DoorDash Inc. has purchased Chowbotics, a maker of food-preparation robots, as part of its efforts to help merchants grow their businesses, the delivery app company announced Monday.
Hayward, California-based Robot Chowbotics makes customizable salads, grain and stir bowls, parfaits, cereals, and snacks and can be found at grocery stores, hospitals and other locations. DoorDash thought that the machine could be used to automate some food preparation in restaurants.
did not disclose how much was paid for the company, which said on its LinkedIn profile that it had deployed more than 100 of its robots. The deal was finalized late last year, said a DoorDash spokesman.
“Bringing Chowbotics technology to the DoorDash platform provides us with new opportunities to help merchants expand their current menu offerings and reach new customers in new markets,” said DoorDash co-founder Stanley Tang in a statement.
As the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the delivery of food and other goods to record levels, DoorDash is the top food delivery app in the US, with a 50% market share, according to Edison Trends.
The venture-backed Chowbotic raised $ 20.8 million, according to Crunchbase, and was valued by PrivCo for $ 50 million to $ 100 million in 2018.
Rick Wilmer, Chowbotics chief executive, said in a statement that the deal would allow his 7-year-old company to take advantage of DoorDash’s lead in US food delivery.
“DoorDash has unmatched reach and expertise to help us develop and apply our technology more broadly, so together, we can make fresh, nutritious food easy for more people, says Wilmer.
DoorDash shares closed at $ 177.43, a 2.1% decline, on Monday. The company’s shares are up more than 24% so far this year.
The company’s acquisition of Chowbotics is not the first step in automation. In 2019, it bought Scotty Labs, which works on technology to remotely operate vehicles. The fair value of the purchase is $ 5 million, according to DoorDash’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The sudden crisis threatens to wipe out most of the $ 17 billion that companies and franchisees make in annual dinner sales at all KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants in more than 150 countries. Mr. Gibbs, a 31-year Yum veteran who became CEO a year ago, went from advancing the company’s expansion strategy to competing with thousands of closed restaurants.
Since then, many large fast food companies mostly recovered from the early pandemic close, and Yum’s comparable US sales rose in the third quarter from a year ago. But Mr. Gibbs said he was rethinking how Yum – which has more than 50,000 restaurants, more than any other fast food chain – could serve and deliver more food to carry over the long term.
He’s planning a future where pre-ordering fried chicken online is routine, and Pizza Hut customers can get their orders placed in their suitcases without having to walk into the restaurant.
Meanwhile, hundreds of his US Pizza Hut locations, most of which do dine-in businesses, have permanently closed.
The 57-year-old Gibb spoke to The Wall Street Journal via video from Yum’s largely vacant office in Plano, Texas. Below is an edited excerpt.
WSJ: What mistakes did Yum make at the start of the pandemic and how do you learn from them?
Mr. Gibbs: If I look back before the pandemic, I wish we had moved faster for Pizza Hut to be more delivery, run business and less dependent on on-site dining. We’ve talked about it for years. Sometimes large organizations can become bureaucratic. But I think we may be impressed even with ourselves in how fast we’ve spun.
“ I didn’t know that normal appearance was exactly like before the pandemic. Consumers may be more aware of cleanliness in restaurants, and we are looking for new ways to provide a safe environment. ‘ “
Mr. Gibbs: We’re working on a design that has multiple drive-throughs. The Australian business began building several test units with five drive-throughs in one building.
But the other part of the story is the roadside execution. You see it not only in the restaurant industry, but also in retail. This is good because of our peak drive-through constraints. No matter how hard you ride, you can still fit only X cars in a row.
Mr. Gibbs: We are very excited about this vaccine. When it’s my turn, I’ll be in line to get it. We hope all our employees get it. But we do know that there are others, such as frontline healthcare workers, who are ahead of us in the queue.
WSJ: Once a vaccine is more universally available, will you ask employees to get it or have your franchisor consider it?
Mr. Gibbs: We are studying the matter right now and haven’t made any decisions yet. It is important to remember that 98% of our stores are run by these franchisees. So it’s more complex than we just mandating that every store needs to get a vaccine.
WSJ: Even when vaccines start rolling out, it’s unclear when life will begin to return to normal. When did you anticipate this to happen in fast food?
Mr. Gibbs: I didn’t know that normal appearance was exactly like before the pandemic. Consumers may be more aware of cleanliness in restaurants, and we are looking for new ways to provide a safe environment.
WSJ: What management actions have you taken that will survive the pandemic?
Mr. Gibbs: One of the biggest lessons I learned is the power of authentic communication versus the formal written memos someone might send. We bring together various groups of franchisees, corporate teams from around the world in video calls. We get hundreds of questions via the chat function – real time, without filters. We learn from that.
WSJ: Do you support a $ 15 minimum wage at the federal level and for your employer and franchisees?
Mr. Gibbs: We support the national minimum wage, and we will work under whatever minimum wage the government makes.
WSJ: How do you expect the dynamics between the CEO and the White House to shift in the new government?
Mr. Gibbs: We are excited to work with the Biden government and share their goal of building back better especially on the economy and fighting inequality. We have been in more than a hundred countries around the world for decades – we have operated in any political environment.
WSJ: The pandemic’s theme is menu simplification, but some customers say Taco Bell went too far in removing options. Were you surprised by the commotion when Taco Bell removed Mexican Pizza?
Mr. Gibbs: I’ve never been surprised by the passion our customers – especially Taco Bell – have for our iconic products. We can always bring back the Mexican Pizza at some point if the request is there.
WSJ: What is your pandemic tranquillizer?
Mr. Gibbs: I often pass through Taco Bell drive-throughs. We introduced grilled cheese burritos during a pandemic, and that’s the definition of a product that was so coveted for me and my college son.
Two brothers who became billionaires in Britain with a focus on food rather than fuel at gas stations are looking for ways to launch the model globally in hopes of finding wider success.
As teenagers, Mohsin and Zuber Issa worked at a gas station in northern England owned by their parents, who emigrated from India in the 1960s. They used that experience to expand from purchasing one abandoned site nearby to one of the largest independent gas station operators in the world, with more than 6,000 locations across Europe, and more recently in Australia and the US.
They took profits because the big oil companies sold underperforming gas stations, taking locations in the UK and later in Europe. Their guidebook: multiplying higher-margin foods, selling fresh and packaged groceries, and franchising some of the world’s most famous fast food brands.
Now the Issa brothers are looking to repeat the trick at US EG Group – a business they co-own with private equity firm TDR Capital – achieving its sixth American acquisition in just two years in November.
But as the brothers scoured the stock market list for the business, they faced scrutiny over corporate governance and debt that was building up to fund its rapid expansion. And some retail analysts say the EG Group faces a tougher test in the United States.
The hunt for bargains has become more acceptable in these difficult times, and it has helped increase the UK’s stock of discount retailers B&M European Value Retail
42%, to 498 pence ($ 6.65), over the past six months.
The FTSE100 stock (ticker: BME.UK), which sells low-cost personal care products, groceries and seasonal items such as gardening tools and Christmas decorations, has expanded its appeal to richer middle-income customers, increasing its average spending. per transaction.
B&M also benefited from surging sales of food, home decor and furniture during a pandemic because it stays open during a lockdown as an important retailer.
In September, B&M raised its adjusted half-year Ebitda guidance (income before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) to British pounds 285 million from around £ 250 million to £ 270 million. It booked £ 295.6 million higher for it half year renewal, with a separate £ 250m special dividend. Adjustments eliminate the advantages or disadvantages of one-time events, such as profits from sales and warehouse leaseback.
Historically, B&M’s growth stems from an ambitious store opening program, which has seen retailers thrive in the UK and France. It has 657 stores in September, and usually opens 40 stores a year.
Even though the stock is up 18% this year, it has been trading at a discount on concerns whether B&M can maintain that momentum due to constraints on a suitable location.
A November report by Richard Chamberlain, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, suggests such concerns are unfounded. His notes, which include research from data scientists, suggest that there is sufficient capacity to roll out a fair amount of new storage over the next seven years.
Chamberlain has marked the stock Outperform, expecting a 16% increase to hit its 580 pence target. “We think the market has overstated the possibility of waning profitability for B&M in 2021, and its long-term space potential in the UK,” he said.
“Our data science work shows that B&M offers a strong launch story in the UK, and we see an upward risk for consensus earnings before tax forecasts for this year and next.”
He points to B&M’s product range – it replaces its top 100 performing products on a regular basis – and the benefits of most of the products that are sourced directly, which will see it gain more market share.
Ben Hunt, an analyst at Investec Securities, was even more bullish, expecting a 26% increase to 630 pence.
B&M, registered in tax-efficient Luxembourg, employs about 34,200 and has a market value of £ 4.8 billion. It took 14.8 times the revenue expected this year and was valued at a 10% discount to its peers.
It posted pre-tax adjusted profit of £ 260 million for the 52 weeks ended March 28, 2020, up from £ 252.4 million from the previous year. It has sales of £ 3.8 billion.
B&M co-founder and CEO Simon Arora said in a recent statement: “We are well positioned for the golden quarter. [the holiday shopping season] in our premier UK B&M shop business. Despite the continuing uncertainty in the general economic environment, we are very proud to say that each of the top five store opening days in our history are all in stores we have opened in the last 12 months. “
Arora, a Cambridge University law graduate, founded Orient Sourcing Services with brother Bobby in 1995, selling soft furniture to retailers Argos and BHS. They sold the business, and in 2004 bought B&M, which has 21 discount stores with a turnover of £ 65 million. They grew to 300 stores in just seven years, with sales of £ 1 billion, and started trading stock in London Stock Exchange
Key to continued growth is the launch of new stores, and RBC Chamberlain estimates B&M’s potential for additional UK locations, using population and consumer income criteria.
“Our base case shows the potential for at least seven more years of growth at the current expansion rate (net 40 or more per year),” he said, arguing the 10% to 15% consensus was too low. “Historically, its P&L has been driven more by space growth, which should be key to its long-term ranking.”
Greg Lawless, an analyst at Shore Capital, said in a November note that the company “clearly benefited from the status of an important retailer and has experienced a pullback during the lockdown. B&M has been a definite Covid winner,” and interested new customers are “very stiff”.
The increased contribution from France, the efficiency of the new warehouse, and the non-recurring costs associated with Covid-19 mean discounters can trade at a discount.
SÃO PAULO – Street protests erupt across Brazil after a black man was beaten to death by private security guards outside a grocery store in the southern city of Porto Alegre, sparking a heated debate about racism in Latin America’s largest country.
Video footage shows two security guards outside the Carrefour supermarket pinning a customer to the floor while repeatedly punching his head last Thursday, the eve of Brazil’s Black Consciousness Day, a national holiday to celebrate the Black community. The local press reports …