DoorDash Helps feed the Homeless

Delivery giant DoorDash is using its delivery algorithm to help feed the homeless along with Feeding America.  In a new program dubbed DASH (DoorDash Acts for Sustainability and Hunger), restaurants can easily get the food to homeless shelters. Something that has been tricky to do for restaurants who want to help but either can’t get the food to shelters efficiently or are barred from doing so by local food safety rules.  “Project DASH is treated like a DoorDash Drive delivery,” said a DoorDash spokesperson. “Dashers are paid the guaranteed amount that they are shown prior to accepting a Project DASH delivery. DoorDash contributes all funds to pay Dashers to fulfill Project DASH deliveries and will continue to do so.”  With less friction, it means more donations, less food waste and more options for shelters, according to partner organization Feeding America, which helps feed the homeless through a national network of soup kitchens, food banks, and pantries.  “Once the restaurant posts the donation, their job is done,” Justin Block, director of retail information services at Feeding America told Fast Company.  Jen Rapp, VP of marketing at DoorDash, said the concept was conceived at an internal company hackathon. The company kicked off the new feature with a massive donation push as well, by donating a meal through the app for every single order in January.

Autonomous Vehicle Startup Nuro Wants Vehicles Delivering this Year

How many autonomous delivery vehicle startups can there be? Well, at least one more.  A pair of former Google self-driving car engineers founded Nuro and have already amassed $92 million in funding. Chinese venture capital firm, Banyan Capital, and Silicone Valley firm, Greylock Partners, led the Series A round, according to Forbes. The team is currently building an initial fleet of six vehicles to deliver groceries, food, and packages. They have an extremely aggressive plan to get the vehicles out in the real world in 2018. The thought of aggressive turns to slightly horrifying when the vehicles are this large—a little smaller than a passenger car.  Federal regulations around the vehicles are still being finalized, but the team has been testing the technology with passenger cars since 2016.  Dave Ferguson, one of the engineers behind the startup, told Forbes that it gets less scary because the vehicle isn’t carrying people. That’s a big worry in the autonomous vehicle world, if a car is going to crash, does it favor the driver or a pedestrian, a passenger or another driver. Without anyone in the car, Nuro can opt out of that Phillip K. Dick-ian ethical quandary.  “By removing the passenger not only do you not need those static considerations—things like seatbelts and crash protection, airbags, all that—but you can modify the behavior of the vehicle to care more about what’s outside rather than what’s inside the vehicle, said Ferguson.

David Chang’s Ando Now Part of UberEats

Continuing its growth in the food category, Uber’s restaurant delivery arm UberEats acquired Ando, David Chang’s delivery-only restaurant in New York City. The Momofuku chef launched Ando as a digital-only smartphone app-based restaurant brand in May 2016, with a menu suited to portability and food prepared at a Midtown East kitchen without a storefront. In September 2017, Chang did open a fast-casual store in near Union Square.  Ando had been using UberEats as its delivery provider prior to the sale, alongside other third-party services. A notice on Ando’s website announced the shutdown of its service to integrate with UberEats.  “We will no longer be serving customers in New York — online or via our Union Square location — as we will be immediately starting to integrate with UberEats,” Ando posted on its website January 22.  Ando had raised $7 million in funding and was incubated by Expa, a San Francisco-based startup lab cofounded by Uber co-founder Garrett Camp.  In a statement to TechCrunch, Jason Droege, head of Uber Everything, said: “We are committed to investing in technology that helps consumers, delivery and restaurant partners alike. Ando’s insights will help our restaurant technology team as we work with our restaurant partners to grow their business.”

Dunkin’ Opens Next Generation Store

Dunkin’ Donuts unveiled its next-generation concept store in Quincy, Massachusetts, the same city where it opened its first location 68 years ago. In addition to an updated design, the store features the brand’s first drive-thru exclusively for mobile ordering. The “On-the-Go” lane lets DD Perks members who order ahead via Dunkin’s mobile app bypass the ordering lane and merge straight into the line for the pickup window. Inside, there’s an area dedicated to mobile pickups. Fully integrated digital kiosks are coming to stores across the system in 2018, the company said, and guests who order via the app can track the status of their orders placed for pickup inside the restaurant via a new digital order status board. The Quincy store is also one of a select number of units to have just “Dunkin’” signage on the front, a move the brand made with the goal of reinforcing its standing as a beverage-led brand.

“The launch of our next generation concept store marks one of the most important moments in Dunkin’ Donuts’ growth as an on-the-go, beverage-led brand,” said Dave Hoffmann, president of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada, in a statement. “We have worked closely with our franchisee community to create a positive, energetic atmosphere for our guests that remains true to our heritage while emphasizing and enhancing the unparalleled convenience, digital innovation and restaurant excellence that distinguishes Dunkin’.”

Delivery Floats Dubai’s Boat

Food trucks may be a mainstay in the U.S., but they aren’t flashy enough for the flashiest of cities, Dubai in the U.A.E., who likes to claim the tallest building and the biggest of whatever. They are offering mobile dining via a floating burger stand in the Persian Gulf. Salt Bay DXB, which debuted in February, is an aqua pod which runs on a combination of electricity and diesel fuel, according to The Washington Post.  Being billed as the world’s first sustainable seaborne food delivery vehicle, Salt Bay will deliver high-end hamburgers to yacht drivers, jet skiers and paddle boarders in Dubai’s posh waterfront neighborhoods, as well as around the Dubai Palm’s Lagoon, part of the Emirate’s famed man-made islands.

A Paleo Deal Made in Loveland

The Loveland, Colorado-based Wild Zora, the maker of meat and vegetable bars has acquired Paleo Meals to Go, another specialty food company, also in Loveland, according the Denver Post. Currently, Paleo Meals has 10 SKUs that offer five meat options of chicken and beef, as well as hot cereal-style, non-grain meals. Paleo Meals founder Dawn Anderson told NOSH she thinks the deal will help the brand scale and improve its ingredient deck by utilizing Wild Zora’s supply chain. The latter has proved difficult for Anderson and her son, who found scaling up while maintaining profit margins to be difficult.Anderson will stay on with Wild Zora, at least through the ownership transition, and assist with product innovation.

Sun Basket, an organic meal-kit delivery service, secured a Series D investment of $42.8 million led by August Capital. 

Sun Basket also recently raised $15M in Debt Financing from Trinity Capital Investment, bringing the total new funding to $57.8M. With two new facilities launching in early 2018, Sun Basket will have the capacity to build a $1B revenue business, according to its press release.
Founded in 2014, San Francisco-based Sun Basket grew net revenue by more than 280 percent in 2017, hitting $250 million in annual revenue run rate at the beginning of 2018.
Additionally, Sun Basket is launching two new distribution centers on the East coast and in the Midwest during the first quarter of 2018.