Key headlines from 2023 include Roark Capital’s $9.5bn Subway acquisition, Chobani’s $900m takeover of La Colombe and generative AI pizza ordering solution from Domino’s and Microsoft. Verdict Food Service wraps up the top 10 stories of the year:

Swiggy divests cloud kitchen business Swiggy Access

In March 2023, India’s online order and food delivery platform Swiggy announced the sale of its cloud kitchen business Swiggy Access to Kitchens@ for an undisclosed amount. The transaction was reportedly a result of Swiggy’s cost-cutting measures.

Singapore’s Chef Roboto unveils Fryer-bot for commercial kitchens

In April, Singapore’s kitchen technology company Chef Roboto launched a new ‘Fryer-bot’, designed especially for commercial kitchens. Equipped with an advanced robotic arm, Chef Roboto’s Fryer-bot can carry out various tasks, such as preparation, cooking, raw food storage, and plating of the food.

Summit Restaurant Holdings files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

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In May this year, Summit Restaurant Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition with the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado. Summit, a part of Capstone Restaurant Group’s affiliate firms, operated more than 225 restaurants across 16 US states, including Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

Darden Restaurants concludes Ruth’s Hospitality Group acquisition

In June, Darden Restaurants, through its indirect wholly owned subsidiary Ruby Acquisition, completed the acquisition of Ruth’s Hospitality Group. Valued at approximately $715m, the deal resulted in Ruth’s becoming an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Darden.

Roark Capital to acquire American sandwich chain Subway

In August 2023, American fast food restaurant franchise Subway signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Roark Capital. The deal, which was reportedly valued at approximately $9.5bn, marked a crucial milestone in Subway’s multi-year transformation efforts.

Texas Restaurant Association introduces new laws for foodservice industry

In the first week of September, the Texas Restaurant Association released new set of rules for the state’s foodservice industry. The move intended to help restaurants improve their regulations, customer experience and reduce costs.

Domino’s and Microsoft create AI-powered pizza ordering solution

In October, Domino’s Pizza and tech giant Microsoft partnered to develop a generative AI technology and cloud computing system to enhance customers’ pizza ordering experience and store operations.

Starbucks announces 3% pay increase for US store employees from January

In November 2023, coffeehouse chain Starbucks confirmed its plans to increase the hourly pay of its US stores employees by at least 3%, starting from 1 January 2024.

Chobani acquires café chain La Colombe for $900m

In December, Chobani acquired La Colombe, a US-based speciality coffee roaster and café chain, in a $900m deal. La Colombe, which owns and operates 32 cafés across the US. The deal will help Chobani to debut in the ready-to-drink coffee category.

McDonald’s and Accenture to enhance operations and training with AI

On 19 December, McDonald’s said it is collaborating with the consulting company Accenture to integrate generative AI technology at its restaurants across the globe. Through this partnership, the fast-food chain aims to enhance its existing operational efficiency, accelerate automation, customer service as well as its employees’ digital skills.