Restaurant Roundup: DoorDash Expands to New Zealand; Robotics Take Over Hotel Eateries


While some food delivery aggregators are well on their way to global availability, United States category leader DoorDash has been relatively slow to expand to new countries. The San Francisco-based company has been focused on its offerings in its home country and in Canada, Australia, Japan and Germany.

On Wednesday (May 25), the company added one more market to its roster, announcing its launch in Wellington, New Zealand and neighboring cities.

“We’re thrilled to offer locals unprecedented access to the restaurants, cafes and food spots they love, not to mention a growing number of retailers offering groceries and convenience items — everything from hair products to pet food,” Rebecca Burrows, the aggregator’s general manager of Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement. “We can’t wait to bring DoorDash to more places in New Zealand as we strive to connect more communities one doorstep at a time.”

The aggregator will need to work to set its offerings apart from competitors, as New Zealanders currently have a range of food delivery options, including Menulog, Uber Eats, Deliveroo and others.

DoorDash’s international expansion has been occurring over the past several years, with the exception of Canada, where DoorDash has been since 2015. The company entered Australia in 2019, following up in 2021 with its expansion to Japan and then Germany.

Wing Zone to Add Kitchen Robotics to All Future Restaurants

Atlanta, Georgia-based fast-casual brand Wing Zone, which has more than 60 locations domestically and abroad, is going all in on automation. The company announced Wednesday that it is partnering with foodservice technology company Miso Robotics to introduce the latter’s robotic fry cook at all future locations.

In a prepared statement, Wing Zone Chief Development and Operating Officer David Bloom said Miso Robotics “has the knowledge, data and resources” to provide technology that can “maximize our efficiency and provide a better overall customer experience.”

Bloom added, “Our industry is in dire need of automation, and we are more than ready to deploy it at scale to continue growing our business.”

The news comes two weeks after Wing Zone and Wavemaker Labs, the incubator that launched Miso Robotics, announced the creation of Wing Zone Labs, an automation-focused franchisee in Southern California.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Kevin Morris, president of Wavemaker Labs and chief financial officer and board member of Miso Robotics, explained that wings have the advantage of both being relatively easy to automate and of being highly popular on digital ordering channels.

“Our goal is to build the restaurant or the franchise of the future,” said Morris. “So, what we’re trying to do is take a growing food category [fried wings] … that is very delivery- and takeout-focused but yet has … a lot of labor issues … [and] inject automation, so that we can allow our restaurants to have profitable margins and allow the employees that are in the restaurant to focus more on some of the higher-value things.”

See also: Wing Zone Gets Robotic Treatment as Restaurant Industry Races Toward Automation

New Food Service Robots Come to Hotels

Automation is not only coming to quick-service and fast-casual restaurants but also to hotel eateries.

On Thursday (May 26), smart cocktail maker Bartesian announced new partnerships to bring its technology to hotels, sports stadiums, restaurants, bars and other commercial venues.

“Consumer demand for cocktails is at an all time high, yet venues have been challenged by the labor, ingredients and the time required to deliver consistent, premium cocktails,” the company’s founder and CEO Ryan Close said in a statement. “With our commercial unit, we’re able to offer the hospitality and entertainment industry a solution that exceeds their high standards.”

Additionally, Bear Robotics, the Redwood City, California-based hospitality technology company that in March announced an $81 million Series B funding round, has revealed a version of its flagship Servi robotic waiter product designed for multi-story structures such as hotels, office buildings and residential spaces, The Spoon reported Tuesday (May 24).

Read more: Bear Robotics Announces $81M Series B as Restaurants Struggle to Meet Dining Demand

The robot, Servi Lift, is created to be able to call and use elevators, and it also features other updates from previous versions of Servi such as an interactive screen, advertising features and mobile app integration, among others.

Tesla Files Plans for Hollywood Drive-In Restaurant and Movie Theater

Tesla just took a significant step in bringing its drive-in restaurant and movie theater from dream to reality. As first reported by Twitter user @MarcoRPTesla, the company has filed plans for its diner and theater at 7001 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, a change from the originally planned site in the city of Santa Monica (a separate location, despite the name of the Hollywood location’s street).

Related news: Tesla Mulls Retro Diner

The 9,300-square-foot location features 29 supercharging stations, five Level 2 chargers, a two-story tall diner with indoor seating and two movie screens. The screens will show films timed to the length of a typical charging session, about a half hour, and they will be viewable from the charging stations and from the rooftop dining area.