MRM #RestaurantTech: Tablet Ordering Takes Flight, FoodFaves App Debuts and Capturing Memories at Benihana

by MRM Staff 26 Min Read

The intersection of hospitality and technology is evolving at a rapid pace. To keep a pulse on these trends, Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine launched the MRM #RestaurantTech column.  To submit items, contact MRM Executive Editor Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com. 

Kebaya Asian Brasserie Uses QikServe to Power Tablet-Based Ordering

QikServe's mobile ordering technology has been rolled out at the new Kebaya Asian Brasserie in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Kebaya is owned and operated by HMSHost International, which has almost 50 years' experience in airport restaurant operations, design, concept and development.

In the restaurant’s first weeks of business, the QikServe system has handled the vast majority of orders placed by customers, with more than 95 percent placed via the tablet-based system. The digital system streamlines the conventional process of dining as orders travel directly to the kitchen, which takes the pressure off waiting staff at peak times.

Mobile ordering accounts for 95 percent of orders at Amsterdam airport eatery.

Kebaya combines technology with high quality dining to offer guests a completely new experience. When guests enter the restaurant, they can browse the menu at touch-screen kiosks and, when they sit down at their tables, guests can choose to make their selection using Samsung tablets. Powered by QikServe, the ordering application running on the tablets was custom developed for HMSHost International.

Marlijn van Straaten, Director Marketing and Communications at HMSHost International, said , “The key is to reach travelers at the right moment in the airport, when their time is limited. Our digital strategy is to enable a truly omni-channel experience and reach our guests on all available touch points. This technology allows us to respond to these touch points and to address the increasing relevance that mobile devices now have in daily life. By taking away potential barriers, we want to make ordering as easy as possible for our guests.”

QikServe allows hospitality businesses to build multi-channel ordering and payment solutions into their existing applications, and Kebaya’s point of sale system has been built using the QikServe ordering platform at its core. 

Key elements of the Kebaya ordering system include:

  • Store branding, menu navigation and full product lists clearly displayed on interactive screens and tablets.
  • Full integration with Oracle Micros Hospitality’s Point of Sales (POS) systems, kitchen screens and Integration Platform.
  • Real-time stock depletion and reporting.
  • Guests dining together can each use a tablet or share a tablet linking back to the same table and check.
  • Guests can see their orders appear in front of the chefs in real-time.
  • Support for multiple languages

Moving forward, guests will also be able to order and pay using their own mobile devices.

“At Kebaya we have aimed to raise the guest experience to new heights and we are delighted to see that customers have wholeheartedly adopted our new approach to ordering,” said Walter Seib, CEO of HMSHost International. “The feedback we have received from both guests and staff has been overwhelmingly positive, and the QikServe-based ordering has been a pleasure to work with, allowing us to seamlessly build the ordering component into our point of sale system.”

QikServe’s patented technology lets guests order and pay for their food and drinks directly from mobile devices, tablets, kiosks and web sites, helping improve efficiency, reduce labour costs, and increase average order size. In recent months, the company has introduced new developments designed to help increase the flexibility and integration of the technology for the hospitality industry. The product’s multi-language capability is particularly relevant for operators in airport environments like Kebaya.

“It’s very encouraging to see the kind of results that HMSHost has achieved using mobile ordering at Kebaya, and we expect that the high proportion of guests using the system will also help drive increased revenues,” said Daniel Rodgers, CEO, QikServe. “This is exactly the kind of situation that our software has been designed for – providing operators with a quick and cost-effective solution that can be seamlessly built into their existing systems.”

CC’s Coffee House® Selects PAR 

ParTech, Inc. (PAR) said  CC’s Coffee House has deployed PAR’s cloud-based Brink POS® Software and EverServ® 550 Terminals in 19 corporate locations. CC’s Coffee House starts with the highest-quality beans from around the world — and they grind and brew every hour for maximum flavor and freshness. 

CC’s Coffee House was seeking a modern, stable solution from an established provider that could seamlessly integrate with current vendors and provide access to new technologies and the cloud. With 35 total sites, CC’s wanted a solution that they could confidently recommend to their 16 licensed locations. 

“When PAR acquired Brink in 2014, there was a sense of longevity provided by PAR's long history in the POS field. The monthly subscription service also meant that each month Brink would need to earn our business. We felt this was an important confirmation to PAR's commitment to providing an excellent product both at launch and going forward,” said Celton Hayden, Jr., President & CEO, CC’s Coffee House.

With Brink fully deployed, CC’s is anticipating decreased downtime and better business efficiency.  The staff is excited about the ease of use, added features, stability and a more modern and sleek POS system. 

“At CC's Coffee House, we have three core values that we stand for every day: Be Real, Be Exceptional and Be Passionate. When seeking out any vendor partnership, it is important that they exemplify these values. PAR has been such a great partner. From the diligence on preparing our locations for the changes, to the way in which they leveraged our resources to be highly effective, Brink provided a seamless transition for our restaurants. Our I/T, Operations and Financial management teams could not be more pleased,” added Hayden.

“We are excited to have CC’s Coffee House be a part of the PAR family, a company that shares similar values and initiatives as PAR,” said Karen E. Sammon, PAR Technology’s Chief of Staff.  “Brink’s ease of use and integration capabilities will provide a seamless deployment for CC’s especially as they strive to personalize their service for their guests. Our solutions will help the company achieve their strategy which at the core means that they serve their guests exceptional coffee drinks.”

OMNI Enables Restaurateurs to Observe From Anywhere

OMNI’s Video Intelligence System is giving restaurateurs the management tools they need to inspire millennials in the service industry.

"Millennials are the largest demographic in the restaurant and bar industry,” explained OMNI CEO Ken Bianchi. “They’re looking for ways to be engaged in their work and develop leadership skills, and our systems are an easy and effective way to boost their job satisfaction and performance.”

With OMNI, employers can observe, manage, and motivate their teams using feedback and analytics gathered from both recorded and live video.

Using OMNI’s  tools they can identify and close efficiency gaps, minimize inventory loss, train employees, and stop unwanted activities that are not in the best interest of one’s business. Additionally, their technology cuts down on employer overtime, giving owners a chance to focus on growing their brand or taking personal time off.

“I was able to decrease my management time and increase my time at home by about 20 percent using the OMNI system,” said Massimo Albano, owner of Lemoncello Italian Restaurant and Bar in East Rochester, New York.

OMNI works one-on-one with businesses to create the perfect, custom technology set-up to fit their space and needs. The platform is fully digital, allowing business owners to access and interact with their videos from desktops as well as handheld devices.

“Our revamped system is easier to use, more versatile and provides a simple training program to maximize ROI,” said Bianchi. “With access to leasing and financing, a restaurant owner is a small monthly investment away from revolutionizing their team, their profitability, and their lifestyle.”

Capturing Memories at Benihana

Benihana is a chain of Japanese-inspired restaurants that is renowned for its theatrical teppanyaki cooking style where dishes are prepared on hot grills in front of customers. The corporate tagline “Creating great guest memories!” perfectly captures the chain’s commitment to creating exceptional customer experiences in all 72 of its restaurants across the United States.

Triprism, a digital event photography and imaging service provider, was tasked with creating a turnkey photography printing solution for the busy chain of restaurants. Tim Justice, President of Triprism, needed to develop a custom solution for the unique set of challenges facing the restaurants. “Restaurants want to focus on selling food. Managers don’t want to waste time changing media or waiting a long time for a photo to print,” he said. “We switched to DNP DS40™ printers in 2011 because of their superior speed, durability, and reliability compared to anything else on the market.” 

The DS40 media roll has 400 sheets per roll when printing 4x6” prints, so there is less downtime replacing media and staff spends less time at the printer. “Our managers are pulled in a lot of directions,” said Jenna Folk, Director of Marketing at Benihana. “The way the printers are so streamlined, it really allows managers to focus on our guests, which is always our primary concern.”

At any Benihana restaurant, customers can get a photo print of the occasion, which results in a large volume of pictures being printed over the course of a printer’s lifetime. According to Justice, the DNP DS40 printers are very reliable and can withstand the high volume of work. “DNP printheads have impressive longevity – we usually reach 50,000 to 60,000 prints before the printhead wears out – which means less maintenance work and increased project profitability for us,” he said.

The clarity and vibrancy of the color in the prints is truly remarkable,” added Folk. “Benihana is a bright environment – the stainless steel grills, the lights, and the bright colors of the restaurants are all truly portrayed in the printed photographs.”

KFC  Selects Delaget and Envysion 

Kentucky Fried Chicken® selected Delaget Guard and Envysion as KFC’s preferred and fully-supported loss prevention suite for the company’s more than 4,100 outlets nationwide. The announcement comes after a 120-day pilot spearheaded by KFC’s Technology Committee to determine best-in-class loss prevention solutions and to enhance support for franchisees. During the pilot, users experienced Delaget’s new integration with Envysion, KFC’s DVR system vendor, as part of a loss prevention suite.

“Choosing our preferred loss prevention suite was not something we took lightly,” said Chris Caldwell, chief information officer for KFC U.S. “We selected Delaget for their extensive experience in the quick service restaurant industry, ability to handle the security demands of a large operation, and because their solution, Delaget Guard, is exceptional at identifying loss and prescribing action. With the combined capabilities of Delaget and Envysion, KFC franchisees will have access to powerful loss prevention tools, saving them time and helping them run more efficient operations. We saw excellent results with the pilot and are excited to roll it out to our franchisees.”

Franchisees around the country have already started using Delaget Guard, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that reduces loss from theft and error by using proprietary algorithms to find exceptions in restaurant data, prioritizing those exceptions by monetary impact, and recommending specific actions restaurant managers can take to reduce loss. When operators use Delaget and Envysion together, they can easily compare side-by-side views of the transactional data with the corresponding video.

“Having ticket-level details side-by-side with video footage is a game-changer for my team. Instead of spending hours reviewing footage or analyzing reports, they’re now able to easily isolate and identify issues and make quick responses. With a combined solution, it’s easier to determine if a situation is theft or a training issue,” said Jason Zakaras, owner of Zak Foods, a 27-unit KFC franchise.

“Instead of losing money to theft, those dollars are re-invested in our business for new technology and equipment, raises, and bonuses,” said Heath Harrison, director of loss prevention at JRN Inc., a 154-unit KFC franchise. “That money is so beneficial when it goes to our bottom line.”

"We’re extremely proud to partner with an innovative QSR like KFC. Their expertise leveraging technology to focus on continuous improvement, employee training, and operational efficiencies aligns with our mission to help restauranteurs run smarter, more profitable restaurants,” said Jason Tober, Delaget CEO.

Au Bon Pain Launches ABP Pickup

 Putting the ‘fast’ in fast-casual,  Au Bon Pain launched  ABP Pickup – a new service for customers to save time and skip the line.

Available via the new Au Bon Pain mobile app and at aubonpain.com, ABP Pickup allows guests to place their order when they have a few free minutes, select a convenient pick-up time at their preferred Au Bon Pain location, pay ahead, and skip the line when they pick up in café. Once registered, customers can save their orders, easily choosing favorites when it is most convenient, making it perfect for skipping the line during the morning coffee rush hour or grabbing lunch on-the-go between meetings.

“With ABP Pickup, guests will have more time to get on with the busy day ahead with a full and happy stomach,” said Ray Blanchette, president and CEO, Au Bon Pain. “We put our time into creating quality, delicious food, but want to give our guests an efficient dining experience. We are proud to introduce this new service to better help our customers, no matter what their schedules may look like.”

ABP Pickup is currently being rolled out in Massachusetts locations and will continue to become available across Au Bon Pain regions between now and May 25.

Sales Temperature Forecasting Tools

Sales Temperature tool gives businesses a highly accurate dashboard of their daily revenue, customer count and staffing needs right at their fingertips in one simple-to-use and affordable software application. The tool is 30 percent more effective at daily revenue and customer forecasting than traditional methods because Sales Temperature uses more than historical data to forecast. It leverages machine learning to integrate a variety of factors, including the day of the week, the weather, current events/holidays and other outside influences to more precisely forecast a business’ week than common forecasting methods which mostly rely on past information. Retailers including clothing stores, quick-service restaurants, automotive service companies and franchisees can easily implement this simple-to-use mobile software application to see a daily forecast of number of customers, revenue and staffing needs up to 14 days in advance.

More than 100 businesses including the owners of major national franchises, are already using this new-to-market tool to improve their stores’ bottom lines.

“As a former franchise owner myself, I know that small businesses operate on extremely thin margins, and therefore even small errors in forecasting can make a significant difference on the bottom line,” said Jeff Wadsworth, co-founder of Sales Temperature. “Everything from staffing levels to ensuring enough product is available to meet customer demand relies on accurate forecasting. Sales Temperature gives small businesses the tools they need to better predict and operate their businesses for increased margins, extensive time saving, better service and more predictable revenue.”

Because Sales Temperature relies on machine learning to combine a variety of factors, the technology becomes more intelligent the longer a business uses it. In addition to the historical data that each business uploads into the software, Sales Temperature interprets the data coupled with predicted events, including upcoming weather forecasts, and more.

“Using Sales Temperature has allowed us to more effectively staff our shop so that we are ready for the big spikes, and we can conserve costs when business is slow,” said Allison Henderson, owner of a Cold Stone Creamery franchise in Lakewood, Colorado. “Even after twenty years of owning our business, I spent hours every month trying to determine our staffing and inventory needs based on what happened last month or last year, and now I have a much more accurate forecast at my fingertips every morning. Sales Temperature has saved me time and money and I’m continually impressed by how easy and accurate it is.”

Enseo Launches GameChanger

Enseo is simplifying the way hotels and bars tackle TV setup with the official launch of GameChanger ℠. A cloud-based application, Enseo’s GameChanger provides a user-friendly and cost-efficient TV management tool for public spaces.

Juggling multiple remotes and ladders to change channels has long been a norm in bars and hotel restaurants. GameChanger gives full control to hotel staff by facilitating quick, synchronous management of hundreds of TVs via an approved mobile device. With the touch of a button, staff members can change TV channels, adjust volume, settings, and more to keep their customers happy without the hassle of additional tools or equipment. Bartenders or hotel staff have the ability to pick a game or show, drag it to a picture of their TV in the GameChanger interface, and immediately change the channel. Changes can even be made remotely.

The system operates on standard topology, including COAX, Ethernet, and COAX with Wi-Fi/Ethernet setups, making installation and maintenance simple. GameChanger also operates on existing networks, so no special or separate networks are necessary.

“GameChanger is a simple, user-friendly system that replaces a complicated, expensive video matrix switch,” said Vanessa Ogle, Founder and CEO of Enseo. “We are very excited to release another product that makes hoteliers’ lives easier and saves their properties hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

GameChanger is deployed at the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live where Enseo manages all televisions, including those in multiple public areas.

SICOM Rolls Out its Drive-Thru Director to QSR

SICOM is rolling out its Drive-Thru Director™ to all EMEA locations of a leading quick service restaurant chain. Drive-Thru Director is an advanced speed of service solution that continuously and accurately measures traffic throughput to facilitate greater efficiency, performance and customer satisfaction.

SICOM's Drive-Thru Director is already installed at more than 6,000 of the chain's U.S. locations. The EMEA rollout will begin with pilot implementations at restaurants in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. An estimated 1,400 EMEA restaurants will complete installation by the end of 2017 and all new locations will include the Drive-Thru Director going forward. </img>

"Speed of service is a major concern for all quick service restaurants. Having the right tools in place to properly measure and analyze operations and enable restaurant managers to make appropriate adjustments to improve the guest experience is critical to remain competitive today," said Jim Flynn, CEO of SICOM. "This restaurant chain understands the importance of speed of service and is committed to delivering world-class operations. Our Drive-Thru Director offers their restaurant managers and crews a standardized tool to ensure continued improvement, driving sales and increasing productivity. The U.S. operations realized a 20 second improvement per transaction within the first quarter of using the Drive-Thru Director solution."

Drive-Thru Director  visualizes drive through traffic in real-time by interfacing with a restaurant's order confirmation unit and in-ground drive through loops. Leveraging its animated drive through representation, restaurant managers and crew can visualize cars in the line, automate the order management process and track speed of service performance.

Drive-Thru Director's Rack'N'Stack™ functionality delivers gamified comparative reporting to show restaurants where their speed of service ranks relative to other restaurants in their franchise. By playing on the natural competitive spirit of each restaurant, Rack'N'Stack functionality drives franchise-wide improvements to key speed of service metrics.

FoodFaves App Debuts

Necessity breed invention or in this case, aggravation. Long Island, New York father and daughter duo Paul Epstein, 54, an anesthesiologist, and Sydney Epstein, 24, a television editor, got aggravated with perusing Instagram food porn that was inaccessible and searching for restaurants in different cities with nothing to go on but website menus and Yelp reviews. They created The FoodFaves,  a new mobile app where foodies connect with pictures of delicious food posted by nearby restaurants, and they share those pictures with followers. All pics are tagged with address, map and miles radius to that restaurant. The app gets to know what kinds of foods you like, where you live/work and helps you identify pics of amazing food and how to go get it. Think Instagram for foodies meets Grubhub, but with a twist.

Restaurants use the foodfaves.com portal to upload their best-in-show food porn aka their best dishes. A restaurant’s images are tagged with: description, menu, website, address, phone, hours of operation and hashtags (e.g. #Italian, #AsianFusion, #bagels, #burgers, #dessert, #icecream, etc.).

When a hungry FoodFaves user taps an image, they see how many miles away that eatery is plus a map w/ directions to get them there.

Users open FoodFaves on their phones, and with the help of the app’s patented algorithm, they view enticing images of food from restaurants that are in close proximity to them, based on their food preferences. Users can take the FoodFaves Quiz to establish preferences. FoodFaves provides restaurants with a new and fun way to connect with potential customers through social sharing, social equity building, and imagery, according to the father-daughter duo.

Twisted Taco's New Mobile App

Twisted Taco has released a new mobile app designed to complement the in-store dining experience, which means that users can seamlessly access the Twisted Taco Rewards program from their phone. 

The Twisted Taco App now offers virtual punch cards and VIP coupons for returning customers. When a user reaches a certain number of visits or purchases, they can redeem their points for free rewards like appetizers or drink specials. Because the company has multiple locations across the country, these special offers are mostly transferrable from one location to another – giving users the opportunity to keep track of their rewards directly in the app. 

App users also get special access to coupons and limited time offers with push notifications. These reminders will notify users when they have enough credits for a free reward or when they otherwise qualify for special offers, like after they post a photo of their food on social media. These incentives are designed to improve customer satisfaction and give long-term benefits to the company’s most committed diners. 

In addition to Twisted Taco Rewards, the mobile app also features updated drink and food menus. Customers can easily preview their favorite lunch items and daily specials, then share the menu with friends and family. Best of all, users can easily find the closest Twisted Taco location with the built-in restaurant finder, which integrates with Google Maps and Apple Maps. 

MyRestaurantList Launches

Hungry travelers often ask hospitality hosts for local restaurant recommendations, especially since personal recommendations carry more weight than impersonal online reviews. That’s why start-up company MyRestaurantList Inc. launched a new online listing service that enables those working within the hospitality industry to easily make money doing what they have always done: Recommend restaurants. 

Here’s how it works: A hotel guest or visitor to a city asks for suggestions on places to eat. The hospitality worker points the guest to their own online list of favorite restaurants When the traveler opens their mobile browser to view the list, he or she will read restaurant comments and reviews written by the list owner, with star-ratings, and even a suggestion for items to order. After 60 page views to their list, the list owner can begin making money from restaurants that advertise on the list page (fees range from $0.05 to $0.55 per page view). MyRestaurantList signs-up the advertising restaurants, and list owners receive 80 percent to 95 percent of all advertising from their own list page. MyRestaurantList keeps the remaining five percent to 20 percent as its fee. 

"Hotels and hospitality workers provide a valuable service when making restaurant recommendations,” said Brian Lawe, CEO and Founder of MyRestaurantList. “MyRestaurantList.com is a modern way to offer restaurant recommendations while also driving revenue to the hotel’s bottom line or supplementing earnings for hospitality workers. How much money each list owner can make depends on how many travelers view their list page and how many restaurants are advertising on each list. Earnings can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars per year. Instead of a time consuming back-and-forth conversations about the many local options in food types, menus and atmosphere, a list owner invites travelers to open their mobile phones to view the host’s list page and see all relevant information in one place. Each list provides guests with a richer set of choices about where to eat.” 

MyRestaurantList.com is completely free for list makers, and it takes only one minute to add a restaurant to a list. The ideal list size should be seven to 12 local restaurants, with a cap at 20 eateries. Restaurant advertisers will appear higher on the list with full details presented to the viewer vs. non-advertising restaurants which will appear lower on the list and with details viewable after a click-thru. Better positioning and more details will help a restaurant grab the attention of visitors while they are choosing a restaurant. It is always free for a hotel with a restaurant on-property to promote their on-property restaurant above all other restaurants on their list.

Starting today, MyRestaurantList.com is available world-wide with English language support. Foreign language support is expected by the end of the year. 

“The sharing economy has unleashed competitive forces which are roiling the hospitality industry,” Lawe said. “Sharing business models, exemplified by Airbnb and Uber, allow individuals to share physical or intellectual resources by means of the Internet. MyRestaurantList provides hotels and hospitality workers with a new way to make money in the sharing economy.”

OnDeck Canada Partners with Lightspeed

Toronto, ON. April 27, 2017 — OnDeck Canada, a leading online lender to small businesses in Canada, and Lightspeed, a cloud-based point-of-sale platform for independent retailers and restaurants, have announced a partnership that will allow Lightspeed users to secure OnDeck loans. The new offering will be available to Lightspeed customers in Canada and the US providing up to $500,000 (US) term loans and $100,000 (US) lines of credit.

This strategic partnership between OnDeck and Lightspeed, who each share a focus on assisting small businesses, is a major step forward for Canadian businesses, especially those retail, restaurant, and e-commerce companies that can now acquire OnDeck financing to support their investment in the Lightspeed point of sale (POS) solution.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with Lightspeed, an innovative technology company that is enabling businesses to improve their customer experience on all channels,” says Gary Fearnall, Country Manager, OnDeck Canada. “Since 2014, OnDeck Canada has been focused on providing the right operating capital solutions to allow for investments in critical initiatives such as technology and hiring, and this partnership will continue to strengthen our connection to the retail and hospitality industries.”

OnDeck loans will also enable Lightspeed clients to take advantage of growth opportunities such as buying inventory, purchasing equipment, and boosting their customer experience.

“Lightspeed is laser focused on improving the competitiveness of independent businesses across North America, and for us this partnership makes perfect sense,” says JP Chauvet, President of Lightspeed. “In part, it gives us the opportunity to help our clients access our Omnichannel solution which can help improve their customer experience exponentially.”

Hospitality is an important sector for OnDeck Canada. In 2016 alone OnDeck Capital, Inc., the parent company of OnDeck Canada, saw an increase in loans within the Accommodation and Food Services industry.

“Among other strategic partnerships set to take shape in 2017, our work with Lightspeed and recent partnership with financial services company Wave, demonstrate our on-going commitment to the small business owners across North America and our genuine desire to see them succeed,” said Gary Fearnall. 

OnDeck’s advanced lending technology and staunch dedication to customer service has enabled it to deliver more than $6 billion dollars in capital to over 60,000 businesses across the United States, Canada, and Australia. 

Launched in 2005, Lightspeed is a cloud-based commerce solution for independent businesses, in-store and online. More than 45,000 retailers and restaurateurs processing over $15 billion in transactions annually use Lightspeed to manage their entire business.

Five Guys Connects with FoodLogiQ

Five Guys Burgers and Fries has selected its FoodLogiQ Connect platform for global supply chain visibility, streamlined supplier management, and quality issue tracking and reporting. The chain of restaurants has quickly expanded to more than 1,400 locations across North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Driven by this rapid growth, Five Guys required a supply chain solution that could meet its growing supplier management and food quality needs. The global restaurant brand will leverage the FoodLogiQ Connect platform to centralize supplier communications, standards and benchmarking. Using FoodLogiQ's Manage + Monitor module, Five Guys will standardize and centralize their international supplier food safety program and product quality specifications for their U.S., International (Europe and Middle East), and joint venture business in England. 

"We truly have vendors who are partners in the business with us, and our suppliers make up the fabric of our brand," said Carl Napiwocki, VP Global Supply Chain. "FoodLogiQ enables us to build greater collaboration and visibility with our suppliers so that we can not only protect the Five Guys brand, but protect our suppliers as well."

"We are excited to add Five Guys to our growing list of customers answering the call for greater transparency from their consumers," said Dean Wiltse, CEO of FoodLogiQ. "The ease of use of the FoodLogiQ platform allows Five Guys to realize a return on investment by creating efficiencies in their supply chain while also providing the visual and analytical reporting that will drive strategic decisions for their business."

Panera Chooses Bringg

Bringg started rolling-out its customer-centric delivery platform across the Panera Bread network of bakery-cafes. Bringg's customer-centric logistics platform helps Panera U.S. bakery-cafes maintain control and visibility over their expanding delivery offering.

With the Bringg platform, at Panera:

  • Bakery-cafes can use a single web-based or mobile dashboard to dispatch orders, manage drivers and track them in real time, as well as set up alerts for specific events, create reports for performance optimization, and much more.
  • Drivers have everything they need to ensure the perfect delivery right on their mobile phone, including the ability to manage their tasks, navigate to their next destination and communicate with customers
  •  Seamlessly integrated into the Panera Ecommerce Ordering Experience, guests can now follow the driver in real-time, communicate with them, and rate them after receiving their order.  

"As we introduce Panera delivery to markets across the country, we are delighted to add Bringg's solution to our forward-looking technology arsenal," said Dan Wegiel, SVP, Panera to You. "In our real-time era, fast, timely and personalized delivery services are a must-have for consumers, and Bringg helps to make that possible."

"We are very proud to add Panera Bread to the growing list of innovative brands using our platform," added Lior Sion, CTO at Bringg. "Our main goal is to enable our customers to provide their employees with optimal operational processes, help their drivers ensure accurate deliveries, and offer their end-customers excellent real-time experiences."

Sense360 Secures Financing

Sense360 secured seven million dollars in its Series A funding round. The company will use the funds to fuel its growth, as well as to strengthen its support of new and existing clients, representing nearly 20,000 locations across the quick serve and fast casual restaurant space. The financing round was led by Firstmark, and included Qualcomm Ventures (the investment arm of Qualcomm Incorporated) and Upfront Ventures.  

As part of the announcement, Sense360 also named four prominent industry leaders to its advisory board: Noah Glass, founder & CEO of Olo; Joel Aach, former VP of Insights at Darden Restaurants; Alex Vayslep, vice president at Maritz Holdings Inc.; and Huw Griffiths, global chief product officer at Universal McCann.

"The restaurant and retail industries have been challenged by a lack of deep and actionable consumer insights that can be leveraged to diagnose weaknesses and capitalize on strengths," said Eli Portnoy, CEO and Founder of Sense360. "We’re proud to be working with such prominent investors and well respected advisors. This infusion of capital will further power Sense360’s technology and our people to generate useful and reliable data and products that help quick serve and fast casual restaurants gain a competitive advantage in today’s challenging market."

At the core of Sense360’s research is its cutting-edge mobile sensor technology, which collects anonymous, always-on location and survey data from a panel of two million consumers, enabling the Company to observe where, how and when people interact with physical locations and businesses, without compromising consumer privacy. By understanding the visits of millions of consumers in the real world, Sense360 provides restaurants the ability to measure against key metrics and benchmarks, identify their core personas, analyze promotions and offers, discover growth opportunities and develop localized marketing plans using its proprietary data.

“What differentiates Sense360 from other data providers is our longitudinal visit data combined with surveys,” said Portnoy. “This means we help clients understand what happened via highly sophisticated behavioral analytics, and why it happened with our targeted surveys. The data uncovers the true opportunities thereby providing tremendous value to restaurants and retailers that are looking for a competitive edge in today’s crowded marketplace.”

OpenTable's GuestCenter App

OpenTable is making it easier for restaurant owners and managers to keep a pulse on their business on the go, through its GuestCenter iPhone app and notifications to the Apple Watch.

The iPhone app enables restaurateurs to make informed business decisions whenever and wherever they are by providing them with data, insights and the tools needed to keep their operation running smoothly.

"We understand that running a restaurant places round-the-clock demands on owners and managers, and for those that have more than one location these demands are multiplied," said Christa Quarles, CEO, OpenTable.  "The GuestCenter iPhone app creates an additional connection between OpenTable and restaurant owners and managers by helping them to better understand and improve their business in a simple and flexible manner." 

Initial data indicates the iPhone app is gaining traction fast with high user adoption and engagement. The app is opened on average nine times per day by each user and more than half engage with it daily. 

"I'm the chef and owner of The Bellwether, so I'm very tied into the restaurant and often times running from one place to the next. With the iPhone app, I'm able to see where reservations are throughout the day, if we're going to be busy, whether we need to bring in someone else and when orders are dying down so we can alert our cooks. I literally check it 15 times a day," said Ted Hopson, Chef and Owner at The Bellwether. 

Benefits of the iPhone app include:

  • Business insights on the go. Understand how many diners have been seated, upcoming reservations numbers and when peak dining times are, all at a glance. Get valuable insights everyday as well as being able to monitor key dining holidays such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day andNew Year's Eve. 
  • Ensure service is properly prepped. Know which tables are VIP, larger parties or which diners may be celebrating a special occasion. Ensure the front of house team are prepared for any changes to service that may be needed to ensure great hospitality for special diners or for key annual dining dates. 
  • Manage reservations and guest book. Make new reservations, review guest notes or details and update the status of diners on the move.
  • Notifications to the Apple Watch. Be alerted when a VIP has been seated, a reservation has been amended or cancelled and when new bookings are made.

GuestCenter integrates restaurants' real-time availability on the OpenTable network, which seats more than 21 million diners per month across more than 40,000 restaurants around the globe

Reorder with Seamless Alexa

Seamless launched its Reorder with Seamless Alexa skill. The new integration makes it easier for Seamless customers to reorder food -- using only their voice -- from its network of more than 50,000 restaurants nationwide. This number includes more than 11,000 restaurants in the Greater New York City area.

The Seamless skill for Alexa is available for all Seamless diners who have an Alexa-enabled device such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot Amazon Tap, Amazon Fire TV, or Fire tablet, and provides a convenient voice-ordering experience. Diners will be able to ask Alexa to recite their past three orders and reorder one of these meals from a favorite local restaurant.

"We're always evolving the ordering process to adapt to the 'on-the-go' lifestyle of our busy New York diners," said Sudev Balakrishnan, senior vice president of product, Grubhub. "The new Alexa skill will delight diners with the added convenience of quickly reordering some of their favorite meals, using only their voice."

How it works:

  • Diners enable the Seamless skill and link to their Seamless account using the Alexa app
  • Diners open the Seamless skill for Alexa using a selection of prompts such as, "Alexa, open Seamless" or, "Alexa, tell Seamless I'm hungry"
  • Alexa will respond with, "Welcome to Seamless! Here are the latest orders available for reorder"
  • Diners can then choose the option they would like to reorder 
  • Alexa places the order for the diner and provides an estimated delivery time 
  • The reorder skill for Alexa will be available to all Seamless users who have an Alexa-enabled device.
Cardknox and Click a Waiter Partner

Cardknox Development Inc. and Click a Waiter have formed a new partnership that combines the technology of Click A Waiter restaurant point of sale platform with the payments security of the Cardknox gateway to provide practical solutions for restaurants to grow their businesses and save on processing fees.

“Our aim is to be a full-service solution for the modern restaurant that can help businesses manage online and social media orders, assist with delivery coordination and coordinate the day-to-day business operations,” said Osvaldo Rodriguez, CEO at Click a Waiter.  “We realized that straightforward and secure payments were critical to customer satisfaction at restaurants, and worked with Cardknox to implement a solution for our software. Their integration was easy to implement and gave our system an edge in offering the best in payments to our clients.”

  Mark Paley, Director of Partner Sales at Cardknox, commented, “Research has shown that payments are a central component of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Business restaurants and takeout providers need quick payment times to keep lines short; we offer secure EMV payments with the fastest processing times in the industry. For the online ordering environment, consumers require secure and intuitive payment options. Our experience helps us offer innovative solutions and integrations to our partners specific to their industry and clientele.”

Domino's Tech Initiatives

Domino's Pizza is launching  Zero-click ordering in Canada for iOS and Android. When Domino's Canada launched the Easy Order in 2015, which refined the ordering experience down to five clicks, it seemed like the height of convenience for consumers.  It wasn't. Zero-click ordering is as easy as it sounds. 

"We are constantly thinking about new ways to make ordering more accessible and easier for our customers," said Michael Curran, President, Domino's Pizza of Canada. "Zero-click ordering will revolutionize the pizza ordering experience…as there is no easier way to order."

Have you ever wished there was technology that automatically turned on the front porch lights before your Domino's pizza is delivered?  Now there is, thanks to a partnership between Domino's and IFTTT.  

The IFTTT platform is a free service that allows people to add and create countless connections between digital devices and services with simple conditional statements, called Applets. Customers are able to create customized Applets for many of the services and devices they use or own. Domino's, the recognized world leader in pizza delivery and digital ordering platforms, is the first restaurant brand to join the IFTTT platform.  

To jump-start users' creativity, Domino's has created a few IFTTT Applets, including one that will automatically turn off their sprinklers when Domino's Tracker says their order is out for delivery. Customers can also download a Domino's Applet that turns on their Samsung POWERbot when their order is being prepared – perfect for when the house needs a good vacuuming before the gang stops by for a pizza party.

"We understand how much people love using Domino's Tracker, not only to know where their order is in the preparation and delivery process, but also to plan around that much-anticipated pizza arrival," said Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president – chief digital officer. "And now we're empowering customers to unleash their imagination as they create new ways to integrate some of our favorite innovations, like Domino's Tracker, into their everyday lives. Thanks to the endless possibilities of IFTTT Applets, customers will be more connected than ever."

Crew Launches Team Communications

Crew debuted s a free service that simplifies team communications at work giving leaders and co-workers a powerful new way to instantly send messages and stay up-to-date, manage schedules and give recognition all in one centralized place. Crew is the first communications service designed specifically for the millions of workers who are still using an elaborate system of text messaging, phone calls, printouts and bulletin boards. Teams from a wide range of industries and businesses from grocery stores to emergency services, are using Crew to coordinate day-to-day responsibilities, schedules, and activities. With Crew, they can instantly communicate about everything work-related in one simple-to-use app that is available on any device including iPhone, Android, and Tablets, and via the Web.

In addition, Crews recently closed a $15 million Series B round led by John Lilly at Greylock Partners and a previously unannounced $8 million Series A led by Matt Huang at Sequoia Capital, bringing the total financing to $24.9 million. Matt Huang and John Lilly have joined Michael Dearing from Harrison Metal on the Board of Directors.

Unlike collaboration software that has evolved around the needs of the office workers, Crew targets the millions of other workers who don’t have ready access to effective communications services on the job. Customers include store clerks, restaurant managers, pharmacists, nurses, baristas, coaches, police and fire personnel.

Despite operating in stealth mode with little marketing, Crew has already been adopted by more than 10,000 active organizations that are using it for more than 10 million work-related communications each week. Work-related communications include messages sent and read, shifts posted, time-off requests, one-tap reactions, and tasks completed. Prior to Crew, team communications were disorganized and spread across personal messaging services, social networks, and other offline methods. Many workers had to drive to work to find out about work.

“When teams have the ability to quickly communicate with each other from their mobile devices, this creates new opportunities for a smoother operation and ultimately better customer service,” said Danny Leffel, co-founder and CEO of Crew. “Open and clear communications helps everyone have a successful day at work. Over the last year and thanks to extensive input from our customers, we have refined Crew to deliver a highly useful service that leaders can count on to keep their teams up-to-date throughout the work day.”

 Crew gives organizations a complete team directory that's accessible to everyone without exchanging phone numbers, opening up the ability to have quick real-time discussions 1:1 or in groups so everyone can share information, solve problems and stay informed. Location groups allow teams to communicate with co-workers on-site and see who is currently at work, which is essential for 24 hour operations. Leaders can make announcements and see who's read them, and anyone can give recognition for great work. Teams can make the weekly shift schedule available on their phones and quickly handle shift covers or assign tasks directly from the app which results in fully staffed, well-prepared teams. With a variety of custom notifications options, leaders and co-workers can manage when they want to receive work-related communications making it easy to separate their work and personal lives.

“Enabling teams to communicate in near real-time requires a highly reliable and trusted service that is tailored to adapt to the way different types of businesses work,” said Broc Miramontes, co-founder and CTO of Crew. “Keeping teams on the same page means that it’s critical that everyone on the team can use Crew from whatever device they have, which challenges us to design for the broadest set of devices possible.”

“There are millions of organizations in the global workforce that depend on personal text messaging to direct their businesses. Crew is the first company to create a communications solution specifically for this customer,” said Matt Huang, partner at Sequoia Capital and Crew Board Member. “Crew has created a new platform that will enable leaders to efficiently bring their teams together in an unprecedented way so everything work-related can be addressed all in one place, and we are delighted to offer our support.”

“Messaging is a behavior that is already connecting most teams — via some mix of SMS groups, social platforms and more — but these approaches are ad hoc and not optimal for work communication because they are difficult to manage, blend personal and work lives, and are very clunky. Crew combines the power of mobile messaging with intuitive and simple UI to become a single place for team communications, scheduling and tasks,” said John Lilly, partner at Greylock and Crew Board Member. “As soon as I met Danny, Broc and the team at Crew, I immediately saw the potential in this idea and knew this was a team and a technology I wanted to back.”

Related Articles