OttOmate Joins the Curbivore Family
Your Go-To Source for PDD, Robotics, Automation, Ghost Kitchen, Virtual Restaurant News
We’re excited to share thatis joining the Curbivore family. Under ’s leadership, the publication has become a powerhouse of coverage for the burgeoning PDD, restaurant robotics, and food tech industries. OttOmate has been quick to cover developments from the likes of Kiwibot and Cartken, Conjure (née Robomart,) Grubhub and Starship, plus Serve and Coco. Anyone that attended last year’s Curbivore - or reads this newsletter - knows how important delivery robots are to the curb commerce revolution. Look for even more coverage there, and expect an even bigger splash from the industry at this March’s gathering.
OttOmate has also shined a light on fascinating back of house automation breakthroughs, tracked the moves of food service players like Aramark, Chartwells and Sodexo, while also covering the intersection of these trends with the burgeoning virtual restaurant and ghost kitchen spaces.
Expect coverage to only increase as we welcome OttOmate into the Curbivore family, and keep an eye out for more fun pop-up events, happy hours, webinars, and industry guides. And to any new OttOmate readers just getting to know Curbivore - we can’t wait to see you in person on March 3rd!
HOT INDUSTRY NEWS & GOSSIP
Grocery delivery recovers: After flatlining the last few months, online grocery delivery + pickup sales grew 2.4% in December, settling just shy of the $9.3 billion in sales record set in Q1 2021, during the height of pandemic lockdowns. Ship-to-home continues to decline, which can’t bode well for already weakened players like Boxed and Blue Apron.
A fresh jolt for Volta! EV charging company Volta received a much-needed lifeline from Shell. Volta specializes in free charging at retailers, but tough unit economics had the company facing a potential stock exchange delisting. The SF-based company now joins Greenlots and Ubitricity under the oil giant’s “Recharge” network.
It’s not “Day One” for some: Amazon joins the layoff fray, cutting 18,000 staffers. The cutbacks look to fall heavily on the retailer’s “stores” division - meaning you may have to wait a bit longer to get a self-checkout powered grocer near you…
American transit decline is nothing new… While we may bemoan America’s transit struggles, the sad truth is that this peculiar case of American exceptionalism is nothing new. Fresh data from The Transport Politic bears that out, showing how for decades American cities have built far less transit than those in other regions of the world. One particularly stark example is that New York City is the only global city with fewer miles of heavy and light rail today than in 1950. Also of note is how little of America’s housing (both long extant and newly built) is actually near functional transit. We won’t fully realize the potential of the curb until we can use it for more than just storing our overly plentiful nationwide car collection.
Delivery goes green: We love this update from Uber Eats and Visa - they’re rolling out a $1 million fund to help restaurants switch to green packaging. Let’s 10x that investment, eh?
Too much of a good thing? Ebikes are a great way to sustainabily deliver goods and people; but like any form of individualized transportation, bad user behavior can cause a backlash. From Amsterdam to SoCal, folks riding souped up ebikes on otherwise calm paths are doing the industry no favors.
On the other hand: The Hudson Valley is going all in on ebikes. Guided by our friends at Cityfi, we suspect this initiative won’t exactly be handing out models that could pass for motorcycles.
Coffee run: Starbucks is reheating its partnership with DoorDash, as it looks to premium delivery charges to steam up revenue growth. The coffee giant has a similar partnership with Uber Eats - showing what a valuable source of customers 3PD can be, even for a brand with its own powerful and beloved first-party app.
China’s tech crackdown cools: It’s truly a new year for Didi, as the Chinese ridehail giant is given the blessing to resume signing up new users. “For more than a year, our company has cooperated with the government’s cybersecurity review, seriously dealt with the security issues found in the review, and carried out a comprehensive rectification,” said the company. Now has anyone seen Jack Ma?
Gigging out! I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Everee’s Dana Gagnon for the season premiere of the Gigging Out podcast. Listen in for some thoughts on what comes next for shared mobility and delivery, and maybe a war story or two from the ol’ RelayRides / Turo days…
In case you need more links: New York looks to solve its housing woes. Centennial State seeks mobility coordinator with a background in curb management. SFMTA waters down slow streets (again.) How the NRA (food, not guns) quietly funds a battle to suppress restaurant worker wages. Decarbonizing US transportation. Wendy’s whips up some corporate changes. A nice curb treatment comes to the burbs. Tesla’s semi gets decked out in FritoLay branding. A sweet looking electric cargo trike!
See you next week for a deep dive on the curb spaces of Asia.
- Jonah Bliss & The Curbivore Crew