Coronavirus is hurting the restaurant industry. Here’s how it could change the future of food

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Dan Barber, the vanguard chef behind Blue Hill at Stone Barns, earned two Michelin stars as he championed the farm-to-table movement in New York State. But rave reviews have spared no one in the ailing food world, as restaurants have gone into perilous hibernation, leaving workers unemployed and thoroughfares eerily quiet around the country.

Barber shut the doors of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in Westchester County, and a second location in New York City in mid-March. With hopes of keeping some income flowing to struggling employees and suppliers, his team started offering to-go boxes of produce, meat, fish and other items that loyal patrons could make and consume at home. But even at prices ranging up to $170, Barber says, it’s hardly a drop in the bucket. “It’s like whack-a-mole,” he says. “There’s problems everywhere with everyone.”

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Restaurants are ignoring calls from Google’s Smart Assistant

 

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Almost exactly a year ago, everyone was flipping out over Google’s newly announced Duplex feature, which basically pretends to be a human assistant in order to make reservations at restaurants or schedule trips to the hairdresser.

But the AI-powered assistant has struggled to win over the hearts of service workers. The Verge reports that restaurants are hanging up on Google’s auto-calling voice assistant — sometimes because they’re creeped out by how lifelike it sounds.

“I was spooked at how natural and human the machine sounds,” server Shawn Watford of Birmingham, Alabama told The Verge. “It was so weird [that] when it called, I immediately hung up.”

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Taste test: Burger robot startup creator opens first restaurant

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Creator’s transparent burger robot doesn’t grind your brisket and chuck steak into a gourmet patty until you order it. That’s just one way this startup, formerly known as Momentum Machines, wants to serve the world’s freshest cheeseburger for just $6. On June 27th, after eight years in development, Creator unveils its first robot restaurant before opening to the public in September. We got a sneak peek…err…taste.

When I ask how a startup launching one eatery at a time could become a $10 billion company, Creator co-founder and CEO Alex Vardakostas looks me dead in the eye and says, “the market is much bigger than that.”

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Google Search will now tell you when a restaurant or store is too busy

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Google’s new search feature shows users when local restaurants are booked up and what stores have the most foot traffic. The Google Search tweak is rolling out today on mobile for some users, and shows graphs—presumably based on geolocation from smartphones—indicating when a given venue is busiest during the day.

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More Americans working part-time as hours shrink and shift

There have always been part-time workers, especially at restaurants and retailers but employers today rely on them far more than before.

 The Fresh & Easy grocery store chain has opened up 150 stores in California since it was founded five years ago.  It has positioned itself as a hip and socially responsible company.

 

 

 

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Restaurant in China staffed entirely by robots

Robotic waiter at the Haohai Robot Restaurant in China.

Haohai Robot Restaurant in Harbin, China is staffed entirely by robots. 18 robots cook, serve, and even entertain diners (there’s a singing robot), all the while addressing them as “Earth Person.” Wait, so these aren’t just robots, they’re alien robots? (Pics)

 

 

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Top 10 food trends for 2012

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“Artisanal” foods are springing up everywhere.

If you are in the restaurant, foodservice or food manufacturing business you know that no matter how tough the economy is, people still need to eat. In the past few years foodservice entrepreneurs have shown a lot of creativity.  You could almost say the recession has sparked a renaissance of restaurant industry creativity. Beyond food trucks, burgers and beer, here are some of the hot food trends for 2012.

 

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Arizona mom inspects and records filthy conditions at fast-food playlands

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Developmental psychologist and mother, Erin Carr-Jordan, has made a shocking discovery of what is really lurking in children’s playlands. There is a lack of state/local regulation that is resulting in potentially deadly conditions for our children.

 

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FTC Proposes Stricter Guidelines on Food Ads for Children

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Regulators are asking food makers and restaurant companies to make a choice: make your products healthier or stop advertising them to youngsters.

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed sweeping new guidelines that could push the food industry to overhaul how it advertises cereal, soda pop, snacks, restaurant meals and other foods to children.

 

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