Crave Hospitality Group Launches Entirely New Model to Bring Restaurant-Level Food and Hospitality to Delivery and Pick-Up Experience

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In partnership with award-winning chefs and restaurateurs, Crave reimagines the existing model to include a fleet of dedicated “mobile servers”, state-of-the-art kitchen suites, and more

With hospitality and quality in mind at each and every touchpoint, I’m confident that with Crave, we will be able to provide the quintessential MINA experience and hospitality to guests dining at home.

Crave Hospitality Group announces the grand opening of its first location in Boise, ID on November 17, 2020. This category-defining concept will feature a state-of-the-art facility, the Crave Collective, with purpose-built kitchen suites for its 16 restaurant partners, each of whom has created a custom, designed-to-travel menu to ensure every order placed meets Crave’s exacting standards for quality.

The restaurants debuting at this location are from some of the top culinary talent in their respective fields: Lincoln Carson, this year’s James Beard nominee for Outstanding Pastry Chef, will open Merite Bake Shop, and Tony Gemignani, 13-time World Pizza Champion and two-time Food Network gold medalist, will open Tony G’s Pizzeria. Three brands are from award-winning chef and restaurateur Michael Mina, including the fourth outpost of International Smoke, his popular collaboration with celebrity entrepreneur, television host, and New York Times best-selling author Ayesha Curry.

“We are thrilled to partner with Crave to bring our concepts such as Mac ‘n Cue by International Smoke, Tokyo Hot Chicken and StirFire to Boise utilizing Crave’s groundbreaking new model,” says Mina. “With hospitality and quality in mind at each and every touchpoint, I’m confident that with Crave, we will be able to provide the quintessential MINA experience and hospitality to guests dining at home.”

Tech entrepreneur Devin Wade, industry veteran Chef Scott Howard, and Boise restaurateur Barry Werner co-founded Crave in 2019 and plan to expand to 10 additional locations over the next two years. They realized that the emerging delivery services model was not a viable option for award-winning chefs and restaurateurs preparing food from their kitchens or remote kitchens and having it delivered by a third-party because of the subpar customer experience.

“The model needed to be reimagined,” says Wade. “Ours was designed from the chef and restaurateur’s perspective with a shared responsibility for customer satisfaction. From our fleet of dedicated ‘mobile servers’ to our on-site Crave Concierge available to answer any questions throughout the ordering process, we have created a system that brings service and high standards back to the delivery experience.”

The key factor that separates Crave from other delivery companies, ghost kitchens, and virtual restaurant brands is its unifying standard of hospitality, exemplified through the following differentiators:

  • While other delivery companies outsource their drivers, each of Crave’s “mobile servers” are employees of the company, paid approximately three times the minimum wage, and fully participate in its hospitality-focused culture. The drivers make one delivery at a time, ensuring that the food is en route for the least amount of time possible.
  • Crave invites customers to easily mix and match dishes from any and all of Crave’s restaurants, since they are all housed under one roof.
  • Crave’s restaurant partners specifically crafted their designed-to-travel menus based on seasonal produce, customer feedback, and their own signature dishes.
  • Most kitchen suites in the Crave Collective are operated by the restaurant’s own trained local culinary team. Designed for collaboration, the restaurants are supported by a full technology suite and proprietary in-house delivery system that uses machine learning to shorten the time from when an order is placed to when it reaches the customer.
  • Crave maintains exacting quality control standards at every step throughout the order facilitation process: As soon as dishes come out of the kitchen, expediters double check each order and place them in appropriately temperature-controlled boxes (one for hot, one for cold) until they reach their destination.

Howard, a renowned chef and six-time Michelin Bib Gourmand winner, led the selection process. With a focus on bringing restaurant-level food to diners at home, Scott surveyed the culinary industry to find chefs and restaurateurs with the talent, creativity, and proven experience to refine their menus for delivery or pick-up. The result is a wide range of cuisines, offering consumers a variety of choices that all meet Crave’s and Crave’s partners’ exacting standards for high quality, off-premise meals.

“In addition to providing an elevated delivery experience, for restaurateurs looking to expand their brand to new markets, Crave offers a unique solution at a fraction of the cost of building and opening a brick-and-mortar location,” says Howard.

Crave has secured the following restaurant partners:

  • Mac ‘n Cue by International Smoke from Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry
  • Tony G’s Pizzeria by Tony Gemignani
  • Merite Bake Shop by Lincoln Carson
  • Betelnut, menu by Cecilia Chiang
  • Elliott’s Oyster House
  • Omakase Sushi
  • Percolate Tea
  • Rockhouse Sliders
  • StirFire by Gerald Chin and Michael Mina
  • The Grove
  • Tokyo Hot Chicken by Michael Mina
  • Wicked Elixirs by Matthew Biancaniello
  • Wing Dome
  • The Peached Tortilla by Eric Silverstein

The Crave Collective is a 15,000-square-foot custom-built facility in the town of Meridian, located just outside of Boise. Each of its 16 kitchen suites features a 10-foot hood, three-compartment sink, hand sink, and stainless steel work stations. Crave worked with each restaurant to determine and install the appropriate cooking equipment for each concept; for instance, wok stations for Betelnut or a pizza oven for Tony G’s Pizzeria. A conveyor belt runs down the center of the building allowing for maximum efficiency; a finished dish can go straight from the kitchen to the Crave expediters who will collect, double check, complete, and deploy orders for delivery or pick-up. The Crave Collective includes two covered drive-throughs for Crave’s “mobile servers” to receive orders. Diners who wish to pick up their orders from the Crave Collective can utilize its dedicated drive-through mobile order pick-up lanes or visit the Percolate Tea Bar for pick-up along with grab-and-go items.

Crave’s proprietary technology suite includes:

  • Consumer-facing iOS/Android app supported in real-time via order management system
  • Powered by AI, the delivery logistics platform facilitates route optimization and mobile server matching to household
  • Driver iOS/Android app with employee check in, turn by turn directions, troubleshoot automation and driver dashboard metrics
  • Location-based technology to indicate when delivery drivers arrive for pick-up

Crave empowers its restaurant partners through technology, too. They have direct access and control to view and manage their entire kitchen operation including restaurant profiles, menus, inventory, availability settings, order management workflows, reporting, and analytics.

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Lib Riddiford
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