A Nakiri through the dining experience…


August 15, 2019

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Today, the bunker biz is booming and the price for sports franchises gets yet another financial re-tuning, but first…

The Hustle Daily Email

For better or worse, food delivery apps are reshaping American restaurants

Delivery-only establishments fired up their grills around 2013, when Grubhub backed the Green Summit Group, a restaurant startup that produced food for various delivery-only brands out of its own kitchen in New York.

Today, as more and more people order in, Grubhub and its competitors like Uber Eats, DoorDash and others have helped thousands of new age restaurants get off the ground through their apps all across the country.

But, while delivery app technology changes up the menu on the food service industry, it’s also taking a fresh Nakiri knife to the restaurant dining experience, and it’s phasing out some restaurants that have long relied on their own delivery service as a major revenue stream. 

I ain’t afraid of no ‘ghost-kitchen’

The shift has bolstered 2 new kinds of digital eatery establishments — “ghost kitchens” and “virtual restaurants.” 

Virtual restaurants, which are attached to real-life restaurants but make different food specifically for the delivery app market, are leading the charge — revitalizing some seemingly doomed local culinary staples.

Of course, as the world leans toward ordering in over sitting at a restaurant with no Netflix, it’s only a matter of time before Ghost kitchens, AKA remote kitchens that exist entirely for delivery services, become the new norm. 

It’s not just the big boys

CloudKitchens, founded by Uber’s ex-CEO Travis Kalanick, has leased space to several restaurants in LA (including Sweetgreen), and Pasadena, CA-based Kitchen United plans to build 400 ghost kitchens across the country over the next few years.

Ghost kitchens have also emerged in China. The country’s food delivery industry hit $70B in orders last year, and the Chinese-based Panda Selected recently raised $50m from investors.

Not every restaurant is adapting

Uber Eats and other delivery apps insist that their apps have increased sales for restaurateurs by an average of more than 50%

Many restaurants report that Uber’s figures are accurate.

But others — particularly those that relied on delivery orders for revenue since before Uber was even an idea in Travis Kalanick’s diary — have struggled to pay these platforms’ standard 15% to 30% commission fees and subsequently had to turn off their grills.

The flan of a new era
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‘Doomsday capitalists’ are buying up old missile bunkers and creating luxury condos

Real estate developers are building luxury condos 15 stories below ground, catering to people who fear imminent disaster on the earth’s surface — and who have the money to buy a Plan B underground.

According to a report from The New York Times, some of these bunkers sell for as much as $18m and feature amenities including heated pools and rifle ranges — and many developers are only getting started. 

These aren’t your grandpa’s bunkers…

OK, well… in some cases, actually they are — many of these new high-end apocalypse-proof condos are built inside old underground missile silos that were built during the Cold War in the 1960s. 

But they look very different. One underground development in Kansas, Survival Condo, features fake windows with digital screens, underground water slides and dog parks, and storerooms for weapons and food. 

Survival Condo units, which start at $1.3m, all sold within months of hitting the market.

But the bunker boom is just beginning

Larry Hall, the developer behind Survival Condo, is building a 2nd complex in Kansas, and another developer is converting 575 former weapons cellars in South Dakota into “the largest survival community on earth.”

Members of the bunker-buying community convene at PrepperCon and more than a dozen other disaster-preparedness expos and conventions across the country.

For preppers who want to bunker on a budget, there are also at-home bunkers and other resources available for purchase online.

» Put some prep in your step
things you should…

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Billionaire co-founder of Alibaba buying the Brooklyn Nets in historic deal

Joseph Tsai, a Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire who co-founded Alibaba, announced plans to buy (the remainder of) the Brooklyn Nets for $2.35B.

If the deal goes through, it will be the largest amount paid for a sports franchise in history. 

Tsai is a big sportsball guy…

And he already owned the New York Liberty women’s pro basketball team, the San Diego Seals men’s pro lacrosse team, and an investment stake in the newly created Premiere Lacrosse League (Joe T himself played lacrosse at Yale). 

So it’s not a huge surprise that he decided to purchase the 51% of the Nets that he didn’t already own from the Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. 

Even for a billionaire, it’s a pricey purchase, but it could pay off

When Tsai bought a 49% stake in the Nets for $1B last year, he also locked in the right to buy the remainder of the team for an additional $1.35B before the 2021–22 season.

Now, although it’s only partway through the buying period, Tsai is pulling the trigger on the $2.35B deal 2 years early.

Part of Tsai’s confidence may rest with the Nets themselves: After signing superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets’ revenue is supposed to increase 10-15% this upcoming season.

» Nothin’ but Net(s)

The startup trying to reach the 49m problem drinkers who never seek help 

There are 50m problem drinkers in the United States, and only 1m of them enter rehabilitation programs. 

Entrepreneur Holly Whitaker’s company, Tempest, is seeking to change that. Instead of encouraging people to ask themselves if they’re an alcoholic, she encourages them to ask another question: Is alcohol getting in the way of my life?

A new kind of AA

Whitaker had her own unhealthy reliance on alcohol several years ago while working for a healthcare startup. She didn’t go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or enter a traditional recovery program because of the $15k-plus monthly cost. She also didn’t identify as an alcoholic or embrace AA’s male-centric focus. 

Instead, Whitaker stopped drinking on her own and reshaped her lifestyle by becoming a yoga instructor. Tempest uses a similar strategy built on wellness and empowerment and eliminating the stigma attached to drinking problems.

Using 21st century techniques

Tempest’s techniques aren’t entirely new. Like AA, people enrolled in the program are encouraged to share personal stories with others. 

But instead of relying on intensive meetings, Tempest’s members join private Facebook discussion groups and video chats.  

Tempest has received $4.3m in funding, and Whitaker is advocating for more disruption in the $35B rehabilitation industry.

» The startup reaching millennials with drinking problems

Curious about the new AA?

The previous story was adapted from a Trends report by The Hustle. Check out the full story here.

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