Tech’s Effect in 2017 from Toast and Fishbowl’s Buzz Brands

MRM’s Daily Bite Magnificent Monday version offers news from Toast, Fishbowl, Zoli’s, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, HoodMart and Kidde.

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The 2017 Tech Effect

Toast unveiled its third annual Restaurant Technology in 2017 Industry Report. The findings cover both diner preferences and restaurateur perspectives.

Key findings include:

  • 95 percent of restaurateurs agree that technology improves business efficiency;
  • 81 percent of diners used a restaurant’s website to place an online order; and,
  • 82 percent of diners go out to eat at least once a week.

Commenting on what will have the greatest future impact on restaurant technology, David Scott Peters, founder of, said, “As technology gets less expensive and more systems talk with each other, software will get smarter and not only provide analytics, it will automatically tell the restaurant owner where the problems are and what they need to fix.”

toast infographic

To access the full report,  click here.

In other news, Toast announced an integration with Yellow Dog Software, a back office inventory solution for hospitality. Together, Toast and Yellow Dog now offer recipe management, physical inventory, and food costing analysis capabilities.  

“We are excited to partner with Toast and provide their clients with an outstanding inventory solution,” said Jay Livingood, president and founder of Yellow Dog. “With our combined solutions, we can give the industry a true best of breed offering.”

Yellow Dog pulls sales data from Toast’s database and deducts inventory based on recipe setup. This sync is usable from any location with Toast access. Additional features include:

  • Full item and recipe management, waste tracking and purchasing
  • Vendor EDI integration and invoice export to accounting systems like Quickbooks and more
  • Easy single or multi-unit operations management
  • Turnkey implementation, 24/7 in-house support and free training for life
  • More than 200 customizable reports available, including “actual versus theoretical” reporting

“Our team is thrilled to bolster our inventory functionality in partnering with Yellow Dog Software,” said Aman Narang, president and co-founder of Toast. “We are thrilled to welcome Yellow Dog Software to Toast’s best-in-class partner ecosystem, the Toast API Partner Program.”

Fishbowl’s Buzz Brands

Fishbowl, Inc. released the 2017 Buzz Brands report, a new study that ranks social media performance indicators for some of the country’s top restaurant brands.

The report evaluates mid-sized restaurant chains (approximately 75-275 locations) — ranging from MOD Pizza to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse — that have a strong online presence, and analyzes more than 20,000 user reviews to determine what drives positive customer feedback. It also incorporates the Fishbowl Social Score™, which assigns a value of 1-10 to each brand’s social media performance based on a compilation of multi-channel ratings, frequency measures and review sentiment. Top brands include:

  • MOD Pizza 8.0
  • Blaze Pizza 7.8
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House 6.9
  • First Watch 6.5
  • Habit Burger 6.0
  • Yard House 6.5
  • Newk’s Eatery 5.3
  • Chuy’s Tex Mex 5.6
  • Black Bear Diner 5.8
  • Bonefish 5.1

Buzz Brands by Category

Consumer brand preferences are continually changing. By mining and analyzing more than 1.7 million words for meaning, and applying proprietary sentiment analytics to look for patterns in the conversation, the Buzz Brands study uncovers trends, providing greater insight into how consumers rate products, services and facilities. For example, the report reveals that in negative reviews, service issues are one of the top areas for complaints. In positive reviews, food, service, and restaurant ambience are all important factors.

Buzz Brands Mapped

“There are patterns in social data that can — and should — be used by restaurants to track, measure and adjust their focus to ensure continued growth and sustainable success,” said Mike Lukianoff, Chief Analytics Officer of Fishbowl. “The Buzz Brand report gives an excellent snapshot via the Social Score. Savvy restauranteurs rely on this kind of data to fully understand what reviewers are saying in an unvarnished way. These studies are much more valuable than just measuring how brands are rated on social channels. Social Analytics can allow brands to better understand what is directly impacting operations — even what may be working for competitors. Marketing strategies can then be further tailored to respond to this feedback.”

Download a complimentary copy of the 2017 Buzz Brands report here.

Zoli’s Dallas Debut

 Zoli’s Addison location will open to the public on Friday, Nov. 3. Helmed by New York native Lee Hunzinger, Zoli’s 2.0 will offer both lunch and dinner, with a menu full of East Coast Italian classics and fan favorites from the original Zoli’s.

Located at 14910 Midway Rd., Zoli’s will rejoin the family of nine  Cane Rosso Neapolitan-style restaurants located in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. It will offer a selection of East Coast dishes such as New York-style pizzas, salads, pasta, sandwiches on house-made breads, and a few shout outs to legendary pizzerias and chefs that influenced the development of Zoli’s 2.0.

Highlights from the menu include:

  • Nuggz. Old school style fried mozzarella, served with marinara.
  • Carbonara. Spaghetti, bacon, egg, garlic breadcrumbs, and an embarrassing amount of pecorino.
    Photos courtesy of Zoli’s
  • Pizza Loves Emily. Pizza with mozzarella, roasted mushrooms and habanero honey, finished with cold cheese.
  • Brian Luscher. Pizza with mozzarella, sausage bolognese, and creamy ricotta.
  • Zeppole. Fried-to-order doughnuts tossed in cinnamon and sugar, with caramel dipping sauce.

The New York-style pizzas can be ordered in both 14″ round pie and 12″ square versions, and guests can choose to customize their own pies with a mix of their favorite meats, veggies, cheeses, and sauces…and even order a $1 side of jalapeno ranch for dipping (the proceeds of which will go to Cane Rosso Rescue).      

Preserving the irreverent personality that made the original Zoli’s so popular, the iconic unicorn head has made the move to dress up the walls in Addison – as well the famous marquee sign! Vaulted ceilings and an open pizza kitchen give Zoli’s an airy feel, and colorful geometric wood tables designed by Sarah Reiss for R&R Design Works and custom steel cut lighting fixtures add texture to the eye-catching space. A 10-foot Clay Stinnett painting of the “Last Supper” featuring Star Wars characters, dresses up the best seat in the house: Reiss’ 10-person purple velour banquette. The 4200-square-foot space also features a private area that’s just the right size to host a business lunch, dinner, or happy hour.

Photos courtesy of Zoli’s

“After a long delay due to permitting and construction, we are thrilled to finally unveil the new version of Zoli’s to Dallas,” says owner Jay Jerrier. “The delay gave us plenty of time to travel to the East and West Coasts to find inspiration for the new menu, and we really have the dough dialed in after working with Brian Spangler from Apizza Scholls in Portland, Oregon. The large space and kitchen gives us the flexibility to create and offer so many of the things that both Lee and I ate growing up in the Northeast.”

Dickey’s Barbecue Inks First International Franchise Deal

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has partnered with  Middle Eastern hospitality group, Serenity Hospitality, LLC to bring 45 Dickey’s locations to seven countries throughout the Middle East.

“My family started Dickey’s in 1941 and since then we have grown the Dickey’s brand exponentially, turning it into a household name nationwide,” says Roland Dickey, Jr., CEO of Dickey’s Capital Group. “We have been searching for the perfect partner to be the first to take our company international and I believe we have found that in Serenity Hospitality. They see the vision we have for the future of Dickey’s and will be an integral part of that. We greatly look forward to this partnership and the success that Dickey’s will see in the Middle East.”

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit began as a small barbecue joint in Dallas, TX in 1941 by Travis Dickey. Today, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is still owned and operated by the Dickey family who is proud to share their brand and slow-smoked barbecue with families across the nation. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit now has more than 550 locations throughout the United States.

Serenity Hospitality is led by Chief Executive Officer Youssef El Habbal who has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry with a heavy focus on concept development and franchise operations.

“At Serenity Hospitality, LLC we take pride in owning innovative Food and Beverage concepts. After doing much research of high-quality American brands, we found that Dickey’s business model, menu options and future plans aligned perfectly with what we were looking for,” said Youssef El Habbal, CEO of Serenity Hospitality, LLC. “A company’s values and heritage are extremely important to us, and Dickey’s long family-owned history along with their promise to serve only the best food to their guests meet the values that we look for in a partner.”

The 45 international Dickey’s Barbecue Pit locations are slated to opened in seven countries throughout the Middle East including United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Lebanon. The first locations are planned to open in 2018 in the UAE.

“Dickey’s Barbecue Pit looks forward to the value this expansion brings our current owners and national operations,” said Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. “Having the opportunity to work with such experienced partners such as Serenity Hospitality says much about the quality, strength and future of our delicious barbecue and our ever growing brand.”
HoodMart Partners with Kidde

HoodMart, Inc. formed a strategic partnership with Kidde Fire Systems to provide Kidde Fire Systems’ pre-piped WHDR systems in HoodMart’s range of hoods. In addition, HoodMart will be offering a Class K Fire Extinguisher and a Class ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher to complement the fire suppression line.

HoodMart is now offering Kidde Fire pre-piped WHDR systems in its hoods and on their website.  HoodMart has two sales professionals that are dedicated to working directly with Kidde’s installers.    

“We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Kidde Fire Systems,” said Sacha Polakoff, HoodMart’s CEO.

HoodMart, a subsidiary of North American Kitchen Solutions, Inc. (“NAKS”), specializes in the design, manufacture and sale of ventilation systems and fans for the large and growing commercial cooking industry. The company manufactures both traditional hood systems as well as portable Ventless hoods.  The company’s hoods can be purchased separately or as part of a complete ventilation system including exhaust fans, supply fans and fire suppression systems.  Individual fans, filters and other accessories also are available.