Restaurant Success Survey and Open Fields to Accelerate Sustainable Sourcing

by MRM Staff 16 Min Read

This edition of MRM's Daily Bite includes news from Toast, Ritual, Tripleseat and Bizly, B.GOOD, FarmLogix and Aramark, Inkling Systems, Inc., GS1 US, Simple, delivery.com and foodjunky and Bonefish Grill.

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

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Restaurant Success in 2018

Nearly 60 percent of restaurateurs indicate that hiring, training and retaining staff are among the top areas of opportunity for the industry, according to a survey unveiled by Toast. The “Restaurant Success in 2018” Industry Report results also suggest optimizing speed and efficiency, as well as attracting and retaining customers, are the second and third most crucial challenges, respectively, for restaurateurs in 2018.

“While attracting and retaining talent remains the highest priority for restaurants, our research into the key drivers of restaurant success found that top restaurateurs are often more focused than their peers on optimizing their business for performance,” said Aman Narang, president and co-founder of Toast. “As the leading platform committed to helping restaurants delight guests, do what they love, and thrive, we’re excited to provide restaurants of all sizes with free access to the insights and tools they need to grow their business.”

Additional key findings include:

  • 89 percent of restaurateurs say they are optimistic for their restaurant's sales in 2018;
  • 63 percent of restaurateurs advertise on social media, dropping from 75 percent in 2017;
  • 47 percent admit to scheduling employees to work fewer hours each week; and,
  • 11 percent say reservations are crucial for their POS, despite surging guest demand.

“Having great food and service is not enough in 2018,” says Donald Burns, restaurant consultant. “Some [restaurants] are going to have a hard time if they continue doing the same things they have been doing. Innovation and bringing fresh ideas to the table are key to staying out in front of your market."

To access the full report, visit Restaurant Success in 2018 Industry Report.

For the survey, 844 restaurant owners, managers, and leaders completed the 2018 Restaurant Success Survey in March and April of 2018. 54 percent of respondents were from casual FSRs, while 21 percent represented a QSR, 14 percent represented a fine dining FSR, seven percent represented a bakery, and four percent represented a bar or nightclub.

Ritual's Rapid Growth

Oder ahead app Ritual announced year over year growth to more than 44,500 workplace teams added and 2x growth of restaurant partners, in addition to expansion into four new cities and the closing of a $70 million Series C.

Ritual’s rapid growth is largely driven by workplace teams adopting its social ordering and delivery feature Piggyback. Upon signing up for Ritual, Piggyback connects users with teams based on workplace and location, creating a dynamic social element to ordering and picking up lunch, which is often an otherwise individual experience.

 

Ray Reddy
Ray Reddy

“For many urban workers, their neighborhood is their food court. Ritual is designed so that colleagues and coworkers can easily enjoy the local eateries around them and feel like they are one team dining together,” said Ray Reddy, Co-Founder and CEO, Ritual. “Furthermore, Ritual makes it easy for teams to order and bring food back to the office for colleagues. Once restaurants have one customer on Ritual, they are giving that customer a tool to save time when they order and pick-up, and turning that same customer into an advocate for its brand in the workplace, leveraging a network effect that drives additional lunch orders and  deliveries.”

Today, more than 44,500 teams across companies like Goldman Sachs, Oath, Spotify and SpotHero have formed on Ritual. More than 50 percent of all orders placed by team members are open to others to join. Team members who often had lunch individually are now sharing lunch time, driving company camaraderie and team unity.

Ritual works with teams and restaurants to make lunchtime ordering, pickup and delivery more convenient in three core ways:

  • Order ahead food technology: Ritual provides restaurants with turnkey mobile ordering technology, which gives consumers a convenient solution to discover, order and pick up their meals -- specifically during lunchtime.

    • With 3,000 restaurants across ten markets, teams have access to pick-up from local eateries or national chains via a single mobile app.

  • Social ordering and delivery via Piggyback: Using Ritual’s social ordering and delivery feature, Piggyback, teams can connect and collaborate on lunch orders and pick-up lunch for busy teammates. Restaurants are able to leverage existing customers to effectively act as delivery persons for these orders.

    • Restaurants on Ritual’s platform experience repeat customer visits and size orders increase up to 4x due to social features, ease of use and transparent pricing structure.

  • Actionable data for smoother lunch rush: Ritual provides real-time data on store experience, food quality and customer satisfaction metrics so operators can run a better business, which leaves consumers with a smooth ordering and pick-up experience to maximize their lunch breaks.

    • In addition to providing metrics on their own business, Ritual can help operators benchmark metrics to similar businesses to help operators understand where they are doing better or worse. With actionable insights, operators can often double Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) metrics to keep more customers coming back.

To support the rapid growth, Ritual closed a $70 million Series C round led by Georgian Partners with participation from existing investors Greylock Partners, Insight Ventures, Mistral Venture Partners.

In 2017, Ritual added Tishman Speyer, the leading owner, developer, and manager of premier commercial real estate in top cities around the world, as a Series B strategic investor. Tishman Speyer is scaling Ritual through its global properties, and will help the company continue its strong growth among real estate investors and property managers.

“As part of our workplace amenity program Zo, Ritual creates a sense of community for our tenants, makes their day-to-day lives easier and boosts their productivity, and we’re excited to bring this experience to more Tishman Speyer locations globally,” said Rob Speyer, President and CEO of Tishman Speyer. “We take great pride in the distinctive quality, value and services we offer to our tenants worldwide, and Ritual fits perfectly into our philosophy.”

Ritual is currently available online and via iOS and Android apps in major metro markets, including Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Washington, D.C., and its hometown of Toronto. Focused on densely-populated metros, Ritual plans to expand its offering to Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia and San Diego in the coming months.

“This is a huge market opportunity. Ray and his team are building a great business with a beautiful product that enables merchants to quickly digitize and grow revenues.” said Steve Leightell, Partner, Georgian Partners. “We’re excited to be leading this round and to have the opportunity to partner with Ritual to further accelerate their use of machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science.”

Tripleseat Partners with Bizly

Tripleseat and Bizly have partnered to provide corporate planners direct access to leading restaurants, hospitality venues and hotels with private dining.

Through this partnership, Tripleseat restaurants and unique venues will be listed on Bizly for events and meetings. When a Bizly customer inquires about an event at one of the Tripleseat customers venues, the Tripleseat venue will automatically receive the lead via the Bizly corporate portal. Through this partnership, Bizly can expand private dining options for corporate event planners and give Tripleseat venues access to their Fortune 500 corporate event planners.

“This exciting partnership with Bizly expands our efforts in providing our customers with valuable event leads from within larger enterprises and corporations,” says Jonathan Morse, CEO of Tripleseat. “The private dining and special events market continues to prosper, and partnering with Bizly allows our customers to have access to event planners from not only Fortune 500 companies, but pharmaceuticals companies as well. In return, we provide a positive, painless experience for planners looking to book a venue for their next event.”

Bizly’s innovative platform allows companies to easily and efficiently select venues and book events while abiding by their company's pre-set spending limits, compliance rules, and negotiated rates. Bizly’s concierge support leverages the personal attention and negotiation power of a traditional meeting agency without the excessive price tag and lag time around small meetings.

"Private dining events have always been a challenge for our Fortune 500 customers,” said Ron Shah, CEO of Bizly. “There have been tremendous inefficiencies around finding the right venue and booking in compliance to policy. Our partnership with Tripleseat helps deliver the highest quality venue options along with a consistent booking experience every time."

B.GOOD Names CEO

B.GOOD appointed Chris Fuqua as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer. He assumes day-to-day leadership of the company following more than eight years at Dunkin’Brands, where he served in a variety of leadership roles including Marketing, Operations, Supply Chain and Strategy.

Chris Fuqua

 After 15 years, B.GOOD’s co-founder Anthony Ackil has decided to step down as CEO to focus on his next entrepreneurial venture and the next chapter in his life and career and to spend time with his young family. He will maintain a large position with the company as a member of its Board of Directors and as a continued investor.

“It has been a tremendous ride since I opened our first restaurant almost 15 years ago with my best friend Jon. We watched our vision grow to almost 70 locations and we made an impact across so many communities with so many of our employees and their families.  It is an amazing feeling and I am so proud of what we have accomplished,” said Ackil. “But, it is time for me to pass the torch to Chris, whom I know will bring great energy and life to our business. Chris is the right person to bring our company to its next level and was my very first choice to succeed me as CEO.  I know he will maintain the company’s vision and build on its authentic roots and the unique culture we’ve established over the years. Chris will put his own stamp on B.GOOD, and I know he will take us to amazing new heights.  I can’t wait to see how our little company continues to grow.”

“There are very few companies with the authenticity, mission-driven focus, and brand identity that B.GOOD has developed over the years.  That’s what makes this opportunity so thrilling for me personally,” said Fuqua. “I have so much admiration for what Anthony and Jon and the team developed at B.GOOD.  Since joining the company’s board, I have felt the passion our people have for great tasting, locally sourced food that makes you feel good and I have witnessed the impact our mission has on so many communities. I am both humbled and incredibly enthusiastic to lead the company, scale this amazing, authentic culture and implement new ideas as we continue to expand.  The future for B.GOOD is incredibly bright and I look forward to leading us through the next phase of growth.”

Open Fields Platform for Sustainable Sourcing

FarmLogix launched Open Fields, a software platform that allows food service operations at colleges, schools, hospitals, sports and leisure facilities and businesses of all kinds to more easily source and report on sustainable ingredients and purchases. Aramark is the first partner to deploy Open Fields, having signed an exclusive agreement with FarmLogix through 2019 to utilize the ground-breaking platform.

“Open Fields helps a broad range of institutions in foodservice, healthcare, higher education, retail and hospitality to meet growing consumer demand for local and sustainable food,” said Linda Mallers, CEO and President of FarmLogix. “We are the first logistics–enabled platform to provide source and attribute transparency from the time of order through delivery within a B2B and B2B2C platform that allows the user to define what local and sustainable means to them, while knowing the source and quality of their food from time of order.”

“As a global company that serves 2 billion meals each year, our size and reach enable us to influence scalable change through sourcing practices,” said Scott Barnhart, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Management at Aramark.  “Open Fields will help Aramark increase our access to fresh, high quality, local produce and sustainably sourced products that also support the thousands of local communities we serve.”

Open Fields enables institutions to search, save and build programs based on custom definitions and purchasing needs. Convenient dashboards allow users to run custom analytics, while national entities such as Aramark, can run metrics on their own sustainability initiatives by location, product, spend, attribute, farm/vendor, miles to location and distributor. It is also the industry’s first reporting and analytics engine that allows onsite managers to generate reports on sustainable purchases at their individual client locations.

Aramark is using the tool to track sustainable attributes such as: Seafood Watch® Best Choice or Good Alternative, Fair Trade USA certified, USDA Organic and more. The platform provides the ability to search and report on locally sourced products and purchasing by unique customer definition, such as mile radius, state or state agricultural marketing programs.

The dashboards enable onsite managers and corporate teams to gain insight into a range of sustainability initiatives by tracking progress and generating reports. Highlights of recent activity include:

  • 41 participating K-12 districts in the 2017-18 school year sourced an excess of 4 million pounds of produce, including kale, arugula and spring greens, supporting 75 US farms
  • A major US university partner supports 15 local farms with access to detail on product, spend and distance from each farm to campus.
  • 25 vendors supply No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) meat products to a wide variety of locations
  • Clients have access to over 360+ unique Fair Trade certified products, reflecting nearly $11 million in purchases
  • Purchases of cage free shell eggs, in alignment with Aramark’s commitment
  • Compliance with third party sustainability reporting programs such as AASHE STARS, Real Food Challenge and Healthcare Without Harm

“Customer definitions of local and sustainable are as unique as fingerprints,” Mallers continues. “Meeting individualized customer needs poses enormous complexity for foodservice and broadline distribution.  Our platform identifies products that meet those unique customer needs, creates sales opportunities for producers and distributors, and increases efficiency and transparency across the supply chain. We are excited that our partnership with Aramark, a company that has the ability to truly change a farmer or small business owner’s life, will bring full transparency and scale to local and sustainable purchasing. The impact their resulting purchasing power has will truly create meaningful industry change, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

Aramark has partnered with FarmLogix since 2012.  The company will utilize Open Fields to design and customize programs that meet the company’s industry-leading sustainability and health and wellness commitments.

Inkling Increases Knowledge

Inkling Systems, Inc. enhanced its Inkling Knowledge platform with the addition of advanced analytics capabilities built on Tableau. New features include a pre-configured dashboard offering real-time data visualization and hourly automated updates, allowing businesses to more accurately assess content effectiveness and engagement company-wide for more informed decision making.

Inkling Knowledge is a modern content system that helps businesses train new hire employees, digitize standard operating procedures, and efficiently launch products in segments like restaurants, retail, field service, financial services, health, and insurance. Built on Tableau's data visualization software, the new analytics platform helps Inkling users simplify different views of data for richer insights.

"Data analysis is one of the most commonly requested features from our users – and we've responded with easier, intuitive ways to power business decisions," said Matt MacInnis, Inkling's founder and CEO. "Businesses can now go beyond the basic training and operating metrics to dig deeper into how and why information is being used, which has a direct effect on revenue opportunities. This makes Inkling Knowledge an essential tool for engaged frontline workforces."

New features include:

  • Out-of-the-box, pre-configured dashboard: No need for complex integration.
  • Real-time insights: Dashboards automatically update every hour to ensure customers are viewing accurate and useful information.
  • Data visualization with Tableau: See and understand data quickly using easy-to-create dashboards that are meaningful to the business.
  • Streaming data export: Easily export and align Inkling data with existing business intelligence tools to understand the impact of Inkling initiatives on key operating metrics. Key metrics views: Gain a deeper understanding of metrics that illustrate frontline effectiveness:
    • Platform usage: Learn how and when the organization is accessing content and on which devices.
    • Content effectiveness: Understand which documents are performing better and which content needs to be improved.
GS1 US Excellence Awards

GS1 US® recognized three companies with GS1 US Excellence Awards for their achievements in implementing GS1 Standards: Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC)/Subway, Mercy and Crane USA, Inc. Additionally, Ben Shanley, senior vice president of national foodservice operations, Coca-Cola North America was honored with The Roger Milliken Career Achievement Award. 

The companies recognized have demonstrated strategic vision and produced positive results in community engagement, customer satisfaction and/or process improvement in three distinct categories: 

GS1 US Innovation Excellence Award: IPC/Subway
The Innovation Award honors a company for their transformative use of the GS1 System of Standards to deliver an enhanced experience for businesses and customers. IPC/Subway, one of the first foodservice operators to initiate an automated inventory management and traceability program, leverages GS1 Standards to alert restaurants of product withdrawals, provide real-time inventory checks and improve the quality of their product information, yielding significant cost avoidance in truckload optimization and material handling throughout the supply chain.

GS1 US Operational Excellence Award: Mercy
The Operational Excellence Award recognizes a company that successfully applied GS1 Standards to improve business processes, operations, industry collaboration and/or the consumer experience. Mercy took a holistic approach to implementing GS1 Standards for improved inventory management, identification of a product expiry or recall, and accurate charge capture for surgical procedures, which ultimately helped Mercy improve patient care while also increasing efficiency.

GS1 US Small Business Excellence Award: Crane USA
The Small Business Excellence Award highlights GS1 Standards implementation from a small company, and demonstrates how standards helped drive their businesses forward. Crane USA worked with their partner, DiCentral, to evolve their use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standards from source to sale for a fully integrated supply chain and a more robust e-commerce platform. 

“Realizing an opportunity to create better visibility and efficiencies, these companies leveraged the power of GS1 Standards to transform entire business processes,” said Bob Carpenter, president and CEO, GS1 US. “We commend their innovative approach to making strategic enhancements that are driving growth for their organizations.”

Roger Milliken Career Achievement Award
Ben Shanley, a veteran of the foodservice industry, has been a champion for consumer transparency, food traceability, and supply chain visibility throughout his 30+ year career. A true collaborator and valued member of the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative Executive Leadership Committee, Shanley led his organization to become one of the first beverage suppliers to implement GS1 Standards for better traceability throughout its entire product line, driving efficient inventory management, accurate delivery, and visibility across their supply chain. He continues to lead innovative programs that extend the use of GS1 Standards for better data quality and greater supply chain efficiency. 

“Ben has been a passionate advocate for GS1 Standards and has been instrumental in spearheading positive change across the foodservice industry,” said Carpenter. “His leadership and influence in standards-based initiatives has helped Coca-Cola North America implement innovative supply chain best practices while delivering best-in-class customer value.” 

The Roger Milliken Career Achievement Award honors individuals who demonstrate outstanding innovation and leadership in the application of GS1 Standards and industry best practices to improve supply chain collaboration. Roger Milliken was known for being a catalyst for transformational best business practices across multiple industries. Among his many achievements, Milliken revolutionized the design of the textile plant, transformed how businesses controlled their inventories, supported energy efficiency well before the green manufacturing movement, and developed quality initiatives that set the standard for modern-day operational excellence. The award program continues in his memory. 

Simple Price Compare

SimpleTM added Simple Price CompareTM which simplifies the price checking process—cutting the time to compare and purchase products from hours to seconds. The new proprietary pricing algorithm, is now available on the Simple Amazon-like digital restaurant marketplace. Now, restaurant operators can go online, select the items they want, add them to their cart, and request price quotes. Simple Price Compare then presents comparable offerings from different sellers, and buyers can click to choose which items they want from which vendors. Simple Price Compare makes all this possible by:

  • Intelligently presenting the same or similar items with different names, such as “farm-raised tilapia” and “tilapia, farm raised”—eliminating the need for buyers to search for comparable products.
  • Automatically calculating the price per the exact same unit size, so managers and chefs can make apples-to-apples comparisons.
  • Displaying information about the quantity required to get a quoted price, so operators can make smart decisions about whether a deal makes sense for their restaurant.

“In a business where profitability comes down to pennies, restaurant operators are trying to offset the rising costs of wages, rent, and food prices by making smart purchases that offer the best value for the price,” said Dan McMurtrie, Simple founder and CEO. “However, the price checking that restaurants have to undertake weekly has been a labor-intensive and time-consuming task. Now, with the new Simple Price Compare pricing algorithm, we help restaurants’ operations become more efficient by making this faster and easier. And by taking the time and mystery out of comparing products and pricing, we’re empowering managers and chefs to better manage costs while gaining valuable hours back in their day. At the same time, pricing clarity makes it easier for distributors and sellers of all sizes to compete on the value of their offerings.”

“We purchase hundreds of different items each week. It takes hours to compare different sellers’ offers, and we don’t have the time it takes to get the best deal on each one,” said Peter de Castro, Tavern at the Park owner and proprietor. “Simple Price Compare is a game changer. For the first time, it’s possible to compare available offers in one place, with pricing by the same per-unit measure, to make informed purchases in just seconds.”

Simple was launched in 2017 to bring down the traditional barriers between restaurant operators and the range of sellers they rely on—from distributors and suppliers to local farmers and gourmet food producers. Today, nearly 4,000 businesses rely on Simple to more efficiently buy and sell restaurant goods.

For restaurants, the Simple marketplace provides Amazon-like simplicity with a single shopping cart; simplified price-checking process; one-click ordering for food, beer, wine, liquor and supplies; and a dashboard with real-time spending visibility. As a result, restaurant managers and chefs can save 20-plus hours each month and tens of thousands of dollars a year—at no cost for using the Simple marketplace.

For distributors and other sellers, Simple delivers a digital platform to grow existing accounts and connect instantly with restaurant operators seeking new suppliers. Using Simple, sellers can open a digital storefront to promote their products to restaurants 24x7, find hot sales leads, and send quotes to existing customers or prospects in minutes. As a result, sellers can spend less time driving and more time selling, increase sales through better reach to new and existing customers, and grow their business with data only available on the Simple platform.

delivery.com Acquires foodjunky

delivery.com is expanding its corporate food ordering customer and merchant base with the acquisition of foodjunky's business operations, an early innovator in the corporate and group ordering space.

foodjunky customers will have an easy transition to delivery.com Office, delivery.com's robust offering for businesses, which will allow foodjunky's existing corporate clients and customers to place large and small group orders directly on the delivery.com platform. delivery.com currently serves over two million customers and a growing roster of corporate clients who order from over 12,000 merchants every day.

"This news is an exciting step towards expanding our restaurant base and strengthening our presence in the corporate domain, a major initiative for us this year," says Jed Kleckner, CEO of delivery.com. "We're excited to offer foodjunky customers access to our brand new group ordering platform, and to build upon the strong and loyal relationship that foodjunky has created with its customers and merchants."

Travis Johnson, co-founder and CEO of foodjunky stated, "We're excited to transition our customers and restaurants to delivery.com, where our customers will have access to even more restaurants and local businesses. delivery.com shares in our vision of building the best group ordering platform and as two of the most restaurant-friendly players in this industry, this is a great fit for our customers and our restaurants."

Protecting Coral Reefs

The fresh fish experts at Bonefish Grill are joining The Nature Conservancy, top photo by Carlton Ward for The Nature Conservancy,  to increase awareness about the importance of protecting coral reefs and to help the nonprofit restore one million corals by 2025. The Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.

Coral Reef Punch by Bonefish Grill

This year marks the International Year of the Reef, a worldwide initiative to create a better understanding of the significance of coral reefs. Coral reefs are one of the most threatened marine systems, and scientists estimate that unless we take immediate action the world could lose up to 70 percent of coral reefs by 2050. Bonefish Grill is taking action by supporting the Conservancy's Plant a Million Corals Initiative. The initiative seeks to restore more than one million corals across Florida and the Caribbean and share restoration and conservation practices with local communities.  

"We are excited about our new partnership with The Nature Conservancy and thrilled to support its coral restoration initiative," said David Schmidt, President of Bonefish Grill. "Bonefish Grill and our guests truly treasure the ocean's resources and we look forward to shining a spotlight on the importance of these efforts."

During a series of Celebration Nights – launching June 5-11 at Bonefish Grill locations nationwide – Bonefish Grill guests can enjoy a coral reef-inspired cocktail, designed to increase awareness of the Conservancy's coral reef restoration efforts. A handcrafted Coral Reef Punch inspired by the tropics includes a mix of rum, coconut rum, passion fruit flavors, house-made vanilla bean simple syrup, fresh-squeezed orange and pineapple juice.  

The largest living structures on the planet, coral reefs are home to 25 percent of all marine species and provide critical resources. In addition to food, coral reefs provide: a means for income that sustains 500 million people, protection from storms as they break wave energy, ingredients for medicines, and incredible places to play and learn. However, over the last 30 years, ocean acidification, increased temperatures, overfishing and unplanned coastal development have caused coral cover in the Caribbean and Florida to decline by 50 to 80 percent.

"Tackling the challenges facing coral reefs in Florida, the Caribbean and beyond requires cooperation and coordination across government, nonprofit, and corporate sectors," said Dr. Joseph Pollock, Coral Strategy Director for The Nature Conservancy in the Caribbean. "By teaming with the Conservancy to raise awareness of the plight of coral reefs and support on-the-ground action to protect and restore them, Bonefish Grill has shown its commitment to turning the tide on coral reef decline."

To learn more about The Nature Conservancy's important work and find out how to get involved in supporting the nonprofit's initiatives, click here.

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