Keen on Kiosks and Online Ordering Preference of Parents

Kiosks and other restaurant technology products are part of today’s top-five headlines. Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at

MRM Daily Bite Logo

Innovations at Astor Place Shake Shack

The Astor Place Shake Shack will introduce a new guest flow at the restaurant when its doors open in early October at 51 Astor Place on the corner of 9th Street and 3rd Avenue. This Shack is designed to enhance operations and guest experience and will feature kiosk-only ordering, a cashless environment, and an optimized kitchen for greater throughput.

Custom-designed by Shake Shack, the Shack kiosk was developed to allow Shake Shack to serve more guests at peak times – whether in-Shack, for pickup via the Shack App, or even delivery – resulting in fewer lines, less wait time and quicker speed of service at every channel. Several kiosks will line the Shack and team members known as Hospitality Champs will be stationed around the kiosks to assist guests with their orders and answer any questions. 

Photos courtesy of Shake Shack

The Shack kiosk replicates the experience of the Shack App with a sharp aesthetic, an intuitive touch screen interface and ease of ordering. Guests simply select their food, place an order and choose to receive an alert via text when their order is ready. The new technology offers guests yet another way to experience Shake Shack – when, where and how they want it. Earlier this year, Shake Shack launched a mobile ordering app for iOS and Android platforms and introduced the ShackBot, through Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM, to answer guests’ most frequently asked questions.

In addition, building a business model to support digital innovation, Shake Shack will lead with a starting wage of $15 per hour to continue to be on the forefront of competitive wages and developing the leaders needed for growth. 

“Shake Shack is a growing, loyal, and connected community and is more focused than ever on our guest’s experience and the tools with which our team can provide leading hospitality”, said Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack. “The Astor Place Shack will be a playground where we can test and learn the ever-shifting needs of our guests. We’re excited to lead with kiosk-only ordering, putting control of the Shake Shack experience in our guest’s hands, and an optimized kitchen with increased capacity for mobile orders and eventual delivery integration to support ongoing digital innovation. We’re thrilled to be starting our team members at $15 per hour in this location as we continue to take care of our teams first, while we evolve our business model for a big future ahead. The Astor Place Shack represents our dedication to innovation and to providing the best for our guests and for our teams.”

USHG’s Enlightened Hospitality Investments Seeks Restaurant Innovators

Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), the hospitality company founded by Danny Meyer, completed raising a strategic growth equity fund, Enlightened Hospitality Investments LP (EHI). The fund was oversubscribed and closed on more than $200 million of capital commitments from third-party investors as well as USHG. 

EHI will identify and invest in scalable businesses with proven category leadership and a committed focus on building shareholder value by building an employee, customer and community-focused culture. Leveraging USHG’s 30+ years of experience, relationships and track record as operators and investors, EHI will primarily, but not exclusively, focus on fine casual restaurants and technology companies that fuel hospitality.

“Historically we’ve had the privilege of investing in some incredibly special companies whose cultures, leaders and innovative business models caught our eyes.  Enlightened Hospitality Investments allows us to find and fuel growth for best-in-class culture-driven businesses that are on the precipice of doing great things,” said Meyer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group.  “EHI provides us with a strategic investment vehicle to formalize future transactions and bring the benefits of our experience and relationships, which we have cultivated through USHG, to beloved companies that share our passion for our team and community.”

The fund will primarily make minority investments of $10-20 million in innovative growth companies that are category leaders and share USHG’s ‘Enlightened Hospitality’ strategy and mindset of prioritizing employees among all other stakeholders to drive customer satisfaction and ultimately, attractive and sustainable investor returns.  EHI will be run by Mark Leavitt, Chief Investment Officer of USHG, and will have a team focused on finding and managing strategic investment opportunities.  

EHI has made its first investments in New York-based Joe Coffee,with 16 stores and a growing wholesale business; Portland-based Salt & Straw Ice Cream, with 10 stores on the west coast; and Resy Network, a New York-based operations software business for the restaurant industry serving restaurants in 40 markets.  The EHI team has evaluated approximately 200 companies, and will continue to thoroughly evaluate potential investments. 

“We’re thrilled to have raised our first growth equity fund which is uniquely positioned to provide resources, relationships and visibility to drive growth for our investments and provide benefit to our portfolio partners. The fund will invest in companies that value our participation, the overarching culture of USHG and will benefit from the wide network of relationships and resources that USHG has cultivated over the years,” said Mark Leavitt.  “We look forward to making additional strategic investments in companies that share our mindset and value our participation in assisting in their growth.”


Delaware North Brings Self-Order Kiosks to Airport Dining

Delaware North added self-ordering kiosks at several of its airport dining locations. The kiosks were developed in partnership with Grab, the airport e-commerce platform, offering travelers dual self-service ordering capabilities (mobile via smartphone and in-person at a kiosk) for the first time in the United States.

The kiosk technology features an interface designed for quick ordering with intelligent upselling and customization components and includes point-to-point encrypted (P2PE) credit card payments, including Apple Pay, Android Pay and other “tap-to-pay” options. Kiosks can process orders from a location’s full menu as well as grab-and-go items. Future iterations of the kiosk will have barcode scanners for an even quicker checkout experience when purchasing grab-and-go items.

More than 50 kiosks are expected to be installed at Delaware North-operated dining concepts by the end of the year, with 18 kiosks already deployed at six airports, including: Atlanta (Grindhouse Killer Burgers, Mustard Seed and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf); Austin (Schlotzsky’s); Buffalo (Which Wich); Denver (Schlotzsky’s); Detroit (Popeye’s) and Oklahoma City (Schlotzsky’s, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf).

“We are always looking for ways to make a more convenient and seamless experience for travelers,” said Kevin Kelly, president of Delaware North’s travel division. “This latest innovation with our partners at Grab is a step toward the future of travel and how people will be dining and shopping at the airport in the coming years.”

Delaware North’s travel division first partnered with Grab in 2015 to provide an easy way for travelers to pre-order and pay for food at its airport dining locations through an app on mobile devices. Since launching at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport, Grab has been expanded to Delaware North’s airport operations in Austin, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Boise, Buffalo, New Orleans, Nashville, Tampa, Detroit, Richmond, Charleston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Ontario and Minneapolis-St. Paul.


Elo Debuts New Restaurant Tech Products

Elo  introduced the new Wallaby self-service countertop and floor stands for an elegant and simple interactive touchscreen experience in high-traffic environments. The Wallaby self-service stands deliver an out-of-the-box customer-facing solution that combine a Windows- or Android-powered Elo all-in-one (AiO) touchscreen computer with secure housing for a printer and peripheral connections. The stands, with an I-Series or X-Series touchscreen computer from 15 to 22-inches, support a multitude of compatible accessories enabling a simple solution for point of sale, self-order, endless aisle, price verification, loyalty programs, brand experience, and patient check-in. The Wallaby self-service countertop and floor stands are available for order today.

“Self-service ordering is a win-win for the enterprise business and guest alike,” said Wayne Scarsella, senior vice president of sales at Appetize Technologies, an Elo partner that provides solutions in the sports and entertainment, education, and professional industries. “Appetize’s software on Elo’s new touchscreens and self-service stands decrease wait times and in some cases, increase order size by more than 20 percent. We are thrilled to partner with industry leader, Elo, in this new wave of retail and foodservice ordering.”

“Self-service is growing exponentially in all areas of point-of-sale, point-of-information, hospitality and healthcare,” said Neeraj Pendse, senior director of product management at Elo. “Early feedback on the Wallaby self-service stands has been incredible, with the stands providing an elegant option that can be deployed in a minimal footprint.”

The Wallaby self-service stands are compatible with the Elo 15- and 22-inch I-Series touchscreen computers in portrait orientation and the Elo 22-inch I-series, 15-, 17- and 20-inch X-Series touchscreen computers in landscape orientation. Elo’s commercial-grade I-Series and X-Series work with a large set of peripherals, including EMV, barcode scanners, NFC adapter, MSR and fingerprint readers. The Wallaby self-service stand’s housing was designed to secure the I/O connections of those peripherals while also providing space for additional components, including a power supply and network switch. The self-service solution can be completed with a best-in-class compatible printer and EMV device including: Epson TM-88, Star TSP-100 and Star TSP-654 printers and Verifone MX915, Ingenico iSC250 and Ingenico IPP350 EMV payment devices.

Other  offerings from Elo include:

  • Elo’s new E-Series 15E3 15-inch touchscreen computer for retail and hospitality is designed with seamless edge-to-edge, easy-to-clean glass. The 15E3 all-in-one (AiO) computer also features Elo’s industry-leading TouchPro™ Pro-G projected capacitive (PCAP) or AccuTouch® five-wire resistive touch technologies. 
  • The new 5502L, 55-inch touchscreen signage delivers a large-format tablet-style platform for immersive interactive applications in commercial markets. The 5502L is available in three configurations, including the new TouchPro™ PCAP, IR and a non-touch version, enabling a mixed-deployment unified design.
  • The new 4343L and 5543L large-format, open-frame touchscreens are available with industry-leading TouchPro™ Pro-M projected capacitive (PCAP) technology. The new models also deliver up to 12 touches simultaneously with a fast, accurate touch experience.
Parental Preferences for Online Ordering

orderTalk, Inc. released a research report about the online ordering habits and preferences of parents. The report reveals that parents with children under the age of 18 are more likely than those without children under the age of 18 at home to order takeout at least once a month (89 percent versus 60 percent). According to the report, those parents with kids at home are 21 percent more likely to use technology (app or website) to order takeout than parents without children at home.

“Parents juggle many daily responsibilities, so convenience and finding ways to make life easier is important to them,” said orderTalk CEO Patrick Eldon. “A user friendly online ordering system is a win for them and also allows restaurants to maximize their potential revenue with this demographic.”

To support this, the survey statistics revealed that 67 percent of parents agree that they wish it were easier to order takeout digitally. The study also reported that parents are more likely to have abandoned a digital order than non-parents (69 percent versus 59 percent). The most common reason given was that the website/mobile app was not functioning properly.

“In today’s society, having an online presence doesn’t set restaurants apart like it did years ago,” said Eldon. “Consumer expectations and demand have evolved over time and to keep ahead of the competition, restaurants must offer easy-to-use online ordering platforms that meet those needs.” 

The research report is the result of a 2017 online survey conducted on behalf of orderTalk by Harris Poll among 2,246 U.S. adults.

To download  the full 2017 orderTalk Online Ordering Usage Report, click here.

Hotel Emma Adds Culinary Concierge

Hotel Emma, the 146-room boutique hotel at the Historic Pearl, added hospitality veteran Andres Rizo as the new culinary concierge. Rizo comes to Hotel Emma with ample experience in the food and beverage industry. He has held several leadership roles, including beverage director, entertainment director, and general manager, at some of the most prestigious hospitality hot spots, nightclubs, and restaurants in New York City, including the Boom Boom Room, The Darby, and The Double Seven. Rizo recently moved to San Antonio to pursue his own venture (he and his wife moonlight as the founders of SoundCream Airstream, a pop-up club and outdoor experience packaged out of a 1970s renovated airstream) and partnered with Hotel Emma in early 2017.

Andres Rizo
Andres Rizo

“I am thrilled to join the Hotel Emma team,” said Rizzo. “San Antonio is an amazing and must-see destination, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to enhance our guests’ culinary experience not only in the hotel and the Pearl neighborhood, but across the entire city.” 

As the culinary concierge of Hotel Emma, Rizo is focused on setting the highest bar for San Antonio’s food scene and will be providing guests with intimate access to South Texas’s unique gastronomic offerings, organizing bespoke experiences such as a guest chef-led dinner in a private suite, and escorting guests to local pop-up dinners and demonstrations, among other events.

Since joining the Hotel Emma team, Rizo has been expanding the property’s in-house culinary program and has organized several gastronomic demos and pop-ups, such as “National Daiquiri Day,” where guests learned the secrets of making the perfect daiquiri, and a kraut-making demonstration. Upcoming pop-ups include “Pie-Making class with Nanette Watson” and “Becker Vineyards Wine Dinner”, among others. Additional new cultural events and series on property include a special library series with local personality Sherry Kafka Wagner and a weekly lively music performance, “Latin Jazz Wednesdays.” Through these events and his expert recommendations, Rizo hopes to enrich guests’ experience with creative diversions centered on all things culinary in San Antonio.

“We are very excited to welcome Andres to Hotel Emma,” said Hotel Emma’s Chef John Brand. “He will be a great asset as a font of information for our guests in expanding their food knowledge and culinary discoveries of San Antonio, and will enhance the overall traveler experience.”