Deep Dive

Industry insights from our journalists

  • A picture of one of Reef's mobile kitchens.
    Image attribution tooltip
    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.
    Image attribution tooltip
    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
  • Image attribution tooltip
    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
    Image attribution tooltip
    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
  • Backs of bike couriers with Uber Eats bags.
    Image attribution tooltip
    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
  • The waiter works in a restaurant in a medical mask, gloves during coronavirus pandemic.
    Image attribution tooltip
    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
    Image attribution tooltip
    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
    Image attribution tooltip
    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
  • Food at Curry Up Now
    Image attribution tooltip
    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
  • Blaze Pizza
    Image attribution tooltip
    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
  • Image attribution tooltip
    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
    Image attribution tooltip
    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.
    Image attribution tooltip
    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
  • Image attribution tooltip
    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
  • H-E-B food hall
    Image attribution tooltip
    Courtesy of H-E-B

    Food halls, ghost kitchens and the future of in-store restaurants

    Rather than shying away from offering fresh meals and in-store dining due to lingering safety concerns and elevated at-home cooking trends, grocers are leaning into restaurants like never before.

    Jeff Wells • May 24, 2021
  • Custom header for labor shortage series at Restaurant Dive May 2021
    Image attribution tooltip
    Permission granted by Chipotle/ Design by Adeline Kon/Restaurant Dive

    Retention is key to solving the restaurant industry's labor crisis

    As many restaurants struggle to bring on employees, others have had success with keeping their workers by creating a positive company culture, boosting benefits and offering clear paths for career growth. 

    Julie Littman • May 18, 2021
  • Taco Bell mobile store
    Image attribution tooltip
    Retrieved from Taco Bell on August 20, 2020

    Yum ramps up transformation with new tech deals. How will they impact marketing?

    Broader trends in the QSR category and changing media consumption habits could herald a bigger focus on performance marketing, experts suggest.

    Peter Adams • May 17, 2021
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    Photo illustration by Adeline Kon/Restaurant Dive; photograph by Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

    Help wanted: How chains are adjusting hiring tactics to boost staffing

    Amid an ongoing labor shortage, major restaurant brands are experimenting with mass hiring events, bonuses, pay raises and streamlined application processes to attract much-needed employees.

    Julie Littman • May 11, 2021
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    Joe Raedle via Getty Images

    How the labor shortage is shifting restaurant strategy

    Diners are returning in droves as COVID-19 dining room restrictions ease, but staff are hard to come by, creating a difficult balancing act for operators trying to recoup lost revenue.

    May 11, 2021
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    Chris Hondros via Getty Images

    Up from the ashes: Restaurant CFOs prepare for boom

    Profit-hungry restaurant CFOs blindsided by the pandemic get ready for robust economic growth, offering lessons for leaders in less-stressed industries.

    Jim Tyson • May 10, 2021
  • Custom header for labor shortage series at Restaurant Dive May 2021
    Image attribution tooltip
    Adeline Kon/Restaurant Dive

    Now hiring: How the labor shortage is squeezing full-service restaurants

    Foodservice workers burnt out by the segment's recent instability are leaving for other industries or living on high unemployment benefits, sparking a staffing crisis as dining rooms open.

    Julie Littman • May 4, 2021