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If there was any doubt that Starbucks is as much a media platform as it is a coffee shop, new stats from eMarketer should lay it to rest. Starbucks, not Apple, Google or Samsung, has the greatest penetration of proximity-based mobile application payments in the U.S.

This year, 23.4 million people ages 14 or older will use the Starbucks app to make a point-of-sale purchase at least once every six months, according to revised estimates released by eMarketer today.

That gives Starbucks a slightly dominant share of the U.S. mobile payments marketplace, just ahead of Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay — a ranking eMarketer projects will remain in place through 2022.

“The Starbucks app is one of the bigger success stories in mobile proximity payments,” explains eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu. “It has gained traction thanks to its ability to tie payments to its loyalty rewards program. For users of the app, the value of paying with their smartphone is clear and simple—you can save time and money at the register, all while racking up rewards and special offers.”

from Media Post:


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The food delivery business has suddenly shifted from being about consumer convenience to a battle of market competitors more focused on profits and flattening the value chain than providing options. An industry focused on giving hungry consumers the opportunity to select from a wide array of dinner-time choices has morphed into pizza delivery 2.0 and that’s, at best, boring. Simply said, the home chef faces a lot of cacophonies when it comes to grocery delivery, meal kits, and restaurant fare (home and away).

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Profits are a good thing, especially for public companies or ones with an eye on expansion or acquisition. However, what we find in recent announcements is a change from the initial concept of turning a fleet of rideshare drivers into a virtual extension of a city’s best restaurants.  When Uber Eats acquires Ando, a “dark kitchen,” its fare likely will become the focus of its New York delivery options.  The king of all rideshare firms thus sends a signal to its customers that Ando’s bibimbap and fried chicken will be tonight’s special every night. The food delivery business is heading for a 180-turn, moving from delighted consumers (as we see in the GrubHub ads) to one of supplier vertical consolidation.

“We are committed to investing in technology that helps consumers, delivery and restaurant partners alike,” Jason Droege, Head of Uber Everything told TechCrunch. “Ando’s insights will help our restaurant technology team as we work with our restaurant partners to grow their business.”

None of this is to say that Uber Eats is wrong or alone in seeking ways to increase its bottom line. Others such as Deliveroo and Amazon are connecting pieces of the value chain—that is owning the food prep and delivery segments of the business—to streamline its operations. And, from a business 101 perspective, it is a sound idea if the founding principle of consumer choice remains intact.

Read more at The Spoon:

Last week, Dunkin’ Donuts cut the ribbon on its “next-generation concept store” in Quincy, MA. The site will act as a pilot store of sorts, where Dunkin’ can test out new store concepts and branding efforts before deciding to roll the changes out to more locations. The Quincy store opened about a mile away from the original 1948 Dunkin’ Donuts location. 

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Besides dropping the “donuts” from the name out front, the biggest addition to the store is the dedicated drive-thru lane for mobile customers—that is, those who order ahead and pay through the Dunkin’ app.

It’s a potentially huge perk. Theoretically, at least, you could save a lot of time on the way to work by paying with your phone, bypassing half the other customers, and getting to stay in the car the whole time.

It’s also, as some have already suggested, part of a bigger strategy to become a true Starbucks competitor.

The strategy is not entirely new. In 2016, the company began featuring drinks like lattes and macchiatos in order to make espresso a bigger part of the business, attract younger customers, and compete with Starbucks. But Dunkin’ isn’t the only chain to have that idea: coffee beverage sales at McDonald’s and Burger King are reportedly taking a toll on afternoon sales at Dunkin’.

Meanwhile, the chain’s mobile program has lagged since its launch in 2016, making up only around 4 percent of the company’s total transactions. As a point of comparison, mobile now accounts for around 30 percent of Starbucks’ overall transactions.

If this increased investment in mobile is any indication, Dunkin’ is serious about catching up to Starbucks and, in the process, beating back competition from McDonald’s and Burger King.

In addition to its increased focus on mobile, the chain’s next-gen store also features a revamped design, bar-like taps pouring nitro- and cold-brew coffee, and several “healthier” snack options (i.e., bananas). The donuts, thankfully, aren’t going anywhere, even if they no longer get billing on the sign outside.

In-store, Dunkin’ on Demand will feature self-ordering kiosks, digital boards that track orders, and a dedicated mobile pickup area.The kiosks are slated for release in 2018. While the company hasn’t explicitly said so, the very idea of a store-as-concept-lab could possibly be another way to emulate Starbucks, who’s been using concept stores to test out new ideas in its home market of Seattle for some time. 

Will all this be enough to put Dunkin’ in true competition with Starbucks, or will it continue to straddle that weird line between coffeeshop and fast-food chain? There will be a lot of logistical pieces to manage, and the chain can’t afford any technological glitches or shortcomings with these changes. But if Dunkin’ can get those two pieces right, continue pouring quality brews, and maybe get a robot or two, it certainly stands a fighting chance.

from The Spoon:

Waitr, the on-demand restaurant platform, is starting a new Thanksgivingfood drive using its popular app to help feed the needy in the communities they serve. Beginning Monday, October 16, when anyone orders from their favorite restaurant using Waitr, they’ll have the option to help feed a family in their own community with a donation.


Called “Share Thanksgiving“, the food drive allows Waitr users to click on the designated “Donate a Meal” button after they order. Should they choose to do so, they will then be prompted to select a dollar amount ranging from $2 to $10. Waitr and its participating restaurant partners will also match a portion of their customers’ donations.

Using all of these donations, Waitr will deliver free hot meals prepared by local restaurants to hungry families during Thanksgiving week.

“While Thanksgiving is typically a time to reflect on how fortunate we are, there are also many people who unfortunately need help putting food on their tables,” said Chris Meaux, CEO and Founder of Waitr. “We’re so grateful for our customers and restaurant partners, whose combined efforts will assist us in making this Thanksgiving a day of hope for those in need.”

Share Thanksgiving will be a major undertaking across the entire Southeast, as Waitr has more than 2,500 restaurant partners and a presence in more than 100 cities.

Get the app here:

Read more at PR NewsWire:

Despite early bets on Amazon’s Alexa, Diageo doesn’t have a voice strategy. The alcohol maker is, however, shifting some of its focus to conversational, long-tail search terms.


Diageo is laying the groundwork for when a large part of its search buying is for voice rather than text, or rather based on the meaning behind a query instead of a specific keyword. Much of Diageo’s early voice search efforts involve brainstorming what naturally spoken questions may be asked about its brands, especially because there’s a chance that cost per click could rise if there is only room for one paid search placement.

Bidding strategies aside, Diageo is also considering the feasibility of producing variations of ad copy that deliver the best possible answers. If someone asked for a Moscow mule, for example, not only would Smirnoff need to have copy in place to answer the query, it might also need copy ready if the next question were “What vodka should I buy?” or “What ingredients are in it?”

Read more at Digiday: