• The Boston Globe has a story about Reef Technology, "a company that manages parking lots and has expanded into the last-mile delivery business. For the past three years, it has been trying to convince lot owners they can make more money by using the spaces for something other than parking cars … The trailers, which it dubs 'vessels,' serve as a central dispatch for delivering food to customers who order through apps such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub. A single trailer, such as the one in South Boston, could prepare food for more than half a dozen restaurants, which license menu items to Reef, similar to a franchise model. Reef handles preparation and packaging and typically pays a fee to lot owners to park its trailers."
The story notes that "most of the brands Reef sells exist only online through ghost kitchens, such as Man vs. Fries, Sticky Wings, and Rebel Wings. But place an order for a Nathan’s Famous hot dog on Uber Eats from a Boston neighborhood, and it may also come from a Reef trailer, even though the chain has five brick-and-mortar locations in Massachusetts.
"The food is delivered in branded packaging with no sign of its origin."
• In the UK, the Guardian reports that Sainsbury has opened to the public a new store using Amazon's Just Walk Out technology - here dubbed "Smartshop Pick & Go" - in the Holborn section of central London.
The store previously had been open only to Sainsbury staffers.
The unit uses Amazon Go-pioneered technology in which "cameras and special weight-sensitive shelves detect when an item has been removed so that shoppers can put their items in a bag or basket and walk out without having to pay at a till. Customers can gain entry to the store in future by generating a QR code via Sainsbury’s SmartShop app, which is currently used to scan items with a mobile phone in its supermarkets."