So, what’s the difference between a ‘food hall’ and a food court nothing according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. The simple fact is consumer tire of food courts and the retailers after about 14 months. That’s the point that retail turnover begins to pick up.
Regular readers of this blog know our Grocerant Guru® has documented many of the up-and downs of restaurants, caterers, and non-traditional food operators trying this formula. The turnover at food halls is much more noticeable that of ‘virtual food halls’ which Johnson now thinks will have a longer staying power.
Last year meal-preparation company Alacarte has secured $700,000 in angel financing to form a partnership with UberEats to offer what it said will be a “virtual food hall” experience. The Miami-based company, which opened its first commissary in Miami Beach four months ago, prepares food based on the specs of local restaurants that it’s partnered with, along with concepts developed by Alacarte, allowing customers to order from multiple virtual concepts and delivering it all at the same time.
“So if the wife wants sushi, the husband wants Mexican and the kids want pizza, they can all order it from us and have it delivered at the same time,” said CEO and co-founder Ken Ray. Ray said that this latest round of funding came from family and friends, but he recently visited venture capital firms in Boston and New York to raise additional funds for further expansion in high-density markets.
Alacarte has developed five concepts in its commissary: Bobby Ray’s Famous Fried Chicken, Fresco Mexicano, Miami Poke Co., Mott St. Pizza, and Pollerio (offering Latin-accented roasted chicken with sides such as beans, rice, fries and coleslaw).
It has partnered with local concepts Taekaway, which is Chinese, Maki San Sushi, Rosewood Pizza, Whichchicken Rotisserie, Bottle Box (offering beer, wine and sake) and a Chinese noodle restaurant called Chin Tu Fat.
Customers can currently order from Alacarte via other delivery platforms such as Postmates, GrubHub and Amazon Prime, but their software doesn’t allow customers to order from Alacarte’s multiple virtual restaurants. The funding will help Alacarte work with UberEats to develop software that will allow the “virtual food hall” experience.
Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow? Visit www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information or contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.
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