Panera begins offering voice orders via Google Assistant
Panera Bread customers can now place voice orders through Google Assistant at a handful of the company’s locations. Panera plans to expand the feature to all 2,000 of its US outlets by the end of the year.
Domino’s, Ford Test Pizza Delivery Using Self-Driving Vehicle
Domino’s Pizza and Ford Motor Co. are partnering to try using a self-driving vehicle in pizza delivery. The testing will take place in Ann Arbor, Mich., home to Domino’s and close to Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn.
Over the next several weeks, randomly selected Domino’s customers will receive their delivery order from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, which will be manually driven by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers. The appearance to consumers will be that it’s driverless.
Customers who agree to participate will be able to track the delivery vehicle through GPS using an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker. They will also receive text messages that will guide them on how to retrieve their pizza using a unique code to unlock the Domino’s Heatwave Compartment inside the vehicle.
As part of the testing, researchers from both companies will observe customer reactions to interacting with a self-driving vehicle as a part of their delivery experience.
With a plan to begin production of self-driving vehicles in 2021, Ford is hoping to build a business to meet the needs of both partner companies and their customers.
Panera’s digital menus narrow choices based on diet styles
Panera Bread launched three curated menus to make it easier for people who follow specific eating styles to order. Customers placing orders online or through the mobile app will be able to filter the menus by choosing one of three diet types — plant based, protein-rich or nutrient-packed–and each category will feature two newly created salads in addition to existing dishes.
The Middleby Corporation Acquires Sveba Dahlen Group
Commercial cooking and processing equipment manufacturer The Middleby Corporation (Elgin, IL.) has acquired Sweden-based Sveba Dahlen Group, which develops and manufactures ovens and baking equipment for the commercial foodservice and industrial baking industries. Sveba Dahlen Group’s brands include Sveba Dahlen, Glimek, and Bear Varimixer.
Vollrath Company Acquires Belleco, Inc.
The Vollrath Company, LLC (Sheboygan, WI), a leading manufacturer of equipment and smallwares for the foodservice industry, announced May 2017, the acquisition of Belleco, Inc. located in Saco, Maine. Belleco is a premier manufacturer of American-made conveyor toasters and ovens. This acquisition will expand Vollrath’s offering of countertop cooking, warming and preparation equipment.
Manitowoc Foodservice, Inc. announced that it is rebranding the company, its logo and its brand identity to Welbilt. The change is part of the company’s strategic repositioning after it spun off from its former parent company, The Manitowoc Company, in March 2016.