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Gaggan "quits"?, Grubhub's bad faith, Maximum minimums, The media, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
One odd bit of intrigue before we get started: Gaggan Anand is telling the Straits Times that he resigned his chef position at his namesake restaurant on the day before the World’s 50 Best awards in Singapore – the same day I saw him shouting at his party guests late into the night. The story is behind a paywall, but Anand posted a photo of the full piece for your zooming pleasure on Instagram. Not quite sure what to make of this yet, so…
Let’s get to it…
The New Deal – ICYMI: Minimum wages rose across the U.S. yesterday. According to Restaurant Business’s Peter Romeo: “The biggest increases will come in the California cities of Alameda, Fremont and Milipitas, which will all see an increase of $1.50 an hour…. The pay floor for San Francisco and Berkeley, Calif., will rise by 59 cents, to $15.59, which is believed to be the highest in the nation, narrowly outstripping the minimum for Seattle.” Helpful chart with increases in D.C., Chicago, New Jersey, Minneapolis, both Portlands, and more included in the piece. Tipped minimums not listed but definitely going up in some places. Good luck!
The Bad Faith – Feel like we’ve seen this story before, but… When a restaurant owner and GrubHub client in NYC grew frustrated with mounting fees and started looking into ways to improve her independent web presence, “there was just one problem: Someone already owned the web domain that matched her restaurant’s name. She looked up the buyer. It was GrubHub. The New Food Economy has found that GrubHub has registered more than 23,000 web domains. Its subsidiary, Seamless, has registered thousands.”
GrubHub responded to the reporting by H. Claire Brown with this statement: “Grubhub has never cybersquatted, which is identified by ICANN as ‘generally bad faith registration of another person’s trademark in a domain name.’ As a service to our restaurants, we have created microsites for them as another source of orders and to increase their online brand presence. Additionally, we have registered domains on their behalf, consistent with our restaurant contracts. We no longer provide that service and it has always been our practice to transfer the domain to the restaurant as soon as they request it.”
Responding to GrubHub, Family Meal has issued the following statement: “Webster’s Dictionary identifies ‘generally bad faith registration’ as… all of that. What you just said. That stuff.”
The Profile Treatment – In Atlanta, “The rise of Slutty Vegan has been swift. [Founder Pinky Cole] sold her first burger last August, through delivery apps. In September, she opened her food truck. On a cold January day in Atlanta, five months after she sold her first burger, she opened the restaurant. Nearly 1,200 people showed up, much to the chagrin of many residents of the neighborhood. These days, she averages 800 customers a day, she said.” My favorite quote from Kim Severson’s worth-your-time NYT write-up of the brick and mortar phenom: “‘At the end of the day, it has nothing to do with sex,’ said Pinky Cole, 31…. ‘I know that sex sells, so I thought how I can positively manipulate this. We want you to have an orgasmic experience and the ultimate feeling of euphoria that comes after having a vegan burger.’” Nothing to do with sex.
The Media – A few moves of note: First, the Washington Post’s Maura Judkis “will move within Features to become a Style general-assignment reporter, after a highly successful run as a reporter in Food.” A big loss for that section(!), but Food editor Joe Yonan tells me they are looking to fill Judkis’s spot on the team and will make announcements on that front when appropriate. And announcing a good re-get yesterday in NYC, writer Alicia Kennedy tweeted: “Today I’m rejoining Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn as a contributing editor. Give me the local SCOOPS!” Meanwhile in St. Louis, my hometown alt-weekly the Riverfront Times is “hoping to hire an associate editor to manage its food coverage.”
The (other) Newsletter – FAO L.A.: Jonathan Gold’s old Counter Intelligence weekly at the LA Times has been retired in favor of “Tasting Notes,” which is obviously a massive step down name-wise, but still almost certainly worth the inbox clutter. Critics Bill Addison and Patricia Escárcega are taking over, hopefully with useful insights into their city moves and thinking.
The Opportunisty – FYI, the NYT is looking for stories about Thanksgivings spent in war zones, so on the off chance that any of you were cooking on the front lines at some point in the past, here’s that link.
For Design Fans – Headline in Design Milk: “Child Studio Creates a London Restaurant Clad in Pink Formica.” The photos of Humble Pizza are as expected and not my thing, but I also wonder if this kind of single color minimalism (in anything other than white/black) doesn’t almost automatically preclude a place gaining lots of regulars?
And last but not least – I had the trailer for this bookmarked for a funny last-and-least bit, but then I read Tim Carman’s review of ESPN’s new movie about the competitive eating rivalry between Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi, and it turns out “there’s a deeper, more troubling current that runs underneath the main narrative… [Director Nicole Lucas Haimes] shows how, over time, the pro-America rhetoric used at the Nathan’s Famous contest hardened into something more jingoistic and harsh. When Chestnut unseats Kobayashi in 2007, the director features a clip from the contest that shows Kobayashi trying to congratulate the new champion, while the crowd waves American flags and yells, ‘Go home, Shanghai boy!’ and ‘Go home, kamikaze!’… Haimes then cuts to an interview with Kobayashi, recalling the moment when America turned its back on him. ‘I was shocked,’ he says, tears welling in his eyes. ‘They used to cheer for me, and I started to feel I wasn’t welcome in America anymore.’”
Sorry to end on a sad note, but that’s it for today.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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