Caviar now offers accident and disability insurance for couriers

If you’re a gig economy worker, you’ve probably settled into the reality that insurance and benefits aren’t going to be available to you. Well, not unless on-demand companies make the switch from 1099 independent contractors to W-2 employees. While that’s not changing — yet — Square’s on-demand food delivery service, Caviar, is now offering insurance protection to all of its couriers.

“We think this is a positive first step for independent contractor benefits that still gives couriers the flexibility and freedom to earn – and be covered – on their own schedule,” Caviar wrote in a blog post.

This occupational accident insurance will ensure that couriers are covered in the event any accidents happen while they’re making deliveries for Caviar. This insurance, which comes at no cost to the couriers, activates the second a courier accepts an order Caviar and ends the second its complete. “We’ve wanted to offer
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How to Make a Juicy Lucy With Any Cheese

There are burgers, and then there are burger-themed projects, and the Jucy Lucy—AKA Juicy Lucy or Juicy Luicy (which is how I spell it)—is quite the delicious project. Rather than melt the cheese on top of the burger patty, this meaty wonder holds a treasure trove of melted freedom cheese on the inside. Read more...

Deliveroo’s ‘flexible’ labor model likened to 20th century dockyards

A report into the pay and conditions for riders delivering food for gig economy platform Deliveroo has urged the company to commit to offering a form of worker status to those riders who form the backbone of its workforce, arguing that the current reality is a dual labour market — which works very well for some riders but very poorly for others. Far from Deliveroo’s model representing a hyper modern form of disruption, the report draws a parallel between the five-year-old startup’s ‘flexible work’ model and casual labor practices at British dockyards until the middle of the 20th century — “where workers would gather around the dock gate desperately hoping that they would be offered work”, and where only some workers were fortunate to be offered fairly regular shifts, while others were offered no work at all.  From the report:

Southeast Asia’s Grab hit by backlash over changes to customer loyal program

Life without Uber should be simple for Grab, but a battle with regulators in Singapore could see the company’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia business unwound while some consumers have voiced concern around a lack of competition. Grab co-founder Hooi Ling Tan recently claimed competition remains in the market, but that hasn’t stopped another consumer backlash after the ride-hailing firm altered its loyalty program without warning. To be fair to Grab, earning loyalty points for taxi rides is something unique — Uber doesn’t offer any kind of program, for example — and the changes initiated last week seem aimed at spreading the benefit beyond taxis and into Grab’s newer ventures, which include its GrabPay payment service and food deliveries. However, in doing so, the company made two cardinal sins. The changes included the lowering of benefits for Grab’s highest tier (read: most loyal) customers — with rebates dropping from a
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ezCater acquires GoCater to expand beyond the US

Catering marketplace company ezCater is already putting its big $100 million funding round to good use. The company is acquiring GoCater, a European marketplace that operates in the same field. This is ezCater’s first international expansion move. If you’re in charge of ordering catered lunch at your office, you probably have heard about ezCater . The company lets you order breakfast, lunch or dinner for 10, 30 or maybe 100 people at once. This service could be particularly useful to impress a client, throw an office party, get lunch together during an off-site and more. But ezCater doesn’t cook anything itself. The company is a marketplace and connects you with catering companies and big restaurants around you. In other words, ezCater lets you browse the menu of dozens of restaurants around you from the same website and place an order without picking up the phone. Of course, ezCater didn’t invent
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Doughbies’ cookie crumbles in a cautionary tale of venture scale

Doughbies should have been a bakery, not a venture-backed startup. Founded in the frothy days of 2013 and funded with $670,000 by investors including 500 Startups, Doughbies built a same-day cookie delivery service. But it was never destined to be capable of delivering the returns required by the VC model that depends on massive successes to cover the majority of bets that fail. The startup became the butt of jokes about how anything could get funding. This weekend, Doughbies announced it was shutting down immediately. Surprisingly, it didn’t run out of money. Doughbies was profitable, with 36 percent gross margins and 12 percent net profit, co-founder and CEO Daniel Conway told TechCrunch. “The reason we were able to succeed, at this level and thus far, is because we focused on unit economics and customer feedback (NPS scoring). That’s it.” Many other startups in the on-demand space missed that memo
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Thin Burgers Are Better Than Thick Ones

Burgers have gotten out of hand. Not only are bistro pubs and hip bars topping them with everything from avocado to pork belly (both of which detract and distract), but the patties themselves are just too darn thick. A burger is not a steak; a burger is a sandwich, and a sandwich is about balance between all the… Read more...

Bacon Is a Dipping Food

I thought we’d all signed off on every use of bacon. I thought Reddit and Epicurious and Epic Meal Time had taught us that bacon goes with everything. But judging by the looks I get at the diner when I dip my bacon in butter, we have not. We apparently have not collectively agreed that bacon, like french fries or baby… Read more...

Chowly is raising $5.8 million to help restaurants manage on-demand delivery orders

Chowly, a point-of-sale system for restaurants, has raised nearly $4.7 million, according to an SEC filing. The company is targeting a total raise of $5.8 million. The round is led by MATH Venture Partners with participation from Valor Equity, Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners and others. Chowly had previously raised just $700,000 from MATH Venture Partners, Domenick Montanile and others. Chowly aims to help restaurants better manage the influx of delivery orders they receive from a variety of services, such as Grubhub, Delivery.com and Chownow. In May, Square launched a point-of-sale system for restaurants that integrates on-demand delivery platform Caviar. Down the road, Square said it envisions third-party applications from companies like Postmates, UberEats and DoorDash.

Gadgets and small appliances that will keep you in the kitchen

Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch earn affiliate commissions.                                                              When life gets busy, cooking is one of the first activities that many forego to get a bit more free time. However, after a while, ordering out and eating sub-par meals gets old. Kitchen gadgets that assist in quickly preparing meals and drinks are not only helpful but essential in creating balance — and time — to conquer the day. Whether it’s a cold
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Zume adds a robotic arm to its automated pizza kitchen

Earlier this year, Zume made it pretty clear that it was exploring life beyond pizza. Coffee, steamed buns and frozen yogurt have all been floated as possibilities for the newly formed Zume Inc. Of course, for its subsidiary Zume Pizza, the titular foodstuff is very much its bread and butter.

In fact, the company’s increasing the number of in-kitchen robots its implementing, with the addition of an arm into the mix. The ABB robotic arm, nicknamed “Vincenzo,” pulls pizzas from the 800-degree robotic oven and places them on nearby shelves, filling an entire rack in around four and a half minutes. Zume cites a stat from Cintas that blames restaurant gigs for as much as one-third of occupational burns. So, better robot arms than human. 

The company also used the occasion to announce another, more human, addition to the team. Rhonda Lesinski-Woolf will be joining up as president

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Taste test: Burger robot startup Creator opens first restaurant

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 cheesebuger for just $6. On June 27th, after 8 years in development, Creator opens its first robot restaurant. 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.” Here’s how Creator’s burger-cooking bot works at its 680 Folsom St location in San Francisco. Once you order your burger style through a human concierge on a tablet, a compressed air tube pushes a baked-that-day bun into an elevator on the right. It’s sawwed in half by a vibrating knife before being
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VCs serve up a large helping of cash to startups disrupting food

Here is what your daily menu might look like if recently funded startups have their way. You’ll start the day with a nice, lightly caffeinated cup of cheese tea. Chase away your hangover with a cold bottle of liver-boosting supplement. Then slice up a few strawberries, fresh-picked from the corner shipping container. Lunch is full of options. Perhaps a tuna sandwich made with a plant-based, tuna-free fish. Or, if you’re feeling more carnivorous, grab a grilled chicken breast fresh from the lab that cultured its cells, while crunching on a side of mushroom chips. And for extra protein, how about a brownie? Dinner might be a pizza so good you send your compliments to the chef — only to discover
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Deliveroo fattens its market presence by opening to restaurants that do deliveries

Restaurant food delivery startup Deliveroo is taking the next logical step to expand its business by opening up to restaurants that have their own delivery fleets — thereby also expanding the food choices it can offer its couch-loving users. Next month the company will launch the new service, called Marketplace+, in seven of its markets — onboarding restaurants that do their own food deliveries to its platform, and offering them the ability to tap into Deliveroo’s network of riders to extend their delivery services and support faster delivery times if they choose (it says restaurants will be able to “choose for themselves how best to offer delivery” but the impact on, for example, existing delivery fleet staff employed by larger food chains remains to be seen). Commenting on the launch in a statement, Deliveroo CEO and co-founder Will Shu said: “Today we are unveiling the next big step in
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Square’s Caviar agrees to pay $2.2 million to settle class-action lawsuit over gratuity

Square, the payments company led by Jack Dorsey, has agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a class-action lawsuit involving its on-demand food delivery service, Caviar . Today, customers who ordered food from Caviar between January 20, 2012 and August 31, 2015 received a notice of the proposed class-action settlement. As part of the settlement, which TechCrunch has reviewed, plaintiff Spencer Janssen’s counsel is expected to seek up to $755,000 in fees and costs. Janssen himself is seeking up to $10,000, which means the remaining $1.44 million will be divvied up among other class members, who can use the money to put toward another Caviar order. The parties agreed there were 93,914 class members, so that comes out to about $15.28 per person. The court will make its decision to approve or deny the settlement on September 21, 2018. The lawsuit claimed Square collected gratuities from customers but
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