Is The Smart Kitchen Smart or Dumb? Discuss.
All right we're back this week for eight editor podcasts without one of the key members on injured reserve Catherine Lamm Kath recovering from a sore throat. hopefully Catherine. If you're listening. You're doing okay and we'll be back next week but we do have Chris Albrecht in Marston. Hey guys doing what's up my oh. I'm excited we're just less than two weeks out from smarter December. We'll go into that a little bit but like as always when the fall comes round news just seems to come at a furious pace and it's no different this year Genu you wrote about fat burger which is kind of crazy thing turning some of their lawn. John Los Angeles stores into Ghost Kitchens for sister brand. I thought that was really interesting. tell us a bit about that story so fat. Burger for those who aren't aware is is a southern California based Quick Service restaurant they do as the name suggests really fat Burgers so but they are owned by fat brands who has a number of different restaurant chains under its umbrella and fat owns a restaurant called Hurricane Grill Orland wings which is more on the East Coast like Florida New York but what they're doing is using fatburger locations in Los Angeles to to basically double as ghost kitchens for this hurricane grill and wings menu so an it's it's delivery only which I think is really interesting so if you go onto grope hct post mates are one of the usual third party delivery sites you can access you have to be in Los Angeles. You can access the hurricane grill and wings menu from those sites and get their food delivered to you which I I think it's an interesting interesting tactic because it's it's exposing you know so you've got someone who's a Fan Anna fatburger will they would probably if they're out on the west coast never have an opportunity to experience some of these other brands that Fat Burger owns in these other restaurants so this is sort of a super cost effective way for fat rams to kind of expose customers to the entire portfolio without having go and build full on brick and mortar restaurants with dining rooms across the country and they did say that they wanted to start doing doing this sort of ghost kitchens for one brand in the kitchen of another just with all of their restaurant chains in the future future so I think this is I mean this is the first time I've seen something like this but it just thinking about it now. It just kind of seems like a no brainer and I feel like this is definitely something we're going to be needing to keep an eye on in the future because obviously there's plenty of huge restaurant companies that own the multiple different brands so this could potentially be a big area to watch with ghosts kitchens. I agree I mean I think there's a huge amount of capital Capex X and fixed investment into these restaurant chains in particularly in their abilities creek food and if you I said Jan if you're one of these big conglomerates with lots of different brands ends why not just leverage. It looks like the fatburger kitchens are going to be double due to doing double duty yeah so I think it makes sense at the same time. You're just seeing so much to this ghost kitchen virtual kitchen heat I think there's been a couple pieces around Travis Kalanick's in his investments over the past week or two so and getting big valuations so it seems like everyone's turning their attention to the space kitchen united just raised forty million or anymore yeah Z. in some ways I I think I always wonder like it's sometimes when you're watching shark tank and you see this like invention for like something really obvious you go. Why didn't I think that I think that's the case with just goes kitchen's like why didn't why didn't we think of this sooner because it gets really expensive to build physical retail locations and kitchens and if you're one of these big companies with a big network of them. Why would you think of doing the center right well. I think a lot of I mean. I don't think I know a lot of the growth with these ghosts kitchens hitchens's delivery and you know the fatburger news case in point. I mean the sister restaurant. The hurricane grow a hurricane wings and grill is only available through delivery. You can't walk into a fat Burger and say I wanNA order off the hurricane menu so I think think definitely just I mean I would go as far as to say. Delivery is basically cable stakes. Now we say that all the time around here are we gonna hit a point where for at least these large restaurant companies with multiple chain restaurants is the ghost kitchen at some point also going to become the norm basically yeah you make a great point in that delivery and the build out of that option in the maturation of it that UH rapid adoption of it by consumers really was kind of this lever that was pulled led to basically a bunch of cascading changes in that restaurant injury. I mean people are changing changed with the way they're designing restaurants now. If somebody chefs like Multiple Taizhou building in food delivery into their restaurants and then to your point I mean really early this type of development like a fat burger. really was net necessitate. It took food to over to really Kinda necessitate them think rethinking their business model and their network network kitchens to to essentially do this type of thing so I think you make your point there well. I think it's also just thinking about the prevalence of at based you know. Grub of endured ask reaching critical mass and then you know it's fascinating to me is the idea that they have all this data on what people are searching for and you know the ability need to go in and then you know create virtual restaurants that don't exist anywhere creates a whole other layer of it right so we're just at this real interesting sweet spot where there's enough penetration of the third party delivery services door dashes in all fifty states right now. Everybody has a mobile phone and how how'd you re architect or re rework your your restaurant to pardon me take advantage of the new style of eating as it were speaking of changing the game Chris. You've been writing about how stadiums are changing what they have in them with regards to tech and how they're kind of on the leading edge of of how do I do like the segway by the way it's okay. It's pretty great. I mean anytime you can work. The Game Plan in is pretty amazing battery at a pat myself on the back for them. Yeah that was a home run segue. Yeah actually agenda has been reporting on this as well. You know what sort of tipped it off was so there's announcement that went today. Zip in which does cashier. Let's check out for convenience. Stores is putting a cashier checkout convenience in store inside the Golden One Center in Sacramento and my first thought was like well. Duh Why haven't why haven't they ever been convenient stores in stadiums already. They're small. They carry a lot a lot of stuff but obviously a line would form in the smaller end. That'd be real annoying but the idea of having checkout line and not having a checkout line where you just walk in you. Scan your own own. Walk in grab what you want and leave like that's pretty amazing and also perfect for like a baseball game. We don't want to miss a lot and you wanted. Just you WanNa grab a Soda Soda. You don't want to stand in line and then you you know you're standing. There and people are talking at the at the menu trying to figure out what they WANNA. Get Right. You know it's it's this idea of a convenience store seems really smart and I think we'll see a bunch of them but that's also just the latest idea right like the Mile High Stadium opened up a different convenience store and they didn't use cashier. Let's check out They used a sort of this company called. Mass Gen creates a computer vision checkout thing where you just basically said all your stuff on this pad and then it looks and sees what all the ingredients what everything you're buying an audit gives you an automated total and you can pay right there but this also follows like those are front of the house things and in the back of the House you see flippy. Lippi was employed at Dodger Stadium Yankee. Stadium actually are two places to watch right because dodger stadium has flippy and post mates doubt and flippy the estimates. I believe which one dodger stadium. Yes yes so dodger. Stadium has flippy making Tater tots chicken tender's right. That's a robotic arm that just stands in front of a hot dryer and cooks up Tater tots throughout the game and and post mates pickup which Jen wrote about last week which is where you can order food from your seat and then go to the posts pickup line and grab it. You don't understand in line. That's pretty great so all these things stadiums are really really good places to test these things out because they involve a lot of people you know high traffic high volume areas and people you know. It's not a place where where people are trying to really into their food. They're not trying to personalize it so much. They're trying to just get something and get back to the game right right and what after all are stadiums than entertainment places where you know. It's still a little bit a. p. t. Barnum and kind of a circus like environment. I still feel like we're in that stage of some some of this technology where it is kind of like about entertainment like I feel like robotic food. Dispensers oftentimes are part of part of the show and that's the phaser and so it makes makes a lot of sense that stadiums would be a place and secondly just to your point Chris. You want to get back to watch game in getting people through faster and getting people back in their seats. I think technology can help that. I think everyone's happy. You're spending a lot of money. You're spending hundreds of dollars to go to the steam nowadays for an outing and do you want to stand in line for twenty minutes for a hammer well. I I think stadiums to you kind of have a captive audience as well which is one of the reasons that you know something like post mates worked so well oils because they would never as food delivery service they would never be able to reach this group of people traditionally gently with deliberate because you can't get outside food or drink brought into a stadium so set up a pickup station. That's more exposure to post mates but you know as you said it's it's a faster way to get concessions as well and then I think was it last year. Seattle addle the seahawks stadium. What's the name of that one thousand. Which one is it? Now's a T. mobile or centurylink. I think at Centurylink Glinka I think the mariners steam chain a right to team oh well they had clear in there too so you could scan your thumbprint to get a beer her as well which you know again as I think a stadium is a pretty like why wouldn't you WanNa try that as Mike said and part of the you know part of concessions at Sports Games is that they're entertaining so why not try and make them more entertaining testing out all these different technologies holidays. I think also introducing people like right now. There are a limited number of cashier's check out stores right and unless you work downtown Seattle or San Francisco or Los Angeles or New Yorker. You know some major metropolitan area. You're not gonNA really bump into Amazon. Go and for ZIP in this. It's really not only for the companies in but also just the idea of cashier. Let's check out really brings it to a mass audience who might not be who might not not encountered otherwise right like. I don't think you would just would travel into downtown. Core just to go to Amazon go. I mean we all have because we write about it but but like if you're just the average person living in the suburbs that you know why you wouldn't do that but if you're at the store if you're at a game then like hey this is actually really convenient or I hate it or what's going on or whatever like it still exposes people to it in a way that they probably would normally come across. It makes a lot of sense. I'm I'm just waiting for. The drone delivered hot dogs. I'm sure that's next Chris but I'm excited for that development speaking of Technology and innovation and whether and whether or not it makes your eyes better one of the interesting stories that touched on the connected kitchen. This week was an article by Jewelry he rented this boon. Joe Rented the spoon from the spark summit. I love jobs writing. Probably my favorite kitchen gadget review. He wrote an article said the smart kitchen is very stupid using a headline commissioned that we've seen him a few times around smart home and Smart TV. I think editors just find it too easy quite honestly but in his post he he made some points basically about how connected products in the kitchen aren't ready for primetime. He hasn't really found that they're all useful and I have some thoughts on this but Chris your article in response to this. I'd let you kind of what you go I well. I really do want to find out your thoughts because I think people have heard my thoughts already enough on it but for me I think it just boiled down to this again unlike lingerie he's great. His writing is amazing. His reviews are bar none right like so. He's not a dumb dumb and I think what do there's a sort of this idea of. He's probably a really good cook and from his right and you can tell he's a really good cookie knows his way around meets. He's knows his way you know how to make things and sauces and all of that stuff and I don't and so having a June oven or a trigger WIFI grill like those my wife travels a lot so I wind up cooking meals for myself and my son and I'm a horrible cook but with the June I can pop in Cod r I salmon or chicken or whatever and it cooks it for me and it comes out great and I love that and I made I've never made ribs before because I was like Oh man that just takes hours and I don't know the patients but with the trigger was like oh I can just pull out my phone and make sure it's still a temperature and there were still some things I had to do and some kinks. It's still need to be worked out out with a trigger but for the most part I was able to make ribs for the first time and it wasn't daunting. It was like the smarts the connected nature of it really helped me out but that's that's my point. I'm just not a good cook. I like that kind of stuff but Mike I'm curious. I know you've got thoughts and I wanna hear line him up. Well I think in some ways. He argued against his headline right. I mean he pointed out some products that actually were essentially interesting new innovations of the past few years he talked about thermex he talked about the incident pot so I tend to agree with them there in that respect but I would say that like he focused very much on the connectivity component of it in wake whether or not a product better apt turn on or off I will say this. I think that software in the kitchen around connector products will change game because I think what it does is makes a product you know when you drive a car off the lot and instantly depreciates we look at you're looking at your June and and all the new features you have on that since you bought it. Chris like clearly makes a completely different like model for applies makers. If you have applies it actually adds features a year or two down. The the wine is actually really interesting though that's a really good point. I hadn't thought of that but you're right like June keeps adding cook programs for all different kinds of things as I think he's very narrowly focused on the cooking component of it which I think is slow improving. We have things like that. Thermo makes the team sixers looks like a for all purposes and looks. It looks like a pretty amazing news kind of connected kitchen appliance. I think the instant bodies while fairly simple foia simple like it's kind of rethink of the pressure cooker and makes it easy to use but but I think focusing so narrowly on cooking for a guy I whose large you've been a restaurant critic an appliance critic like it. I think he's a critic right I think but if you stand back and for people like us Chris make sense like who don't spend as much time cooking cooking I think that's important but also think about all the ways in which we can use technologies to do things like reduce food waste. I haven't even talked about that. He didn't talk about exactly early on. I was thinking actually There's so much to be done in this space. I mean you have guys like Amazon. Filing pads to put in like essential electric noses the refrigerator but but forty percent of the food is in that is thrown out is thrown out of the consumer kitchen if we can use technology to somehow reduce that I think that's huge and and just just generally looking forward. I think we're we definitely are in the second or third inning but this stuff is GonNa get better so so I told I joe talked about the same. I told my didn't completely disagree with a lot of his critiques. I think no one's really hit the home run yet but I definitely think to your point. Chris Lake were just really really begun with the space yeah no and something else that I had mentioned in my post like the June is a multigenerational product in our house. My nine year old can read the book programs and make pizza or the computer vision goes. Hey this is a pizza. Do you cook it and he can make it right and I don't have to worry about him turning on and oven or leaving oven on because it shuts down and that's the same reason that might seventy plus year old parents bought a June is because they know once they're done with it. It's off. It's not they don't they. Don't leave it on. It doesn't get left on like they can see. It's more controlled for them and if they have a question about it they can look it up on their phone and see like Oh yes I did. I did turn it off so you know it it. It's got wide ranging appeal beyond just like it making really good chicken and I think also there's just like core innovations that go beyond. Hey let's at an APP can activity to rate. I mean well. It's taking a little while for these guys who are doing allstate cooking to get the products out the door because it's pretty expensive to put these components into the devices like there's an opportunity to really recreate. The microwave. MILLAIS showed up their product. I think in maybe fall of two thousand seventeen basically their device obey sleaze high precision microwave oven we're still using technology basically from World War Two so think about cooking multiple things in cooking chamber at high precision and and doing it at the same time I think that could be interesting but also just also think about like rethinking kitchen design like once kitchens actually put intelligence into the fabric of the actual surfaces once you have things like the wireless power consortium key technology in your in your countertops like there's just lots of stuff. It's GONNA be interesting to watch in innovation around the kitchen that goes beyond just like whether or not a cooking devices connected via nap. Yes all all of that Jen. Do you cook much and I'm just wondering if you've had a chance to say so. I I mean a lot of ways I might thinking probably lines up a little bit more with Joe's just because I love cooking and by when I say I love cooking. I mean like that kitchen better. Be a disaster when I'm done. better be up to my elbows in like ingredients that were flying around like I'm also kind of a Weirdo in that. I enjoy the process of cleaning the kitchen up after making a huge mess in it. You are weird complete. Weirdo and I don't know why I have a job writing about seasonal attack no but yeah but that being said you know. I think you know I work doc from home. I do not at present have children. I have a lot of things in my life that allow me to experiment with something and take six hours to make ribs or four make bread every week or you know do these sort of more manual guesswork sorts of cooking experiments because that's just you know the context of my life allows for that and I don't. I don't really know Joe so I can't speak to his but it does sound like he's pretty ready and a cooking and probably sort of approach. Is it like an experience like I do you know I think Chris Makes. It's a really good point though if you don't like to cook or if you just need a little bit more assistance or you don't have time to you know a lot. The people don't have four hours to guess on a recipe and see if it's GonNa turn out and then what do you do if it doesn't if you've got three kids waiting for dinner to be Serb so I absolutely get that. I think what I I think what I would really love to see is to your point about food. Waste Mike because definitely I know that some of the ways this more manual perch to cooking that I like probably wastes a significant probably waste more food than would be if I were using a smart cooking device to help so I think it'll be interesting to see how the smart kitchen evolves. 'cause Chris. I don't remember if it was you joe or both of you just sort of as evolves from this tech for the sake of Tech to tech that actually is something everybody is going to use an on a regular basis in their kitchens so yeah that's kind of my thoughts and you know you mentioned food waste and in cooking you know there are some platforms out third. There's some apps out there the directory taking will you have in your refrigerator and instantly creating recipes flavor pairings that allow you to cook to that so even if it's as simple as like hey. I had this refrigerator. I don't have anything else. Tell me what I can make. I think that's valuable that something that probably could for technology. Would you could power some things but I'm excited to see where this goes but I'm also excited have Joe onstage. We're going to be talking about this at the smirking. December so if you want to see Joe and I Russell feats strength or maybe talk about this. Roman and I actually Joe's great. We're GONNA have a conversation. She's right there. I want to get his opinions and mirrors grievances so that'll be fun but speaking of innovation the kitchen Ra quickly. You're actually heading down to Amazon tomorrow. Chris Chris. There is a a press conference. I know it's exciting last year. You may remember this time. Last year. Amazon introduced a slew of things including the Alexa. It's a powered microwave the connect get I have my word keeps turning on whenever I say that the home connect connect kit and that basically a kid building a Alexa into your pints with a little bit of more than just software naturalism chipsets in there so yeah that was their their platform for Alexa their their that that and then they had the clock which they took. I think they discontinued for a while. I don't know that came back and a whole host of devices so we're GONNA. I'm sure that tomorrow is going to be a packed with news. Hopefully we'll have a bunch of you know. A kitchen related news in there. I'm excited for it. I am going to go ahead and start. I'm going to go to bed now so correct right. We were trying to strategize with you with Chris before before this podcast saying hey. How can we get the stuff. You're earning up on the site so we're going to try and figure that out. Alf Journey busy there because it's like an all day event it is I was talking with a friend of the show Stacey Higginbotham whose going and I was like hey when when is it thinking that it would be like from ten to noon and she was like no. It's ten to five L. My goodness gracious that has a long day at Amazon and spend the night down there. You're going on Amazon crews there. It is yeah well. It's also right by Amazon. Go store so I'm sure GONNA probably you. You know caffeinate up pretty well before heading in well. We're excited. I'm excited to see both of you guys in a couple of weeks smirke to summit quick plugs market to some dot dot com use discount code podcast twenty five percent check out the website. We had the agenda like it's like. We had this Roy Grid Agenda Guys. I don't know if you're looking to take meetings zero asking me using a networking APP called Bella so if you're GONNA s case you can actually meet with the people at the event find out who's going so. I would suggest you guys check it out Chrissy taking meetings excuse. I'll tell me with anybody. Come by say hi. I'll talk with you. What do you want. What do you WanNa talk about. You want to talk about cashier. The checkout you talk about robots. I'm in let's do you guys will be busy onstage in writing to but if you can't take meetings great but thanks for joining me for the podcast. Chris Good luck tomorrow and hope hope Catherine. If you're listening you feel better her and Jenny messed up. Your kitchen will bit. Oh yes I will thanks bye bye.