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Seeing the unstoppable rise of delivery and catering, a New York City-based entrepreneur with a background in farming, engineering and philosophy is turning his attention to helping restaurants streamline their third-party delivery programs and avoid worst-practices that don't help restaurants build loyalty, traffic or profits.

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In a world where ‘chef techs' monitor and assist a burger-flipping robot, dramatic decreases in employee turnover mean lower labor costs for restaurants and workers who actually enjoy their jobs. That's part of John Miller's vision for Cali Group, the parent company behind CaliBurger, Miso Robotics and robotic kitchen assistant Flippy, who's already cooking inside some CaliBurger locations. Bringing this futuristic restaurant operating system to the masses, however, means lowering the $20K-plus price tag and finding more partners to play guinea pig. Cali Group is up to the task, says Miller.

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While many of their exact identities are still unknown, more family offices are emerging from the shadows to invest in franchising, taking stakes in huge franchisee operations such as GPS Hospitality, which is nearing 500 units across Burger King, Popeyes and Pizza Hut.

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One Cannabis, the parent of marijuana franchise Unity Rd, plans to go public via a “merger of equals” with Cannabis One Holdings Inc. (CBEI), a stock trading for 16 cents a share in November on the Canadian Securities Exchange. Structured as an exchange of shares for the similarly sized companies, each with about $17 million in revenue, the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

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When acai berries first burst onto the food trend scene a few years ago as the next “superfood”—a term that as a nutritional claim, by the way, doesn't have clear scientific backing—it wouldn't have surprised me if the tropical fruit faded as quickly as the cabbage soup diet in the ‘80s.