
Midst Delivery Noise, Slice App Plans to Cut Through the Competition
These guys are onto something, tilting the model a bit in the ol’ delivery conversazione. “New York is a convenience culture,” says Ilir Sela, IT professional and founder of Slice (and child of NYC pizza place owners, to boot). “Even the slightest friction in ordering a pizza will hurt your business.” Slice, unlike Grubhub, Seamless, and the like, is an independent pizza-specific ordering platform whose primary objective is to support the mom-and-pop pie industry.
Basically, they’re like a smart, tech-savvy pizza delivery guy, acknowledging the pen-and-paper reality of many old school business. For example, instead of forcing the pizzeria to deal with incoming messages via app software, Slice faxes or emails orders to them, according to how they typically operate. Then the pizza spot runs the pie to you, as per usual. Essentially they are dialing up demand and creating a single funnel for voluminous ordering. If that doesn’t bulk up the business in the unsung Sicilian pie category, not to mention calzones, we don’t know what will.
The Big Mac ATM Has Arrived in Next Iteration of Food Automation
For those of you who have seen the movie The Founder or dined at Eatsa in San Francisco, you know that the premise of automating a quinoa bowl or burger on-the-go has long been an American pasttime. And so, the question was not “if,” but “when” would you be able to sidle up to an ATM-style machine and order yourself a Big Mac with two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
You can, as we will, decide to be somewhat depressed by this news and what it says about the continuous rise of a convenient diet in speed-focused modern America — despite the health and agricultural movement to prove the merits of slow, deliberate dining — or you can submit to innovation and acknowledge that any way you slice it, this was a long time coming. More interestingly though, is what this news says about the history of automation in American food. This isn’t the first time we’ve tried this and Quartz does a deep dive into the fascination with faster food.
- Wearables are indeed the tip of the iceberg. Beep beep beep beep GLUTEN beep beep beep…
- The who’s who of innovative food folk, brought to you by the fine people over at Fast Company. That’s a lot of F’s.
- There’s a new place to read about beer in all its bubbly brilliance, because everything — and we mean EVERYTHING — needs a long-form media outlet.
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Photo credit: A Starbucks store in New York. The company's founder promised to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years. Richard Drew / Associated Press