MRM #RestaurantTech: Compeat Acquires Ctuit, Delivery Dominates and Insider Information

by MRM Staff 34 Min Read

Everything from burgers to ice cream can now be delivered to the intersection of hospitality and technology in this edition of Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine's #RestaurantTech column.  To submit items, contact Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com. 

Compeat Acquires Ctuit

Compeat is acquiring Ctuit, uniting two restaurant management software market leaders. The combination will create the largest provider of fully integrated accounting, back office and workforce software in the industry.

The acquisition unites best-in-class restaurant management software solutions to create an end-to-end product portfolio that includes Hire, Labor, Schedule, Payroll, Accounting, Inventory, Logbook, Event Management, Intelligence, Manager and Employee Mobile Apps and third party integrations including over 70 point of sale partners.

“Compeat and Ctuit have highly complementary businesses. The combined company will allow us to offer more comprehensive and innovative technology solutions to the restaurant industry, providing our combined customer bases more products and mobile apps with more in depth features,” said Jeffrey Stone, CEO of Compeat. “The combination of these two great companies will provide our customers with more choices and an obvious accounting, back office and workforce market leader. Our customers and employees are going to be the true benefactors of this combination.”

Jeffrey Stone

“I’ve entertained many conversations over the years and none felt right until now,” said Rob D’Ambrosia, Founder and CEO of Ctuit. “The combination of these three powerful organizations- Compeat, Ctuit and Serent Capital – coming together is incredible and the cultural fit is extremely strong. I have the utmost confidence in the leadership team and am thrilled to take a seat at the Board to be a part of this new organization. We all share a passion for serving the restaurant industry and a culture of excellence, innovation and integrity with a customer-centric mindset.”

Compeat customers will gain access to additional inventory features, an employee scheduling mobile app, a manager operations mobile app, an event management module and hundreds of additional customer centric intelligence reports. Ctuit customers will gain access to an integrated accounting product, an onboarding and applicant tracking product in Hire, as well as Payroll products and a true ad hoc analytics intelligence platform. It is truly a “win-win” for both customer bases.

All current products, customer contacts and support will remain the same for customers. Once integration is complete, customers will have more choices for add-ons and upgrades within the combined product portfolio.

The leadership team for the combined company includes:

  •     Jeffrey Stone, CEO of the combined company.
  •     Rob D’Ambrosia, Founder and CEO of Ctuit, who will take a Board seat and actively participate in guiding the new company.
  •     Bill Sheely, Co-Founder and President, who has been with Ctuit for over 17 years and has driven industry partnerships, technical systems and sales and marketing initiatives.
  •     Will Archer, CTO, who has been with Compeat for over a year and brings over 30 years of experience orchestrating large teams toward successful outcomes in business platforms for SaaS based solutions. In a short period, Archer has led the modernization of the Compeat tech stack and legacy products.
  •     Kerry Carney, CFO, who has been with Compeat for over a year and brings over 30 years of executive financial experience with an extensive background with private equity and publicly owned companies, including experience with SaaS and retail business models.
  •     Kristi Turner, CMO, who brings over 28 years of SaaS, hospitality and marketing experience and who previously served as CEO of Kaizen Consulting, a SaaS marketing consulting firm and as SVP of Marketing for HotSchedules, formerly Red Book Connect.
  •     Paul Dodd, SVP of Sales, who brings over 25 years of SaaS experience and who previously served as Head of Sales for the GA360 measurement Suite at Google and as VP of World Wide Sales at Adometry.
  •     Pat Darling, VP of Operations, who has over 30 years of technology and hospitality experience and has been with Ctuit for over 11 years managing operations, customer service and product management.

“We are thrilled to invest in Ctuit and welcome Rob to the Board,” said Kevin Frick, Chairman of Compeat and a Partner in Serent Capital. “We have a strong Board of Directors to support the leadership team in maintaining the high level of customer service both companies have historically provided and taking advantage of our strengthened competitive position for the exciting years of growth ahead.”

Ctuit was represented by Viant Capital LLC of San Francisco. Subject to traditional closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close this month. A brand decision for the combined company will be made over the next several months. Both the Compeat and the Ctuit brand will remain active in the marketplace through the end of 2017.

Toast Secures Financing and Teams with Paytronix

Toast announced an additional $101 million in financing led by new investors Generation Investment Management and Lead Edge Capital. Existing investors including Bessemer Venture Partners also participated in the oversubscribed round. Toast plans to use these new funds to continue building the market-leading cloud platform that empowers restaurants of all sizes to offer the best technology-enabled guest experience.

“The restaurant industry has historically been slower than others to adopt technology, leading to operational inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Advances in hardware, software and cloud computing are shifting that dynamic,” said Greg Wasserman, partner at Generation Investment Management. “Toast is leading this digital shift with its powerful, yet easy-to-deploy platform that is democratizing access to best-in-class technology. With Toast, all restaurants can maximize revenue, optimize operations, digitize paper processes, reduce food waste and other costs, and ultimately deliver a superior dining experience.”

Toast will use this funding to build on its track record of innovation, including:

  • Investing further in Toast Online Ordering, enabling a best-in-class ordering experience across various devices and channels
  • Enhancing key areas of the platform such as self-ordering kiosks, handheld pay-at the-table experiences, CRM and marketing tools, advanced reporting, inventory, loyalty, and more
  • Creating the industry’s most robust cloud-based restaurant platform, including modern, commercial grade hardware
  • Leveraging the immense amount of data restaurants collect to enable a more personalized guest experience and  improve labor and food cost profiles

"We’ve rapidly expanded our business over the past year by delivering on our mission and promise to be obsessed with customer success," said Chris Comparato, CEO of Toast. "We plan to accelerate our growth even faster in the year ahead with strategic investments that will help our restaurant customers focus on delivering great food and guest experiences."

The investment will also support the company’s hiring plan to double year-over-year; key appointments thus far include Hugh Scandrett, VP of Engineering, formerly of IBM and Kronos, as well as John Morrison, VP of Services, who joins Toast from Oracle MICROS. Toast currently boasts over 500 employees nationwide, and is on track to hire nearly 1,000 more in the next 18 months.

Additionally, Toast is now integrated  with Paytronix. Toast users are now able to extend their restaurant management platform with Paytronix loyalty and gift card solutions at all touch points - in-store, mobile, social networks and online.

With the Toast and Paytronix Integration, users will be able to increase loyalty with diners and:

  •  Sell more gift cards by making it easy for guests to find them whenever and wherever they are needed
  •  Empower operators with a robust loyalty program
  •  Provide online options with physical card web sales and eGift features, which plug into users’ existing website(s)
  •  Manage money movement, liability, discount tracking, and escheatment processes
  •  Deliver an improved staff and guest experience with:
    •  Card numbers for unique account identification
    •  Card activation dates for appropriate expiration and escheatment processing
    •  Current balances on active cards for consistent liability reporting

“Integrating Toast with the Paytronix platform lets restaurants take advantage of our platform and all the ways in which stored value programs can help them recruit new customers and increase sales,” said Michelle Tempesta, head of marketing, Paytronix Systems, Inc. “With stored value programs, merchants can provide the convenience of pre-paid, cashless purchases for high-traffic locations. Operators transform the customer experience with our technology thereby creating an environment that enables them to serve more guests in a short period of time.”  

To learn more, click here.

TripAdvisor and Deliveroo Form Alliance

TripAdvisor® and Deliveroo announced the integration of Deliveroo’s restaurant network into the TripAdvisor desktop website, mobile web and mobile app experiences across 12 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific regions. Consumers browsing TripAdvisor restaurant listings now have the option to order food from more than 20,000 of Deliveroo’s restaurant partners spanning across 12 countries and more than 140 cities. 

By simply clicking the "Order Online" button when browsing the TripAdvisor restaurant listing of one of Deliveroo’s partners, consumers are brought to Deliveroo's online or mobile platforms to quickly and easily place an order. The integration with Deliveroo expands TripAdvisor’s food delivery service into 12 new countries:  United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.

“Through this partnership with Deliveroo, we aim to give our restaurant listings a new way to engage with the TripAdvisor community – both at home and on-the-go. TripAdvisor is already a highly effective marketing platform for restaurants, and new services like food delivery create incremental value for both businesses as well as consumers,” said Bertrand Jelensperger, Senior Vice President, TripAdvisor Restaurants. “Whether reading reviews, reserving a table through TheFork or placing a food order through Deliveroo, our goal is for TripAdvisor to serve as a one-stop-shop for diners around the world.”

At Deliveroo we're always looking for new ways to bring great food to people's doors," added Will Shu, Founder and CEO at Deliveroo. "We're excited to partner with TripAdvisor to make it even easier for our customers to order delicious food from the best local restaurants, wherever they are in the world."

Terms and length of the agreement will not be disclosed.

Shake Shack and Olo Extend Digital Ordering Experience to Android

Olo, the leading digital ordering provider powering over 180 restaurant brands across the U.S., today announced the launch of the Shake Shack® mobile ordering Shack App for Android, created in collaboration with mobile product agency Fuzz. Following the successful launch of Shake Shack’s iOS digital ordering app earlier this year, Shack fans can now enjoy the convenience and speed of ordering their favorite Shake Shack menu items directly from their Android phones. 

“We are excited for the next phase of our partnership with Shake Shack, the beloved burger chain with a loyal and enthusiastic following, to strengthen and expand the digital offering,” said Noah Glass, Founder & CEO of Olo. “This new platform will further elevate both the in-Shack guest experience and take out by allowing consumers to order ahead from the convenience of either their Android or iOS device without the wait or long lines.”

The Shack App for Android was created to address growing consumer demand for convenient mobile ordering and shorter wait times. Shake Shack reported the iOS version of its app has been downloaded 350,000 times, and mobile orders have been 15 percent larger than other orders. Live for just four months, the Shack App represents three percent of the brand’s sales following an intro promotion, with expectations for digital continuing to grow in the coming months.

“We created the Shack App to make the Shake Shack experience even more convenient, allowing our guests to cut the line and get their Shack on their own terms,” said Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack. "Working with Olo helped us fast-track our work on the Android platform so we can now provide the Shack App experience to all of our guests.”

With the new Android Shack App, guests can order their food, choose an available pickup time and it will be cooked-to-order and timed to their arrival. All pickup times are in fifteen minute increments. The Shack App also features all of the mobile ordering essentials: guests can find Shacks via a location finder; pick from their favorite orders; keep track of food allergies; access nutritional information; see the latest events and promos; connect to all Shake Shack social media channels and share feedback.

Upserve Launches Restaurant Insider

Upserve launched  Restaurant Insider, an online community designed by and for restaurant insiders that provides news, information on the latest trends and advice centered around the restaurant industry. The new resource also features an active community board where restaurant workers can sound off on topics that are important to them. Subscribers will  receive The Shift - the newsletter of Restaurant Insider for updates on industry news, trends and commentaries that are rising to the top of the discussion boards. The Shift will replace the current Upserve blog newsletter.  The  Community Forum has sections  such as  “Ask a Restaurateur” or “Restaurant Rants."

NCR Integrates DoorDash

NCR Corporation announced an agreement with DoorDash for the planned integration of the DoorDash marketplace to the NCR Aloha Platform-of-Sale (POS). The integration will allow restaurants to more efficiently receive and manage delivery orders placed through DoorDash, while helping to provide a better experience to DoorDash customers. Integrating delivery orders directly into the POS is designed to make it easier for restaurants on DoorDash to manage their orders, increase accuracy and save time. DoorDash will leverage NCR’s API ecosystem to integrate its delivery marketplace to the NCR Aloha Platform, enabling automated order entry. The integration will be available to restaurants using NCR Aloha and DoorDash in the coming months.

“DoorDash is focused on providing an incredible merchant experience, and one reason restaurants choose to partner with us is because of the customizability of the platform,” said Tony Xu, CEO and co-founder of DoorDash. “Integrating DoorDash with NCR Aloha provides restaurants with another way to streamline their business and expand their off-premise business without requiring additional technology.”

DoorDash’s platform is used by the most top 100 national restaurant brands to power their on-demand delivery business, making them a natural fit for a partnership with NCR Aloha. In addition to their respective leadership in serving restaurants, NCR and DoorDash also share common customers in the retail sector. The opportunity created by this partnership and NCR’s omni-channel approach has the potential to create significant value for NCR, DoorDash, and their common customers.

“We are excited to hear of the integration efforts between Aloha POS and DoorDash. Our partnership with both DoorDash and NCR will open up doors for P.F. Chang’s to deliver its made from scratch food to even more guests outside of our restaurant in a consistent and timely manner,” said Dwayne Chambers, chief marketing officer for P.F. Chang's. "The integration between DoorDash and NCR will allow us to update our in-restaurant and delivery menus at the same time, on one platform. This helps us to realize a number of operational efficiencies and ensures that our diners can choose from the most updated menu items, whether they're eating in our restaurant or dining in the comfort of their own home."

"As restaurants add new ordering and delivery options to their business to drive growth, it’s critical to have technology in place that streamlines the ordering process and, operationally, treats every order the same, regardless of what channel it comes from,” said Don Zimmerman, vice president of hospitality solutions at NCR. “NCR is excited to extend this capability to our customers that leverage DoorDash’s innovative technology, enabling them to easily manage both delivery and in-house orders from start to finish.”

Baskin-Robbins Teams with DoorDash

Ice cream lovers in nearly two dozen cities across the country can use DoorDash to have Baskin-Robbins ice cream treats delivered right to their doorstep. More than 600 Baskin-Robbins locations in 22 cities will be supported by DoorDash delivery, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. Residents in the participating cities can use the DoorDash app or website to order their favorite Baskin-Robbins products with just a tap or click, without leaving home or work.

"We're so excited to partner with DoorDash to offer our guests the very best ice cream delivery experience and give them another way to enjoy Baskin-Robbins ice cream treats from the convenience of their own home," said Carol Austin, Vice President of Marketing for Baskin-Robbins. "And to celebrate our ice cream delivery launch and National Ice Cream Month, we're honored to work with DoorDash to deliver joy to several children's hospitals across the country by providing free Polar Pizzas to patients, their families and/or dedicated hospital staff."

The children's hospitals that will receive a Polar Pizza delivery are partners of the Joy in Childhood Foundation (formerly the Dunkin' Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation) whose mission is to bring joy to sick and hungry kids. The participating hospitals include the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Rady Children's Hospital (San Diego) and Phoenix Children's Hospital.

"Nothing brings joy to people quite like ice cream, so we're proud to celebrate our partnership with Baskin-Robbins by having Dashers across the country deliver Polar Pizzas to children's hospitals," said Tony Xu, CEO and co-founder of DoorDash. "Through our partnership with Baskin-Robbins, we're now able to provide our busy customers with the convenience of having the brand's high-quality, premium ice cream treats delivered right to their doorstep."

Omnivore Partners with PAR 

ParTech, Inc. partnered with  Omnivore to enable PAR’s Cloud-Based Brink POS® Software to connect with a host of new technologies. Omnivore’s development platform enables a single API integration, seamlessly facilitating connections to POS systems in ways never before achieved. By lowering the technology integration barriers for app developers, Omnivore simplifies the process for restaurants to test and evaluate new technologies, including reservation, delivery, mobile ordering and more, through a proven interface installed on a POS system. Through the integration, restaurant operators will be able to access a rapidly expanding marketplace of apps designed to drive better insight into operations and more efficient customer service. The marketplace allows restaurants to seamlessly test and activate different applications, and to compare performance results side by side.

“Omnivore helps create the ultimate set of customer service tools by allowing operators to easily test and deploy the latest app technologies and maximize revenue opportunities by increasing customer engagement,” said Mike Wior, CEO & Co-Founder, Omnivore. “We have a history of extremely positive experiences working with Brink, and set a goal early on to integrate with the software because we knew it would provide operators with a competitive advantage in the crowded restaurant landscape. This partnership increases revenue potential by opening new insight into operational efficiencies and enhancing customer interaction.”

Omnivore’s unique universal API will now connect Brink to a host of new technologies through a single integration that bridges the digital divide in the restaurant industry. Through open, online exchange, Omnivore and Brink’s partnership will provide restaurants and suppliers with quick and easy activation of digital solutions. 

“Brink POS boasts one of the largest partner ecosystems available in the restaurant industry and we are delighted to now welcome Omnivore as an integration partner,” said Paul Rubin, Chief Strategy Officer, ParTech, Inc.  “This partnership allows restaurants access to all of the applications enabled by Omnivore and its App Marketplace, which is another example of how Brink POS continues to be the leading open platform for restaurants.”

Velvet Taco Debuts New Mobile App

 Velvet Taco – the premium taco concept created by Dallas-based Front Burner Restaurants – unveiled its all-new mobile app on July 13.

The new, user-friendly app allows customers to order Velvet Taco directly from their mobile devices. The app enables ordering from all five of Velvet Taco’s restaurants in Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston.

“We recognized the importance of continuously modernizing and enhancing our guests’ experiences, which is why we partnered with Olo to create this state-of-the-art new app,” said Clay Dover, President of Velvet Taco. “Using this technology, our loyal guests will be able to skip the line by ordering ahead on their smartphone. Plus, we’ll be able to interact with them in a convenient manner, which will lead to more satisfying and memorable Velvet Taco experiences.”

The app is available for download at the iOS and Android stores.

Subway® Partners with SiteZeus 

The Subway® restaurant chain has partnered with Florida-based location intelligence leader SiteZeus® to augment its development strategy by adding data driven location intelligence with advanced geospatial technology and visualization. Combined with its own market data, Subway® is confident it will now have more thorough and accurate insights and suggestions for growth in every market.

"Our focus is on a strategic development strategy to make sure Subway franchisees have the greatest opportunities to successfully grow their businesses," said Chief Development Officer Don Fertman. "Our Development Agents review an incredible amount of information to determine where to locate new or relocate existing restaurants in each market. With the addition of the SiteZeus platform, we will be able to better evaluate how individual locations will perform and affect the trade area while providing analytical tools for overall market realignment."

"SiteZeus may be a technology company, but at the end of the day we are in the business of relationships. We want to partner and grow with our clients on a long-term scale, and the Subway® brand is looking for exactly that same type of relationship," said SiteZeus Co-CEO and Co-Founder Keenan Baldwin. "At our core, we are a location intelligence platform. But our technology is limitless by nature. Optimization, acceleration, automation— it's all there in our Synergy platform."

The companies will work together to both enhance the customer experience and streamline franchise processes.

More Franchises Switch to Naranga

Naranga announced 20 franchises switched to their software in the second quarter. The record-setting quarter brings to 39 the number of franchises that have switched to Naranga in 2017.

Naranga’s CEO, Mark Montini, said, “Naranga’s reputation for providing world-class service and our new enterprise pricing model are really driving the success. Many of our new clients told us they switched because our software is more user-friendly and our service is more proactive than their current provider. Our fixed pricing model without upgrade fees is also well-received. Better service, better software and no-surprise pricing really is a winning formula for us.”

Naranga’s second quarter client wins came from three continents, four countries and included both established and emerging franchise brands. Kitchen Tune-Up was one of the franchises that switched to Naranga in the second quarter. Heidi Morrissey, Kitchen Tune-Up’s President, said, “With over 185 franchise locations nationwide, we value staying at the forefront of our business concept and remaining the leader in our industry. Switching to Naranga enables us to ensure that we do just that.”

“Franchisors are really embracing Naranga as the much-needed alternative to the status quo," added Montini. "Our focus on service, history of client success, and ground-breaking product innovations have created significant momentum for us. I anticipate there will be a record number of franchisors switching to Naranga again in Q3.”

The Big Salad turned to Naranga for their full suite of franchise management software. Naranga’s lead management software will provide them with the ability to take full control of their sales pipeline, streamline lead flow, and increase conversion rates – all while reducing costs. With the implementation of Naranga’s central operations software, The Big Salad will have "one source of truth" with integrated business processes including templates for site buildout, centralized document management, day-to-day communications, support ticketing, contract expiration notifications and more.

In addition, The Big Salad has switched to Naranga for online employee training and brand standards/field audits. Online employee training will ensure a consistent message to consumers at all locations, while brand standards/field audits will follow up and provide direct insight to every location’s brand performance and consistency. Together both solutions will preserve The Big Salad’s message across all locations to guarantee their signature experience.

“We initially met Naranga at IFA earlier this year. We were impressed with the simple and intuitive interface of all solutions, and that they could provide us a one stop shop for many facets of operating our business,” said John Bornoty, Founder and CEO of The Big Salad.

“The Big Salad is a great example of a trend that we have seen in the market over the last year.  An emerging concept that is laying the technology rails early to get a firm handle on their operations, while proving to current and prospective franchisees that they will receive superior support across all facets of their business,” said George Duffield, VP of Enterprise Sales at Naranga. 

Consolidated Concepts Grows Team

Consolidated Concepts said Charlie Lewis and Tyler Norman now serve as Culinary Supply Chain Specialists.

“Culinary continues to become more significant to the success of brands from quick service to fine dining, which is why we made the decision to add two culinary experts to our roster of cost reduction specialists,” said Bruce Reinstein, president, Consolidated Concepts. “In order to stand out and be different from the many consultants and GPO’s in the industry, it is essential to be broad in the areas of expertise that may or may not be needed by an operator to reduce their costs without sacrificing quality."

Lewis has spent 35 years in the hospitality industry and earned a Bechelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He also studied cooking and baking at the Minuteman Technical School in Lexington, and continued to study Hotel & Restaurant Management at Paul Smith’s College in New York. Lewis has held positions of the director of catering, Inter-Continental Hotels in Hawaii & Marriott Hotels, and as buyer and category manager for BJ’s Wholesale Clubs & Whole Foods Markets.

Charles Lewis

Tyler Norman is an experienced supply chain expert skilled in the areas of customer support, business planning, operations management, sales, and data analysis. He has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arizona and a Culinary Arts Degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale. During his career, he was a sous chef for Fox Restaurant Group and most recently held the position of regional project manager, sales and operations, for custom packaging company Landsberg Orora.

Tyler Norman

“The Consolidated Concepts approach is truly different in that we talk to the operator about where they believe they have deficiencies,” Reinstein noted. “Culinary professionals like to talk to culinary professionals and Consolidated Concepts now has two people for them to do that with.”

Round Table Selected Onosys

Round Table Pizza selected Onosys as its brand-wide digital ordering platform.  Round Table Pizza has seen a double-digit growth in online sales for each of the last five years. With 290 of the chain’s restaurants already serving guests via the Onosys platform, the decision today will result in the conversion of all the remaining 160 locations to Onosys for a consistent, single online solution.

Round Table Pizza reached this decision after conducting a thorough review of 12 different ordering providers. At one point, the chain had three different digital ordering platforms in use, each with a different style of user interface and customer experience. “We evaluated each of the 12 providers on a variety of technical criteria,” said Andrew Kohn, Director of Business Technology for the company. “But ultimately it boiled down to which platform was best suited to the technology of pizza ordering, and which one would provide the best brand experience to our guests. That was Onosys.”

“Our very first client was a pizza chain, so we built the Onosys platform from the beginning to handle the complexities of pizza ordering,” said Rob Taylor, Onosys CEO. Since its inception, Onosys has processed nearly $1 billion in total online food sales for clients that include Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Boston Pizza.

The company is currently working closely with Onosys and other resources on enhancing its RoundTablePizza.com website, and has significantly increased its social media presence to provide more ways to engage with guests online, particularly via mobile platforms. “The phrase ‘mobile first’ is a mantra around here,” says Tom Guilford, Vice President of Information Services. “That’s increasingly where guests are interacting with and ordering from us, and we want them to be able to do so quickly and easily.”

Interactive Video Wall 

RealMotion™ powered the installation of a compellingly immersive digital video wall at the Sofitel Paris Baltimore hotel.

“The goal of this project was to create a perfectly integrated entertaining, informative and interactive welcome wall that was also an intuitive tool for visitors to engage with and hotel staff to easily manage and update,” RealMotion Chief Technology Officer Sevan Dalkian said today. “We achieved this goal by designing an experience that is entirely focused on the end-user from start to finish. Float4’s technical and creative thinkers worked as a team to create an intuitive tool that also complements the aesthetics of a 19th century space.”

Amplifying this thought, Float4 Co-Founder Alexandre Simionescu emphasized, “We developed the RealMotion platform as the logical evolution of the design and content generating consulting services that we offer our clients every day. It is a platform that is now being installed at client sites around the world.”

The interactive video wall installed at the Sofitel Paris Baltimore hotel is designed to compel the attention of arriving guests and initiate a friendly and engaging interaction that is both playful and fun. Once engaged by the visuals on the wall, guests inevitably touch the wall triggering a deeper interaction that is difficult to pull away from. The wall features artworks that attract guest attention and respond to their movements, a photo booth, and a virtual concierge, where guests can explore Paris. Hotel staff can log on to the content management system and help create a path through Paris that lasts two hours, based on the guest’s interests. The path can also be downloaded to the guest’s smartphone for added convenience.

The RealMotion system installed at the Sofitel Paris Baltimore hotel predominantly generates real-time content at an astounding 6K resolution that is being maximized by the system’s pixel mapping features. RealMotion’s ability to enable real-time compositing allowed Float4 to layer multiple types of media (i.e. HTML5 for interfaces, real-time graphics and high-resolution video for background elements). Layered interactive technology empowered Float4 to combine both motion and multi-touch functionality to create a progressive interactive experience. The custom content management system enabled the hotel staff to customize many aspects of the wall's content including the creation of customized itineraries through Paris that can be downloaded on to guests’ mobile phones. A selfie station allows visitors to take pictures and share them with friends directly or more broadly on social media platforms. Live feeds from cameras or television can be processed through RealMotion for events. And remote monitoring allows everyone to be proactive in maintenance operations.

caterfox Helps Qdoba

caterfox simplified business operations for Qdoba Mexican Eats by providing software that allows their catering staff to focus on what matters—their cooking and their customers. Qdoba began using the caterfox application in November 2015, which helps clients thrive by growing their business, providing organization and offering analytics. By dealing with the daily nuances and headaches of running a business, clients can focus on growing their business. As caterfox users, clients receive analytical breakdowns of how their catering services are performing.

"caterfox has been a game changer. We needed a software platform that would help manage our customer database, create invoices and retain order history,” said Rick Galaviz, Qdoba Austin director of catering operations.

“It has been an essential part of our growth by organizing our client list and gave us the ability to create order invoices efficiently and quickly send to our customers,” said Arnae Jinette, Qdoba Austin director of catering sales. While there are a range of options when it comes to software for caterers, caterfox was carefully designed into a simple, easy-to-use application taking away extraneous “ingredients” that users don’t need. The caterfox team knows how busy professionals are in the catering space, which is why they built their software to be straightforward and approachable. Because the application is so streamlined and thoughtful, the caterfox team can also guarantee catering staff members will learn and comprehend the dashboard without needing to attend long training sessions.

“Caterers are busy. Their passion is for the best in client service, memorable food and an unmatched experience for clients,” said  Maulik Suthar, co-founder of caterfox. “Common areas of constant pain are organization, workflow and scheduling. Typically, it’s a spreadsheet, written scribbles, text and phone calls or emails, or a combination thereof to make catering work, but we promise there is a better way.”

Chipotle's SAVOR.WAVS

Chipotle Mexican Grill collaborated with RZA to create SAVOR.WAVS, an immersive digital experience that reinterprets each ingredient in Chipotle’s food as music and responsive visuals.

RZA composed sounds using various instruments inspired by each of the 51 real ingredients Chipotle uses to make its food. Those sounds were then paired with beautiful visuals also inspired by the ingredients. When combined, based on orders that customers compose, they create a unique visual song to represent any possible menu combination from Chipotle. Developed by Chipotle and CAA Marketing, this musical re-imagination of Chipotle’s ingredient statement is another example of how music and food can bring people closer together.

Customers can visit SAVORWAVS.com to compose their own individual order. As they build their order, the musical composition and visualization builds along with it, resulting in a stunning 360-degree visual experience that reacts in real-time to the movement of a mobile device.

“SAVOR.WAVS supports our commitment to using only real ingredients in our food — without any colors, flavors or industrial additives,” said Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing and development officer at Chipotle. “As a parallel to the way we cook, RZA used only natural instruments, and composed them such that each unique combination works beautifully together.”

“I’ve always believed food, like music, has the power to change our day and even shape our world,” said RZA. “SAVOR.WAVS continues to challenge us in how we think about food, what’s real and what’s responsible.”

This innovative experience was developed using the latest WebGL & WebAudio technologies and is best run on the latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge, or using another device running iOS 9 or Android 4.2 (or above). Customers who participate in SAVOR.WAVS can also earn a buy-one-get-one entrée, while supplies last, to enjoy the real-life version of their favorite order.

Pizza Hut franchise Selects Delaget 

JJB Pizza, a new 35-unit Pizza Hut franchise in Jackson, Miss. announced a payroll, accounting, and restaurant reporting partnership with Delaget, LLCs. The new franchise is also leveraging the new Delaget Data Management Platform.

"Relationships are important to franchisees like me. When looking for a provider, I didn't want to work with a company that treated me like a transaction. With Delaget, it's a family-type feel. Their team is always available to me and our relationship doesn't end at 5 p.m.," said Mike Quinn, Owner of JJB Pizza. "As a new owner, I have a lot of responsibilities – and a lot of questions. The Delaget team understands that, and they do whatever it takes to help me out," he added.

JJB Pizza is leveraging two Delaget solutions, including:

Delaget Books, a time-saving payroll and accounting service focused on multi-unit operators. With Delaget Books, franchise owners save time by having Delaget experts process accounts payable and receivable, daily cash reports, P&Ls, payroll, and expense reports, and handle other accounting tasks. 

Delaget Stats, a comprehensive software-as-a-service reporting platform that allows restaurant operators to quickly view, analyze, and react to performance metrics such as product mix, average ticket, and speed of service.

"Outsourcing payroll and accounting allows me to do two things. First, I'll be able to focus on and connect with my team more often. Secondly, I can spend more time driving and growing the business from a sales perspective. I'll be able to strategize on how to gain more market share and can also spend more time working on community relations projects," said Quinn.

"Using Delaget for reporting will help me stay ahead of the business. Being able to easily view the daily sales report, labor, and food cost will help the team know where we should spend our limited time and make the business better," he added.

Another reason Quinn chose Delaget – they can easily support JJB Pizza's plan for growth.

"I don't want to stop at 35 stores, I want to grow and acquire more units. This means I'll need processes in place and a foundation that's strong. With Delaget, it's seamless. If I decide to open two more stores, I can just call up Delaget and they'll work their process and we're good to go. This will definitively take the headache off of growing pains," said Quinn.

"We find that new franchisees like Mike are looking for help on running the 'business of the business.' He's already an expert in operating a pizza business, and that's where he wants to dedicate his focus. We'll help him do that by taking care of his back-office tasks and by providing end-to-end reporting he can use to make smart decisions. He doesn't want to spend his time messing around with payroll, taxes, or reporting, so we handle it for him," said Jason Tober, Delaget CEO. "JJB Pizza is starting on an exciting journey, and we're looking forward to supporting their growth." 

Como Launches Sense Express

Como expanded its product offering with the launch of Como Sense Express, which gets businesses set up fast with personalized loyalty programs, a branded mobile app, and actionable data and BI. The POS-integrated product is an entry-level version of the full Como Sense customer engagement and loyalty platform, which is proven to deliver results including a 48 percent increase in monthly purchase frequency.

"Until now, restaurant owners and small retailers have found it difficult to run their own loyalty program. They typically employ outdated stamp cards or generic points programs that reveal little about their loyal customers. They are impeded from using smarter, deeper loyalty solutions by implementation requirements, service costs, and lack of skilled staff," said Yair Holtzer, Como cofounder and head of Como US office, which officially launched its operations a short time ago.

"With Como Sense Express, we have eliminated those barriers by integrating with the business' POS provider. Now, small brick-and-mortar chains can finally establish an effective two-way relationship with their customers while running a data-driven loyalty program with proven ROI," added Holtzer.

The new product is based on the same technology as the full Como Sense solution, which is used by hundreds of businesses including Burger King and Quiznos, but with increased ease of use and affordability. "The best thing about Como Sense Express is that business owners can continue working with their current POS provider, since that provider will set up the solution and furnish ongoing support," said Holtzer.

To that end, Como has integrated with POS providers such as NCR, Revel Systems, MICROS, POSitouch, and others that will offer Como Sense and Como Sense Express to their customers. To date, Como is the leading company in POS integrations across the globe with more than 75 integrations.

Bevi Raises Funds

Bevi raised a $16.5M Series B led by Trinity Ventures, with ongoing support from Horizons Ventures and Tamarisc. The company will use the funding to continue expansion throughout the United States, support the launch of their new counter-top beverage dispenser model, and accelerate the development of IoT-enabled technology that allows consumers to customize their beverages at the Point of Use.

Bevi's mission is to make disposable bottles and cans obsolete by creating a delivery platform for healthy beverages on tap. Their smart water cooler stores natural flavorings and lets users create custom drinks through a touchscreen interface, with options ranging from basics like cold filtered water and cucumber water to more creative concoctions like coconut and peach seltzers. As a compliment to the flagship beverage dispenser (which is about the size of a traditional standalone water cooler), they are launching a counter-top unit designed for smaller spaces. Both products aim to completely replace water coolers and bottled and canned beverages. In many cases, Bevi has reduced office beverage costs by 50 percent or more.

With over 1000-percent revenue growth in 2016, Bevi has hundreds of corporate clients, including Apple, Netflix, Fidelity, and GE.

EyeSucceed Teams with Glass

EyeSucceed was recognized as a Glass Partner for food industry applications of Glass.

"Through its work with NSF International, EyeSucceed has expanded the application of Glass technology, addressing food safety and quality issues around the globe," said Jay Kothari, Project Lead, Glass.  

Working directly with the Glass team and foodservice operations on the Google campus, EyeSucceed has been piloting food industry applications of Glass, including remote food safety and quality audits, since February 2015.  

"While we started developing these applications to support remote food safety and quality audits, we quickly realized that assisted reality and wearable technology solutions could address many other business challenges in the food industry," said Tom Chestnut, Co-Founder of EyeSucceed and a 30-year food industry veteran. "Assisted reality and wearables will be disruptive technologies in the food industry, specifically in the realms of employee training, food safety and consistent execution at the operational level." 

From rising labor costs to continual employee turnover and inconsistent execution, restaurant and retail owners face enormous day-to-day business challenges. EyeSucceed utilizing AR and wearable technology delivers innovative, patent-pending solutions like smart training and AR-assisted execution of tasks.

According to Jennifer Tong, Co-Founder of EyeSucceed and formerly of the National Restaurant Association, "The two primary gains of smart training and learning with wearable technology are the ability to train employees directly and unassisted at the workstation – even as the workstation moves as tasks change – and to do it in a simple, hands-free manner. Essentially, wearable devices like Glass are the trainers of the future, eliminating the high labor costs associated with peer-to-peer training, bringing greater efficiency and consistency to the workplace."

EyeSucceed's smart execution functionality monitors employee actions in real time as they follow step-by-step requirements needed to complete job tasks. If an employee deviates from the correct process, EyeSucceed notifies them through the wearable device and immediately displays the corrective action to be taken. Employee actions – including time between steps, deviation from correct procedures and corrective actions – are uploaded into the cloud. From there, data analytics can lead to process improvements. After two years of research and development, field trials for the EyeSucceed training applications and the initial mapping of data into the Google Cloud platform will commence in Q4 2017.

EyeSucceed is currently testing additional food industry applications with NSF International clients in the United States, Asia and Latin America, where the ability to livestream from around the globe is allowing the industry to view first production runs, conduct supplier quality calibration and assist field operations by providing expertise from remote locations. 

"Assisted reality and wearable technology is evolving at a rapid pace and will soon forever change how the food industry does business," Chestnut said.  "We are thrilled to be a Glass Partner to continue to evolve applications across the food industry."

Noodles & Company Unveiled Rewards Program

Noodles & Company unveiled NoodlesREWARDS nationwide – a surprise-and-delight-based rewards program that delivers unique, tailored offers and information directly into the palms of Noodles guests’ hands – available exclusively within the NoodlesREWARDS app.

The all-new NoodlesREWARDS program is designed to suit the needs of Noodles & Company guests by personalizing rewards and providing instant experiences along their flavor journeys. Each guest who signs up for the program will earn $3 off any order valid for two weeks after receipt, a reward for referring friends to the program, plus ongoing surprise offers tailored to their Noodles preferences. NoodlesREWARDS also offers guests the convenience of mobile ordering and easy access to information on their favorite Noodles & Company dishes and locations.  

“Over the last year, a great amount of time went into evaluating and testing several reward models to develop a first-class program that would appeal to all our guests,” said Jonathan Tress, vice president of marketing at Noodles & Company. “The result of those efforts is NoodlesREWARDS, which was solely created to better connect with our guests and reward them for their continued loyalty and love for all things Noodles.” 

Earning rewards is as simple as scanning the app at the point of purchase, scanning a receipt, entering your receipt code online, or ordering through the app.

Papa John's Facebook Ordering

Starting today, people with a love for better pizza won’t have to pause between liking their friends’ vacation photos on social media and ordering a Papa John’s pizza. Papa John’s national Facebook page now features a prominent “Start Order” button—giving Papa John’s fans one more way to seamlessly order their favorite pizzas, desserts and sides. 

Customers can access Papa John’s Facebook Instant Experience through several entry points so they can order pizza without ever having to leave the Facebook app—via the brand’s national Facebook page as well as the Timeline’s “Order Food” option, indicated by a hamburger icon. Facebook may soon consider changing that symbol to a slice of pizza.

“The only thing that could make the video of your friend’s new puppy better is a Papa John’s pizza being delivered while you’re watching it,” said Brandon Rhoten, Global CMO of Papa John’s. “We love that Facebook is giving their two billion active monthly users access to real-world experiences like food ordering, and are proud to be the first national pizza brand on board.”

With this new integrated ordering feature, Papa John’s continues to find new ways to provide the best digital experience to its customers.

“Our goal is to meet Papa John’s customers wherever they are,” said Mike Nettles, Chief Information and Digital Officer at Papa John’s. “This is core to our strategy for simple, easy ordering for our guests.”

 In addition to now being the first national pizza brand to allow guests to order pizza instantly through Facebook, Papa John’s was the first national pizza company:

  • with digital ordering at all of its U.S. delivery restaurants in 2001;
  • to offer system wide mobile ordering with SMS text in 2007;
  • to launch a nationwide digital rewards program in 2010, Papa Rewards;
  • to offer gift cards that can be used on mobile devices;
  • to surpass 60% of total U.S. sales via digital channels; and
  • to launch a custom Apple TV ordering app (first national restaurant brand, not only pizza).
  • DoorDash Launches Door To Door Restaurant Delivery In 70 Cities In The Tri-State Area
DoorDash Expands Footprint 

DoorDash launched  in the northern New Jersey and Long Island areas. This announcement marks DoorDash's expansion into more than 40 major metropolitan markets across more than 500 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Today's launch expands DoorDash's footprint across the Tri-State Area in both Long Island and New Jersey; now operating in Essex, Bergen and Nassau counties. Currently, DoorDash is also available throughout the New York metro area, in Manhattan, Brooklyn and parts of Queens.

Starting today, Tri-State Area residents can order in from hundreds of their favorite restaurants across a wide variety of cuisines through the DoorDash platform. Delivery through DoorDash is available from 10am until 10pm daily from many local favorites, including:

Bareburger

Doughology

Millburn Deli

Inspiration Roll

Dough Artisan Pizza

Brick Lane Curry House

Finca

Revel Restaurant and Bar

Sufiya's Grill

Frank's Steaks

DoorDash's national partnerships with P.F. Chang'sThe Cheesecake FactoryCalifornia Pizza Kitchen, and Taco Bell will also extend to the northern New Jersey and Long Island areas.

At launch, delivery fees will range from 99 cents to $3.99.

"At Doughology, we understand that people want premium, fresh delicious donuts and we're excited to announce that we've teamed up with DoorDash. Together with DoorDash our delicious treats can now be delivered directly to your front door in just minutes," said Chris Stiansen, Owner of Doughology in Lynbrook, NY.

"We want to make Millburn Deli as accessible as possible and help make it easier for those who can't make it into the restaurant to enjoy our food. The simplicity of the DoorDash platform made it a good fit for us, as it allows us to achieve this goal without interfering with our in-store operations," said Andrew Morgan, owner of Millburn Deli.

"We're thrilled to further expand the DoorDash footprint in the Tri-State Area," said Tony Xu, CEO and co-founder of DoorDash. "This launch marks our continued investment in the area and we're delighted to help local business grow and deliver directly to customers' doorsteps."

DoorDash  also launched  in Orlando, Florida. At launch, delivery will be available from hundreds of local restaurants to customers in the Orlando area, including Downtown, University of Central Florida, Alafaya, Maitland, Winter Park, College Park, Oviedo, and International Drive.

After a successful launch in the Miami area in February, delightful delivery has extended into Orlando and will be available from 8am until 10pm from a vast selection of Orlando favorites, including:

4Rivers

Mcginnty's Irish Pub

Huey Magoo's

Dixie Belle's Cafe

Pepe's Cantina

"Huey Magoo's is excited to partner with DoorDash for their launch in Orlando," said Andy Howard, CEO of Huey Magoo's. "We look forward to offering our award winning tenders and signature sauces through DoorDash with the speed and service that our customers know and love."

"With Miami and Ft. Lauderdale being such successful markets for DoorDash, we are excited to expand further throughout Florida with our launch in Orlando. We can't wait to bring the very best of Orlando straight to people's doorsteps, so they can focus on enjoying summer," said Tony Xu, CEO and co-founder of DoorDash.

At launch, delivery fees will range from $1.99 to $5.99.

CKE Uses SMG

CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. has selected Service Management Group (SMG) to measure the customer experience for 3,000 Hardee's® and Carl's Jr.® locations in North America. In 2018, the program will expand to include an additional 800 international locations across 41 countries. SMG is a global leader in customer experience (CX) measurement, helping more than 450 brands around the globe to listen, understand and act on feedback and behavioral data.

"CKE was very specific about where they've been and where they're headed," said SMG President and COO Chris Egan. "They're hungry to learn more from their customers in an effort to give them an even better dining experience. We're excited about the level of engagement from the CKE senior leadership team. From day one it's been a real partnership, and we're extremely optimistic about the impact this program will have on their business." 

To identify key areas of focus for innovation, CKE is launching an SMG VisitView survey to measure and improve customer experiences at the location level. The program identifies and measures key drivers and includes built-in text analytics to uncover themes for operational success. The resulting customer data is available at the corporate, field and location levels via the smg360® reporting dashboard and mobile reporting app.

While the dashboard gives corporate users 24/7 access to insights that drive business decisions, the reporting app makes it quick and easy for location managers to see where to focus and to take fast action via push alerts.

Additionally, CKE takes advantage of SMG's BrandGeek® data to access branded benchmarks. SMG is a leader in the hamburger QSR space, and branded benchmarks will prove particularly helpful as CKE makes strategic decisions about future innovations.

"Now is the right time for us to move from an internally-managed model, to partnering with a full-service, global technology and insight leader like SMG," said CKE Vice President of Operations Support Ryan Hanawalt. "We put the customer first in everything we do, so detailed consumer insights are critical to our success. We expect this new partnership to make significant changes in the way we connect with and learn from our customers around the world."

 Provenance Aims to Make the Food and Drinks Industry Transparent by 2025

Following an international pilot tracking tuna through Southeast Asian supply chains, and a pilot project with the world’s largest consumer cooperative to track fresh produce from origin to supermarket, Provenance has secured $800K (£650K) in private investment to complement ongoing grant funding, and enable a market launch in the UK and beyond.

Provenance was one of the early leaders to track products along a supply chain on the blockchain – an exciting new technology bringing a new layer of trust to the web. The company aims to use its funding for setting a new standard for consumer trust in the food sector by implementing its blockchain-backed solution with over 1000 food and drinks businesses by 2025.

“Our mission at Provenance is to improve the lives and well-being of the people behind consumer products by bringing trusted, accessible information to commerce,” says Jessi Baker, CEO of Provenance. “This funding will help us develop our tools to meet the business need for more trustworthy supply chains whilst empowering shoppers to make a positive impact.”

Funding has been secured from an impact investing initiative of Humanity United, a foundation that is part of the Omidyar Group which represents the philanthropic, personal, and professional interests of the Omidyar family. Humanity United is joined by Merian Ventures founder Alexsis de Raadt-St. James, leading blockchain investors Digital Currency Group (DCG), startup accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center, as well as a selection of handpicked UK angel investors including the Angel Academe, and John Taysom, founder of Reuters Venture Capital (RVC) and Board Observer of Yahoo and Infoseek.

“Legislation and consumer demand are driving an ever greater number of companies to ensure that their supply chains represent their values,” says Dan Viederman, who co-leads impact investing as Managing Director at Humanity United. “Provenance technology helps make local and global supply chains transparent so that retailers, suppliers, farmers and workers can all benefit.”

In addition to a group of strategic investors, Provenance has assembled a board and advisory group of business leaders and sustainability champions including Brian Fitzpatrick, who helped sell Adap.tv to AOL, Gavin Starks, founder of the Open Data Institute, and Lily Cole, British supermodel and founder of social businesses, including impossible.com.

Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group, says “We are excited to have Provenance join our network of over 100 bitcoin and blockchain companies across 27 countries. Transparency and trust are critical to ensuring the integrity of supply chains, and Provenance fills a critical gap in the current supply chain technology landscape.”

Provenance is launching the first 100 transparent products in October, following a pre-launch of organic products in partnership with the Soil Association for Organic September. UK food and drinks businesses can apply to be a founding/

orderTalk Grows

orderTalk, Inc. has expanded its corporate headquarters in Flower Mound and added new staff. orderTalk has expanded from 2,640 sq. ft. to 7,804 sq. ft. at 600 Parker Square Road in Flower Mound. orderTalk also has added three new employees to its growing team, with plans to fill four more positions soon. 

“Now, more than ever before, quality restaurant digital ordering software is in high demand,” said orderTalk CEO Patrick Eldon. “With the exponential growth of this technology we are seeing a greater need for product development and support staff to reinforce orderTalk’s well-established reputation as a provider of innovative technological solutions and hands-on customer service.”

SkipThe Dishes Expands Services

Canadian food delivery leader SkipTheDishes joins forces with Calgary-based Franworks Group of Companies nationally to deliver Original Joe's and State & Main menu items on demand. 

"We are thrilled to partner with SkipTheDishes," says Adam Powell, VP Operations of Franworks. "Ordering delivery is a growing trend that we want to be a part of because it creates a new revenue-generating sales channel for us. We chose SkipTheDishes because its world-leading delivery technology is the most reliable and transparent, and the entire system is designed and customized for restaurant delivery. It's a highly efficient, turnkey approach to accessing unrealized business potential."

Hot on the heels of several national chain partnerships such as Smoke's Poutinerie, Famoso, and Fatburger, the FranWorks' partnership adds more than 35 restaurants nationwide to SkipTheDishes, giving Canadians more than 5,000 restaurant delivery options. With the proliferation of mobile devices and the ever-increasing demand for convenience, online restaurant delivery through SkipTheDishes continues to triple in size each year.

"FranWorks and its brands are well-respected in the restaurant industry, and we're excited to partner with them to bring their great food to our customers delivered direct, on-demand," says Andrew Chau, Co-Founder, SkipTheDishes. "This partnership allows us to continue providing customers with the best restaurant selection and a convenient delivery experience, while restaurants can benefit from a 10 to 30 per cent increase in business."

Fresh Brothers Hires RMS

Fresh Brothers Pizza hired Revenue Management Solutions (RMS) to provide consulting on menu pricing and other operational strategies. The goal: counteract rising costs and enhance profitability without hurting customer traffic and loyalty.

RMS will offer recommendations for menu pricing, menu engineering, analysis of the impact of pricing changes, and advice for ongoing business strategies, all designed to match Fresh Brothers' pricing and offerings to consumer demand.

The Fresh Brothers relationship is an example of how up-and-coming restaurant chains can benefit from RMS' 20 years of experience in demand-based pricing and menu optimization strategies. RMS works with a variety of restaurant clients, including five of the top 10 largest restaurant companies in the U.S.

Battling increasing costs is an issue for restaurants across the country, and particularly in California, where the minimum wage is rising significantly. The minimum wage in Los Angeles, where Fresh Brothers is headquartered, recently increased 14 percent on July 1 for larger employers, from $10.50 to $12 an hour, and will increase to $15 an hour by 2020.  

"It simply makes sense to work with the experts at RMS," said Tony Dellamano, Chief Financial Officer for Fresh Brothers, which has 19 locations in the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. "As we grow, it's important to base decisions on deep knowledge of our customers' buying behaviors. With its patented methods for working with transactional data, RMS will help us continue making solid, fact-based decisions in the future."

Fresh Brothers, founded by Adam and Debbie Goldberg, plans to open five new locations this year, with a goal to hit 50 units in the next four years. The company focuses on using fresh ingredients, factoring in the needs of customers who want vegan or gluten-free options, and combining that with quality customer service. As Fresh Brothers gets larger, it doesn't want that growth to come at the expense of profitability, which is where RMS comes in.

"As an example of how RMS is helping us, we are taking a look at how we have had one size of salad – a really large salad – for nine years since the company's inception," Dellamano said. "Should we go to both a small and a large size? RMS is helping us determine the best course of action through customer testing and analysis. We would like to improve profitability on our salads, but not in a way that will turn customers off."

RMS consistently receives requests for assistance from smaller, successful restaurant companies, said Mark Kuperman, RMS' Chief Operating Officer. "The help we offer is based on our knowledge and experience of how to tie operational strategies to actual customer buying behavior," he said. "Given the current economic challenges all restaurant operators are facing, such assistance is needed now more than ever."

Added Fresh Brothers' Dellamano: "Beyond labor costs and the cost of goods, operators have to worry about the impact of health care and workers comp insurance. It seems that major cost increases are going to continue to be a fact of life in the restaurant industry, so it's smart to be proactive in addressing those."

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