As restaurants look to rebuild and recover from the oftentimes devastating events of the last 13 months, many are applying for federal aid from the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). To help restaurants access these funds, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is partnering with major point of sale (POS) software providers to help restaurants navigate the application process, reports QSR Magazine. Specifically, the SBA is partnering with NCR Corporation, Square, Toast and Fiserv’s Clover in an initiative that will enable these POS providers to guide their restaurant customers through the process.
“The SBA is partnering with point-of-sale providers to leverage technology to better reach the smallest businesses that need our help the most,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in an SBA release announcing the partnerships. “…The SBA must be as entrepreneurial as the entrepreneurs we serve. These partnerships enable us to meet small businesses where they are, instead of waiting for them to come to us.”
“By working alongside the SBA, we are expediting the Restaurant Revitalization Fund application process for restaurants using Clover or Fiserv technology, facilitating faster access to much-needed capital so they can continue to serve customers and their communities,” said Jeff Dickerson, SVP and head of Clover Solutions, in a statement. “We are proud to do our part to support a critical initiative that will aid restaurant reopening and do so with a focus on revitalizing women-owned, veteran-owned and minority-owned restaurants.”
Grubhub Proposes Settlement for Class-Action Lawsuit Alleging False Listings
While delivery service DoorDash was settling its dispute with digital ordering solutions provider Olo, Grubhub was filing its own settlement proposal to resolve a class-action lawsuit accusing Grubhub of misleading advertising, reported Restaurant Business Online.
The suit alleged that the delivery service falsely listed restaurants with which Grubhub did not have an official contract as closed or not accepting online orders. The settlement would give these non-partner restaurants more of a say in how their listing appears on Grubhub’s marketplace.
Per the filing, which is available at Law360, Grubhub would “allow the [restaurant] owners or authorized representatives to: (a) request updates as to available menu items and hours information listed on the Covered Restaurant landing pages on the Grubhub and Seamless branded Platforms … or (b) request removal from the Grubhub platforms.”
Among other proposed changes, which Grubhub would enact within 90 days of the settlement’s approval, the company would also make it so that “landing pages will not state without qualification ‘not accepting online orders’ unless otherwise indicated by the Covered Restaurants (including its representatives). Grubhub may, however, use qualified language on the landing pages where applicable, including, but not limited to: ‘This restaurant is not accepting orders on Grubhub.’”
The company would also pay plaintiff Freshcraft $5,000 “for its representation of the Settlement Class in the Action,” and would “not oppose … a request of reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses up to $450,000.” However, the filing states, “Grubhub denies each and every allegation of wrongdoing, liability and damages that were or could have been asserted in the Action.”
“We believe the proposed settlement addresses the concerns raised, including making it easier for restaurants to claim their menu or be removed from our platform if they wish to do so,” a Grubhub spokesperson told Restaurant Business Online. “We look forward to the judge’s approval of this settlement.”
Walmart Partnerships Will Add New In-Store Restaurant Brands
Following the closure of hundreds of in-store McDonald’s locations, Walmart has announced partnerships to bring new restaurants into its stores. The superstore will add 10 fast-casual la Madeleine French Bakery & Café locations in Texas’ Dallas-Fort Worth area, and in a separate deal will bring an unspecified number of Nathan’s Famous kitchens to its stores through the hot dog chain’s partnership with Ghost Kitchen Brands (GKB), reported Restaurant Dive.
These new partnerships attest to Walmart’s continued faith in the future of the in-store restaurant, even after the relatively poor performance of the McDonald’s in-Walmart locations. In fact, salad chain Saladworks recently announced its own in-Walmart locations via its GKB partnership, and GKB has its own partnership with Walmart Canada.
“We’re very excited about Walmart’s curated food service experience for customers,” la Madeleine CEO Lionel Ladouceur said in a statement. “We look forward to making it even more convenient for the [Dallas-Fort Worth] community to enjoy the la Madeleine experience, while also introducing our French comfort food to Walmart shoppers that are looking for more diverse dining choices.”
Subway Denies Rumor of Sale, Rebuffs Franchisee Letter
On Monday (Apr. 19), an anonymous group of franchisees published “An Open Letter to Subway Owner Elisabeth Deluca” calling for changes to the company’s franchise agreements. Included in the letter was the line, “There is talk that a sale of Subway is pending.”
The franchisee group claims to represent 250 Subway stores, reports the New York Post. The letter alleges that Subway thwarted franchisees’ attempts to use fresher ingredients, that the corporate office opened competing Subway locations next to franchisees’ stores, and that Subway “forced” franchisees to “subsidize loss-leading promotions with our PPP loans and federal aid,” among other accusations.
“This letter is not representative of the opinions of the vast majority of our dedicated franchisee network,” the sandwich chain said in a statement. “Subway is committed to the long-term success of our franchisees and provides multiple forums for franchisees to share feedback, working hand-in-hand with them to ensure decisions are focused on maximizing their profitability.”
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