With Off-Prem in Mind, Spyce Relaunches Concept
Spyce, a robotic kitchen that came on the scene in 2018, is reopening today in Boston.
The concept has been redesigned with off-premises in mind. “... We’ve reinvented the way we cook and how customers can truly personalize their meals. We also built a sustainable way to deliver our food to customers' doorsteps. This is a new, improved experience that’s built around bringing healthy, personalized meals to our community,” says Michael Farid, CEO and Co-Founder of Spyce.
In May 2018 Spyce’s original concept debuted, created by four MIT grads seeking healthy and affordable fast-casual food. The point of difference: a robotic kitchen with 7 cooking woks that could cook a meal to order in 3 minutes or less. The concept raised $21 million in September 2018.
“In 2019, Spyce reached a turning point,” Taylor Georgeson, spokesperson for Spyce, tells HT. “We had learned so much from their original restaurants but knew we could build something better. We decided take all these learnings and build a whole new Spyce.”
Dynamic Menu Debuts
The new and improved Spyce’s menu centers on vegetable-loaded bowls and salads that can be customized to a guest’s preferences. Every meal cooked-to-order from fresh ingredients and is ready in minutes.
Guest order via the app, website or in-store kiosks; guests answer an initial prompt and the entire menu adjusts in real time to meet their preferences, including eight major allergens and eight major diets such as vegetarian, vegan, Whole30, keto, low carb, low-FODMAP and gluten-free. Customers can then customize any aspect of their bowl, down to the amount of sauce or dressing, and the level of spiciness.
New Menu, New Kitchen
The new menu was developed by VP of Food and Beverage, Jeff Tenner. Spyce’s team created a new and improved automated kitchen that features consistent cooking technique, measurement and timing to create meals that are accurate and cooked to perfection.
A hot carbon steel plancha sears proteins, a superheated steamer brings pastas and grains to perfection in seconds, and dressings, sauces and garnishes are measured for consistency. Sourcing and sustainability is at the heart of the menu. Guests won’t find red meat on the menu. The protein is “resource intensive” and doesn’t align with the brand’s sustainability mission, says Tenner.
As more and more restaurants are leaning into off prem, they’re looking at ways to improve their margins. At Restaurant Next, Wing Zone, PF Chang’s and 4R Smokehouse shared their approach to third-party and/or in-house or native delivery.
Spyce is among the restaurants adding in-house delivery and has created its own delivery fleet of zero-emission electric mopeds that are fitted with warming and cooling compartments to keep hot and cold dishes at the ideal temperature. Initial delivery radius will cover Boston’s Back Bay, Battery Wharf, Financial District, North End and West End neighborhoods with more neighborhoods to roll out in the coming weeks. Drivers will be Spyce employees who are cross-trained on all roles in the restaurant, says Farid.
TikTok Challenge in the Making?
Spyce plans to continue to use the mopeds for delivery throughout the winter, says Farid.
Also in the works, Spyce plans to open a second location in Cambridge’s Harvard Square neighborhood.
Located at 241 Washington Street, between Court Street and School Street, Spyce is open for lunch and dinner, including delivery and pick-up, every day beginning at 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Spyce is funded by Maveron, Khosla Ventures and Collaborative Fund. Chefs including Thomas Keller, Jerome Bocuse, and Gavin Kaysen, as well as Culinary Advisor Chef Daniel Boulud are prominent culinary angel investors in Spyce.