Deep Dive

Industry insights from our journalists


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    Sean Gallup via Getty Images

    DoorDash’s expansion beyond the US will come with challenges

    As DoorDash grows globally, it could face headwinds entering new markets, including competitive pressures and shifting consumer behavior.

    Julie Littman • Dec. 1, 2022
  • DoorDash and 2,000 grocery partners will waive delivery fees
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    Permission granted by DoorDash

    How new verticals boost DoorDash’s momentum

    The delivery giant’s expansion into convenience, grocery and other retail has helped it reach new customers and increase loyalty on its platforms.

    Julie Littman • Nov. 30, 2022
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    Permission granted by DoorDash

    How DoorDash became the dominant US food delivery company

    By focusing on communication with restaurant merchants, the aggregator has built products and features based on operator needs.

    Julie Littman • Nov. 29, 2022
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    Permission granted by Hawaiian Bros

    As chains expand drive-thrus, speed of service becomes paramount

    Drive-thru ordering remains in high demand long after dining room lockdowns, and chains are making sure their design and layouts help maximize efficiency. 

    Julie Littman • Nov. 16, 2022
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    Permission granted by Dutch Bros

    Drive-thru drag: Construction delays, rising costs slow development

    Inflation and labor disruption are forcing restaurants to get creative with site selection to obtain prime drive-thrus and mobile pickup window real estate.

    Julie Littman • Nov. 15, 2022
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    Permission granted by Starbucks Workers United

    Union proposals at odds with Starbucks’ contract goals

    The union’s demand for a seat at the decision table would restrict Starbucks' power, experts say, so the company may use its deep pockets to drag out the bargaining process and protect its interests.

    Aneurin Canham-Clyne • Nov. 9, 2022
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    The Starbucks union’s contract fight is a race against time

    Organizers face slowing new election rates, accusations of bad-faith bargaining and an impending loss of decertification protection.

    Aneurin Canham-Clyne • Nov. 8, 2022
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    Courtesy of REEF Technology

    How Reef helps shape city ghost kitchen regulations to accommodate its model

    The ghost kitchen company has devised two paths into new markets: one through city hall, and one through back doors of hotel kitchens.

    Aneurin Canham-Clyne • Aug. 8, 2022
  • Miso Robotics' 2nd iteration of the Flippy robot.
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    Courtesy of Miso Robotics

    6 restaurant tech solutions to combat 2022's challenges

    From QR codes to advanced mobile apps and robots, restaurants are planning to adopt more technology within their operations in the year ahead. 

    Julie Littman • April 20, 2022
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    Courtesy of Burger King

    How QSR marketers are riding the plant-based food wave

    Marketing plant-based foods, whether made in-house or with industry partners, comes with its own challenges as chains stay true to their brands.

    Chris Kelly • March 8, 2022
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    LeoPatrizi via Getty Images

    Delivery firms are offering more flexibility to retain partners. Will it work?

    Major aggregators are rolling out white labels, subscription programs and new data tools to keep partner restaurants and delivery customers as more diners order from operators directly. 

    Julie Littman • Jan. 19, 2022
  • DoorDash self-delivery
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    Courtesy of DoorDash

    Can restaurant marketers get digital right while facing panoply of pressures?

    Amid labor, supply chain and inflationary issues, 2022 will be a year of increased pressure to deliver on fronts that span media, ordering and loyalty.

    Chris Kelly • Jan. 18, 2022
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    Tomohiro Ohsumi / Stringer via Getty Images

    Sustained delivery profitability may hinge on business beyond restaurants

    While eateries remain their core businesses, third-party aggregators are adding new verticals, like retail and grocery, and services to diversify.

    Julie Littman • Jan. 12, 2022
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    The image by Vuong Tran is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    7 restaurant trends that will define 2022

    Restaurants will trim their menus, phase out cumbersome curbside pickup channels and invest in automation as operators balance labor pressure with off-premise demand, analysts say. 

    Emma Liem Beckett, Julie Littman and Aneurin Canham-Clyne • Jan. 4, 2022
  • Colin Cochran tells reporters why he thinks Starbucks Workers United will win in Cheektowaga
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    Aneurin E Canham-Clyne/Restaurant Dive

    Behind the scenes of Starbucks workers' first successful union drive

    A Buffalo Starbucks store secured a majority union vote on Dec. 9 after two years of organizing. But union experts don't think the win will be "a wildfire sweeping the American labor market."

    Aneurin Canham-Clyne • Dec. 16, 2021
  • A man picks up an order from a Reef vessel. Photo by KATELYN PERRY
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    Courtesy of REEF Technology

    Reef's ghost kitchen expansion mired in permit, health inspection infractions

    In the Sunshine State alone, more than one-third of active Reef mobile kitchen licenses had high-level health and safety infractions, Restaurant Dive found.

    Aneurin Canham-Clyne • Dec. 2, 2021
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    Retrieved from Target on November 23, 2021

    How brands are turning inclusive holiday campaigns into more than 'inspiration porn'

    Starbucks and Target lead the way for marketers trying to authentically embrace diversity and inclusion during a busy yet reflective season.

    Chris Kelly • Nov. 24, 2021
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    Joe Raedle via Getty Images

    Lack of capital, legislative restrictions may impede franchisees in 2022

    Despite these hurdles, there is still runway left for expansion, experts say, and competition for high-quality operators.

    Emma Liem Beckett • Nov. 8, 2021
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    Permission granted by Curry Up Now

    Why franchisors are targeting Texas and Florida

    A friendly business environment, strong population growth and lax COVID-19 restrictions have made the two states popular for franchise expansion.

    Julie Littman • Nov. 1, 2021
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    Courtesy of Blaze Pizza

    Franchisees are flocking to fast casuals to grow. Here's why.

    As the segment shows greater resiliency compared to casual dining, restaurant operators are making deals for expansion, taking advantage of a real estate surplus and rebounding traffic.

    Julie Littman • Oct. 25, 2021
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    Megan Rapinoe appeared in an ad Subway uploaded to YouTube on July 21, 2021.

    Can QSRs meet marketing's new imperatives without alienating franchisees?

    National brand building is often in conflict with the needs of local operators — a dichotomy that has only become more apparent in the past 18 months.

    Chris Kelly • Oct. 12, 2021
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    Permission granted by MrBeast Burger/Virtual Dining Concepts

    How host kitchens are propelling virtual brands forward

    Despite the rapid expansion, many experts question whether delivery-only concepts have long-term sustainability.

    Julie Littman • Oct. 11, 2021
  • A look at Wow Bao's dark kitchen operation
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    Permission granted by Wow Bao

    Want to expand through host kitchens? Here's what you need to know.

    Brands should keep in mind how they plan to maintain consistency in food quality and the customer experience.

    Julie Littman • Oct. 7, 2021
  • Mighty Quinn's began selling Otto's Tacos out of its kitchen in late 2020.
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    Permission granted by Otto's Tacos

    Recipe for revenue: Why restaurants are becoming host kitchens

    Restaurants are leveraging unused kitchen capacity to facilitate the delivery of other brands and rake in extra cash.

    Julie Littman • Oct. 4, 2021
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    Permission granted by Bakers Square

    Why restaurant M&A activity is spiking after pandemic lull

    As diner demand helps restaurant sales recover, buyers are jumping back into the game amid low interest rates and as financing becomes more widely available.

    Julie Littman • July 21, 2021