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 a MRM #RestaurantTech column. To submit items, contact MRM Executive Editor Barbara Castiglia at email@example.com.
Harri Releases TeamLive
Harri Technologies released TeamLive, an end-to-end workforce management solution designed for the hospitality industry. In an industry faced with rapid technology and regulatory change, Harri is introducing TeamLive to ensure that the future success of a hospitality organization will be driven by their ability to increase productivity and revenues through smart management, risk reduction and actionable insights.
TeamLive was designed to provide value for the entire spectrum of hospitality business stakeholders by consolidating up to 10 operational systems into a single, mission-critical platform, including instant team communications, team scheduling overlaid with labor costs and live sales performance data, providing operators with greatly enhanced profit visibility. Streamed collection and analysis of data takes employee performance to new levels of intelligence and industry relevance. In addition, TeamLive includes a revolutionary, app-based time clock that uses biometric facial recognition to track employees hours, eliminating wage theft while also enhancing team communications and compliance.
“The ability to track employee time precisely, monitor and optimize workplace culture, and make data-driven decisions is a game-changer for managers and operator.”, said Harri founder and CEO Luke Fryer. “But what we are most proud of in TeamLive is its ability to engage all employees - including those with language or technical challenges - in the operational heartbeat of the business. In hospitality, employee adoption is a real issue, so we’re proud to have created an easy and simple platform that the workforce will actually use and love.”
Workforce management software is not new to the hospitality industry and while many solutions exist, most only address a single problem like scheduling, team communications or time management. Since launching in 2013 as a talent acquisition platform, Harri has listened to its customers requests for deeper functionality and the industry's demand for a fully integrated end to end solution, which TeamLive now provides.
“Not only does the workforce of a hospitality group create the experience that keeps customers coming back, but that workforce also accounts for an average of 32% of revenue and is the largest single cost line,” said Luke Fryer, Harri Founder and CEO. “We are providing our customers with a broader and richer set of data than ever before. This enables both hiring and operational decisions to be made from a single platform.”
The launch of TeamLive comes on the heels of a partnership with ADP which sees Harri’s suite of hospitality-specific recruitment and workforce management tools integrated into ADP Workforce Now®, ADP’s HCM platform for midsized businesses.
Kona Grill Deploys Egnyte Connect
Kona Grill has deployed Egnyte Connect as their company-wide collaboration solution. Egnyte Connect provides Kona Grill with the ability to collaborate on content between headquarters, vendors, contractors, and their globally distributed workforce, while maintaining a high level of security. Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ, Kona Grill employs more than 3,000 employees across 45 restaurants throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
“With such a highly distributed workforce across all of our restaurants that are in a variety of geographic locations, we saw collaboration as a very important piece of the puzzle when it came to the efficiency of our day-to-day operations and our ability to create great experiences for our guests,” said Glen Halroyd, Director of IT at Kona Grill. “Egnyte Connect helped us to create a seamless workflow for our employees behind the scenes, allowing them to access our company content, like menus, inventory, receipts, etc. from headquarters, at home, or at one of our restaurants. As a result, we were able to simplify operations and significantly improve productivity throughout the entire organization, which helps us to provide the best possible experience for guests at all of our locations.”
Kona Grill has experienced a number of benefits since deploying Egnyte Connect:
Advanced Protection of Proprietary Information: Many reports and documents, which contain sensitive financial and proprietary information, are shared internally and externally at Kona Grill. Egnyte Connect allows their IT team to set granular permissions over their most sensitive content while also allowing employees to use security features like expiring links or password protected links. In addition, Egnyte Connect also provides the Kona Grill team with audit reports to ensure their content is safe.
Improved Employee Experience: Egnyte Connect delivers a seamless experience for Kona Grill employees no matter where they are working from, allowing them to work on their own devices with their own applications, while still meeting the security needs of IT. Rather than having to standardize processes and force employees to work in uniformity, IT has been able to get out of the way and let them work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Increased Business Agility and Productivity: A major initiative for the Kona Grill was to move to the cloud so bandwidth constraints and faulty VPNs would not prevent employees from accessing their content. Egnyte Connect allowed IT to reduce their infrastructure cost and create a faster, more agile solution that gives employees access to content from the cloud or their on-premises hardware without using a slow or unreliable VPN.
Simplified Operations and Processes: Before Egnyte Connect, Kona Grill employees relied heavily on email and actual paper documents when it came to accounting, marketing, finance, etc. With Egnyte Connect, employees are saving valuable time (and money) by being able to use Egnyte Connect as a central repository for all of their content. Rather than printing, scanning, and emailing, employees can simply open documents on their device, make their necessary edits and comments, and save it back.
“In the food and hospitality industries we see a lot of organizations that are highly transactional with their content, whether they are updating marketing material, handling financial statements, or dealing with HR documents,” said Rajesh Ram, co-founder and chief customer officer at Egnyte. “Egnyte Connect provides fast-paced organizations, like Kona Grill, with a secure collaboration solution that unites the mobility of the cloud with the performance of local devices to help them get work done quickly and efficiently.”
Revention Offers Custom Order Platform
Revention released a custom online order tracker that will integrate across all online ordering platforms including mobile applications.
Once an order is placed, the tracker will be visible within the mobile app or the online ordering tracker page. For Guest orders, the email order confirmation sent to the consumer will include a link to the order tracker. Setting up the stages for the order tracker is completely customizable based on the concept and restaurant's needs. The order tracker will connect with the store and show the current stage based on the order types and stages defined.
The order tracker will allow for numerous customizations. Each branded concept will be able to create a unique name for the tracker, e.g. Track My Order, Where's My Food, etc. Stage names may be customized to allow for additional brand marketing as well as custom tracker graphics.
"We are excited to implement the order tracker across our online ordering platforms. This solution will engage more consumers and improve the overall guest experience," stated Laura J. Gaudin, Director of Product Management at Revention.
JoyRun the first peer‐to‐peer platform for social, affordable and rewarding group deliveries serving communities – announced its Series A fundraise and officially launched to all college markets nationwide. College campuses have been the company’s initial focus since launching in beta in 2015, and the funding will support JoyRun’s growth to all U.S. colleges and its expansion plans to offices and neighborhoods later this year.
The company raised $8.5 million in Series A funding led by Floodgate and $1.3 million in seed funding led by Norwest Venture Partners. Both rounds received participation from Visionnaire Ventures, Morado Ventures, CrunchFund, Triplepoint Capital, and a series of high-profile angel investors.
JoyRun connects people in a given geographical region, currently those on or near college campuses, through a social feed that matches buyers with runners planning to make the runs to local eateries, coffee shops, hardware stores, and more in the area. Buyers can easily view, pay, and track their order, and can chat with others about potential JoyRuns.
With this pooled approach to delivery, JoyRun has shown to cut down on both costs and delivery time, while increasing the order size for local businesses. High costs, slow delivery times, and inconsistent service plague the $210 billion delivery market today – a problem solved by JoyRun. Over the past year, JoyRun has successfully proven its peer-to-peer platform on 50 college campuses across the U.S., from U.C. Davis to the University of Alabama.
“Today’s delivery services are the black car version of Uber that serve just the technology hubs of San Francisco and New York. The world needs something that is not only convenient but cost-effective,” said Manish Rathi, JoyRun co-founder and CEO. “With JoyRun we’re building an entirely new category for the 99% by connecting and empowering local communities to foster their own UberPool-like service.”
One of the many features that distinguish JoyRun is its social feed, where users browse food runs upcoming or now underway, and chat with other JoyRunners. This social side of JoyRun has fostered a community-driven mentality to deliveries, as demonstrated by the 20% of buyers who also conduct runs.
“JoyRun's P2P group delivery is a game changer. It's the only business we've seen that is able to scalably transform the delivery model and make the economics work. When we looked at how JoyRun was performing on college campuses, we knew Floodgate had to invest, in what we see as a new category, which will transform the delivery market," says Ann Miura-Ko, a partner at Floodgate.
“Food delivery has seen only minor incremental changes to the challenging operational issues, and no previous startup had really changed the unit economics in a sustainable way,” says Josh Goldman, General Partner at Norwest Venture Partners. “JoyRun’s social commerce approach activates local communities and makes the experience much more rewarding for consumers, while its inherent order aggregation model finally fixes the economics of the category. We also love that JoyRunners are constantly broadcasting their affinity for brands and providing real value for local businesses.”
Small businesses have also seen how powerful the platform is: Lazi Cow, a coffee and dessert shop in Davis, California, now sees over 80 percent of its deliveries happening on JoyRun.
“JoyRun has been a game changer in proving our business,” says Jimmy Phu of Lazi Cow, a local eatery near the U.C. Davis campus. “Through JoyRun delivery sales alone we’ve been able to pay off our monthly rent. It’s brought in an entirely new revenue stream for us. ”
JoyRun, which started in 2015, is now growing 50 percent month over month, and beginning today, is now available to unlock on all college campuses nationwide. JoyRun plans to launch later this year in select cities to be available to offices and neighborhoods around the country.
Sally the Salad Robot Debuts
Sally the Salad Robot creates custom salads with up to 21 seasonal ingredients – replenished daily – in less than a minute, any time of day. Developed by food robotics company Chowbotics, Sally is intuitive and easy to use. Users place a bowl beneath the dispenser, make selections on a touchscreen interface and watch as Sally's canisters shift to drop each ingredient in, one by one. Charlie Ayers, "the chef who fed Google," is Executive Chef. He created Sally's signature salads and oversees ingredient selection.
"Having spent my career in Silicon Valley, the intersection of food and technology has always fascinated and inspired me," says Charlie. "I am proud to collaborate with the Chowbotics team to bring robotics to food service. This is the future."
Charlie tapped his protégé, Kelly Olazar, to lead the day-to-day as Chowbotics' Chef de Cuisine. Kelly previously worked as an Executive Chef at Google's campus and as a Culinary Services Manager at Charlie's restaurant, Calafia Café. She has a background in nutrition and specializes in creating food that keeps people energized and healthy.
Sally's patent-pending canister system protects the integrity of the ingredients by keeping them fresh and sanitary. Precise calorie counts also allow users to build salads that suit their nutritional needs. Sally's small footprint is another bonus – she measures just 31.7" x 33.2". Sally allows for thousands of different combinations of ingredients or users can choose from the following:
Sally's Salad: Crisp romaine served with ripe cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, California walnuts, Parmesan cheese and house-made black peppercorn ranch
Power Chow Salad: Hearty kale served with carrots, cabbage, sundried cranberries, Parmesan cheese, California walnuts and tangy honey mustard vinaigrette
Chicken Bot Salad: Seared chicken breast served with crisp romaine, cherry tomatoes, red onions, Parmesan cheese and house-made black peppercorn ranch
Silicon Valley Salad: Seared chicken breast served with hearty kale, mixed bell peppers, Kalamata olives, cucumbers, crunchy wonton chips and tangy honey mustard vinaigrette
California Love Salad: Hearty kale served with ripe cherry tomatoes, mixed bell peppers, cucumbers, Kalamata olives and croutons
One of the first locations to pilot Sally is Galvanize, a tech-centric shared workspace. "At Galvanize, we are committed to investing in technology and education that is accessible to anyone with the determination and drive, ability and aptitude to learn the skills they need to not only transform their lives but also their communities," says Jim Deters, CEO. "That is why we invested in Chowbotics through our venture arm and are thrilled to be one of the first to deploy Sally at our San Francisco campus. This innovative technology is creating additional options for people to access nutrition and enhance productivity while they learn, work and grow."
SMA Selects EnterWorks
EnterWorks, a provider of master data management (MDM) and product information management (PIM) solutions, said Strategic Market Alliance (SMA), a member-owned cooperative selected its Enable solution. SMA will use Enable to increase consistency, efficiency and collaboration on behalf of its members by means of its substantial buying network of trading partners.
Comprised of North America’s leading janitorial, sanitation, health care, and foodservice distributors, SMA’s mission is to create value-based business solutions that result in mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships among suppliers, member distributor owners and their mutual customers.
“Enterworks’ collaborative PIM platform aligns well with our mission of enabling member and trading communities; in this case, creating and facilitating more effective and compliant content needed to enhance the effectiveness of our service to strategic account customers and to our member distributors,” said Chris Rowe, Director of Marketing Services. “We felt their commitment to, and experience with, distribution and member organizations offered SMA best practices and proven functionality for robust product data and content collaboration. A successful launch and adoption of an advanced content platform is one that will enhance our alliance operations and profits for our members.”
“We have built our platform and customer base around collaborative B2B2C networks that improve efficiency and enhance customer experience for omnichannel commerce. Our platform is therefore well-suited to enable the collaboration on content that SMA members and their customers require,” said Kerry Young, COO of EnterWorks. “We look forward to working with SMA and its members to deliver a return on their technology investment by supporting the operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction goals of SMA and their members."
QSR Chain Uses Sicom
SICOM, a provider of end-to-end solutions for quick service and fast casual restaurants, today announced that a leading Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chain has selected its Chef™ Kitchen Production Management System to be used by all of its U.S. locations. Chef will enable this top fast food brand to connect its quick service kitchens to the real-time information and insights needed to improve food quality, increase operational efficiency and significantly reduce food waste.
Toshiba Tech Introduces Mobile Printer
Toshiba Tec Corporation unveiled its B-FP3 mobile printer, which produces three-inch wide receipts and labels. The light and compact, yet robust printer with proven drop-resistant durability delivers crisp and clear labeling. The introduction of Toshiba Tec's latest product expands the company's mobile printer line enabling organizations to create two- to four-inch labels and receipts for an array of uses.
The B-FP3 line features two models: one exclusively for printing receipts and another model, which delivers both labels and receipts. Toshiba Tec's receipt model is also engineered to meet the width specifications of commonly-produced receipts to address organizations' increasing receipt needs. In combination with mobile POS, Toshiba Tec's receipt printer further enables pre-order and payments for queue busting applications, especially in the hospitality industry, within retail settings. The B-FP3 is also ideal for DSD (Direct Store Delivery) use.
B-FP3 is specially developed for extended use. The printers' built-in energy saving functionality allows users to print approximately 3.3 rolls of media and complete almost two days of operation on one charge*2. The B-FP3's print quantity and speed are also improved even when operating in energy saving mode. The B-FP3 is Toshiba’s first printer to comply with the Qi standard, an open interface standard for inductive wireless charging, which does not require battery removal or any external cable connection when charging*3. Intuitive connectivity to smart devices on iOS and Android platforms; an adjustable media holder, simple media swapping; and clearer notifications via a color LCD display further simplify organizations' use of the new printer.
fodora Expands Delivery Zone
foodora, the on-demand food delivery service, expanded its delivery zone in Vancouver, anticipating more than 150 restaurants by mid-April. foodora, which launched in Vancouver in November 2016, will be extending its delivery zone into three new neighbourhoods including Commercial Drive, Kitsilano and Mount Pleasant. To celebrate the expansion and to give Vancouverites a taste of its newest restaurants, foodora is offering free delivery on all orders in the Vancouver delivery zone from April 4 to April 30, 2017.
"Our couriers already deliver meals to hungry Vancouverites every day, and we're excited to be able to expand our footprint in the city," said David Albert, foodora Canada's Managing Director. "We're all about connecting people with new restaurants, or bringing them the food they already love, and this expansion will make it even easier."
With foodora's recent expansion, the delivery zone has quadrupled, and will include a total of 150 restaurants in the Greater Vancouver Area by the middle of April. Originally servicing the downtown peninsula which included Yaletown, the financial district, Coal Harbour and into Gastown, foodora's new delivery zone extends to Commercial Drive, Kitsilano and Mount Pleasant, and features a wider variety of restaurants. Restaurant partners include Noodlebox, Banana Leaf, Save On Meats, Basil Pasta Bar, The Poke Shop, and several others.
Epson Teams with PnP Loyalty
Epson America, Inc., announced that PnP Loyalty, a loyalty, CRM and digital rewards solution provider for convenience stores and chain restaurants, will leverage Epson's OmniLink® Merchant Services (OMS) platform for its new restaurant customer engagement platform. The joint solution has already been implemented in nearly 800 locations.
PnP Loyalty's new full service restaurant engagement solution leverages Epson's OMS cloud to offer the key features needed to help clients understand their guests' current behaviors and set up rules to automate communications and offers that drive incremental sales. Customer engagement can take place through a guest facing tablet, a mobile app, or a combination of both. The integration of Epson's intelligent OmniLink receipt printer's cloud card and PnP Loyalty's custom firmware enables plug and play integration with almost any POS system for capturing data to run loyalty and customer engagement programs.
"We were looking for a solution to help us bypass having to integrate with multiple POS systems," said Evan Brody, founder and CEO at PnP Loyalty. "Integration with Epson's intelligent printer allows us to implement plug and play customer engagement programs for our clients to capture line item sales data tied to individual guests and personalize offers and communications. Our new system eliminates the tablet requirement and allows customers to download a mobile app to earn points for their purchases and receive personalized offers and rewards by simply checking in at their table. This is all done seamlessly through the Epson printer, resulting in happier customers who visit more often and purchase more items each visit."
"We are pleased to be working with PnP Loyalty, an innovative customer engagement solutions provider that works behind the scenes to truly understand the value of data and supports all loyalty marketing needs for chain restaurants and retail stores," said Gregg Brunnick, director of product management for POS printers and robotics, Epson America Inc. "One of the biggest benefits of our partnership is that it has eliminated the POS integration challenges for PnP Loyalty. They can roll out to chains, across multiple POS platforms by simply upgrading our receipt printer."
Thr!ve POS Debuts New Mobile App at Pizza Expo
At the 2017 International Pizza Expo, pizza and delivery restaurant point of sale system Thr!ve debuted their new mobile app that will help bring leading edge pizza technology to clients.
The new Thr!ve app, launching in beta in April, will allow restaurants to have a custom, fully branded smartphone app in the Apple and Google Play stores. The app lets customers create and place orders straight from the app, as well as monitor and claim their loyalty rewards. The app differentiates itself from a mobile site by boasting a branded loading screen, side menu, and integration with the phone’s map and calling features.
Along with online ordering capabilities, the app offers restaurants a chance to promote their loyalty program by showing customers their total points and available rewards in the app, making it even easier for them to use their rewards online.
“We had a great time showing the Pizza Expo community our latest addition to the Thr!ve Suite,” said Tom Bronson, Granbury Solutions President and CEO. “Attendees who stopped by our booth were really excited about the app and what it could mean for their restaurants. Thr!ve takes all the best features from across our legacy products that have allowed our clients to build successful businesses and puts them into one powerhouse solution. Bringing that to mobile was the obvious next step.”
The app’s beta version includes order confirmation and driver assignment confirmations with Thr!ve’s delivery management solution, Dr!ve. Later phases will add loyalty reward push notifications and custom marketing notifications.
EatStreet Names First CMO
EatStreet has hired former Duluth Trading Company marketing executive Suzanne Harms as its first chief marketing officer. Harms is responsible for driving EatStreet's growth through heightened brand awareness, customer acquisition, retention and customer insights. She will also serve as EatStreet's chief creative officer responsible for building a coveted, fan-focused brand.
During Harms' nine-year tenure at Duluth Trading, the workwear brand grew from a catalog-only marketer to a national omni-channel retail brand known for its unique storytelling and national television advertising. Duluth Trading successfully executed its IPO in November 2015.
For EatStreet hiring Harms strengthens EatStreet's mission to be the most fan-focused food ordering brand. Her work with the company can be seen in the new brand identity and repositioning, advertising campaign and app/website ordering experiences launching this week.
"At EatStreet, everything we do is built around our customers. Suz brings an unmatched level of strategic insight and brand development. Our leadership team is poised to deliver an exceptional experience for customers, every time they interact with EatStreet," said Matt Howard, EatStreet CEO and Co-Founder. "We are delighted to have Suz's 26 years of expertise in building great consumer brands."
"Authenticity, an earnest commitment to customers and the obligation to entertain are the foundations of this strong brand," added Harms. "The EatStreet team is focused on giving our customers the smartest shortcut to the food they love. The new brand identity, advertising and shopping experience reflect that."
NCR Silver Travels to Australia
NCR Corporation launched the NCR Silver family of point-of-sale (POS) solutions to Australian retail, service and restaurant merchants. NCR Silver is an integrated payment, marketing and management solution that can transform a tablet into a complete POS system, capable of sales reporting, employee management, inventory management and more.
Designed for small business merchants, NCR Silver is ideal for those who need a mobile solution to complete transactions as well as manage business remotely.
One of NCR Silver’s first customers is Sydney-based Arepas Australia, which currently operates in two of Sydney’s local markets. The popular Venezuelan restaurant chose the NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition app for its intuitiveness and quick access to sales reporting.
“I find it very user-friendly and easy to use,” said Arepas Australia owner Ybrahim Camero. “With NCR Silver, I can see trends, I can do email marketing, I can see what my top seller is. It’s a super comprehensive system that gives me everything I need.”
NCR Silver launched in the United States five years ago to address the needs of small businesses, which often favour cloud-based technology.
“We’ve developed NCR Silver specifically with the small business market in mind,” said Adam McArdle, Regional Director Asia Pacific, NCR. “We understand the challenges small businesses face, and what’s going to make an impact on their bottom line and the value they place on customers. We’re confident that this new offering will help them manage and grow their business.”
The new NCR Silver suite of software solutions includes:
- NCR Silver core app - offers mobile payments, intuitive sales reporting, integrated loyalty and more, and is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses
- NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition app - designed for food-service merchants who want to serve customers faster, optimise staffing, manage table locations, provide promotional pricing and more
- NCR Silver operates on iOS and closed Android devices.
- NCR Silver offers 24/7 customer support and the unique NCR Silver Concierge service, which provides initial remote setup and remote monthly menu maintenance.
“NCR’s focus is on developing technology that gives small businesses the freedom and flexibility they need to make life easier,” said Chris Poelma, president and general manager of NCR Silver. “NCR Silver has a low cost of entry and quick, professional implementation support so customers can get up and running faster with minimal disruption.”