An Easier Dinner with Friends and DeliveringLocalJobs

This edition of MRM’s Daily Bite features Grubhub and Venmo, Bridg and Relevant Mobile, ezCater, Kolache Factory, Bertucci’s, Starbucks, Domino’s, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf,  BJ’s Restaurants, Verifone, Earls and SkipTheDishes, The National Beer Wholesalers Association and udelv.

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Grubhub Integrates with Venmo 

Grubhub announced the availability of Venmo as a payment option for their diners. Diners purchasing food on Grubhub, Seamless, or Eat24 mobile apps can now pay with their Venmo balance, linked bank account or debit card. Once the order is placed, diners can split the bill with Venmo, making it easier than ever to share the costs of group food orders with friends. This functionality is available to anyone who has the Venmo app installed on their mobile device and will automatically show up in their available payment options at checkout.

“More than sixty percent of our orders are placed on mobile devices, so we always look for ways to make it easier for diners to find, order and pay for the food they want, when and where they want it,” said Sam Hall, chief product officer, Grubhub. “We’re thrilled to bring Venmo as a payment to our diners, offering another popular and trusted way to pay for meals. Adding the ‘split the bill’ feature provides an additional level of convenience our diners have come to expect from us.”

“Venmo was founded to provide people with an easier way to make and share payments with friends and family,” said Mike Vaughan, Chief Operating Officer, Venmo. “We’re excited to further our longstanding partnership with Grubhub through this integration and given so many food-related payments occur on Venmo each day, it brings the social payment experience our customers love to the mobile buying experiences we know they already enjoy.”

Bridg Acquires Relevant Mobile

Bridg is joining forces with Relevant Mobile to bring a complete suite of marketing software to restaurant and retail marketers and their agencies.

“We are really excited to welcome the Relevant Mobile team to our family. Gerrine and Dazhi have built a great product, strong team and delivered industry-leading mobile, loyalty and ordering solutions to the biggest restaurant brands in the U.S.”

Included in the suite is Bridg’s CRM that combines siloed customer data sources such as point-of-sale, emails, SMS, loyalty and others, into single, unified 360º profiles. Bridg 360º profiles are enriched with external and predictive data and then made ready for use in segmentation and audience creation. The suite also offers email marketing, campaign workflow including local store marketing, sales and increment lift measurement and loyalty.

The fusion of Bridg and Relevant Mobile creates a team of more than 100 experts in data science, engineering and marketing serving regional concepts to the nation’s largest restaurant brands. Gerrine Pan and Dazhi Chen, Relevant Mobile Co-founders, will remain in leadership roles, continuing to lead the Relevant Mobile team in developing and supporting their products.

“Restaurants and retailers that are loved by their guests have become part of their guests’ lifestyles. The new Bridg suite of products gives marketers the ability to drive transactions by bringing customers in the door and guiding their experience and engagement to help them fall in love with the brand,” said Amit Jain, Founder and CEO of Bridg. “We are really excited to welcome the Relevant Mobile team to our family. Gerrine and Dazhi have built a great product, strong team and delivered industry-leading mobile, loyalty and ordering solutions to the biggest restaurant brands in the U.S.”

Complete Suite of Transaction-Powered Marketing Software for Restaurant & Retail

Bridg software is powered by daily point-of-sale transactions, over time, building 360º profiles for each guest. Data from loyalty, online ordering, email, catering and nearly any other source is supported as well, creating a deeper understanding of each customer. Together, Bridg and Relevant Mobile offer the most complete suite to deliver marketing based on individual behavior on any channel or device:

  • Target precise audiences and measure daily impact — Powered by Bridg’s 360º customer profiles, the suite includes a CRM solution for building audiences of verified customers beyond loyalty and email for marketing nearly anywhere. Targeting these guests based on individual behavior performs fundamentally better than ‘lookalike’ segmentation. Daily measurement of actual sales transactions includes incremental lift and allows for quick optimization.
  • Deliver email marketing driven by guest behavior — The new email platform includes an entirely redesigned experience for creating email campaigns. The one-page builder provides easy message personalization, broad promotions support and powerful local store marketing. Campaign reporting is tied directly to revenue.
  • Get consumer and business lifecycle analytics across an entire customer base — Bridg 360º customer profiles include an extraordinary level of insights and detail. Each guest has their own historical record correctly associated across multiple payment forms making it possible to know overall customer composition: who is new, regular or has stopped visiting. Get daily updated frequency bands, menu-level performance, loyalty/email participation rates, online order adoption and more.
  • Quickly launch fully-featured mobile apps — Bridg mobile apps provide loyalty, ordering, mobile payment, guest satisfaction surveys and gift card solutions wrapped in a custom interface that naturally extend a retailer’s brand, creating a space for feedback, dialog and community. Tight integration with the point-of-sale makes for seamless in-store execution and backend data capture.
  • Proactively engage and reward the right guests — Create loyalty without unnecessary discounts by using the power of Bridg 360º guest profiles to engage and nurture regular customers at the right time, in the right way. Easily implemented in-store and online, Bridg loyalty is built for trouble-free customer participation in visit-based, point-based, sweepstakes, games and other rewards offers.

“Competition is intense. Restaurants can’t keep up with just rewards programs and great LTOs. They need integrated platforms rooted in quality data to understand individual consumers and their actual interactions with a brand,” said Jain.

“Relevant Mobile has always acutely focused on delivering the best mobile experience to restaurant guests,” said Gerrine Pan, Co-founder of Relevant Mobile. “By combining organizations, we now offer restaurants the ability to supercharge their mobile strategy and loyalty programs—and acquire large numbers of new users quickly—by leveraging Bridg’s suite of software to deliver precision marketing to better performing audiences.”

ezCater Unveils New Products

ezCater unveiled two new product offerings: ezManage and ezOrdering. The new products are designed to help restaurants market, manage, and grow their catering business. ezManage is a no-cost catering management platform, while ezOrdering provides restaurants with a low-cost means to accept online catering orders on their own website. These new products coupled with the ezCater Marketplace position ezCater as the only solution that addresses the full lifecycle of a catering order, from reaching customers to gathering post-order feedback and insights.

Restaurants use ezOrdering to easily take online catering orders on their own website. While many restaurants already enable consumers to place take-out and delivery orders online, most still take catering orders over the phone. ezOrdering provides an out-of-the-box solution using the same easy online ordering experience and 5-star customer service that have served more than 38 million people on the ezCater Marketplace. Each ezOrdering page displays the unique brand and menu of each restaurant to provide a smooth transition for visitors from the restaurant website. With ezOrdering, restaurants pay no setup or maintenance fees and pay lower transaction fees than they do for orders sourced and delivered via the ezCater Marketplace.

Restaurants use ezManage to manage their catering orders efficiently, gain insights to make informed decisions, and optimize their marketing programs. ezManage produces real-time reports that provide visibility into all of a restaurant’s catering orders – past, present, and upcoming. Operators can see which marketing channels are responsible for which orders and integrate their social media channels for easy menu sharing. ezManage also enables operators to enter phone orders directly into the platform so they can track and analyze their full order flow. Additionally, ezManage keeps track of all ezOrdering customer information, making it a single-portal solution that provides restaurant operators with a view into their entire catering business.

“We are thrilled to make our catering offerings more accessible to consumers nationwide,” said Stephanie Beamer, Division Vice President, Franchise & Catering at Villa Restaurant Group. “Utilizing all platforms offered by ezCater, ordering through Green Leaf’s and Villa Italian Kitchen has never been easier. ezCater has been an essential part of our business plan in growing sales.”

“ezCater’s catering partners grow because we send them new customer orders from our nationwide marketplace,” said Stefania Mallett, CEO at ezCater. “Now, our ezOrdering and ezManage tools help our partners increase their margins by managing their catering business more efficiently.”

Nielsen Promoted to COO at Kolache Factory

Kolache Factory promoted Dawn Nielsen from Vice-President to Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. The daughter of Kolache Factory co-founders John and Jerri Banks, Nielsen has been groomed for this position for 36 years, ever since her parents popularized the kolache — a Czech pastry filled with fruits, meats and cheeses — in West Texas, by opening the first Kolache Factory store in Houston in 1982.

Dawn Nielsen

“I am so proud of what my parents built. It’s not easy to go into the restaurant industry with a totally new concept and make it. They blazed a path and I am excited and honored to move it forward and continue building on their amazing legacy with an aggressive nationwide franchise expansion,” said Nielsen.

Nielsen started out sweeping floors at the first Kolache Factory store when she was nine years old. As a teenager she worked behind the counter and as a kolache baker. After graduating from Houston Baptist University with degrees in business administration and art, she began working in marketing and advertising and was instrumental in marketing the Kolache Factory’s transition to a franchise company in 2000. Her role expanded upon her mother’s death ten years ago and she became Vice President.

In overseeing the company’s 175 corporate employees and 31 franchised stores, Nielsen is heavily focused on using new technologies to educate franchisees, boost revenue, and build customer loyalty.

Kolache Factory President/CEO and co-founder John Banks said his daughter has hit the ground running in her new position.

“Dawn has literally grown up with the Kolache Factory and has continually added the knowledge and skills necessary to help grow the brand. She has already brought great things to the family franchise and I am excited to see where we can take this company together in the future,” said Banks.

The kolache has a rich history dating back centuries in Eastern Europe and to the 1850s in the Czech belt of Texas. Still, there are places around the country and world that have never heard of a kolache and Nielsen’s goal is to bring the fresh, high-quality breakfast food created by master bakers, to the masses.

“I think we have a unique product that hasn’t even scratched the surface of what its potential can be. There are still markets that don’t know what we are. Expansion is the goal. John and I share the vision of making kolache a household name,” said Nielsen.

To capitalize on that growth and take the company to the next level, Nielsen is focusing on creating strategic partnerships. She has already invested in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to use new technology to improve business relationships and has partnered with a leading content marketing firm, social media firm and franchise development firm, to drive brand recognition.

“I am focused on building the most efficient systems and processes with our partners so that both our corporate stores and franchisees will benefit. The better our system, the more attractive we will be to future franchisees,” said Nielsen.

There are currently 27 corporate stores and 31 franchise stores with three more stores slated to open this year.

Bertucci’s Files Chapter 11

Bertucci’s  filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware with Right Lane Dough Acquisitions, LLC serving as the Stalking Horse Bidder.  Under the asset purchase agreement, the Stalking Horse Bidder has agreed to purchase substantially all of Bertucci’s assets and assume certain liabilities, subject to higher or otherwise better offers.

The transaction is intended to maximize value for all stakeholders through a fair, open Bankruptcy Court-approved sale process in which Bertucci’s will consider all bids for a sale or restructuring of the company. As part of the bankruptcy filing, Bertucci’s has sought Bankruptcy Court approval for the consensual use of cash collateral and $4 million in debtor-in-possession financing which will allow the company to meet its post-filing obligations in the ordinary course of business for customers, employees, trading partners, suppliers, vendors, and other creditors.

“Today’s filing is expected to be seamless for Bertucci’s guests, trading partners and vendors, and result in minimal disruption to its operations, allowing us to strengthen the company’s financial structure and position it for significant future growth,” said Brian Wright, CEO. 

Wright concluded, “We are grateful for the service and loyalty of our team members and are looking forward to focusing on a return to Bertucci’s roots: authentic, high quality, fresh ingredients that guests and team members alike crave and care about.”

59 Bertucci’s locations remain open for business. Landis Rath & Cobb LLP is serving as Bertucci’s bankruptcy counsel, and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP is the Company’s special corporate counsel.  Brian Wright will continue to serve as CEO, and Brian Connell will continue to serve as CFO.

Starbucks Takes Day to Retrain

Starbucks Coffee Company will be closing its more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores. The training will be provided to nearly 175,000 partners (employees) across the country and will become part of the onboarding process for new partners.

“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial-bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29. During that time, partners will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.

“The company’s founding values are based on humanity and inclusion,” said executive chairman Howard Schultz, who joined Johnson and other senior Starbucks leaders in Philadelphia to meet with community leaders and Starbucks partners. “We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer.”

The curriculum will be developed with guidance from several national and local experts confronting racial bias, including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Heather McGhee, president of Demos; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; and Jonathan Greenblatt, ceo of the Anti-Defamation League. Starbucks will involve these experts in monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the measures we undertake.

Earlier this week, Starbucks began a review of its training and practices to make important reforms where necessary to ensure our stores always represent our Mission and Values, by providing a safe and inclusive environment for our customers and partners.

Once completed, the company will make the education materials available to other companies, including our licensee partners, for use with their employees and leadership.

 Domino’s Launches Hotspots

More than 150,000 Domino’s Hotspots are now active nationwide so that customers can receive delivery orders at spots that don’t have a traditional address – places like local parks, sports fields and beaches, as well as thousands of other unexpected sites. Local Domino’s stores around the country have selected these Domino’s Hotspots, which are now locations where drivers can meet customers curbside to hand off orders.

“We listened to customers and their need for pizza delivery to locations without a traditional address,” said Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA. “We know that delivery is all about convenience, and Domino’s Hotspots are an innovation that is all about flexible delivery options for customers.”

Domino’s Hotspots are online-only for prepaid orders on and in mobile apps. Once a customer’s location has been determined, local Domino’s Hotspots that are available for delivery will appear on a map for customers to select. Before checking out, customers can leave instructions to help the driver find them.  After completing their order, customers will receive text message alerts about their Domino’s Hotspot delivery progress, including a final text that gives the estimated arrival of the driver at the hand-off spot.

“Now customers spending time at some of our new Domino’s Hotspots locations, like Tommy Lasorda Field of Dreams in Los Angeles or even next to the James Brown statue in Augusta, Georgia, can have a pizza conveniently delivered to them, thanks to our innovative Domino’s Delivery Hotspots,” continued Weiner.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Launches Mobile Ordering

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, launched mobile ordering within The Coffee Bean Rewards® app. The feature is available now at all 191 Southern California and Arizona company-owned locations and will extend to franchise locations and new geographic areas in the coming year.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Launches Mobile Ordering

Mobile Ordering allows guests to order ahead and Skip the Line® for fast and convenient service. Customers who use this feature will receive unique discounts and earn points towards rewards. There are many ways guests can earn and redeem free drinks, including special offers and when referring friends. The app is integrated with Uber, allowing guests to get to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® store with the tap of a button inside the app.  

“When people want coffee or tea, they want it now and we want their orders to be ready when they are,” said Aidan Hay, senior vice president of operations at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®. “The mobile ordering feature offers convenience, flexibility and plenty of rewards. We know our guests are going to love it.”

To get started, customers download The Coffee Bean Rewards® app, create an account with their preferred payment method, choose store location and place an order. Guests can browse drinks, easily customize products with just a few taps and save favorite items to easily re-order.

The Coffee Bean Rewards® app can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.

BJ’s Will Deliver Wine in California

BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. gives guests more than one reason to celebrate over a glass of wine for the ultimate night in. Known for its Southern California twist on Chicago-style deep dish pizza, award-winning handcrafted beer and the world-famous Pizookie® dessert, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse now offers a curated list of five wines for only $10 a bottle, available for delivery and take out at participating California restaurants.

“We are excited to offer our guests an easy night in and a convenient, ‘one-stop-shop’ for delicious food and great wine,” said Kevin Mayer, EVP, Chief Marketing Officer at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. “This $10 price point is the average cost of a bottle of wine purchased at a retailer. For the first time, we are giving our guests an opportunity to order a variety of red and white wines from the convenience of their home. These wines are the perfect complement to our over 120 menu items, all available for delivery and take out.”

Guests over the age of 21 may add the Dark Horse Cabernet, Dark Horse Chardonnay, Hess Select Chardonnay, Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio or Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend to their delivery or take out order for only $10 a bottle at participating California restaurants. Delivery is available at select locations. 

Verifone Engage

Meeting market demand for easy-to-use, smart touchscreen experiences at the point of sale, Verifone launched Engage V400c, the first touchscreen countertop solution in the Engage family. Enhancing the Engage lineup of countertops and PIN pads, this new solution is ideal for any small to midsized business (SMB) in a variety of environments including retail, hospitality, drugstore, casual restaurant, and convenience store. Moneris Solutions Corporation will be one of the first to offer the Engage V400c to its customers across the country as part of its next generation device strategy.

“Moneris is committed to delivering market-leading products and solutions that can meet the need of any Canadian business,” said Patrick Diab, vice-president, product and client solutions at Moneris. “Verifone’s V400c will help Moneris deliver new, innovative and flexible point-of-sale solutions that offer a secure, consistent and feature-rich experience for our customers.”

“With more and more consumers conditioned by touchscreens on smartphones, tablets and laptops, Verifone offers a vibrant, interactive color display that supports chip and PIN and contactless to accept a variety of digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay,” said Julie Johnson, SVP of Global Product Management, Verifone. “Consumers will also experience speedier checkout when they run in to pick up their prescriptions at the drugstore or refreshments at the nearest convenience store with a fast receipt printer.”

The V400c offers additional key features including:

  • Single cable connection for easier handling and less clutter
  • Bluetooth 4.2 with BLE to support beacons and personalized content
  • Best-in-class PCI 5.x and SRED security standards

As with any Verifone Engage device, the V400c is designed for Verifone Connect, an integrated global product that empowers merchants to better manage their businesses with next-generation software and services. Key features include payment services, estate management, marketplace with merchant and consumer-facing apps, and new device onboarding and purchasing.

Verifone V400c will be available first in North America and Europe.

Earls Partners with SkipTheDishes

Earls is exclusively partnering with SkipTheDishes, top photo. Canadians who love the Earls Kitchen + Bar dining experience can now get their favourite menu items delivered in 29 major Canadian markets.

“Earls pioneered the premium casual dining experience and continues to redefine what true hospitality means,” said Jeff Adamson, Co-Founder of SkipTheDishes. “Now, for the first time ever, Earls and Skip are teaming up to bring the Earls experience to millions of Canadians. This partnership means that you can now order your favourite, locally sourced Earls dishes wherever you are.”

“Partnering nationally with Skip gives us the opportunity to share the Earls experience in our guests’ homes,” said Kristin Vekteris, VP Brand and Marketing for Earls. “Our guests have been asking for this, and we’re thrilled to offer them the Earls menu items they crave and love with the convenience of Skip.”

In January 2018, Skip and Earls also partnered in a successful charitable campaign, Delivering Kindness, in support of the Firefighters Burn Fund in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. For every Earls delivery order, $2 went to help improve burn survivors’ quality of life.


The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA)  launched, the centerpiece of a new public awareness effort highlighting the faces of the beer distribution industry – the 135,000 men and women who work as truck drivers, sales representatives, inventory specialists, graphic designers, receptionists and more quality, well-paying, career-track distribution jobs available in local communities, in all 50 states.

Altogether, those men and women earn $11.2 billion in wages and salaries, and they help generate:

  • $70 billion for the U.S. economy (GDP)
  • Nearly $180 million in community economic impacts (including support for charities and economic development)
  • Nearly $13 billion in tax revenue.

“The ‘Delivering Local Jobs’ website helps recognize the 135,000 beer distribution employees who are the engines behind the American beer industry,” said NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser. “Beer distributors may be best known for driving beer trucks down local streets delivering fresh beer to stores, restaurants and pubs, but they are doing more than keeping store shelves stocked and taps flowing – they also are building beer brands, generating unprecedented consumer choice and boosting local economies from coast to coast.”

The new website uses a wide range of videos and individual stories to put a face on the men and women of the beer distribution industry. The first video on the website, The Face of the Beer Distribution Industry, shows more than 30 distribution employees from across the country who work in a wide range of jobs. Other highlights of the website include:

  • See Us at Work page featuring a “Day in the Life of a Beer Distributor” time-lapse video
  • Meet Your Local Distributor page with dozens of employee spotlights from all 50 states featuring people such as Leon Chisolm, on-premise chain and trade relations manager, who has worked for Coastal Beverage in Wilmington, N.C., for 30 years
  • Building Local Economies page which includes state-by-state data of the economic value local beer distributors deliver
  • Building Beer Brands page which showcases distributor employees building a wide range of beer brands and promoting styles, including a video with Kelly Hughes, a craft brand manager at Gulf Distributing in Birmingham, Alabama

The distributor employees highlighted on the website work with more than 5,000 brewers and importers to help build brands – large and small, well-known and brand new, from around the corner and from around the world.

Future of Delivery

udelv,  launched its autonomous, last-mile delivery vehicle and made the world’s first public road test deliveries from Draeger’s Market in San Mateo to two nearby customers. The small orange vehicle  can carry multiple customer orders at a time and drive up to 50 miles on a cycle. Since then, the company has gained three new clients and made more than 100 autonomous-enabled deliveries to customers from Draeger’s, a florist shop and restaurants.  A safety driver has attended all runs.

Customers download the udelv app available on iOS to track delivery time and open the vehicle’s compartments to retrieve their orders.

“The reaction to udelv has largely exceeded our expectations, with large and small global retailers and operators reaching out to discuss pilot programs,” said CEO Daniel Laury. “Last mile delivery is the costliest part of shipping and our vehicle is aimed at cutting the cost of last-mile deliveries in half.”