OpenTable’s Business Intelligence, More Live Más and Munchies Menu

by MRM Staff 11 Min Read

This edition of MRM's Daily Bite features OpenTable, the Taco Bell Foundation, Chick-fil-A, POPEYES® and UberEats, Plate IQ and Square for Restaurants, Tratto, Foodshed and Institute of Food Technologists.

Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com.

MRM Daily Bite LogoOpenTable Launches Business Intelligence Capability

OpenTable introduced a business intelligence suite for its flagship restaurant management product GuestCenter designed to give restaurants the tools and insights they need to seat more guests, better understand their diners' booking habits and preferences, and personalize hospitality to help turn first-time diners into regulars. 

"Our goal is to give restaurants the insights they need to make well-informed decisions affecting their business," Prasad Gune, OpenTable SVP of Product. "The business intelligence suite offers at-a-glance dashboards showing both past performance and trend analysis which helps restaurants manage their operations, adjust their staffing schedules, and tailor their marketing efforts - all in real time."

The business intelligence suite provides powerful insights and recommendations to help restaurants grow and thrive:

  • Shift Occupancy Analysis: Analyzes monthly and yearly historical occupancy to help identify occupancy trends and forecast demand. 
  • Turn Time Optimization: Uncovers opportunities to optimize turn times to maximize busy shifts and seat more guests
  • Booking Insights: Analyzes reservation data to provide insight into where diners are coming from.
  • Referral Insights: Tracks referrals, concierge relationships and reservations, giving restaurants insight on who is referring the business and the number of guests they are sending to the restaurant.
  • Restaurant Owner app: Presents quick analytics into how the business is performing on a monthly and shift basis, giving restaurateurs the knowledge they need to make informed and strategic decisions.
  • Monthly Business Reports: Shares actionable insights for busy owners and GMs, ensuring stakeholders stay informed with top-line reporting.

"The data and actionable insights that OpenTable makes available to us via GuestCenter gives us more control and flexibility to optimize and increase revenue, while also helping to ensure a positive experience for our guests," says Hetal Shah, Owner  of San Francisco's August (1) Five. "Based on the data, we can adjust turn times for each shift to take more reservations, add more specific table configurations to ensure that demand meets supply, and improve our reservation flow overall. By having access to the deep level of analytics reporting in GuestCenter, we're really able to evaluate every shift and determine where there are opportunities to grow revenue and provide better hospitality."

Additional analytics will be rolled out in the coming months, including a first time guest and visit frequency report, and covers and reviews analysis. These additional reports will help restaurants understand where their diners come from and how to convert them into regulars.

More Live Más

The Taco Bell Foundation is doubling Live Más Scholarships in its third year, awarding $3 million to 300 employees and youth to help students pursue their passions through education. This year's scholarships, which range from $5,000-$25,000 per student, contribute to the Foundation's goal of awarding $10 million by 2022. In addition to expanding financial support, the Taco Bell Foundation is also piloting a partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to connect recipients with mentorship opportunities critical to their success in school and beyond.

"We recognize that college affordability is a major issue facing our nation, so we're excited to increase the number and size of scholarships this year, but also recognize that the Live Más Scholarship program needs to be more than just a check for our students to be successful," said Tina Nguyen, Executive Director of the Taco Bell Foundation. "That's why we've been providing students with real-world opportunities to put their passions into action since day one, and why we're so excited to work with MENTOR to offer our Live Más scholars important support and experiences outside the classroom."

The partnership with MENTOR, the national unifying organization of the mentoring movement and a champion for fostering quality relationships with young people, will be piloted in three workshops for Live Más Scholarship students in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Minneapolis this summer. As part of the workshops, which help the scholarship recipients develop personal and professional skills, MENTOR will facilitate interactive trainings to strengthen the scholars' confidence and ability to identify and secure mentors.

The Live Más scholarship program is designed to help innovators and creators aged 16-24 pursue unique passions that may not necessarily fit into the traditional "academic" or "athletic" scholarship categories. The application only requires submission of a two-minute video where applicants share what they love to do. This year's scholarship program, which drew nearly 8,000 submissions, awarded $1 million to 100 new applicants, $1.5 million through its new renewal program for 150 previous recipients, and $500,000 to 50 Taco Bell restaurant employees. The wide range of student passions include medicine, film, engineering, music and community service.

Employee winner Steven Joseph

This year's Live Más Scholarship winners join a community of 440 past winners, who have received a total of $2.8 millionsince the scholarship first opened in 2015. To raise money for the scholarship fund, Taco Bell Foundation partners with Taco Bell for a twice yearly National Fundraiser. From May 10-May 24, fans are invited to get involved by visiting their local Taco Bell restaurant and donating $1 to support the Foundation and Live Más Scholarship.

The employee Live Más Scholarship is part of Taco Bell's Start with Us, Stay with Us platform, which encourages employees to leverage the company's leadership development and education programs no matter how long they've been with, or plan to stay with, the company. As part of its ongoing commitment to support varied pathways to education, Taco Bell recently announced a national partnership with Guild Education, which offers all of the company's 210,000 U.S. team members access to personalized education coaches and tuition discounts for thousands of programs. Collectively, these employee benefits and the Live Más Scholarship have unlocked opportunities for thousands of employees to have their education paid for and access to support from day one of their career at Taco Bell.

Chick-fil-A's 'Remarkable Futures'

Chick-fil-A® is awarding more than 5,700 Team Members $14.5 million in scholarships. The investment in this year's program marks a $5.7 million increase since 2017 and is the one of the highest unrestricted per-employee scholarship investments in the industry. Team Members who are beginning or continuing their higher education will be awarded scholarships in the amount of $2,500 or $25,000.

Chick-fil-A's "Remarkable Futures" education initiative allows students employed by the company's local franchise Operators to receive up to $25,000 in scholarships that can be applied for any area of study at any accredited institution of their choice, including any two- or four-year colleges and universities, online programs or technical/vocational schools. There is no requirement of hours worked or length of service to qualify.

Through Chick-fil-A's "Remarkable Futures" initiative, Team Members can earn scholarships in the amount of $2,500 or $25,000.

In addition to $14.5 million in scholarships, all of Chick-fil-A's 120,000 Team Members also have access to tuition discounts and other educational benefits at 100 colleges and universities nationwide.

"We want to provide Team Members with not only essential job skills and leadership development opportunities while working in Chick-fil-A restaurants, but also help them receive the best education to support their career aspirations – whatever they may be," said Rodney Bullard, vice president of Community Affairs at Chick-fil-A and executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation. "We are excited that we've been able to increase the funding this year to help even more Team Members attend the college or university of their dreams."

Chick-fil-A's Remarkable Futures Initiative includes three educational assistance opportunities:

  • Chick-fil-A Leadership Scholarship: In 2018, 5,728 students will receive a $2,500 scholarship for the 2018-2019 academic year. Team Members may re-apply for up to four years – for a potential total of up to $10,000 for college while working at a Chick-fil-A restaurant. These scholarships are awarded to Chick-fil-A Team Members based on leadership, academic achievement and community involvement.
  • True Inspiration Scholarship: In 2018, 13 Team Members will receive an individual, one-time award of $25,000. These scholarships will be awarded to Chick-fil-A restaurant Team Members based on demonstrated financial need, leadership, academic achievement and community involvement. This year's True Inspiration Scholarship recipients have logged an average of 450 hours of community service each.
  • Educational Assistance Opportunities: In addition to scholarships, Chick-fil-A is offering all Team Members access to tuition discounts of up to 30 percent and other educational benefits at 100 colleges and universities across the country. The benefits can be combined with either of the above scholarships.

To be eligible for these opportunities, applicants must be employed by a Chick-fil-A franchise Operator, a Chick-fil-A, Inc.-operated restaurant or an S. Truett Cathy (STC) brand restaurant. Chick-fil-A, Inc. began awarding scholarships to team members in 1973 based on founder S. Truett Cathy's desire to incentivize team members to further their education. Since then, nearly 46,700 Team Members have received scholarships from Chick-fil-A, Inc., bringing the total amount funded to more than $60.5 million, and applied at more than 3,000 schools nationwide.

POPEYES Now on UberEats

POPEYES® guests in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Miami and Washington D.C. can now enjoy their favorite  menu items from the comfort of their home or office. Those craving POPEYES® can now order cult-favorite menu items including BONAFIDE® chicken, hot biscuits, red beans and rice and more on the Uber Eats mobile app or on UberEats.com.

“As seen on social media over the years, we’ve tried to come to the rescue of our loyal guests, celebrities, athletes, chefs, and others who have made their cravings for POPEYES® known,” said Chad Crawford, President, North America for the POPEYES® brand. “Now with Uber Eats, we can provide the same doorstep delivery service to all of them. We’re excited to give our guests the great taste they love with the added convenience of delivery.”

According to Uber Eats data, over the last year, orders for fried chicken have steadily risen by 54%, while orders for biscuits have spiked by 83%.

“Putting delicious food exactly where and when you want it is our specialty,” said Liz Meyerdirk, Global Head of Business Development at Uber Eats. “Popeyes has a rich history of serving up delicious fried chicken and classic signature sides and we’re excited to make it even easier for our users to get the food that fits their busy lives, delivered at Uber speed.”

Plate IQ Integrates with Square for Restaurants

Plate IQ, a technology company that helps restaurants improve and automate their Accounts Payable (AP) processes, today announced its integration with Square for Restaurants, the new fully integrated point of sale (POS) solution from Square, Inc. Beginning immediately, Plate IQ's Daily Sales software allows restaurants to automatically input guest payment data from Square for Restaurants into many existing accounting software platforms and create valuable summaries of daily transactions, alleviating the typical manual-entry demands placed on general managers.

Specifically, the integration allows restaurant operators to: 

  • Automatically attribute daily sales to the correct general ledger account for more accurate and detailed bookkeeping.
  • Review revenue from multiple locations on a single screen, without having to rely on general managers to input data.
  • Fully integrate sales data with Plate IQ's full suite of software, including its AP automation features, to access real-time sales and purchase reporting that empowers restaurateurs to estimate their cost of goods sold.

"As every operator knows, too many processes in the restaurant industry still rely on paper, pencil and manual data entry. In addition to creating room for error, these outdated practices place burden on already busy managers," said Bhavuk Kaul, co-founder and CEO of Plate IQ. "Plate IQ's integration with Square for Restaurants gives owners and operators access to last night's sales accurately accounted for, automatically, by morning."

Plate IQ solutions are specifically designed to help restaurants optimize their operations, unlock actionable expense data and reduce costs. Plate IQ Daily Sales integrates with existing accounting software including QuickBooks™ Online, Sage Intacct® and Xero™, and the company plans to announce integrations with other third-party accounting platforms soon.

Square for Restaurants is a cloud-based POS system that handles everything from menu updates, floor layouts, employee scheduling and performance tracking to tip-splitting, enabling complete front- and back-of-house management. Square for Restaurants works seamlessly with the rest of the company’s ecosystem, including its Caviar ordering and delivery service.

The Munchies Menu

California’s legalization of Marijuana is finally here and what better place to embrace this milestone then in the city where it all began. In recognition of San Francisco’s long standing history with Mary-Jane and it’s recent legalization, Tratto, a modern trattoria within The Marker Hotel steps from San Francisco’s Union Square, recently launched a new Munchies Menu  created by Chef De Cuisine Robert Birnschein. The menu, which launched fittingly on 4/20, puts a fun and timely spin on Tratto’s bar-driven Italian fare.

Chef Birnschein developed the menu by playing off fun bar bites such as Cheesy Bleezies,

Puff Puff Pig popcorn on the Munchies Menu

Puff Puff Pig popcorn, and Corn Doggy dogs and are currently available during Tratto’s happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Foodshed.io Adds Transparency to Local Food Sourcing

A new app from Foodshed uses blockchain technology to make sourcing local sustainable goods easy, championing local farmers. The Foodshed.io platform was designed to streamline ordering, payment and delivery from independent farmers within a 250-mile radius of where the food is to be consumed.

“We still have a food system set up for the horse and buggy era, we’re changing that,” says Dan Beckmann, CEO, Foodshed. “Foodshed.io, is making local food a reality at scale by bringing products from independent farms easily to restaurants and grocery stores using cutting edge marketing and logistics technology, never seen before in food.”

Foodshed.io solves the inefficiencies of local food distribution. There are many barriers that make access to markets, even local markets, difficult for independent farmers of varying scale.  Foodshed.io is connecting sustainable, independent producers to local wholesale markets because they believe that local food is good food and a local economy is a good economy.

The program offers  transparency in the product supply chain. Through blockchain technology, app users are able to track their product from harvest, to pick up, through delivery and dropoff. Farmers list available produce on the platform. Restaurants, supermarkets, and institutional buyers can browse local products, place orders with multiple farms, and pay all on the platform.  Throughout distribution, supply is constantly built up and broken down.

Foodshed.io first launched their beta in January. The product is now ready to service farmers and food establishments with their public app. More than 150 farmers from Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Connecticut, NJ & Vermont have signed up and listed their produce. 

Food Disruption Challenge

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) announced the six finalists that will compete in the inaugural IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ on July 17 at IFT18 in Chicago. The annual event and food expo brings more than 20,000 food science professionals together from industry, academia and government to share, network, and learn about the most recent advances in the science of food. 

As part of IFT's mission to encourage entrepreneurialism and innovation, the IFTNEXT Food Disruption ChallengeTM is a new competition designed to help emerging and investment-ready food companies advance the science of food by providing mentorship and visibility to further the positive impact on our global food supply. The six selected finalists represent breakthrough solutions across food ingredient, packaging, agriculture, and processing applications.   

The finalists in the inaugural IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ include:

  • C-Fu Foods – an ingredient innovation company developing the next generation of insect-based, value-added food ingredients. The company's goal is to support the emerging insect food sector with high quality functional ingredients that solve the technical challenges that limit the use of insects in food.
  • Inductive Intelligence – a packaging technology company that makes it possible to safely and conveniently heat foods and drinks in disposable package, using the same device you use to charge your mobile phone battery.
  • Nebullam – a food technology company that helps home and commercial agricultural growers operate more efficiently and sustainably by combining High Pressure Aeroponic systems with artificial intelligence technology to advance growing methods.
  • Renewal Mill – a CPG and ingredient company that creates high-value superfood ingredients and foods from the $6 billion of unused fiber and starch byproducts of legumes, vegetables, and fruits produced annually.
  • Rise Products – a food technology company that uses a patent-pending process to convert organic by-products into healthy, tasty, and sustainable food products, starting by turning spent barley from brewers into flour.
  • Re-Nuble – an agricultural technology company that uses an inexpensive, patent-pending process to transform food waste into chemical-free, organic nutrients for both soil-based and hydroponic cultivation.

"On behalf of IFT, I'd like to congratulate the finalists of the inaugural IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™," said IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean, FASAE, CAE. "All of these companies represent some of the brightest solutions in the food technology industry and have the potential to positively impact the sustainability and overall health of our global food system. We are honored to provide these entrepreneurs with a platform to push these innovative ideas even further, and support IFT's vision of advancing the science of food."

At the launch of the IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ in January, 65 companies submitted applications. To get to the finals, applicants went through a three-stage review process, which included 10 organizations virtually pitching their companies during the semi-finals. The six selected finalists have advanced to participate in a six-week mentoring program, where they will receive guidance from business experts and coaching for their live, on-stage pitch at IFT18.

Hosted by renowned entrepreneur, Daymond John of ABC's Shark Tank, the high-profile pitch event will be held at IFT18 on Tuesday, July 17 in Chicago, and opened to all IFT18 attendees. The judges for the IFT18 pitch event include:

  • Jennifer Bentz - SVP of R&D, Innovation, and Insights for Tyson Foods, Inc.
  • Jeff Grogg – Founder & Managing Director of JPG Resources
  • J. Skyler Fernandes - Managing Director of Investments, Cleveland Avenue
  • Lenny Lebovich - Founder and CEO of PRE® BRANDS
  • John Ruff - Past President, Institute of Food Technologists (2012-2013) and former SVP of Global Quality, Scientific Affairs and Nutrition, for Kraft Foods
  • Natalie Shmulik - CEO of The Hatchery, Chicago

The judges will select the recipient of the IFTNEXT Future Food Disruptor of the Year™ award, which includes a $25,000 cash prize. A People's Choice award, which includes a $5,000 prize, will be presented to the organization selected by IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ featured session attendees.

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