Toast Takes on TripAdvisor and Plate It Like You Mean It

This edition of MRM’s Daily Bite has news from Toast and TripAdvisor, Grubhub and AMEX, Fourth, Tillster and McAlister’s Deli, Artichoke Basille’s Pizza and Entrepreneurial Chef.

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Toast and TripAdvisor Team

Boston tech powerhouses Toast and TripAdvisor are partnering to deliver restaurants of all sizes the best suite of tools to entice new guests. 

Toast customers are able to further enhance their restaurant’s visibility and drive traffic directly to their TripAdvisor listing by signing up for TripAdvisor Ads. Additionally, registered owners on TripAdvisor who are not yet Toast customers are eligible to receive $500 off TripAdvisor Ads, or six free months of TripAdvisor Premium.

TripAdvisor Ads is a marketing solution that allows owners to promote their restaurant via sponsored placements visible at the top of a search results page. Ads are highly targeted to reach diners who are actively searching for a place to eat. TripAdvisor Premium enables restaurant owners to enhance their listing page through features such as the ability to spotlight favorite reviews, highlight the Top 3 Reasons to Eat Here, access in-depth analytics data, and create a customized Storyboard – a dynamic visual presentation that appears at the top of a listing.

“Toast is proud to partner with a fellow Boston tech brand and even prouder to support restaurants of all sizes through our exciting new partnership with TripAdvisor,” said Aman Narang, president and co-founder of Toast. “Toast found in its Restaurant Success in 2017 Report that social media ads will see an increase of 20 percent while search engine ads will see a 36 percent increase compared to historical ad spend. Together, Toast and TripAdvisor will empower restaurants with the advertising tools needed to stay ahead in 2018.”

“Partnering with Toast will allow us to bring their customers new products to help them better showcase their business to prospective diners,” said Evan Becker, TripAdvisor head of Restaurant Commerce. “TripAdvisor Ads and TripAdvisor Premium allow restaurant owners of all sizes to quickly and easily manage their listing and ensure they’re reaching the right customers at the right time.”

Grubhub and AMEX Partner

Grubhub is working with American Express to enable card members enrolled in the Membership Rewards® program to use Membership Rewards® points to order on Grubhub and Seamless online and mobile platforms. Additionally, American Express Card Members can quickly and easily pay via Amex Express Checkout.

“We consistently hear that our diners want even faster and simpler ways to order and pay on Grubhub,” said Stan Chia, COO of Grubhub. “Through our work with American Express, Card Members can not only take advantage of Amex Express Checkout for a quicker ordering experience, but also reap the rewards of using Membership Rewards points. We’re also thrilled to offer both Pay With Points and Amex Express Checkout on our Grubhub and Seamless mobile apps so that our diners can benefit whether they are at home or on the go.”

“We know our Card Members are always looking for easy ways to use Membership Rewards points with the merchants they love, so we are excited to further expand our Pay With Points offering to now enable Card Members to use points when they order through Grubhub and Seamless websites and mobile apps,” said Chris Cracchiolo, Vice President, Membership Rewards & Loyalty Benefits at American Express. “This further builds on the Amex Express Checkout capability that we added to Grubhub and Seamless platforms late last year, which we’re already seeing our Card Members enjoy using.”
Card Members enrolled in the Membership Rewards program can now use points for food on Grubhub and Seamless at 80,000 restaurants in more than 1,600 cities.

Fourth Launches Payroll Service in U.S.

Fourth has brought to the U.S. the first payroll service specifically built to address the complexities of the hospitality industry. Fourth has been providing payroll services for more than 15 years to hospitality operators, such as Five Guys, Subway, Travelodge and Krispy Kreme, in the U.K. and has now gone live in the U.S. market with Chotto Matte, a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant operator, and Wagamama, the international restaurant and noodle bar chain.

Fourth’s Payroll Service provides a one-stop solution for managing multiple employments, varying pay rates, shift work, variable hours, temporary staff and paid time off. Built-in payroll data analytics empower hospitality operators to make faster and better decisions, materially reducing the cost and inefficiencies associated with traditional payroll services.

Part of its Workforce Management solution set, Fourth’s Payroll Service is  integrated with its Workforce Planning tool. With data inputs on logged employee hours, this tool calculates employee gross and net wages, used by the payroll service team to generate payments to hospitality employees. All hospitality-relevant labor regulations are built into the platform to ensure operator compliance.

“Wagamama USA chose Fourth’s workforce management solution because it provides a single platform for us to manage the entire employee lifecycle – and, crucially, with fully integrated payroll delivered by a team that genuinely cared about us,” explained Paul Oakley, Wagamama U.S. Finance Director.

“There was an immediate and significant increase in accuracy due to our switch in payroll providers. They do deliver – our people are paid accurately and on time, tips are paid through payroll and taxed accurately, and staff can view their paystubs as well as their schedules on the Fourth app on their cell phone.

“In addition, I have been particularly impressed with the expertise, attentiveness and quality of service from the Fourth team. They really do get the complexities of hospitality payroll. If we had any questions at all, they were on hand to answer these quickly and efficiently. To my mind, this personable and professional approach differentiates them from other payroll providers.”

Oakley continued: “And we are getting results that go further than an accurate and timely payroll. Our labor spend has improved because the system’s intelligence in labor forecasting allows us to focus on overstaffing. Creating a schedule is simple and saves hours each week compared to Excel and manual systems.

“Our approach is totally unlike other payroll providers,” noted Sheryl Steele, Fourth’s VP of payroll operations. “Our solution is specifically designed for highly complex hospitality payroll and copes easily with different rates of pay, staff who are seasonal, transient, full-time, part-time and those who carry out a variety of functions.

“We intend to revolutionize the market and provide the hospitality world what it needs from a payroll service — a service provider that can match the high standards they set as their own. It’s paramount for us to deliver exceptional quality and great customer service. Consistent, accurate and timely payroll is key to employee happiness and business efficiency, and we help our customers achieve that.”

To build upon Fourth’s payroll success in the U.K. and expand these services into the U.S. market to meet local hospitality customer demand, Steele, who has led Fourth’s global payroll operations for 10 years, opened a new service center in Tampa in October 2017. Managed by payroll operations manager Jennifer Specht, the center has hired from the Tampa area’s rich pool of payroll specialists to staff up for customers.

McAlister’s Unifies Digital Ordering and Engagement Programs

Tillster launched a consolidated digital ordering and CRM program for McAlister’s Deli® that enables them to leverage the Tillster technology infrastructure to better understand its customer base, improve the quality of guest touch points, and ultimately provide a superior guest experience.

“The restaurant industry, and even more so fast-casual establishments, are in a race to offer technology options that entice and retain customers,” says Perse Faily, CEO of Tillster. “McAlister’s Deli is second to none when it comes to customer hospitality, and the synergy that these new technologies afford is instrumental to the growth of the brand.”

Beginning in 2017, McAlister’s partnered with Tillster to modernize its CRM efforts. This database enhancement combined with targeted email content, push notifications and ongoing tests have more-than-doubled email open rates and significantly improved app engagement. These programs over time will enable McAlister’s to contextualize communications and serve content at the right moment to delight guests even more. 

At the end of January 2018, McAlister’s made its most significant move leveraging Tillster’s technology, by launching a redesigned mobile app. This latest update not only improved the guest ordering experience, but introduced a new surprise-and-delight rewards program where guests receive rewards via the McAlister’s Deli app and can redeem them through a mobile order or in-restaurant. This new program surprises guests with offers for the McAlister’s favorites they know and love, and allows McAlister’s the ability to unify digital and in-store transactional data. These added capabilities provide McAlister’s with a better understanding of its guests, allowing more targeted communications and offers, while guests receive a simplified app ordering experience.  

“At McAlister’s, we’ve always been focused on genuine hospitality and providing our guests a little something extra,” says Paul Macaluso, president of McAlister’s Deli. “Our enhanced mobile app and rewards program are the next steps that allow us to extend that hospitality outside our doors and consistently thank our loyal guests in a way most accessible to their daily lives. We look forward to understanding how our guests engage with McAlister’s technology and uncovering new insights provided by Tillster.” 

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza Eyes Staten Island

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza will open its first Staten Island location at Empire Outlets, New York City’s first and only retail outlet center. 

This is a homecoming of sorts for Artichoke co-founders and cousins Francis Garcia and Sal Basille,who first learned the food business at their family’s Staten Island restaurant, Basille’s, before inventing their own unique style of “authentic New York pizza.” In fact, they even wrote a cookbook, “Staten Italy,” and their namesake Artichoke Pie, which has taken the city by storm with its unique combination of artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella and pecorino romano, was first conceived at the family’s Staten Island restaurant Basille’s and inspired Fran and Sal to open their own concept. Since opening the first Artichoke Basille’s on Manhattan’s 14th Street, the cousins have expanded to 12 restaurants across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens; Berkeley, California; and Miami, Florida’s South Beach.

“Francis and Sal have an unequaled passion for family, friends, and great food, and we’re so proud that they’ll be bringing their world-class pizza back to Staten Island by joining Empire Outlets,” said Joseph Ferrara, principal of BFC Partners, developer of Empire Outlets. “Artichoke Basille’s has an incredibly committed fan base that has made it clear they want to see Francis and Sal come home to Staten Island, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of their homecoming. We look forward to making Empire Outlets one of the city’s top shopping and dining destinations with the help of some of New York City’s finest brands, like Artichoke.”

“It’s an exciting venture to be opening an Artichoke Basille’s Pizza in Staten Island, where our passion for pizza and admiration for the culinary and restaurant industries all started,” said Francis Garcia.

“We’ve been swiftly expanding the brand, and to open a location in Staten Island is a natural choice. We’re finally coming back home,” added Sal Basille.                           

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza will join Empire Outlets’ diverse group of dining options curated by Michael Brais of Douglas Elliman Commercial, including Shake Shack, Wasabi Steak & Sushi, Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque, Nathan’s Famous, and MRKTPL, Staten Island’s first-ever artisanal food hall.

MRKTPL, a 12,723-square-foot artisanal food hall with a 3,000-square-foot outdoor dining space, will include a curated selection of more than 30 diverse and unique concepts.

Plate It Like You Mean It

Entrepreneurial Chef launched a national contest with Oneida to give one lucky winner a full tabletop installation in 2018.

The “Plate It Like You Mean It” Contest will run through March 21, 2018, where industry professionals can enter by submitting a photo of a featured dish, provide a compelling reason for winning, and be entered for a chance to receive one of four prize packages comprised of Oneida products collectively valued at over $40,000.

Most notably, the Grand Prize Winner will receive a full tabletop installation in 2018 for their upcoming or current establishment.

“The vision when building our platform was centered on helping foodservice professionals and entrepreneurs at various stages in business with educational content and resources, having just celebrated our first year, we are thrilled to present a collaboration of this magnitude for our audience,” said Shawn Wenner, Founder of Entrepreneurial Chef. “Oneida’s incredible prize package is a testament to their support of our mission to empower the next generation of food entrepreneurs.”

“We’re so excited to collaborate with Entrepreneurial Chef for this contest. We love their mission of supporting food entrepreneurs, and we wanted to support them and their readership,” said Jeff Jarrett, CMO of The Oneida Group. “We know it can be tough to open a new restaurant or refurbish an existing one, and we hope these prizes will help the winners bring their tabletop visions to life to create the ultimate dining experience for their guests.”

The contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia (U.S.), age 21 or older at the time of entry and requires no purchase necessary. The prize packages include the Grand Prize of a full tabletop installation in 2018, a Voter’s Choice Award with $10,000 in Oneida products, a First Runner Up with $5,000 in Oneida products, and Second Runner Up with $2,000 in Oneida products.

Entries can be submitted at