top of page

MONDAY MINUTE: September 26, 2022

Where automation really matters most - right now.

All these headlines and more represent our thoughts and views on the world of restaurants, technology and off premise food in our round up of the last week’s hot news stories - subscribe today to the Monday Minute and register at for more bonus content.

Articles mentioned in the video:

3. What automation innovation can help now?


Carl: Instacart smart carts, the Starbucks Odyssey, and Bikky goes through a fundraise. That's all ahead on this week's Monday Minute .

Monday Minute works like this. We're going to ask each other five questions about headlines that have caught our attention about the worlds of restaurants, technology, and off premise that in some way, link back to our book, Delivering the Digital Restaurant. Are you ready? Let's go.

Happy Monday, Meredith, how are you doing today?

Meredith: Very good. How are you?

Carl: I don't know. It's been busy. We've been going to these conferences. You were at Create last week, I was at FSTEC, and then at the Paytronix conference, it feels like everything has been going on. And it certainly feels like our worlds are continuing to get busier when it comes to these subjects.

So without further ado, I've got some questions for you and I'm gonna start off by talking about the world of grocery and something I've heard about called Instacart Smart Carts. What are they, what's going on?

Meredith: For super fans, They probably remember you talking about the visit to the Amazon grocery store and the carts that they had there.

I have not seen an Instacart smart cart in the wild, but it sounds very similar to what you described at the Amazon grocery store. And. I love this for a couple of reasons. Number one, they're taking this technology and making it available to all types of grocery stores, which is cool.

But number two, I think, again, it shows that automation is going to fundamentally change the consumer perception of convenience. Doesn't necessarily have to be delivery all the way to your door. It can just be, different ways of shopping. And I think as a result, the stores around us, the physical stores are going to change.

And we'll be more competitive with the delivery experience that consumers do love the convenience of .

All right. Next question for you. So Starbucks has launched something new called Odyssey. Tell us about it.

Carl: All right now I've finally found it. Meredith. This is your chance to get engaged with web 3.0, are you ready?

Meredith: I think you might have a chance here.

Carl: All right. give me 30 seconds. So you don't even need a crypto wallet.

I don't think you even know what a crypto wallet is, but you don't even need to have one of those. You can use the current Starbucks app. It's gonna merge in with the Starbucks app and it's basically using NFT tokens, like collectible badges . It's something that they're calling "Journey Stamps" and these things can then be exchanged within the Starbucks community.

And you can do things like have access to events. I think the one that stood out to me on one of the articles was a virtual espresso martini making class. Now come on that, that surely is caught your attention. I love this, you don't have to wear any of the Oculus Quest 2.0 things. The other thing which I particularly like by mentioning blockchain here, by the way, is that it uses something called polygon. It's like a proof of state blockchain technology called polygon, which is pretty energy friendly.

You hear a lot of people talking about the world of crypto, not being particularly environmentally friendly. Well, polygon is actually saying no, this uses less energy as a infrastructure behind it. So, I think this is quite exciting and we'll see whether this becomes something that many customers warm to.

I believe it's coming out later this year.

Meredith: You know what it reminds me of, it reminds me of back in the eighties, I'm gonna date myself here, when we would all go around trying to get Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts with crazy city names on them. And it's sort of like the modern version of that, where you can go to Starbucks all over the world and, you know, say that you had been in this place and done this thing and gotten this amazing drink that they had only there and be able to wear that badge with honor in the virtual world and then trade them. It's like a very modern version of the Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt.

Carl: I think you're right. And it's gamifying it's community,

it's all about utilizing new, new ways to engage with an audience. And perhaps most pertinently, it's about keeping them on that first party channel.

Meredith: That's right. A hundred percent.

Carl: All right. Well, third question. We were listening to Brinker the Brinker CEO talked to the FSTEC audience and his suggestion was that they at least are using an 80/20 rule

in relation to where to divert their attention in terms of tech investments, 80% on the things of the here and now, and 20%, the stuff that might be coming down the line a few years later, like drones, for example. The reason I raised that with you Meredith is that there's an article out saying that drive thru and barista jobs in particular are right for automation.

And I know you've been paying a bit of attention to the Starbucks investor day and they announced that they've released I think $450 million, I think it is to help in this space. So tell us more.

Meredith: I'm kind of with the Brinker guy, like technology's cool and everything, but especially when you're a public company, you need to make sure there's a payback. And ideally if you're a public company, a payback sooner rather than later. So while, we can imagine all of these crazy futures of drones and self-driving cars and wonderful things. There's some very short term ways in which technology can help restaurants. And I think most restaurants would do well to review their operations, review their consumer journeys and say, what could we be doing now to make a change rather than waiting for these things to come?

And the Starbucks article about what they talked about at the investor day was such a good example of this because they are literally putting in, wait for it. An ice machine.


It's technology that's been around since the nineties, right? Like this is, this is not revolutionary. All other restaurants everywhere have them, but it is a huge deal for Starbucks.

And they think they can halve the time it takes to make a number of the drinks in the line by putting in things like ice machines. I agree like drones are cool, but there is a lot of stuff that can happen in the short term to dramatically improve the productivity of the workers who are in restaurants and the experience of the consumers there.

This particular article is talking about barista jobs being ripe for automation. And drive through jobs, being ripe for automation. In particular order- taking is something that voice AI can easily take over. We like the lockers. There's a lot of things that I think on the margin can be different, make a big impact to restaurants without going all the way to the future of flying cars.

Carl: Yeah. You know, I, I, you mentioned the ice machine and you, you say it relatively flippantly, but really what I thought stood out for me on this article was that it, it took the time for making a frappuccino from almost a minute and a half to just over 30 seconds.

Meredith: Yeah. Right.

Carl: So when you think about this stuff that comes out on QSR magazine about the drive thru times, and been able to cut them by a second every year and competing to get to the top of the, the drive thru charts. Yeah. In terms of the time, it. This is an example for me about how we need to think like this for delivery, for takeout, how can we speed up the ability for us to service?

And when you have a, an automated ice dispenser or whipped cream dispenser, all of those things are taking seconds, fractions from the processes and cumulated together that's going to save a lot of time and therefore, that does work out as labor hours potentially in the long run.

Meredith: Absolutely. All right. So, we're probably a little biased here because we do love Abhi, but Bikky has raised their seed round to great fanfare.

Tell us about Bikky, what did they do and why did they raise so much money in a seed round?

Carl: Yeah. $5.25 million.

Meredith: Pretty good number.

Carl: I mean, that's pretty impressive.

Meredith: Yeah. And such a difficult time. Wow

Carl: totally.

It was led by Equal ventures, Gutter Capital and Version One Ventures, but

what stood out for me was 40% of that $5.25 are from industry operators and from current customers, in fact, their first customer is investing in this round. I mean, what a great testament to be able to have your current customers and, and customers that are in this industry, investing in you at such an early stage.

And it doesn't surprise me because Abhi is brilliant. What he's doing in helping the industry take a better grasp on customer data and be able to use customer data in a way that allows you to to better use it, to help with things like lapsed customers. I was at the Paytronix conference this week and they were doing some similar things themselves in, in looking at the way in which different customers react at different times and being able to use that data

to be able to reach out to those customers at the right time on the right day, at that particular moment, knowing that that has a statistically more relevant time for them to respond, to engage in and therefore perhaps win them back or perhaps get another purchase. Having a data platform like what Bikky is doing

is going to help restaurants be able to more effectively market to their customers. More effective marketing is going be something that everyone is interested in. So no surprise that he's got such a successful seed round. I suspect more good news will come in the months and years ahead.

Okay. Finally this week Doordashers can work for four hours or less a week and make $25 per hour. Hmm. This is interesting.

Meredith: Well, look, first of all, Tony Xu, the CEO of DoorDash was on CNBC and he was dropping words of wisdom, the entire way through so many interesting factoids about DoorDash and the platform. The one that you mentioned being chief among them, that he said the average Door Dasher works four hours a week.

Now I suspect that's a lot of door dashers who are on the platform who are not working at all, but he then went on to say that 90% of dashers work less than 10 hours a week, which is amazing. And that they make on average about $25 an hour when you include the gamification bonuses and the tips and the pay per delivery, all in $25 an hour.

So I call the gig economy, the ATM. Like shoot, I'm running short this week. I'm gonna go out and work four hours for DoorDash. And it's so great that we have that. It is so fantastic that as a society, we all have our normal day jobs. And if we wanna do a little something on the side, we can do that.

So I I'm a huge fan of the gig economy. I think it helps a lot of people who are on the employment side. And I think it also helps a lot of people who are on the user side. And there are many things that we could not have, or could not afford, if it weren't for the gig economy meanwhile there's a whole bunch of people making money on the side. So I thought that was very, very cool.

Couple of other statistics he mentioned. The first was he said that the DoorDash platform has 25 million active users each month on the platform and that they come to that platform more often than any other platform. And by that, I assume he means any other e-commerce shopping platform.

So I'm going to assume from that, that he means consumers on the DoorDash platform are coming to DoorDash more often than consumers on Amazon are going to Amazon. That's shocking. Right? He did not say those exact words, but that's kind of what he implied. So I was very impressed with that statistic.

And then he also said that while inflation is quite high, it is not affecting consumer frequency, rather it is affecting consumer basket size. So price per item is going up. And consumers are ordering slightly fewer items. So you can imagine you still get takeout, but you just don't get the appetizer.

And that therefore the check size is staying about the same maybe going up slightly and not affecting them. And probably all of us could do with a few less appetizers. So it's probably net net a win.

Carl: There's a tip there, Meredith. Restaurant need to create a few bundles.

There you go.

Meredith: That's exactly right. And then the final thing that he said was that grocers, like everyone in an inflationary economy cannot save their way out of the problem that inflation is causing. And he suggested that the best way to deal with what's happening is to grow your way out of the problem.

And so he was talking specifically about all the deals DoorDash is doing with grocery chains and what's in it for them in terms of, again, accessing this super active group of users on their platform. But as we know, grocery's been losing share to restaurant for a long, long time. And this is yet another way I think, for grocery to make themselves super relevant to the new generations who want what they want when they want it.

Carl: Absolutely. Well, thank you for that Meredith. I've got one last message for everyone that listening this week that is still with us. We are releasing a new book pretty soon. And so if you are interested in hearing more about that,

so if you haven't gone onto our websites the short URL is www.Learn.Delivery, but if you really want to type in, go right ahead. But from that we'll then tell our fan base there to listen in about the new book it's coming out. It's a playbook about the digital maturity pathway for restaurants.

And so hopefully we'll add some more nuggets there. So more news on that in the months ahead. Other than that thank you for listening as always, please put your questions, your comments below anything you'd like us to cover in a future edition or anything perhaps that you agreed with or disagreed with from this week's edition.

But until next time, thank you for listening.

The Monday minute is available for you to follow and subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast. Watch us on YouTube and follow us on all our social media learn channels.

Thanks for listening.

Monday Minute is now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.


Recent Posts

See All


Discover the future of dining with us as we unravel the latest technological marvels transforming the restaurant industry. You'll get an insider's look at how digital advancements like kiosk ordering


bottom of page