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Get it Delivered: Tech and Restaurants in a Covid World

JustCook Kitchens designed 5th St Food Hall with technology in mind, helping us navigate pandemic restrictions to get delicious local food out to more Edmontonians.

Opening a restaurant during the pandemic was not easy. But 5th St. Food Hall isn’t your typical restaurant.

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic hit restaurants hard. Even after lockdowns were lifted, limits on capacity and early last calls meant that, even as we inch towards the post-pandemic world, restaurants are struggling to stay afloat.

Opening a restaurant during the pandemic was not easy. But 5th St. Food Hall isn’t your typical restaurant, and our business is optimized for the many changes that have hit the foodservice industry over the past two years. As we get back to normal, things are still changing constantly. What isn’t changing is the public’s interest in food delivery.

Delivery is a huge part of our business, like it has been for many restaurants during the pandemic. Rather than an additional service we provide to fill the gaps during the pandemic, delivery is a core pillar of how we feed our customers. As more and more people turn to delivery to make their lives easier (during and after the pandemic), JustCook is optimizing our delivery system, making every aspect of the technology work for chefs and customers.

With 5th St. Food Hall, we started with technology. Our mobile and web app enables ordering from almost anywhere, for delivery, take out, or dine in. Rather than adding technology to a brick and mortar store, we incorporated tech every step of the way. Before we were a restaurant, we were a tech company.

Technology is everywhere at JustCook. Like other next generation restaurants, we’re tech-forward, not only with our own in-house apps, but by leveraging UberEats, Skip the Dishes, and DoorDash. We take the positive aspects of ghost kitchens and cloud kitchens, and leave the negative. With JustCook, you know where your food is coming from, but you also know the stories and the faces of the chefs who prepare your food. Unlike ghost kitchens that make standard menu items quickly and cheaply, our chefs pride themselves on innovation and quality. We don’t just innovate the tech side of business – our chefs are constantly dreaming up new and delicious dishes that you can’t find anywhere else. Our kitchens are local brands you can trust, not shady ghost kitchens.

Interest in alcohol delivery also increased during the pandemic. Like many restaurants, 5th St. offers take out and delivery of wine, beer, and handcrafted cocktails to complete your meal. Many of our delivery regulars like to try different cocktails along with their go-to sandwiches, burgers, curries, and pizza they know and love at the food hall. It’s a great way to bring the full experience of dining out to your kitchen table.

Just like many bars and restaurants, we have our regulars we know well. We have delivery regulars too – and they get to know our delivery drivers who bring them their meals, week after week. It builds a real sense of community to have these kinds of relationships with our customers, especially when so many people are still staying in.

While many customers are excited to return to in-person dining, some people are still staying in, taking advantage of how technology has enabled us to work, shop, and dine at home. JustCook is part of that revolution.


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