MRM #RestaurantTech: ‘The Restaurant Stack,’ Burger Battle and ‘Beyond Takeout’

The intersection of hospitality and technology is evolving at a rapid pace. To keep a pulse on these trends, Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine launched a MRM #RestaurantTech column.  To submit items, contact MRM Executive Editor Barbara Castiglia at 

‘The Restaurant Stack’ 

This week, our friends at  BlueCart’s introduced “The Restaurant Stack” eBook, the one-click destination for chefs, restaurant owners, and operation managers everywhere. Opening your first restaurant? Managing a restaurant group? This is the guide for you. Experts from 15 top restaurant professional from a variety of companies each contributed a chapter to the ebook, which has created an all-inclusive guide that teaches you how to navigate all the common missteps today’s restaurateurs make. You’ll receive detailed solutions for every challenge from payroll and compliance to menu costing and labor management. 

The 2017 “Stack” focuses especially on technologies and strategies that are easy-to-use, affordable, and turn-key solutions to serious productivity and profitability challenges.

With restaurant closure rates high as ever, committed owners, chefs, managers, and investors alike are always on the lookout for innovative solutions to their most pressing problems. The Restaurant Stack covers a wide-range of important issues – from labor, inventory, waste, and financial management, to design, marketing, event planning – and provides readers with simple, actionable steps to dramatically improve performance in each area.

“For a long time, these types of tools were only available to big corporations with big budgets. But that’s not the case anymore. The tools you need are out there, they’re affordable, and they’re built for businesses like yours. It’s up to you to take advantage of them.” Chad Halvorson, Founder and CEO of When I Work

Companies selected for inclusion in this year’s Stack include: BlueCart, Reserve, TouchBistro, Kabbage, Upserve, Mazars, Food Shift, FoodLogiq, Streetsense, Social Tables, Nom, Wagepoint, RizePoint, When I Work, and Industry.Co.

“Restaurateurs want one interconnected system, instead of many different platforms that each live independently from each other, so that they understand every step of their customers’ journeys.” Greg Hong, Co-founder and CEO of Reserve

 BlueCart CEO Konstantin Zvereff says, “We are making The Stack available not just because we’re included this year, but also because it does a great job filtering out all the noise surrounding restaurant industry apps and technologies, getting right to the heart of each problem, and providing simple, applicable solutions for busy restaurant professionals.”

To download a free copy of this resource, click here.

Digital Burger Battle

More than 20 local restaurants will take their shot at being crowned as the purveyor “South Florida’s Best Burger” through a unique digital battle. Starting Feb. 1, the contest,, will offer burger lovers two months to visit participating restaurants and rank, review and share burger selfies to win prizes. Each restaurant will nominate their own, unique burger for the battle and local burger lovers will decide which meat-between-the-buns concoction is tops.social_6[1]

South Florida’s first online burger battle has a roster of participating restaurants covering Broward County, northern-Miami-Dade County and Boca Raton. Avid burger battlers will recognize some burger battle powerhouses, most notably Rok:Brgr, Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox, Brgr Stop and M.E.A.T. Eatery & Taproom. The winning restaurant will achieve top placement on Snappatizer for burger searches, and of course, bragging rights.

The restaurants aren’t the only ones trying to win in this contest. By ranking the burgers on Snappatizer, local foodies can enter to win prizes, including the grand prize of a Caribbean cruise for two.

For the first time, the best burger in South Florida will be decided by Snappatizer, an app designed for foodies, using a proprietary ranking algorithm to help determine the best burger in the area.snappatizer[1]

“We have an impressive lineup of participating burgers and restaurants and cruises to win, so we’re really excited about this,” said Josh Rotenberg, COO of Snappatizer. “People love to list their favorite foods and share them with friends and this is the perfect platform to do just that.”

Snappatizer, based in Fort Lauderdale, was created by two food lovers tired of restaurant-ranking apps and their five-star rating systems. Snappatizer, a new iOS app created for foodies, soft-launched in September. Foodies can take photos of local eats, add filters, leave positive reviews specific to their dishes and then rank that dish relative to the 300+ categories available. That data is then used to feed Snappatizer’s proprietary algorithm, which powers the search function. This enables users to find the best burger, eggs benedict or pad thai in their area.

Restaurant Revolution Technologies Goes ‘Beyond Takeout’ 

Collection of technology advancements, call center virtualization and portfolio of new clients position the San Diego-based Restaurant Revolution Technologies (RRT) and services company “Beyond Takeout” as it continues to substantiate itself within the restaurant industry.

David Schofield
David Schofield

Highlights from the past year include:

100 percent Virtual Operations – To handle call-in takeout orders for its clients RRT made the transition from a brick & mortar call center format to a 100% Virtual Call Center. The operational change has resulted in RRT being able to provide augmented service levels, more flexible scheduling to support its client’s order patterns, increased ability to hire agents with a hospitality background, and able to “Uber-ize” its services to provide immediate support to its clients during unexpected spikes in volume.

Company Growth – RRT grew dramatically during 2016, added numerous new restaurant chains, with its client base now including marquee brands such as The Habit Burger Grill, BJ’s Bar & Restaurant, Kona Grill, Urbane Cafe, Kneaders Bakery and Café, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, Modern Market, Mooyah Burgers, zpizza, Maria’s Italian Kitchen and Polly’s Pies, to name a few. RRT closed the year with over 25 highly respected Regional and National chains, which represent well over 1,500+ locations.

Handled 1,500,000 total orders in 2016 – The total order 1,500,000 order volume represented $22.0 million in retail revenues for RRT clients. The volume mix for the year: 66% of the orders came in through a phone call, 23% of the orders were placed online and 11% of the orders were placed through a mobile device.

11,000,000 consumers in RRT’s Loyalty solution – RRT’s robust Loyalty solutions now have in excess of 11.0 million consumers using the service. Recent 2016 upgrades include: highly customizable rule sets; dynamic rewards based on in-store pricing; multiple campaigns can run simultaneously with different rule sets; per store/per region customization; auto conversion of points to rewards; auto-application of rewards to guest check; gift points; track non-members by phone, email or special issue card; merge two accounts; and guest portal for customer self-service.

Launch of new Outbound Business Development services – RRT launched an exciting new service during the year which has provided exceptional value to its clients. The Outbound Business Development service resulted in RRT making thousands of “cold calls” to local businesses attempting to capture new catering orders and opportunities for its clients. The outbound calling efforts generated significant incremental business providing a very positive ROI. Additionally RRT scheduled hundreds of in-person meetings for its clients within their local communities to allow them to greatly increase the visibility of their catering services and build stronger relationships with local businesses and organizations.

Support of high volume seasonal business – RRT worked diligently with one of its newest clients, who experiences an exceptional increase in volume during the end of the year holiday season to provide a series of new and customized services to support this seasonal activity. These subsequent new services included: an integration with a payment provider to take payment for guest orders at the time the order is placed; implementation of product mix reporting for advance orders that provides the future quantity of menu items ordered through the RRT system to assist clients with planning and inventory management; a customized online and mobile ordering portal for their guests along with a custom staff ordering portal; implementation of a sourced credit card swipe reader that integrates into RRT’s software; and ability to send email confirmations to guests at the time of their advanced order as well as an additional reminder email one day prior to the guests’ scheduled pickup time. The client realized a significant increase in their holiday business. These new services will also be of great value to support catering and seasonal activity for other RRT clients.

Intellectual Property Portfolio Development – Adding to its technological leadership position, RRT secured its first of several patents (Patent #9,105,041) filed with USPTO. The ‘041 Patent is the first phase in allowing RRT to be the only company in the industry with the ability to provide its versions of real-time, customized menu and order management, based on capturing customer ordering history, favorites and feedback to provide RRT’s clients and their customers with a much more personalized and customized ordering experience. Five additional patents are waiting final review and approval.

NCR Aloha Cloud Connect Integration – RRT becomes one of the first industry partners to offer a complete integration of its phone, online and mobile ordering and order management solutions with the new NCR Aloha Cloud Connect products. RRT had already successfully integrated with previous versions of Aloha’s point of sales system, along with integrating with point of sale systems offered by Micros, Brink, PosiTouch and Focus. RRT will continue to pursue new POS integrations in 2017, with a new integration with Digital Dining underway and ready for release in January.

Upgrades to patent-pending “IntelliSell” platform – RRT has launched new upgrades of its patent-pending upselling tool known as IntelliSell, which allows RRT’s clients to realize significant increases in the average size of their tickets for takeout orders. The tool is completely customizable for each client to suggest to their customers intelligent add-ons based on: what customers order or do not order; time of day (lunch vs dinner); day during the week (weekdays vs weekends); support of special programs; and anything else RRT clients would like to focus on.

New “Beyond Takeout” marketing positioning – RRT unveiled its new “Beyond Takeout” marketing positioning as the company continued to support 100% of off-premise opportunities for its clients, going well “beyond” just focusing on online and mobile ordering. The new positioning supports RRT’s ability to provide six unique service lines, which include call center support, online ordering, mobile ordering, handling larger catering orders, outbound business development services and offering a customized loyalty platform. RRT rolled out a new corporate website and embarked on new marketing, social media and email campaigns.

“2016 was, on all accounts, a banner year for us as we have witnessed substantial growth in all areas of our business which remains a testament to our team as well as our client partnerships,” said David Schofield, CEO at RRT. “Our ability to execute on our product and service offerings, and our continual operational evolution, especially the undertaking of the virtualization of our call center, directly impacts and correlates with our client’s growth as well as our own. We are well poised for another exciting year of growth at RRT.”

Squadle Offers Temperature Probe

Squadle was issued of Patent 9,534,938 covering automated handheld measurement devices and algorithms. The first product to implement this technology is the Zero-Touch™ temperature probe, which will soon be available through select hardware partners. The handheld technology joins other “Internet of Things” sensors in Squadle’s back-of-house automation platform.SquadleLogo-Circle

Squadle’s Zero-Touch™ temperature probe enables food service workers to take food and equipment temperatures 83% faster than with a manual thermometer.  Workers save on average one hour a day while multi-unit owners receive peace of mind through up-to-the minute food safety compliance.  Squadle customers experience up to 10 percent higher per store profits by saving employees’ and managers’ time and reducing food spoilage.  

“The average fast food restaurant is run with expensive manual processes that are tracked on unreliable paper logs. Our operations platform replaces paper logs and automates manual processes,” said Le Zhang, founder and CEO, Squadle. “Squadle’s IoT platform is a flexible, scalable and reliable way to simplify our customers’ processes.”

Squadle started with checklists tablet that replaces paper logs. Franchise owners and managers saw that task completion rose when tablet checklists replaced paper checklists. They also received real-time accountability, operations benchmarks and best practice metrics. Building off of Checklists, Squadle launched its sensor platform and analytics which are revolutionizing multi-unit operations.

Squadle’s innovations with automated probes, checklists and actionable analytics are one part of Squadle’s ambitious product roadmap. Partners are integrating smart hardware, database, connectivity and analytics to make Squadle the go-to platform to automate multi-unit operations. The goal: to help operators deliver the product and service consistency that drives store revenue and profitability.

“The IoT space is littered with thousands of automation products that are a pain to make sense of,” said Le. “Our platform provides an easy, curated, and extremely customizable method to implement automation without disrupting operations.”

Founded in 2013, Squadle  is backed by 500 Startups, Bolt, Accomplice and Walnut Ventures.

Hat Tip Designed for  Hourly Staffing

New hyper-local job website makes it easier for businesses in retail, restaurant and hospitality o reach talented job seekers. Mall owners can now use the platform to make hiring easier for their tenants.

Hat Tip makes listing and searching for hyper-local jobs simple. This new technology allows retail, restaurant, hotel and other service companies to easily list jobs right in their store locations and allows job seekers to find them based on location.

“Many service workers are commute constrained, go to school part-time, or have multiple jobs,” says Chris Kermoian, Hat Tip CEO. “They are looking for jobs that are in the same mall or small geographical area. Hat Tip allows them to find those hyper-local employment opportunities.”

Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey wanted to increase the number of applications to mall retailers while also making it easier to post new jobs at their locations. In July 2016, the mall teamed with Hat Tip to launch a new job board. Hat Tip’s customized job marketplace generated thousands of additional job applications. Job seekers were more engaged on the site as well, spending three times longer looking at potential positions. Because Hat Tip automatically identified and updated many jobs, the number of active job openings increased tenfold.

“Mall tenants and mall marketing teams liked that so many jobs were updated automatically and that it was fast and easy to post more jobs,” says Sam Zivot, Director of Digital Marketing at PREIT, owner of Cherry Hill Mall. “But the most important difference was in the number of job applications they received. Getting more qualified applicants provides a better opportunity to find the perfect employee.”

Hat Tip is rolling out its service in cities across the country, and partnering with dozens of malls to help stores hire.

Dinova Adds Del Frisco’s Brands

Dinova, the only roprietary marketplace exclusively focused on connecting expense account diners to quality restaurants nationwide, said Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and Del Frisco’s Grille have joined Dinova’s exclusive business dining marketplace.

“What a great way to start 2017, by adding the prestigious names of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and Del Frisco’s Grille to Dinova’s marketplace,” said Vic Macchio, CEO and founder. “We are so thrilled that our business diners will have the option to dine at both of these fine establishments.”

Vic Macchio
Vic Macchio

“Business travelers and corporate diners are important guests for both Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and Del Frisco’s Grille. Joining the Dinova network opens our restaurants up to new business dining occasions,” said Brandon Coleman III, chief marketing officer for Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. “We are always excited about opportunities to expose new guests to the high-quality cuisine and warm, genuine hospitality for which Del Frisco’s is known.”

With the recent announcement of a $6 billion marketplace, Dinova continues to add increasingly diverse restaurant concepts to its more than 14,000 locations nationwide. The addition of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and Del Frisco’s Grille is just one indicator of the substantial growth Dinova continues to achieve in 2017.

ID Tech Release Contactless EMV Reader

ID TECH, a manufacturer of secure payment solutions, mobile payment readers, point of sale peripherals, and digital signage, released its newest NFC/Contactless EMV reader, the ViVOpay Kiosk III SRED.

As Contactless/NFC payments rapidly gain traction, ID TECH continues to expand its NFC reader line by introducing the industry’s first SRED contactless-only module: Kiosk III SRED. In addition to all the advanced features from the existing non-SRED version, such as AES and TDES encryption, mobile payments, and popular NFC loyalty programs, the SRED version provides added security with tamper detection as well as serving as a base for P2PE solutions, and it is certified with PCI PTS 4.X.

“NFC payments and PCI security are at the forefront of today’s payment ecosystem, and our release of the Kiosk III SRED reader further justifies our commitment to pioneering and innovation within contactless payments. As a global leader in contactless payments, the Kiosk III SRED version provides our customers with a solution that supports the latest certifications and provisions them for years to come.” states ID TECH’s VP of Product Management, Justin Ning.

The SRED version (like the non-SRED Kiosk III) serves the “unattended market” of kiosks, drive-thrus, vending machines, gas pumps, ATMs, and other self-serve applications. It will also pair up with the existing weather-proof; ruggedized antenna, which has an IP 65 rating. With availability in a square or angled bezel antenna, the SRED version of Kiosk III follows through with the durable design providing the flexibility to integrate contactless payments into practically any indoor or outdoor application.

TripAdvisor Enhances Restaurant Products

TripAdvisor® made additions to its subscription products, enabling accommodations and restaurants to attract, engage and influence customers. Developed to reflect the specific needs of accommodation and restaurant businesses, these new products allow subscribers to access industry-leading tools to help them capitalize on all the ways TripAdvisor drives value for their business, as well as harnessing the Network Effect of working the site.

The newly-released TripAdvisor Premium for Restaurants subscription product will give millions of restaurant businesses the opportunity to gain a competitive edge with exclusive access to powerful, subscriber-only features.

“Providing a business with the opportunity to improve its content and customize its presence on TripAdvisor helps partners better understand and engage with their customers,” said Robin Ingle, senior vice president, global sales, TripAdvisor. “Research shows that more proactive management of a business’s presence on TripAdvisor, combined with frequent interaction with the data and insights we provide to our subscriber partners in the Management Center, deepens engagement and drives increased revenue for a business.1 We’ve designed these new subscription services to help our partners fully leverage the benefits that are possible when working with TripAdvisor.”

Recent studies indicated that accommodations and restaurants that engage with TripAdvisor see stronger performance in their business metrics, including increased customer satisfaction and even stronger revenue growth – each of which can be attributed to the Network Effect.  In simple terms, network effect occurs when a product or a service becomes more beneficial to its users as more people use it. In other words, it is a virtuous circle of growth where more and better reviews lead to more customers who then deliver more reviews.  Business Advantage and TripAdvisor Premium for Restaurants have been designed to help accommodations and restaurants attract, engage and influence their customers – effectively amplifying the virtuous circle and driving improved results.

TripAdvisor Premium for Restaurants Features

Features available for TripAdvisor Premium for Restaurants subscribers include:

Favorite Reviews: Restaurant subscribers can attract potential customers by highlighting a recent diner’s review as “Restaurant’s Favorite Review” and moving it near the top of their page.

Exclusive Data & Insights: Subscribers get exclusive access to advanced analytics that deliver actionable data insights regarding their performance, their customers and their competitors.

Priority Live Customer Support: In addition to unlimited email support, TripAdvisor Premium for Restaurants subscribers are also eligible for prioritized phone support from our helpful and knowledgeable customer support staff.

Storyboard: Coming soon as an added benefit, Storyboard will enable restaurants to turn their static photos and reviews into a dynamic visual presentation that showcases a restaurant’s best features and delivers a powerful first impression to new customers, as well as a reminder for why past customers should dine again.

“For the first time, 4.2 million restaurants on TripAdvisor can have more creative control and improved customer insights to maximize the value of their listing on our sites and apps,” said Bertrand Jelensperger, senior vice president, TripAdvisor Restaurant. “We have listened to our partners and we intend to deliver a series of innovative tools that help businesses take full advantage of the world’s largest community of travelers (and diners) here at TripAdvisor.”

More than 280 reviews and opinions are added to TripAdvisor every minute, with more than 435 million total reviews and opinions published on the site globally. The TripAdvisor apps have been downloaded 370 million times. As for inventory, more than 10,000 businesses are added to its website and app every week with more than 6.8 million total businesses listed across the globe. As content growth, usage and engagement continues to accelerate, businesses experience a significant network effect through their relationship with TripAdvisor. A recent study by Oxford University found that TripAdvisor influenced an astounding $478 billion USD in travel industry revenue in 2014.2

Datum Teams with First Watch for IT

Datum Technologies  signed a three-year contract with First Watch Restaurants to continue providing outsourced IT services for the award-winning restaurant company. Datum is First Watch’s fully outsourced IT department, managing the company’s IT infrastructure at both its corporate headquarters and its nearly 200 restaurants. Datum will continue providing around-the-clock help desk support for restaurant and corporate systems, providing network security, including PCI compliance, and working with First Watch to set up all POS systems at the company’s new restaurants nationwide.

Datum began working with First Watch in 2010 and has become the integral player in First Watch’s technology footprint. During the past six years, Datum has upgraded or implemented most of First Watch’s IT systems, including point-of-sale and back office platforms, accounting applications, gift card and loyalty programs, and network infrastructure.

Datum’s CEO, Rafael Alfonzo, said, “Datum is excited to extend its partnership with the First Watch team – our fully outsourced IT model has helped First Watch scale rapidly over the past few years, and we look forward to continuing our joint success.”

First Watch Senior VP of Finance, Chris Olson, said, “The team at Datum has continued to share their expertise and provide IT services not only in our restaurants nationwide, but also for the growing team at our home office in Sarasota. Their broad range of capabilities has been invaluable to us, and we look forward to our continued partnership.”

In addition to day-to-day IT services, Datum has also provided First Watch Restaurants with merger and acquisition services when the restaurant company purchased two competing brands, including IT due diligence and post-acquisition integrations and restaurant conversions.

First Watch has more than 290 restaurants in 26 states, including more than 190 First Watch restaurants, 97 The Egg & I restaurants, one The Good Egg restaurant in Phoenix and one Bread & Company restaurant in Nashville.

Talkwalker Social Search

Talkwalker launched of its revamped Free Social Search, a real-time search engine for online and social. This tool allows digital marketers, communications and PR professionals to immediately track and measure their brand reputation, campaign, hashtag and/or event performance across 180 countries over the last seven days.

By simply entering a keyword of their choice, users get a snapshot of a wide range of social KPIs including total mentions, sentiment, reach, related hashtags, demographics and top performing posts/articles. The Talkwalker Free Social Search offers unlimited searches and the widest free coverage available across social media and online, giving marketers a simple yet powerful social media search tool for their daily use.

Users of the revamped Talkwalker Free Social Search can use it for:

Hashtag Tracking: Research top hashtags to find the right fit for your content and keep an eye on competitor hashtags

Campaign Tracking: See where your campaign is making an impact – on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, online news, blogs or forums – and allocate your resources accordingly

Event Performance: Get real-time insights about your event from the top themes of discussion to the most shared posts using your event hashtag

Brand Reputation: View KPI metrics such as mentions, sentiment, engagement and reach over the last 7 days or even minute by minute

“If you want to get a first taste of what social media analytics can offer, Talkwalker Free Social Search is the complete package”, says Talkwalker CEO Americas Todd Grossman. “It’s ideal for agencies and brands that want to get a first look at how they can use social data and for small businesses who want to keep a track of the online impact of marketing and PR campaigns.”

FoodLogiQ Adds to Team

FoodLogiQ, an SaaS provider of food safety compliance, traceability, and supply chain transparency software solutions, expanded its team with several new hires in sales, customer success, marketing as well as appointing two leadership positions, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Sales.

“FoodLogiQ is now at a time of rapid growth and this is an exciting moment in the history of the company,” said Dean Wiltse, CEO of FoodLogiQ. “Adding these talented individuals to our team will not only drive FoodLogiQ to the next level but will support our company’s vision to provide our customers in the food industry the best possible solutions and support.”

As the newly appointed Chief Technology Officer, Charles Irizarry will oversee technology and engineering efforts for the company. Formerly the Chief Product Architect and Managing Director at Rokk3r Labs, his experience includes managing sophisticated, multi-disciplinary technology teams, having launched over 20 different platforms and products across multiple businesses and industries.

Chris Haase joins FoodLogiQ in the newly created position of Vice President of Sales. Chris joins FoodLogiQ from SciQuest where he was Director of Strategic Accounts for 5 years. With deep software sales and leadership experience that also included time at Ultimus and Oce, Chris will direct sales strategy and drive revenue for the company.

Under Chris’ leadership, the sales team has also expanded with the addition of three new sales team members. Michelle Wells joins as the Western Regional Sales Manager, bringing extensive sales and leadership experience working in SaaS technology following her former positions at SciQuest and CivicPlus.

John Koski joins as a Sales Executive to focus on growth of the food manufacturing market, joining from NetSuite where he has developed a deep knowledge of the food and beverage industry.

And Todd Fabec joins the team to oversee small and mid-market accounts, offering a broad experience working in sales, marketing and consulting in a variety of industries from retail to technology.

Shawn Shefte joins the FoodLogiQ customer success team as a Customer Success Manager. Prior to FoodLogiQ, he held customer success positions at Cisco and Apptio.

As Public Relations and Marketing Manager, Roberta Patterson becomes the point for FoodLogiQ corporate communications and supports marketing initiatives. She will leverage her broad experience in marketing to raise FoodLogiQ’s brand visibility in the food industry and the press.

The additions to the team are coincided by a promotion within the company. Jeff Ramsaur has been promoted to the new position of Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives. In this new role, he will focus on strategic initiatives across sales, account management, product development and customer success.

Craft Beer App

Craft beer connoisseurs in Nevada and New York now have a one-stop resource for the latest information on regional brews, brewery tours, and related events, through an easy-to-use mobile apps created by Brewers Marketing in partnership with the Nevada Craft Brewers Association with over 40 brewery members and the New York State Brewers Association with over 190 brewery members. Seekers of fine craft beer in Ohio will soon have an app of their own since the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, with over 170 brewer members, has signed up with Brewers Marketing.gI_147813_BrewersMarketingApp_NY.NV

The three apps, which are individually branded and customized to represent each state’s craft brewing association and its members, are built on a platform designed around the interests and needs of craft beer aficionados. “Serious beer lovers want to try everything and are always looking for the next best thing,” explained Susan Erickson of Brewers Marketing. “So we designed the app to make it as easy as possible for them to find the information they want—now they can access up-to-date news about all 42 craft breweries in Nevada or all 196 in New York State in one place.”

To meet the needs of thirsty users, the apps use smartphones’ locational data to point users to the closest craft breweries for their favorite brews. App users can also see calendars of upcoming events at breweries in their state, get contact information and directions, and curate their own personal lists of favorite brews (as well as wish lists of new beers to try). Truly passionate craft beer connoisseurs can even use the app to design and plan their own statewide progressive brewery tours.

Because craft beer lovers know that the best sources of reliable information about great beers are other beer lovers, the apps also leverage the power of crowd sourcing. Users can create profiles and post ratings, comments, and photos of individual beers. Their photos and recommendations not only become part of their individual profiles, but are used by the app to generate a ranked list of the user communities’ favorite brews. “The beauty of this function is that it allows users to benefit from the experiences of their peers,” Erickson said. “So the information they get from the app is authentic and credible. They don’t feel like they’re at the receiving end of an ad campaign.”

The apps not only make it easy for fans of craft beer to discover new brews, they also give the associations and their member breweries a simple, low-cost way to engage and educate new and existing customers and build brand awareness. “Brewers can update their information on the app as easily as they send e-mails,” Erickson said. “All they have to do is log into their secure portal from any device and upload or type in the information they want—links to upcoming tastings, info on new or limited releases, events they will be featured at around town, what have you. And users provide the rest—their photos, comments, and ratings also become part of their info on the app. Best of all, because all these updates are right on people’s phones, the breweries always stay top of mind.” 

In addition, the apps’ social media integration allows users to post their photos and ratings to their Facebook accounts, providing brewers with another avenue for building brand awareness, Erickson added.

Brewers Marketing is a privately held software design firm based in the FAU Research Park in Boca Raton, Florida. Its mission is to support the fast-growing craft beer market by providing craft brewers with branded customer engagement applications incorporating both cutting-edge technology and designs focused on the unique logistical and human needs of each client.

DoorDash Launches in Las Vegas

DoorDash, the technology company connecting customers with the best local businesses through door-to-door delivery, launched in Las Vegas, NV. This marks DoorDash’s expansion into its 29th major metropolitan market across the U.S. and Canada.

At launch, DoorDash delivery will be available from hundreds of local restaurants to customers in the greater Las Vegas area, including Westside, Chinatown, Southwest, Spring Valley, Summerlin, South Summerlin, Southeast, The Lakes, Green Valley, Seven Hills and Anthem, with more neighborhoods to be added later this year.

“For years, we’ve been committed to giving our customers the best restaurant experience,” said Albert Scalleat, owner of Dom DeMarco’s Pizzeria & Bar. “Partnering with DoorDash and utilizing their top-notch delivery and logistics platform will help us continue to expand and give that same, delightful experience to more customers around the Las Vegas area.”

“We’re excited to share our data-driven technology platform with merchants across the Las Vegas area to help them reach more customers than ever before and provide the best customer experience possible,” said Tony Xu, CEO and co-founder of DoorDash. “The lively spirit of the Vegas area food scene makes it a great city to be a part of, and we’re looking forward to bringing both national and local staples straight to customers’ doorsteps.”

Urban Translations Partners with Samsung

Urban Translations, a digital menu software provider, has partnered with Samsung Electronics. Urban Translations’ software enables guests to  order menu items and amenities in any language on Samsung tablets in-room, at restaurants, and other entertainment venues. During a time when the industry is seeking new ways to attract millennials, the Samsung/Urban Translations partnership provides an innovative, unique solution.  UT_Brewery_122816[1]

“Samsung is a tremendous partner, providing high-performance and cost-effective hardware for our software, which creates a mutually beneficial relationship between us and our clients,” said Urban Translations CEO Samantha Urban. “By leveraging Samsung’s Knox platform, we enhanced our system’s security and capabilities.  We’ve combined this with the analytics we capture from what guests care about the most, and it results in our clients’ being more efficient and profitable.”

The Samsung Knox™ platform is defense-grade mobile security built into their latest devices. Urban Translations is utilizing this platform to enable more customization and a better guest experience, as well as ensuring the devices are more secure than off-the-shelf tablets and iPads. To date, Urban Translations is receiving great traction at resorts, casinos and entertainment venues because of their ability to seamlessly integrate their solution throughout the clients’ entire property. Hotel guests appreciate the convenience of having an in-room tablet for ordering room service, spa, golf, restaurant reservations, merchandise, and show tickets all on one platform.

“As a global leader, Samsung only partners with true innovators who bring real value to customers,” said Gregg Ostrowski, VP of Samsung Enterprise Services. “In a short time, Urban Translations is transforming the hospitality industry with their dynamic software solution. Leveraging our Knox™ platform for improved security, and running on proven Samsung hardware, Urban Translations’ clients will benefit from a cost-effective solution that delivers results.”

Fetzer Vineyards Installs Smart Water Meters

Fetzer Vineyards, a leader in regenerative winegrowing, is taking another forward-looking step to conserve water with the installation of advanced water metering technology from Bellingham, Washington-based APANA, Inc. The smart water meters, currently being installed throughout the winery’s Hopland, California campus, will allow Fetzer Vineyards to quickly pinpoint leaks and water waste incidents in real time. Powered by big data insights analyzing the winery’s unique water use profile, the technology will enable Fetzer Vineyards to avoid unnecessary waste episodes and meet its 2020 water efficiency goal two years early, in 2018.

“Integrating APANA’s data analytics and cloud computing technologies with our winery operations allows us to leverage crucial environmental data to achieve our sustainability goals,” said Cindy DeVries, Chief Operating Officer of Fetzer Vineyards. “It also allows us to update and improve our corporate water stewardship efforts at a time when conserving water is more important than ever.”

Uniting Data Flow and Water Flow
Fetzer Vineyards’ new smart water meters are part of APANA’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution, a groundbreaking set of tools allowing businesses to manage water as carefully as they monitor other crucial business assets, such as inventory. The solution’s proprietary hardware and software work by building up a perpetually developing database of clients’ water use patterns, or water signature, allowing them to quickly spot variances and implement savings activities. Because energy use is closely tied to water use, Fetzer Vineyards expects the water meters could contribute to reductions of more than 10,000 kilowatt hours of energy in addition to savings of up to four million gallons of water annually.

Leveraging Tech for Solutions to Water Challenges
The World Economic Forum identified water as the top global risk for the first time in 2015, and more than two-thirds of the world’s businesses report exposure to water risk, often at the expense of growth.1 With a global shortfall of 40 percent expected for water supply versus demand by the year 2030,2 business as usual in an era of changing climate and growing population requires ever-more-innovative approaches to resource conservation and optimization. Cutting-edge solutions like APANA’s that leverage cloud computing and data-driven technologies are poised to help businesses address both the economic and ecological realities of tomorrow, allowing water-intensive businesses such as wineries to remain competitive while continuing to minimize environmental impacts. 

Pursuing a Comprehensive Approach to Net Positive Operations
“Fetzer Vineyards is thrilled to pioneer use of this technology in the wine industry,” said Josh Prigge, Director of Regenerative Development for Fetzer Vineyards, who was instrumental in establishing the winery’s ambitious goal to become Net Positive by 2030. “We know that implementing digital solutions can significantly reduce impacts in areas like water use, and we see technologies like APANA’s working hand-in-hand with comprehensive, efficiency-focused efforts to improve our overall water footprint.”

In 2016, Fetzer Vineyards announced it will be the first wine company in the US to install BioFiltro’s BIDA® System, a revolutionary wastewater treatment solution that functions as a passive aerobic bioreactor, using red worms and microbes to treat the winery’s wastewater 85 percent more efficiently than traditional aeration technologies.

Penebre to Lead PointOS

PointOS named a new Chief Executive Officer, Dylan Penebre, is perfectly positioned to continue anchoring PointOS as a formidable force in the point-of-sale industry, leading an energetic team at the new Boston, MA headquarters.

In 2004, Penebre started as a key member of one of the first integrated payment organizations in the USA. In 2011, Penebre was brought on board by PointOS due to his point-of-sale industry experience and strong payment processing background. He successfully revamped operations and increased annual revenue fivefold in a few short years, propelling company innovation forward.

Dylan Penebre
Dylan Penebre

New leadership coincides with the upcoming 2017 launch of the new ‘PointOS XE’ software. XE is designed for new and existing customers, attuned to meet the needs of restaurateurs in the hospitality industry today.

“Merchants desire big data that’s digestible for local bars, but also intricate enough for large restaurant chains. The user-friendly interface should be appealing for both front & back house staff. 100% cloud-run systems have not proven reliable yet. However, PointOS XE cloud functions are supported by light & efficient local servers, to keep your business running smoothly,” said Penebre.