Developing A Restaurant Tech Strategy

Food Tech Connect will be hosting a series of classes on June 28th in NYC on how to save money on technology in a restaurant. The first class in the series will touch upon how to choose the POS system best suited for your restaurant, how to budget for your restaurant IT and how to drive more traffic and keep customers coming back. Overall the class will teach how to create a tech strategy that is straight forward and that will save you time and money. Mike Dulle, who leads the Restaurant & Bar Initiative at ShopKeep POS, will be leading this first 90 minute class.

Here are a few of the steps that will be covered in the class:

  1. Operational Setup: tech to purchase (Hardware & Network), website creation, POS
  2. Workforce Management: employee scheduling, payroll
  3. Demand Generation: reservations, local business listings, menu management, yelp
  4. Customer Retention: loyalty, email marketing, social media

The second class in the series is taught by Felicia Stingone, former Senior Managing Director of Brand and Marketing for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. The class focuses on different marketing strategies and how to really leverage and build your brand.

Here are a few takeaways from the class:

  • Learn about the marketing strategies restaurant powerhouses use to grow their business
  • Get an inside look at how to start to leverage “brand” to scale a business, from opening more doors or new concepts to publishing books and launching products
  • Walk away with insights and practical tactics that you can use to shape a brand strategy and develop a marketing plan to help grow your business.

The last part of the series is a panel led by the founders of Culintro, Easy Pairings and Culinary Agents. The panel discussion will focus on how to streamline hiring processes and which technologies can help make this process easier. It will also share tips on how to empower employees to succeed and give an insight into how these three startups are working to improve and simplify the hiring process.

The series welcomes already established brands as well as startups and anything in between. The course will take place on June 28th in NYC but will also become available online on Aug 6. To read more about the event click here

Swipely’s: Consumer Intelligence for Restaurant Operators

Swipely’s new release, “Winter ’14“, now includes menu and server performer intelligence to help restaurants “make smarter decisions about their key drivers— food, staff, and marketing,” according to CEO Angus Davis. The Swipely system is compatible with several major POS systems, and it stores data each time customers pay using credit or debit cards, which is roughly 75% of the time. Additionally, Swipely reduces the cost of accessing credit and debit card payments for restaurant operators. Operators can apply the information the insights about their servers to aid in training and decision making. Similarly, by evaluating which dishes are best-sellers, operators can more easily make sound marketing decisions.


150 Prince Street between Thompson Street and West Broadway (SoHo) • 646.998.3800


Chobani SoHo

Their Success…Chobani SoHo, currently the only Chobani outpost in the world, transforms a notoriously healthy yet mundane food (yogurt) into something delicious and accessible. Chobani SoHo’s philosophy, “yogurt was meant to be simple— just milk and cultures,” speaks volumes. This “simplicity” is present in the store’s design, menu format and food selection. Genuinely friendly and knowledgable staff operates Chobani, guiding customers through the menu and helping them select their ideal “creation.” Chobani employees take customer service one step further by having foresight and using customers’ questions as an opportunity to make optimal yogurt recommendations. Half portions cost $4 and full portions $5.50. Although yogurt and water are the only food and beverage items sold, Chobani is far from prosaic. The nine sweet and savory creations cater to customers of all preferences, whether they’re coming from the gym, work or school. Each “creation” features three-five additions which will satisfy almost anyone’s cravings. Limiting the number of choices a customer has to make creates a more welcoming environment.

Simplicity not only embodies Chobani’s food and philosophy, but also the ordering process. The staff to customer ratio is ideal, a clear assembly line leads to seamless and efficient order-placement, and the iPad POS Ambur results in quick and efficient payment transactions.

Take Aways…Any food, no matter how it’s currently perceived by the public, can be turned into something exciting. A few additions go a long way, in Chobani’s case.

Cash-Only Businesses at Risk

In a world where technology is progressing constantly and is almost inescapable, several small businesses continue to operate as cash-only. These businesses are suffering tremendous losses by failing to acquiesce to modern operating standards. Accepting credit cards leads to long-term benefits such as earning and retaining new customers and increasing sales. According to Intuit, the Silicon Valley software firm that develops financial and tax prep solutions by not accepting cards, fifteen-million businesses are missing out on $100 billion in sales annually—about $7,000 per company annually in either new sales or sales that go to competitors that do accept cards.

According to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research, 27 percent of all in-person POS purchases were made with cash in 2011, whereas credit card payments made up 66 percent, a figure that’s expected to rise.

“I don’t understand the small businesses that don’t take cards,” said Jason Richelson, a former grocery and wine store owner in Brooklyn and founder ShopKeep POS, a cloud-based point-of-sale software, in 2008. “In my opinion, as a grocery and a wine store owner, if you don’t take credit cards, you suffer—you could be increasing your sales 20 percent and you’re going to make your customers happier.” Another perk to accepting credit cards is that customers end up spending more money. The average spend per transaction is 120 percent higher when customers pay with credit card compared to cash, just considering ShopKeep’s 7,000 merchants alone.

For almost a decade Joe Coffee in New York accepted only cash. Not only was it more profitable since they could avoid credit card fees, but it coincided with the company’s Mom-and-Pop philosophy. After reading dozens of negative reviews on yelp about Joe’s not accepting credit cards, they realized losing current and future potential customers would ultimately lead to a loss of sales. Joe’s progression to accepting credit cards proved so successful that now ten locations take plastic.

Bhaskar Chakravorti, senior associate dean for international business and finance at Tufts’ Fletcher School points out, “as everyone becomes a lot more familiar with doing things on their phones, if the next store over offering the same set of products accepts electronic payments, then you’ll be losing business.”

The takeaway here is, keeping up with technology is crucial if you want to stay in business and be profitable, even for mom-and-pop shops. Customers thrive off convenience, and that usually comes in the form of a plastic card.

Plumfare is Acquired By Groupon

Groupon has been increasing its interest in hospitality since its purchase of  Breadcrumb last year. Now Plumfare, the food sharing application, has been acquired by Groupon.

Plumfare prompts people to take pictures of their food and share them with friends. You’re able to gift those items to your network via SMS, email, or Facebook, only paying if your friend redeems the item.

Read the full story here.

Breadcrumb and Square Announce Upgrades and New Hardware

FastCasual reports on Square’s reinventing the register with Stand and Groupon’s release of the free iPad app Breadcrumb POS. Both affordable solutions are great replacements for traditional POS. Are you a user? We’d love to hear your experience with them or other iPad applications.

Square Adds New Features to Speed Communication and Service

Are you using Square?

It sounds like the new features, as reported in FastCasual,  – order modifiers and custom kitchen tickets, will enable merchants to customize orders while keeping the line moving, and record orders while improving communication with the kitchen. The customizable kitchen tickets attach a number or customer’s name to an order.

Read the full analysis here.

There’s a New Android Tablet in Town for Quickserve: Leaf POS Expands

Leaf, a fast-growing provider of POS systems, business intelligence and customer loyalty platforms, has announced its latest solution: Leaf for Quick Serve. The tablet-based POS gives operators a cost-effective alternative to traditional POS, one that also increases visibility into their business through sophisticated, user-friendly analytics and an improved customer experience.

New features include:

  • Support for take-out and delivery: Built-in customer look-up functionality allows QSRs to save customer preferences and delivery addresses that can be looked-up by phone number.
  • Clock in/out: The LeafPresenter can now double as an employee time-keeper to track employee data and strengthen its business analytics.
  • Email and text receipts: Customers now have the option to receive their receipt via text or email.
  • Custom or default tips: Merchants can set a default tip amount or let customers choose an amount after swiping a card and signing with their fingers.

One plus of this proprietary system? A one-tablet system is $50 per month, additional tablets are $250.

Breadcrumb Announces More Upgrades

Breadcrumb has unveiled an new upgrade to its iPad POS for restaurants, bars and cafes,  Fast Casual reports.

Highlights of Breadcrumb 1.4 include:

  • Added Inventory Management
    • Enables seamless uploading of new and existing menu items and inventory counts to all Breadcrumb terminals.
    • Displays how much is left of a specific menu item – ideal for venues with large but limited wine lists or daily fish specials and
    • Facilitates easier tracking of food costs.

    Expanded Features for Delivery Businesses

    • Integrates Caller ID functionality without any additional hardware (Aloha and MICROS require extra $100 – $1000 device).
    • Faster phone order entry: automatically pulls up a customer’s address and saves in the system for future use and
    • Empowers users to import/export customer data.

    Improved Tip Application and Monitoring

    • Prints recommended tip amounts on receipts.
    • Permits venues to track declared server tips to aid with compliance and
    • Adds an automatic gratuity based on party size gets up close and personal with 4 Hospitality Tech CEO’s

Restaurant operators are always looking for the latest solutions to help them cut costs and provide better and faster service. Technologies claiming to do all three emerge daily, so sat down with the CEOs or founders of four such companies — FrontFlip, Breadcrumb, Irisys and GoPago — to find out if their solutions are worth the investment.

New Restaurant Technology to help your business manage its guests


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