As a fanboy follower of all things Elon Musk, including rocket ships, Hyperloops, tunnels, solar panels and, of course, plug in vehicles, (he is the CEO of Tesla), it was with great interest that I read the news recently that he is now planning to invade the food and beverage sector.
Tesla, certainly, has had its share of problems, but Musk is a master of marketing and, to back up all his optimistic predictions, they’re getting ever closer to delivering that magic number of 100,000 vehicles in a year and, mind you, this has been accomplished with no advertising at all. All the above being said, those of you in the restaurant business should indeed take this very seriously as it could be quite the game changer. Tesla has made headlines by announcing the expansion of its already epic “Supercharger” network last September at FSTEC, the restaurant business food and technology conference that occurs yearly. J.B. Straubel, who is Tesla’s chief technology officer, announced that Tesla has embarked upon a rather momentous effort to create “convenience stores” at its charging stations. At present there is almost an eye-popping one thousand of these facilities and this number is growing at a steady pace in the United States and across the globe. Most people stop at these stations for 30 minutes to fast charge their cars. Currently people seek out a Starbucks or a fast food joint to kill time – but it appears that will change. Imagine a store conveniently at the charging station where Tesla drivers can get a bite to eat, a beverage and, of course, use a bathroom.
Though it appears that Straubel envisions a convenience store like set-up, remember this is Tesla we’re talking about and most drivers are quite affluent, so this could be high-end. Straubel also mentioned that Tesla has been in talks with restaurants and that might mean a full-service restaurant, though probably operated by an outside company.
Tesla’s very objective, it would seem, has been to corner the market on so many aspects of electrically propelled transportation that it also seems logical that they might go big, as they are apt to do, with this new venture. Elon Musk has envisioned these places as having “great restrooms, great food, amenities” and, of course, a place to relax as your electric car gets juiced up. Tesla is highly appealing as a luxury brand and is further burnished by it high-tech, green credentials. The company has literally changed the world, definitely the world of transportation anyway. The next big thing could very well be in the food and beverage sector. I have certainly learned my lesson to never bet against Elon Musk.