This edition of MRM’s News Bites features Game of Thrones food delivery news from Waitr and Bite Squad, National Restaurant Association, AMEX and Resy, THE.FIT, PepsiCo.Toast, US Foods, PRIDE Centric Resources , Wahlburgers, Revel, SOCi, Tapit, Shift4 Payments, Long Range Systems, Parts Town and Avery Dennison.
Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at email@example.com.
Food Fit for a King
On-demand food delivery companies Waitr and Bite Squad took a look at data surrounding the most popular orders made during the Game of Thrones series finale between the hours of 8-11 p.m. local time. Data collected show cravings for French fries, boneless and bone-in chicken wings, and cheese dip among thousands of orders placed in the approximately 700 cities the companies serve.
The following were some of the top ordered items according to Waitr and Bite Squad:
- French Fries: two percent of total orders
- Boneless Wings: two percent of total orders
- Cheese Dip: one percent of total orders
- Traditional Wings: four percent of total orders
Other popular items included cheeseburgers, Pad Thai, mozzarella sticks and onion rings.
Waitr and Bite Squad data also show a departure from beverages being a lost revenue opportunity for off-premise orders. The companies delivered gallons upon gallons of fountain drinks at four percent of total orders yesterday between 8-11 p.m. local time.
Serving Up a Successful Career Path
To ensure restaurant professionals have clear career path goals, the National Restaurant Association launched ServSuccess™, a comprehensive career development offering features three levels of professional certification, online training, and assessments. In the next decade the restaurant industry is expected to add 1.6 million employment opportunities. ServSuccess helps these employees visualize a career roadmap and sets industry-wide standards for advancement.
"ServSuccess will empower people and businesses to aim for and achieve even higher levels of career success in the foodservice industry," said Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association President & CEO. "Restaurant employees will be able to use their years of experience to jumpstart their professional advancement by validating their skills and knowledge. For restaurant operators, it provides the training and workforce solutions to grow business and service to their communities."
- Professional Certifications for Restaurant Professional, Restaurant Supervisor, and Restaurant Manager levels
- Online Learning Suites with content designed to fit into busy restaurant work schedules
- Interactive Study Guides to promote learning and retention using the latest brain science
Employee turnover costs restaurant operators about $2,000 per front-of-house and back-of-house employee and almost $15,000 per manager position, according to research from TDn2K. ServSuccess is an innovative new resource to attract, upskill, and retain talent that can easily be used by independent operators, multi-unit businesses, large or small brands, and any type of establishment from quick-service to fine dining.
"Talent and experience are a valuable resource the industry can't afford to lose," said Sherman L. Brown, Executive Vice President of Training & Certification for the National Restaurant Association. "Better training is better for business, so ServSuccess provides companies with a turn-key, customizable mix of products that build the people who build their business. And for those professionals ready to take their hustle to the next level, ServSuccess is here to serve them."
In addition to education and certification offerings, ServSuccess will help employees understand the type of roles available in the restaurant industry, assess their readiness for these roles, and chart a path toward achieving their desired career goals.
In other association news, After 12 years successfully leading one of Washington’s largest and most influential trade associations, advancing and protecting all aspects of the restaurant and foodservice industry, National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation President & CEO Dawn Sweeney announced she will step down when her current contract ends at the end of 2019. Until then, she will continue to lead the Association and Foundation, gain Board approval for the 2020-2024 strategic plan, and assist Board leadership in the search for a new CEO.
“Serving and leading the restaurant industry during this historic timeframe, when foodservice has grown to an $863 billion business employing over 15 million professionals, has been the most fulfilling experience of my career,” said Dawn Sweeney. “We have accomplished much together, including important public policy victories at all levels of government, a broadened membership base representative of the industry at large, and a revitalized organization that has expanded and bolstered its advocacy and business capabilities. I have had the privilege of serving for 12 years — the longest tenure of any position in my career. It is vital to me that we work to ensure the Association and Foundation have a smooth and seamless transition to plan for the future.”
Since Sweeney joined the Association in 2007, membership has grown by almost 50 percent, and the organization has added members from every sector of the industry. The enterprise has more than doubled its overall revenues and nearly tripled its growth in ServSafeÒ food safety training and certification, expanding into adjacent industry sectors and certifying more than eight million industry professionals. In 2018, she led the largest business transaction in the history of the organization with the creation of an equity partnership with Winsight Media and the operational sale of the National Restaurant Association Show.
Sweeney refocused the Educational Foundation to attract, empower, and advance the future workforce of the restaurant industry. During her tenure, she built a Unified Partnership Agreement with the State Restaurant Associations, better aligning the work of the national and state organizations through advocacy and business solutions.
“Dawn has been an extraordinary leader for the restaurant and foodservice industry during a time of both challenge and opportunity,” said Joe Essa, 2019 Association Chair and President & CEO of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide. “She has unified our industry, expanded our impact, heightened our effectiveness, and navigated a number of significant public policy challenges. The organization is well-positioned to continue to fulfill its mission to advance and protect the industry and has a strong foundation on which her successor will build.”
Board leadership have selected Spencer Stuart to assist with the CEO search.
AMEX Acquires Resy
American Express will acquire Resy, the digital restaurant reservation booking and management platform. The acquisition will build on the growing suite of digital-first benefits and services from American Express that extend beyond traditional rewards and points, to provide Card Members with access and experiences across travel and lodging, airport lounges, exclusive events, and dining.
Founded in 2014, Resy offers a table management, CRM and booking technology suite for restaurants, with a consumer-facing restaurant reservation app and website to elevate and enhance dining experiences worldwide. Resy currently works with approximately 4,000 restaurants in 154 U.S. cities and 10 countries, seating more than 2.6 million diners a week. The acquisition is expected to be completed in summer 2019 and builds on a number of recent acquisitions made by American Express in the dining, travel and lifestyle space that are part of the company’s strategy to become an essential part of Card Members’ and merchants’ digital lives.
“Resy was created to both connect people who love dining out with new, notable and hard to get into restaurants across the globe, as well as help restaurants’ businesses grow and thrive. Similarly, American Express has strong relationships with premium dining partners and restaurants across the globe, and provides our Card Members with access to incredible dining experiences through our exclusive benefits and programs,” said Chris Cracchiolo, Senior Vice President, Global Loyalty and Benefits, American Express. “We look forward to working with the Resy team to continue to grow the Resy digital platform, and develop new ways to further connect our Card Members and restaurant partners through unique access and experiences.”
“American Express is a brand that we have admired and sought to partner with from our inception. There are myriad points of synergy between Resy and American Express that we look forward to pursuing together in the name of creating an end-to-end global dining platform that thrills both diners and restaurants alike. As it does today, Resy will continue to focus on delivering world-class hospitality software to our amazing restaurant partners, connecting diners to insider experiences, and reimagining the future of dining,” said Resy’s co-founder and CEO, Ben Leventhal.
In line with this news, American Express is working with recently acquired companies—personal travel assistant app Mezi, UK dining reservation platform Cake Technologies, airport lounge discovery and booking platform LoungeBuddy, and Japanese premium restaurant reservation platform Pocket Concierge, to develop a suite of new digital capabilities that will provide unique digital services, experiences, and access for American Express customers.
After the acquisition, the Resy brand and digital platform will continue to be led and operated by its co-founder and CEO, Ben Leventhal. Resy’s co-founder and CTO, Michael Montero, will also remain in place. Additionally, existing Resy reservation booking and management services and capabilities will continue to be offered.
AI-Menu Personalization Engine
THE.FIT launched its menu personalization engine, which will allow restaurants to create customized menus for each guest in just seconds. The artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform is designed to enable restaurants to increase ticket sizes and strengthen margins while delighting guests.
Previously, diners with specific diet or lifestyle preferences relied on servers’ recommendations or menu dietary symbols and fine print. THE.FIT automates and simplifies this process. Participating restaurants will provide guests with a QR code that will take them to a page on their mobile phone where they can select their dietary preferences and view a personalized menu. Upon each subsequent visit, THE.FIT’s technology leverages AI to collect data—including ordering habits, demographics and social engagement—to improve the customer experience through enhanced personalization.
“More than 100 million Americans are now watching what they eat, and food allergies are on the rise,” said Scott Sanchez, CEO of THE.FIT. “THE.FIT puts the actual person back into personalization and solves a massive pain point for diet-conscious consumers while creating a revenue opportunity for restaurants.”
While AI and personalization technology are becoming more sophisticated and applicable to the restaurant industry, the implementation complexity and cost has created a barrier to wide adoption. THE.FIT was created as a software as a service (SaaS) platform to deliver a simple, turnkey solution for restaurant operators. Brands can roll out THE.FIT’s menu personalization technology to its stores in a matter of weeks by following a simple four-step implementation process:
Onboarding: THE.FIT “ingests” each restaurant location’s menu and key nutritional information into THE.FIT’s AI system.
Fine-tuning: THE.FIT reports a breakdown of menu items to restaurant management, validates assumptions made about ingredients, reviews AI-generated personalized menus and calibrates to maximize margin and overall ticket sizes.
Testing: THE.FIT is introduced in three to five test locations and begins generating recommendations for guests. THE.FIT team works closely with the restaurant brand and local operators to make any final revisions to the Personalization AI.
Wide rollout: Once corporate management, local operators and guests are satisfied with the implementation and performance at the test locations, a rollout plan for remaining locations is developed.
Following implementation, restaurant brands and operators receive detailed monthly reports from THE.FIT showing usage and personalization trends of their guests, equipping them to optimize their menus and operations accordingly.
As founder and CEO of THE.FIT, Scott Sanchez has lost 180 pounds in the past decade and now trains as a competitive fitness athlete. THE.FIT was born out of Sanchez’s personal health journey and frustrations while dining out and is designed to mutually benefit restaurant operators and their guests.
“Like many technologies, AI is only valuable when you can put it to use to solve business problems or improve lives. I’m proud to say that our menu personalization system at THE.FIT is doing both,” Sanchez added.
Toast Introduces Payroll & Team Management for Restaurants
Solution eliminates paperwork, simplifies HR, and reduces the time required to run payroll by up to 60 percent
Pepsico Digital Lab
PepsiCo, Inc. debuted PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Lab, a first-of-its-kind suite of capabilities built to connect foodservice operators with the companies, services, insights, and solutions best suited for their specific digital and online needs. Powered by extensive proprietary and syndicated research into restaurant and food ordering interactions as part of the consumer digital journey, Digital Lab is the first offering of its kind from a foodservice manufacturer.
"The digital age has disrupted everything – including the way people order, eat and experience food and beverages," said Scott Finlow, Chief Marketing Officer of PepsiCo Foodservice. "PepsiCo is helping our customers stay ahead of the curve in regard to understanding the latest technology and consumer trends impacting the foodservice industry. With the customer-focused Digital Lab, we created a one-stop service for operators to access the resources and knowledge needed to drive a better consumer experience and impactful business results in the digital era."
Technology has impacted every aspect of the dining and vending experience, leaving many foodservice operators seeking more information about how they can best use it to their advantage. In fact, a recent survey of foodservice operators found that nearly half (47 percent) felt unsure about the longevity of emerging technology and whether it's here to stay. Still, nearly two-thirds (63%) say they plan to upgrade their foodservice tech in some ways in 2019, but many expressed frustration about the time and energy needed to research and onboard the best solutions for their business.
As an industry leader with an extensive portfolio and global reach, PepsiCo has knowledge that spans the entire food and beverage landscape and is bringing all of these insights together to address pain points and create a seamless operator experience that will in turn benefit consumers. Using a mix of human and tech-driven touch points, the Digital Lab will teach operators how to identify and deploy technology solutions that benefit their business through four elements:
1) Digital Insights: Using proprietary and partner inputs, PepsiCo will share unique insights with its customers, including the digital habits of their target demographics.
2) Digital Playbooks: The Lab will provide operators with comprehensive solutions to make digital tools approachable, achievable, and effective for businesses of any size – from the small pizza place on the corner to global quick serve food chains.
3) Digital Activation: PepsiCo will partner with operators to optimize the execution and activation of digital solutions such as online ordering and delivery platforms to increase beverage and snack sales.
4) Digital Innovation: Tapping into tools like voice, augmented reality, and machine learning, PepsiCo will experiment with the latest digital innovations and build into practice through customers' platforms.
From managing online reviews and search engine results to implementing point-of-sale tools and consumer rewards programs, the Digital Lab will help operators maximize the most critical aspects of their digital footprint. Thanks to the ongoing commitment to consumer-focused digital insights and a bias for testing and learning, the Digital Lab is equipped to offer tailored resources for operators of all sizes.
To help inform the Lab, PepsiCo Foodservice worked with key customers and partners, such as Grubhub, to identify and remedy friction points restaurants experience when fulfilling online ordering and delivery for beverages and snacks. Additionally, the Digital Lab teamed with loyalty and digital consumer engagement providers, such as Mobivity, to find opportunities to improve incremental occasions for brands and deliver personalized experiences that delight consumers.
"Collaborating with the PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Lab allows us to test creative solutions that ultimately help reach diners and increase average order size for our restaurant partners," said Goody Seif, Senior Director, Business Development at Grubhub. "The insights already gained have identified new opportunities to ensure beverages are top of mind for orders on our platform, and we're continuing to collaborate on ways Grubhub and Pepsi can work together on co-branded incentives moving forward."
Toast Introduces Payroll and Team Management, Adds to Ecosystem
Toast unveiled Toast Payroll & Team Management, an all-in-one payroll and HR solution built specifically for the restaurant industry. The new solution simplifies payroll and employee management for restaurants of all sizes by automating payroll, streamlining onboarding, and reducing compliance risk. When combined with Toast Point of Sale, Toast Payroll & Team Management’s point of sale integration enables restaurateurs to instantly onboard and manage employees, accurately track hours across locations, and ensure their team is paid both accurately and on-time.
With Toast Payroll & Team Management, Protein Bar & Kitchen—a restaurant concept with 19 locations across the U.S. in cities like Denver, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.—digitized the employee onboarding experience, systematized payroll, and empowered front line managers to help their team progress and grow professionally.
“We used to spend over 10 hours per week managing payroll and auditing hours worked for our team of more than 250 employees,” says Kevin McTigue, Senior Finance Manager at Protein Bar & Kitchen. “With the addition of Toast Payroll & Team Management, we reduced the time spent on payroll runs by up to 60 percent. In addition, we streamlined onboarding and eliminated paperwork so our front-line managers can focus on developing their teams and delivering a great guest experience.”
Designed from the ground-up to support restaurants of all sizes, Toast Payroll & Team Management provides a rich set of features designed to simplify how restaurants recruit, onboard, manage, and pay team members. New capabilities include:
- Streamlined employee onboarding: eliminate paperwork, reduce the risk of manual errors, and automate employee onboarding access within Toast Payroll & Team Management
- Unified payroll and point of sale: employees clock in via Toast Point of Sale and hours automatically track—including blended overtime—so employees are paid accurately
- Programmed compliance risk management: restaurateurs can easily navigate federal tax filings and state-specific regulations like New York’s “Spread of Hours Law” and California’s “Meal Break & Rest Break Law”
- Integrated team development capabilities: with built-in features like applicant tracking and performance management, restaurateurs can recruit, manage and develop employees on a single system
“In an increasingly tight labor market, workforce management is a key challenge that keeps the collective restaurant industry up at night. In fact, almost two-thirds of Toast customers listed this as their top challenge in the 2018 Toast Restaurant Success Report,” said Steve Fredette, president and co-founder of Toast. “Building on our deep knowledge of the restaurant industry, Toast Payroll & Team Management provides a single system for recruiting, onboarding, managing, and paying teams.”
The comapny also announced Appfront, Como, Envysion, Homebase, PourMyBeer, Say2Eat, and UT&I Solutions as key integrations in the Toast Partner Ecosystem. The addition of these new integration partners will provide restaurants of all sizes with new ways to improve the guest experience and streamline operations. With over 70 certified technology partners, Toast's Partner Ecosystem empowers restaurant operators with the flexibility to build their highest-performing restaurant tech stack.
“At Toast we’re passionate about providing our restaurant community with access to an open ecosystem of leading technology applications that are certified to work with Toast Point of Sale,” said Aman Narang, president and co-founder of Toast. “With the addition of these new partners, we now have over 70 certified applications purpose-built for the restaurant industry to help operators increase revenue, improve operations, and delight their guests.”
'Spring into Service'
US Foods Holding Corp., top photo, recently completed its second annual ‘Spring into Service’ initiative, a week-long effort in which more than 330 employees in the company’s Rosemont, Illinois and Tempe, Arizona offices participated in various company-sponsored community service events. Providing US Foods employees with the opportunity to volunteer their time during the workday, the efforts benefited 11 different local, nonprofit partners primarily focused on eliminating hunger within their communities. Nearly 600 volunteer hours were completed across a variety of activities, including multiple meal packing events that generated approximately 90,000 meals and snacks that were donated to nonprofits partners.
“At US Foods, we believe in fostering a company culture of volunteerism and community engagement,” said Debra Ceffalio, vice president of corporate communications, US Foods. “We are proud of the impact our employees have made in our communities during ‘Spring into Service’ and look forward to the additional company-sponsored hunger relief events we have planned throughout the year.”
‘Spring into Service’ supports the company’s commitment to hunger relief, a key pillar of US Foods’ overarching philanthropic and employee volunteerism efforts.
The events took place May 6 through May 10 and supported a wide range of nonprofit organizations, including Feed My Starving Children, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Ronald McDonald House Meals from the Heart, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Urban Autism Solutions, Union League Boys & Girls Clubs, Operation Gratitude, Mesa Urban Garden, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Tempe Community Action Food Pantry, and Veteran Voluntary Services.
or commercial foodservice operators seeking guidance when trying to find the right kitchen equipment and supplies, a radical new approach is here to change the way they shop online.
The Kitchen Spot Goes Live
PRIDE Centric Resources Inc.’s network of professional commercial foodservice equipment and supply dealers launched The Kitchen Spot, a digital storefront that ditches the commodity-focused e-commerce model in favor of an integrated, personal and connected online foodservice-buying experience.
The new platform is one of a kind, PRIDE dealers say, because it meets the modern foodservice operator’s need for fast, service-driven buying experiences that won’t evaporate during the online shopping encounter. Three main elements drive the new concept:
1. Local expertise – through locally owned dealership experts who are ready to guide customers from start to finish through their purchase of foodservice equipment and supplies.
2. Shopper solutions – by showing customers a curated mix of thoughtfully selected options from industry brands recognized for their best-in-class quality and value.
3. A personal delivery experience – by offering foodservice operators multiple choices when it comes to fast, convenient and affordable product pickup or full-service delivery.
“For everything from ovens and refrigerators to kitchen storage and glassware, we believe that purchasing foodservice equipment and supplies, no matter the size or scale, should be personal and convenient,” said Lisa Norgard, the vice president of marketing at PRIDE.
“This inspired concept is a completely unique approach to the way foodservice equipment is bought and sold,” she explained. “By connecting customers to a local dealer expert, we’re putting people back into the process, to offer value-unique customer experiences.”
Unlike ordinary e-commerce sites, The Kitchen Spot actually connects foodservice operators with local experts. The overall experience creates a live connection in a local dealer’s store, where expert assistance and a broad range of nationally known brands are at the customer’s disposal, and personalized delivery options are the icing on the cake.
“That’s the magic of it,” Norgard declared. “It is becoming more and more difficult to find this sort of personal interaction today. And it’s this real-life connection that is especially comforting for customers who are making a big investment in new foodservice equipment.”
Products available through The Kitchen Spot fall into a handful of major categories, such as general foodservice equipment, food and drink prep, tabletop and serving supplies, janitorial items, and disposables. The site showcases premium, well-recognized brands through enhanced product information and educational content and it reinvests in the strong brand identity associated with each of its valued vendor partners.
“Our network of dealer partners is entrepreneurial, spirited, and motivated to deliver the absolute best in service,” said Karin Sugarman, the president and chief executive officer of PRIDE. “Armed with an easy-to-navigate digital storefront, these dealers now find themselves spearheading an online marketplace of warranty-backed, best-in-class products that is second to none in the industry."
She added that the creation of The Kitchen Spot helped bring about additional benefits for PRIDE’s dealer community. Through their considerable collective power, PRIDE dealers now share even greater access to the most innovative and trusted industry brands, which ultimately translates to increased value for customers at every level.
Renna Named Wahlburgers President
Wahlburgers, a Boston-area based restaurant corporation with 30 locations throughout North America, named its interim CEO, Patrick Renna, accepted the role of President of Wahlburgers effective immediately.
“Over the last 11 months, we have interviewed a number of candidates and completed an exhaustive search to find the right candidate to fill this incredibly important position,” said Kevin Dunn, Board of Advisors. “It became clear to us that the right person to fill this role was already within the organization and we are excited that he will remain in a leadership role as we continue to grow this brand.”
In June 2018, Renna stepped in as interim CEO in addition to filling his CFO role, and has since introduced several strategic initiatives to build on the company’s existing foundation and set its future for growth. The CEO position was reclassified as President, better suiting the company’s internal executive structure.
“Patrick’s contributions to this organization have been invaluable,” said Mark Wahlberg. “My brothers and I could not be more supportive of Patrick leading us towards the next phase of growth.”
Renna has experience as both CFO and CEO within the restaurant space, most recently serving in the CFO role with Wahlburgers and Chef Paul Wahlberg’s fine dining restaurant, Alma Nove; and in the same position and CEO with Boloco, a family of New England based fast casual restaurants.
“We’ve recently opened our first restaurant in Illinois in Chicago’s River North area and are about to open our first UK location in London later this month, with several more openings to announce later this year,” Renna said. “This is such an exciting time for Wahlburgers. I’m so thankful to the entire Wahlberg family who has provided me with this opportunity, and happy to continue on in this leadership role during the brand’s invigorating growth,” Renna said.
Revel Implements Enterprise
Revel Systems, a cloud-based point of sale (POS) and complete business management platform, today announced the successful implementation of the Revel Enterprise™ solution in more than 1,300 Focus Brands franchise locations across North America including Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s and Carvel. As one of the largest deployments of a cloud-based iPad POS, Revel Enterprise has markedly improved efficiencies for Focus Brands stores.
Revel Enterprise is a business platform that empowers organizations, such as Focus Brands, to streamline the performance of their multi-location businesses and access tools to scale and grow. As a result of the implementation, Focus Brands can more effectively manage its franchises—both centrally and at the local franchisee level—from one platform. The solution is specifically designed for merchants with more complex needs, and provides an intuitive, secure and flexible technology platform.
“We are impressed by how positively Revel Enterprise has impacted our franchise locations. The ability to now easily manage multiple locations from anywhere, as well as the platform’s cost-effectiveness, are significant,” said Michael Verdesca, CIO, Focus Brands. “The data we’re pulling is now real-time and actionable, enabling us and our franchisees to make decisions with a definitive impact. The modern architecture and open platform also future-proofs our businesses.”
Key platform features allow Focus Brands to perform important tasks, such as setting up groups of restaurants, centrally controlling menus, generating brand-level reports in real-time, analyzing and managing ingredient inventory, and managing employee time and attendance. Revel Enterprise also enables each franchise to operate more efficiently as an independent business, while still allowing corporate oversight.
“The technological architecture and professional services that underpin the Revel Enterprise platform are well matched to address the rapidly evolving digital commerce initiatives of a major foodservice operator like Focus Brands,” said Greg Dukat, CEO, Revel Systems. “We are proud to work on such a massive scale with Focus and to provide a complete enterprise solution that includes an open ecosystem, key partners, and a broad set of critical features.”
In partnership with the Focus Brands project team, Revel provided virtual and onsite professional services teams to manage the Revel Enterprise implementation and ensure a successful roll out over a six-month period.
Critical and value-add partner integrations were also essential to the Focus Brands deployment and easily enabled through Revel’s open API architecture. These include integrations with FreedomPay, which allows seamless, secure POS and payments processes, and Punchh gift card and loyalty programs.
Revel also announced a new Pizza solution for Revel Enterprise™ and Revel Essentials™. The Revel Pizza solution is part of the company's strategy to deliver targeted solutions to key verticals.
The new Revel Pizza solution includes a series of preconfigured templates that accelerate the implementation timeline and simplify ongoing system management. The templates help with key capabilities such as building menus and developing staffing schedules. Pizzeria menus are complex in their structure, as they need to account for customized orders, including multiple toppings, and sauce choices, as well as various sizing options. The Revel Pizza solution simplifies this process, while also making it easy for staff to make updates.
With more customers looking to place online orders, from either the web or mobile devices, the Revel Pizza solution simplifies the ordering experience with an intuitive user interface that is easy to navigate and only requires a few clicks for a customer to complete an order. Additionally, the solution’s end-to-end workflow management ensures online orders are filled quickly and accurately, while keeping the customer informed throughout the process – creating a positive user experience.
"We chose Revel because it was cloud-based, cost-effective, and offered greater flexibility than our legacy system. Revel was able to map half-and-half toppings and half-and-half specialty pizzas, and the way the modifiers worked within Revel was better than the complicated matrix that had to be engineered by our previous POS," said Michael Petrilli, Vice President at 1100 Group, which owns and operates several pizzerias throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. "Additionally, given the importance of online ordering, having Revel do it for us means that we get to capture all of that revenue as opposed to giving 10% to a third-party."
The Revel Pizza solution world-class delivery management capabilities make it easy to track orders from start to finish. Drivers will also benefit dramatically from being able to process dozens of tips in a matter of seconds. The kitchen will become much more efficient with a kitchen display system (KDS) that can be customized to meet the needs of the typical stations within a pizzeria. Whether its processing pizzas, calzones, or salads, each station can have a dedicated order flow that makes it easy to manage work volume.
“The pizza industry is experiencing unprecedented change and challenging competition because of consumer expectations which require additional technology,” said Chris Lybeer, chief strategy officer at Revel. "Using substantial customer and consumer input, we spent significant time building a solution that meets the specific and unique needs of pizzerias, and supports the rapidly evolving demands of digital consumers."
Revel’s new pizza solution also supports inventory management in real time by maintaining a precise view of inventory down to the ingredient level. Users can track topping ingredient levels with every order processed and determine variances based on what’s expected compared to what is used. In addition, pizzerias can remember their customers’ favorite pie choices with Revel’s built-in customer-relationship management (CRM). Pizzerias offering loyalty programs will benefit from the solution’s fully automated registration process that makes signing up customers fast and easy.
SOCi, the leader in social media and reputation management for multi-location brands, today announced the launch of SOCi Ads PLUS. This new solution makes it easy for multi-location brands, and agencies to drive growth through localized social advertising, empowering national and local marketing teams to efficiently reach their local audiences and promote dynamic, localized ads across hundreds or thousands of locations in a matter of minutes.
The digital advertising industry is growing quickly– according to eMarketer,in 2019 spend on digital advertising will surpass spending on traditional advertising for the first time, totaling an estimated $129.34B in ad spend by EOY. This trend is increasing as spend on social media is forecasted to accelerate over the next five years by 66 percent according to The CMO Survey. Further, with the decline of organic social reach and engagement, social advertising has become an essential tactic for brands and businesses to drive growth through social platforms. It’s no longer enough to just publish content on Facebook. With 72 percent of brand engagement happening on local social pages, multi-location brands need to invest in locally targeted paid social ads to more efficiently reach their top audiences in order to drive reach, engagement, and revenue.
“Today more and more buying decisions are happening on a local level, yet National brands are struggling to reach and grow their local customer base. We developed SOCi Ads PLUS to help our users seamlessly deploy thousands of local ads that will reach and engage their local customers,” said Afif Khoury, CEO, SOCi. “Previously it was nearly impossible to manage the creation of hundreds or thousands of localized ad creatives and accounts required to do localized social marketing well. As a result, marketers were forced to use more generalized creative and copy across all of their markets. With SOCi Ads PLUS marketers can more effectively connect with their local audiences and finally drive the results and ROI from social marketing that they have all been seeking.”
SOCi Ads PLUS supports localized Facebook and Instagram advertising and builds off the powerful capabilities of Facebook Ads Manager to introduce multi-location ad workflows. SOCi enables national and local teams to create and save highly targeted local audiences or simply reach customers nearby their business locations. To stay on brand and ensure creative consistency, national managers can create and share dynamic ad creatives and libraries across local teams and agencies which can instantly be promoted across hundreds or thousands of locations
Ads PLUS breaks down the barrier for distributing ads and budgets across thousands of ad accounts and pages. With dynamic images, text, and links, plus the flexibility to set custom objectives per ad, brands and agencies can easily get in front of their local audiences with more relevant creatives that support their local business objectives. SOCi’s intuitive reporting dashboard additionally empowers teams to track ad spend and performance at a national, regional, and local level, gathering key insights and elevating their ongoing local advertising strategies
“Today, the power of localized social advertising is unmatched and as the industry evolves, we continue to strive for efficient ways to scale the efforts for our multi-location brand customers without a lot of manual labor,” said Marti Janson, COO, Mindstream Media. “We are excited to begin the use of SOCi Ads PLUS to create and promote ads to hundreds of locations for the same brand. The ability to share and reuse ad creative, use dynamic images and text, and do all of this with the flexibility of locally distributed ad budgets will save time and resources. On the platform, we can post thousands of ad campaigns instantly, locally, in a targeted fashion, without hassle.”
Tapit Launches Self-Ordering Kiosk
Tapit globally launched SELFIT©, a self-ordering kiosk platform with accompanying online ordering via a mobile app and interface to the restaurant’s website. Purpose-built for the restaurant and retail industries. According to an IHL Services, Inc. research study, 96 percent of adults aged 18-39 favored self-kiosks for food ordering. With Tapit, single restaurant locations or large chains can meet this demand and affordably install SELFIT’s feature-rich, highly customizable and scalable technology – one kiosk at a time or on hundreds of kiosks simultaneously.
“On average, Tapit self-order kiosks increased each individual order by a remarkable 30 percent and 13 percent per branch,” said Eli Cohen, Head of Operations at New-Deli restaurant chain. “The responsive interface allows for easy ordering and upselling, and a better customer experience.” New Deli is opening 120 additional stores, and is installing more than 150 SELFIT systems while hiring 280 additional employees.
SELFIT self-ordering platform gives restaurants the ability to easily customize their menus and automatically update their kiosks and apps to showcase the latest promotions to their customers, delivering the opportunity to upsell customers and reduce customer abandonment caused by long lines and wait time. The result is dramatically increased revenue and customer satisfaction. SELFIT’s key features include:
- Linux-based software solution that works with any self-ordering kiosk hardware and integrates with any point of sale (PoS) system
- Support for any local cashless payment methods, including Mastercard, Visa, Discovery and American Express
- Easy-to-use and deploy templates designed for the fast food restaurant (FFR) and quick service restaurant (QSR) industries
- “Plug N’ Run” interface enabling restaurant operators to upload designs and content and launch in hours, not months
- Easy-to-use, comprehensive remote management system
- Menu customization as well as management interface in practically any language from English to Chinese to Arabic to Russian to Thai
- Multi-level access for users with predefined levels of control
- Multilevel branch hierarchy – Country – State – Region – City – Suburb – etc.
- Measurable ROI with the ability to generate insightful activity reports such as detailed usage, revenues and performance
- Real-time health monitoring and alerting system for a fleet of kiosks to maximize uptime and simplify deployment management
- End-to-end support for ongoing maintenance
“SELFIT is like the Wix of restaurant kiosk and app design,” said Larry Susman, Vice President International Sales of Tapit. “Our affordable and easy-to-use kiosk and mobile app solutions give small- to medium-sized restaurant chains access to the same advanced ordering technologies and capabilities as the mega-chains.”
“By using Tapit's kiosk solution, the average check per customer has increased thanks to effective upsell offers,” said Dan Kaufman, Head of Operations at Pasta Basta restaurant chain. “Plus, our customers don't wait in long lines and truly enjoy the quicker and more relaxed ordering experience.”
Tapit partners with the leading hardware kiosk and PoS vendors, including: NHCR, Comtrex, BeeComm, and kiosk manufacturers such as KIOSK Information Systems and Pyramid Computers. The company’s software solution is built for restaurant and retail establishments and is securely contained in the cloud.
Tapit offers a variety of pricing plans from a 100% revenue-sharing model to 100% monthly software as a service (SaaS) fee. This allows restaurant owners, resellers and kiosk vendors flexibility in financing the full SELFIT solution platform. Financing options afford “Mom & Pop” and small-chain restaurant owners avenues to compete head-on with larger franchises.
“Tapit’s flexible financing options makes self-ordering kiosks affordable for all restaurants from small chains to mega franchises,” said Alex Fradkin, COO at PoS provider BeeComm. “They provide flexibility for distributors to profitably resell their kiosk and app platforms.”
Shift4 Debuts Sky Tab
Shift4 Payments unveiled SkyTab, a pay-at-the-table solution that will be offered free of charge to new customers. SkyTab integrates seamlessly with various point-of-sale (POS) systems, including the company’s Harbortouch, Restaurant Manager, Future POS and POSitouch software brands, as well as Oracle Hospitality (formerly MICROS). Additional integration partners will be announced soon.
SkyTab combines state-of-the-art hardware with simple and intuitive software to deliver an exceptional pay-at-the-table experience for restaurants and their guests. Its user-friendly payment interface supports EMV chip cards, NFC mobile payments and traditional swiped card transactions. SkyTab also includes the ability to split checks, add tips and offers guests their choice of an e-receipt or a paper receipt via the integrated printer.
By eliminating the need for servers to walk back and forth to a stationary POS system, SkyTab improves operational efficiency so that restaurants are able to serve more customers and turn tables faster. Waitstaff can also re-order menu items from the device, making it quick and easy to order another round of drinks or add a second appetizer. Full order-at-the-table functionality will be available soon through an upcoming software update.
In addition to payment acceptance, SkyTab also delivers unique functionality that adds enhanced value for Shift4’s customers. Restaurant patrons will be prompted to rate their service at the end of the transaction. If the rating is below a predetermined threshold, a text message alert will be immediately sent to management. This allows the business to address unhappy guests and resolve their concerns before they leave, preventing negative online reviews. SkyTab’s e-receipt capabilities also provide business intelligence advantages, allowing the restaurant to automatically populate their customer database and personalize future email marketing and loyalty campaigns.
SkyTab also integrates with Shift4’s Lighthouse Business Management System, the company’s back-end POS management and reporting portal. Lighthouse includes management tools for social media, customer engagement, loyalty and online reputation. Merchants can link their social media profiles to schedule posts, track the performance of their content and manage all their social media accounts in one place. Customer engagement tools enable businesses to set up welcome emails, promotional offers and more using built-in tools to improve customer loyalty. Businesses can also view ratings and reviews from multiple online review platforms and easily respond to customers to improve their online reputation.
Shift4 Payments CEO Jared Isaacman states, “Although pay-at-the-table is standard practice throughout the rest of the world, it has struggled to gain any sort of widespread adoption in the U.S. The efficiency and security benefits are undeniable, but the high cost of these devices has hindered adoption. SkyTab is the U.S. payment industry’s first pay-at-the-table solution at a price point that makes it really compelling for restaurants. With the added customer engagement features and ordering functionality that we have incorporated into SkyTab, we are confident that these devices will become ubiquitous throughout the foodservice industry.”
LRS Launches VEN-U
Long Range Systems (LRS) launched VEN-U, a new comprehensive platform which enables any business to engage, manage, and monitor guests, staff, and sites. Combined with in-depth data reporting, VEN-U provides real-time insights and analysis for businesses to enhance guest engagement and maximize operational efficiency.
"Our new technology direction is a natural evolution for our business model which has positively changed the way restaurants interact with guests. With VEN-U, we're opening up new opportunities for businesses in different industries to deploy robust and scalable solutions to run their operations efficiently," said John Weber, President and CEO of LRS.
"We saw the opportunity in the market to develop technology that is seamless and easy to use but provides immediate and long-term ROI for operations management," Weber added.
VEN-U offers engagement, operational management, and remote monitoring of sites and gathers data based on guest, staff, and sensor data to optimize operations for smarter venue management. Precise location technology enables accurate delivery of orders to guests inside, outside or even curbside.
The VEN-U platform is perfect for restaurants, QSRs and hospitality but can also be used in any location, which manages the flow of guests, staff and assets. Other industry applications include warehouse, automotive, medical, retail, manufacturing, and transportation venues like airports.
Scalable technologies employed by VEN-U include Bluetooth beacons, wireless sensors, mobile applications and customizable dashboards to remotely analyze in-depth, real-time data. VEN-U's solutions can reduce operational costs, increase revenues and help businesses extend their brand to lift the guest experience for better engagement and upsells.
At the core of VEN-U is its OMS or Operations Management System. Based on connective hardware and software, the platform is flexible to provide solutions to a variety of industries including restaurants, retail, entertainment, medical, automotive, warehousing and any other business managing visitors, employees, and assets.
Parts Town Acquires 3Plenish
Parts Town acquired 3Plenish, an app that enables efficient management of parts inventory and replenishment for trucks used by field service-focused companies and other organizations that manage service technicians as well as parts stockrooms. This acquisition follows the related Parts Town acquisition of 3Wire Foodservicein mid-2018.
“We are very excited to own this unique technology and look forward to rebranding and building on the existing capabilities. Many of our partners continue to seek simple inventory management and replenishment solutions, and the 3Plenish technology is currently the best out there. We plan to take it to a whole new level,” states Mike O’Shea, World Wide Web Wiseguy at Parts Town (AKA – Sr. Vice President of IT and E-Commerce).
Parts Town will be working to formally rebrand and further enhance the existing 3Plenish capabilities, but the existing capability is available to customers who are looking for a solution quickly. O’Shea states, “There are several successful implementations already that are adding value in the market, and a nice pipeline of opportunity.”
“3Plenish fits neatly into our overall technology roadmap for 2019 and beyond. We have been setting the stage for a set of breakthrough innovations that are currently in development and ownership of 3Plenish will help us to further expand our technology differentiation,” says Emanuela Delgado, VP of the Revolution at Parts Town (AKA – Vice President, Growth & Innovation).
The deal to acquire 3Plenish closed on April 2.
Avery Dennison Introduces Freshmarx
Avery Dennison debuted Freshmarx® technology, designed to harnesses the power of accurate, shared data to enable labor efficiency, food safety, sustainability and enhance the consumer experience.
The Freshmarx expanding suite of software and hardware solutions is built on scalable technology that is designed to meet the unique challenges and ever-changing needs of food establishments. Connecting front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house operations, Avery Dennison capabilities utilize data to connect all the links of the food supply chain and will be on display at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show 2019 (Booth 3279), May 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
“We are focusing on scalability in offering end-to-end solutions, and are the only company with the capability to provide a complete range of hardware, software and supplies solutions for a totally connected supply chain,” said Ryan Yost, Vice President and General Manager, Printer Solutions Division (PSD) for Avery Dennison. “By designing the Freshmarx suite to be expandable, we are demonstrating our commitment to helping the food industry meet challenges today and be ready for the future.”
The company also differentiates by playing a key role as an upfront and ongoing consultative partner to food establishments with their FreshTrax® Analysis, Freshmarx® Systems Integration, Freshmarx® RFID Design and Deployment and Freshmarx® Service and Support. Through this supportive step-by-step program, Avery Dennison experts review existing operations and identify process improvements to ensure greater efficiency, food safety and reduce costs. An assigned systems integration team sees Freshmarx rollout through and ongoing field support is offered as a service, with local reps available nationwide.
Offering a new level of scalability, the new Freshmarx® Central hardware functions as a gateway to all of the suite’s capabilities and greatly enhances the ability to use data to automate processes. With Freshmarx Central, critical data is gathered and logged in an industry standard format that can be shared by all partners throughout the supply chain. While the Avery Dennison 9417+ utilizes laptop connectivity to access some of the Freshmarx solutions, Freshmarx Central marks a new phase of the suite’s evolution to make applications even more accessible and scalable to meet both present and future needs.
Freshmarx continues its evolution as a platform that allows restaurants, grocers and convenience stores to future proof their establishments. Each capability of the suite is compatible with the Avery Dennison 9417+ as well as with Freshmarx Central which adds a new dimension of value to these applications by collecting meaningful data to automate processes. The Freshmarx® suite of solutions goes beyond back-of-house to span end-to-end supply chain capability to meet food industry challenges.
The Connected Kitchen:
● Freshmarx® Prep is a proprietary intuitive food service software application designed for food labeling, date coding, nutritional calculations, employee training and food donation and waste tracking. Informed by Freshmarx® Edit, ingredients, menus and recipes are all brand-customized and configurable so updates are centralized and easily and securely pushed across restaurant locations and accessible from Freshmarx® 9417+, Freshmarx® Tablet and new Freshmarx® Central Systems.
● Freshmarx® Tablet System solves kitchen challenges related to food labeling, employee training, mobile printing and space constraints. In addition to Freshmarx Central and the 9417+, it can also combine the Avery Dennison 9485™ portable printer with the Freshmarx® Prep software application on an iPad®.
● Freshmarx® Temp Tracker is a cloud-based application to automate cold-storage temperature and humidity monitoring. With readings taken and recorded automatically via Freshmarx Sensors inside the devices, temperature data is transmitted between the cloud and data and accessible from Freshmarx Central, the 9417+ or via Apple, Android and Windows smart devices and Windows PC’s. Text and email alerts are pushed when temperatures are out of range, enabling automatic and on-demand reporting for quick response.
● Freshmarx® Task Tracker™ is a cloud based, customizable digital checklist application for non-food task execution and food temperature monitoring. This application eliminates paper logs, simplifies kitchen processes and ensures that food is safe for consumption. All checklist data is stored digitally and available for analysis to ensure completion and compliance.
● Freshmarx® Donation and Freshmarx® Waste Tracker helps food establishments determine exactly how much food inventory is being lost by analyzing inventory data and ordering processes. This application allows for easy tracking using a weigh scale – along with labeling and logging – to measure and analyze food waste in order to reduce inventory costs and minimize waste by discarding less food, or by donating excess.
The Connected Supply Chain:
● Avery Dennison RFID Solutions demonstrate the company’s continued leadership in UHF RFID technology for inventory accuracy and distribution. Applied within the food industry, Avery Dennison RFID solutions are increasing inventory accuracy to about 99% and reducing waste by around 20%, improving food safety due to increased visibility of use-by dates, as shown in pilot with a leading fast food restaurant. A global leader in Radio Frequency Identification, Avery Dennison now has more than 1,000 patents and applications to help with supply chain management, loss prevention and tracking.
● Freshmarx® Supplies Solutions support accurate food labeling, which is not only central to food safety compliance, but also critical for food retailers providing grab-and-go options with
a commitment to quality, traceability and consumer confidence. The company’s range of stock and custom innovative freshness, nutritional, ingredient, promotional, dissolvable, durable and high-heat food labeling solutions improve food safety, efficiency and transparency throughout the global food supply chain.
The Connected Consumer:
● Freshmarx® Delivery is a game changer in the food delivery business where customers expect fresh food delivered quickly and accurately according to their order. Freshmarx® Delivery enables brand-specific labeling, complete with details such as date, time, order and order-personalization, along with nutritional, pricing and promotional content such as coupons. In addition to ensuring order accuracy, it’s tamper-evident to ensure food safety.
● Freshmarx® Nutrition offers an “all-in-one” food and nutrition solution to replace hand-calculating and labeling ingredient and nutritional information for grab-and-go foods, which is cumbersome and can be error prone. Freshmarx® Nutrition, supported through a partnership with ESHA’s Genesis R&D® Food Formulation Software, calculates nutrition information for ingredients, recipes and menu items and imports the data straight to Freshmarx Central, Freshmarx® Tablet or Freshmarx® 9417+ for easy labeling.