Ultimate Grubhub, Red Lobster Catering and Parts in Town

This edition of MRM News Bites features Grubhub, PAR Technology, The Institute of Culinary Education, Parts Town, OneDine, Starbucks, QikServe, MOD Pizza, ezCater and Red Lobster, Omnivore, Coolgreens and Winston Industries.

Ultimate Grubhub

Grubhub launched its Ultimate technology, a revolutionary, first-of-its-kind proprietary hardware and software solution that integrates all restaurant ordering channels into one system. Replacing error-prone handwritten scribbles and shouts, Ultimate is a digital workflow solution, connecting the front- and back-of-the house directly with diners and creating a transparent view into their order status – whether diners order for pickup or delivery on Grubhub, at an in-store kiosk, or directly with a cashier.

Grubhub Ultimate in action at Taheni Grill in New York City

There are four components that make up the Ultimate technology:

  • Lightweight point of sale (POS) with direct integration to the Grubhub web and mobile app
  • Heads-up customer displays to show real-time order estimates across all channels
  • In-store self-ordering kiosks to complement the Grubhub app
  • Kitchen display system (KDS)

"Diners have come to expect ordering ahead for pickup to breeze through busy rush hour crowds and grab their morning coffee or lunch, but currently they can only enjoy this convenience at large QSRs. Ultimate now gives restaurants of any size this ability to please diners with an easy, digital pickup experience," said Matt Maloney, Grubhub founder & CEO. "With Ultimate, we went even further by building integrated kiosks and a digital queue – in person and online – so diners can see the exact status of their order at any time. Most people do not want to order in person or by calling if they have an alternative, and by integrating pickup with delivery orders our restaurant partners have a complete picture to more efficiently manage their operations."

Grubhub Ultimate back-of-house Kitchen Display System at Taheni Grill in New York City

Pickup, which composes more than half of the over $250 billion U.S. takeout market, is a massive and growing opportunity that has not yet been transformed by digital ordering. The Ultimate technology accelerates adoption of digital pickup and improves capacity management for restaurants of all sizes, giving unique line of sight into all ETAs regardless of the ordering channel. Whether ordering on-the-go or in-person from the cashier or a kiosk, diners get complete visibility in the app and on the displays at the storefront through the Ultimate technology.

"Ultimate is exactly what I was looking for but didn't know it," said David Morton, co-owner of Chicago-based DMK restaurant group. "We have designed our new restaurants around this technology because it allows us to provide better service to our customers with less effort and cost. This is a game changer in quick-serve and fast casual restaurants."

With more than five years of research and development, Ultimate began as an in-app queue where college students could order ahead while sitting in class and have a real-time view of exactly how many orders were ahead of them. They could continue to monitor their order status and would be notified when their order was ready. This transparency allowed students to manage their schedules and avoid skipping meals or eating at other restaurants because of unexpected long lines at their favorites – and still get to their next class on time.

"Students enjoy the convenience of self-ordering opportunities, and we've seen demand for our food service operations increase since installation across our campus. It increased the efficiency of our operation while providing a service that is highly desired by our students," said Zia Ahmed, Senior Director, Dining Services at The Ohio State University.

In addition to ordering ahead via Grubhub, in-store ordering kiosks allow restaurants to migrate employees away from the cash register and back to food prep lines and fulfilment areas, expediting and ensuring accuracy of orders and increasing throughput. Real-time ETAs appear once an order is placed, allowing customers and delivery drivers to precisely time their arrival, avoiding unnecessary and frustrating waiting. Driving further efficiency, the queue seen by customers is identical to that seen by all employees throughout the restaurant, sharing automatic updates at each stage of the order process.

The Ultimate technology also unlocks the potential for stadiums and food halls to join the next generation of restaurants, opening up a new experience for today's digitally-savvy diner. Instead of standing in never-ending lines, sports fans and concert-goers can order ahead directly from their seat via Grubhub, watching their place from the in-app queue for the exact moment the order is ready. Food halls are able to provide diners a real-time view into wait times for a variety of restaurants, giving the diner control of balancing the choice between restaurant selection and time to food pickup.

Restaurant owners and staff now have access to a custom-built solution, smoothing out process and demand during daily rushes. Currently in over 100 locations, the Ultimate pilot rollout has focused on New York City and Chicago where restaurants have seen pickup demand impact their bottom line.

"Since installing Ultimate, I've seen sales increase by 10% and employee costs decrease by 15%. I have staff preparing food instead of taking orders and my customers love the kiosks and transparency. This is a millennials' dream come true," said Joe Germonatta of Art Bird & Whiskey Bar in Grand Central Station.

The company is also teaming with ParTech, Inc (PAR). Integrating Grubhub’s API with PAR’s cloud-based Brink POS software allows Brink clients to offer a seamless ordering experience with increased accuracy in delivery and pickup times, less menu item and price discrepancies, faster setup times, and lower costs.

Stephen Lee, PAR’s Manager of Strategic Partnerships, said “We are pleased that PAR is now able to place integrated marketplace orders from Grubhub directly into the Brink POS solution. PAR strives to provide our customers with the top solutions available and believe this will build a more efficient process for all around.”

Brink’s restaurant partners can now effectively reach Grubhub’s large diner base, requiring less tablets for restaurant team members to manage, and streamline operations for both in-store and back-of-house. Ultimately, this integration provides an optimal experience for diners by delivering their food accurately and as hot and fresh as possible.

“We’re committed to being a true partner to our restaurants, and part of that is providing the tools and technology to create the most efficient means to receiving and fulfilling orders,” said Seann Moriarty, Director of Integrated Partnerships at Grubhub. “Our partnership with PAR makes this possible, and we’re excited to continue building on this mission.”

Beverages Better with ICE

 The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) developed a new Beverage Studies program with three in-depth courses covering fluency in tasting and serving, effective team and inventory management, and increased professionalism to achieve success in the beverage sector of culinary and hospitality businesses.

The eight-week courses can be taken together or separately, in any order the student chooses: Beverage Program Management, Fundamentals & Service of Wine and Essentials of Spirits & Mixology. Class timing is mid-day on Tuesdays and Thursdays to align with the schedules of many current restaurant and hospitality professionals. The comprehensive curriculum brings wine and spirits identification and evaluation, management skills and tools, and practical guidance for profitability together in this schedule of classes.

“At the Institute of Culinary Education, we’re always thinking about new directions and dimensions of education we can offer the restaurant and hotel sector. In recent years that has meant business skills, and beverage management is a logical and much needed extension of that strategy,” said Rick Smilow, ICE’s president and CEO since 1995. “This program is designed for a wide range of people, who may or may not already be working in the hospitality field, including bartenders, sommeliers, servers or cooks who are interested in wine, the beverage community, or beverage managers seeking to broaden their exposure.” 

ICE’s new Director of Beverage Studies Eamon Rockey led the program’s design. A leader among New York’s mixology and beverage experts and the founder of Rockey’s Milk Punch, his career path has wound through several Michelin-starred restaurants in New York. He was most recently general manager of Betony, which was Esquire Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year in 2013. He is joined by award-winning author, educator, journalist and sommelier Anthony Giglio. Students can expect guest lectures and tastings from industry leaders and field trips to local businesses. 

“In designing the program, I focused on providing the information I wish I had when I began my career,” Rockey says. “I’m excited to bring a 360-degree exploration of the beverage industry that is rarely or never offered in a classroom setting to our students.”  

Debuting in February, Beverage Program Management will teach students how to advance from guest relations to purchasing, budgeting, creating menus, staff education and optimizing technology. This intensive course will focus on introducing the essential concepts and techniques that maximize profitability and efficiency. From working towards Excel proficiency, to executing costing protocols, to ensuring compliance with best HR practices and anti-harassment training, Rockey and other industry experts will educate on how to think like a manager.

Also in February, Fundamentals & Service of Wine will bring Anthony Giglio’s expertise on viticulture, terroir, fermentation, varietals, major wine production regions and cellaring with lectures, tastings and a field trip to an active winery. Anthony and expert New York sommeliers will teach evaluation and tasting, while covering service and presentation techniques with demonstrations and hands-on exercises.

In the spring, Essentials of Spirits and Mixology will explore the key aspects of mixology through tastings, technique demonstrations, lectures and hands-on workshops. Students will study the history, characteristics and uses for major spirits, beer, cider, infusions and syrups with guided taste analysis and cocktail crafting. Noted bartenders and spirits entrepreneurs from lauded New York establishments will share their expertise on trends in mixology and bar program development. The course will cover the art of crafting a perfect cocktail and how to develop practices in cleanliness, setup and breakdown, and hospitality-driven service, through classes in ICE's classroom cocktail bar. 

“I am extremely excited for the launch of ICE’s Beverage Studies program and thrilled to be a part of something that I think will add a valuable missing piece to bar education in New York,” said Greg Buda, a member of the program’s advisory committee and director of education at The Dead Rabbit. “Having a set of courses available that can be completed while actively working in a bar or restaurant and having these courses extend beyond wine and spirits training to include cocktails and bar management will add something extremely unique to the suite of educational opportunities that are currently available. I have high hopes for this program and am excited to see it develop.”

Parts in Town Launches

Parts Town launched Parts In Town, an industry first e-commerce marketplace is designed to enable customers to access local inventory of genuine OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts enabling improved equipment up-time and performance, top photo.This innovative approach to marketplace technology allows local service companies and distributors to display their OEM parts inventory on partstown.com and benefit from the massive amount of traffic on the most utilized foodservice parts website in the world.  Ultimately, Parts In Town makes OEM parts more visible and available than ever before bringing benefits to manufacturers, service companies, distributors, and operators.


“We are really excited about Parts In Town. At Parts Town, we have a deep commitment to industry innovation and a passion for making genuine OEM parts accessible faster than ever before,” said Steve Snower, Chief Enthusiasm Officer, a.k.a. CEO, of Parts Town. “We are also particularly excited about what this technology and program enables, because it brings unique benefits to local service companies and distributors, allowing them to benefit from the traffic on partstown.com to help them grow their parts sales and expand their customer base.”

OneDine Secures Financing

Dallas-area startup OneDine closed a $5 million Series A round, putting the tech startup at a pre-money valuation of $90 million. The lead investor is a private family trust with several supporting investors, including TMW Capital and Hidden Lake Asset Management of New York.

The new investment round will allow OneDine to further extend its reach in the restaurant market in the United States, where restaurant owners, franchises and franchisees have struggled to find a comprehensive and affordable all-in-one table side solution for ordering, secure payment, and guest intelligence. It is currently being implemented in various enterprise brands across the US with several more rolling out in the second quarter of 2020.

Hardware and software innovation is a key area of focus for OneDine. The funding will provide growth capital to drive further U.S. expansion and help address the growing needs of restaurant operators.

“As an investor, I look for companies which already have market demand. The restaurant industry and its customers are hungry (pun intended) for a more streamlined experience. OneDine delivers on that,” said Matt Silk, of TMW Capital. “Our investment in OneDine is based on its exceptional team and the fact that restaurants are on a waiting list to be able to implement the technology OneDine has to offer.”

OneDine provides:

●      360-solution for guests, servers, and management

●      Seamless interface

●      Eliminates credit card chargebacks

●      Enables immediate Tableside ordering

●      NO APP required to pay at the table for guests!

●      Tableside EMV and PCI Compliance with P2P encryption

●      Processor agnostic

●      Reduced labor costs

●      Real-time data and feedback

●      Enhances marketing efforts

●      Real-time table monitoring

●      Personalized menu offerings

●      Guest-led service

●      Offers and promotions

It syncs with existing restaurant POS systems to make onboarding fast and convenient. It allows restaurant leadership to quickly survey customers and gain data and real-time insights on operational improvement, menu modification and more.  

Starbucks Commits to Resource Positivity

Starbucks chief executive officer Kevin Johnson announced a multi-decade commitment to be a resource-positive company, aspiring to give more than it takes from the planet. The announcement included science-based preliminary targets for the reduction of carbon emissions, water use and waste by 2030, and outlined five strategies the company has identified to move toward them.

“As we approach the 50th anniversary of Starbucks in 2021, we are looking ahead with a heightened sense of urgency and conviction that we must challenge ourselves, think bigger and do much more in partnership with others to take care of the planet we share,” Johnson said.

The company’s aspiration is to become resource positive – storing more carbon than it emits, eliminating waste, and providing more clean, freshwater than it uses. “This aspiration is grounded in Starbucks mission,” Johnson said. “By embracing a longer-term economic, equitable and planetary value for our company, we will create greater value for all stakeholders.”

A comprehensive, data-driven environmental footprint of carbon emissions, water use and waste in Starbucks global operations and supply chain informed the five strategies to prioritize work: 

  • Expanding plant-based options, migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.
  • Shifting from single-use to reusable packaging.
  • Investing in innovative and regenerative agricultural practices, reforestation, forest conservation and water replenishment in Starbucks supply chain.
  • Investing in better ways to manage waste, both in Starbucks stores and in its communities, to ensure more reuse, recycling and elimination of food waste. 
  • Innovating to develop more eco-friendly stores, operations, manufacturing and delivery.
  • Johnson also outlined three preliminary targets for 2030: 
  • A 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions in Starbucks direct operations and supply chain. 
  • 50 percent of water withdrawal for direct operations and coffee production will be conserved or replenished with a focus on communities and basins with high water risk. 
  • A 50 percent reduction in waste sent to landfill from stores and manufacturing, driven by a broader shift toward a circular economy. To underscore its commitment to the circular economy, Starbucks is pleased to sign the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, setting ambitious circular targets for its packaging.
  • On Starbucks 50th anniversary in 2021, the company will formalize its 2030 environmental goals based on learnings between now and then. Specifically, Johnson noted, the coming year will involve comprehensive market research and trials to better understand consumer behavior and incentives to encourage more use of reusable containers. 


QikServe Acquires Preoday

QikServe acquired Preoday, the branded mobile application and online ordering technology provider. Founded in 2011, QikServe provides operators with an enterprise content management and third-party integration platform for in-store digital order and payment solutions, customisable for use with kiosks, tablets, web and mobile apps. Its core solutions span ‘Mobile Pay at Table’, ‘Order and Pay at Table’ and ‘Kiosk Self-Service’. The business operates across the UK, US and Europe, with clients including Merlin Entertainments, Shake Shack and HMSHost, a subsidiary of hospitality giant Autogrill and global provider of food and beverage concessions, such as Burger King in travel hubs. 

Daniel Rodgers, Founder & President, QikServe, commented: “We will bring together two world-class digital self-service platforms, which empower operators and allow customers to order and pay at their convenience, whether in-restaurant, on the move or at home.  We recognised that our businesses are stronger together, with huge synergy between products and solutions. Our winning formula is testament to the two fantastic teams who have delivered value and success for our clients. Speaking with our international base of customers, we know a consolidation of technology suppliers is a must for the future. Our merger will allow us to accelerate and extend our services across hospitality to serve more sectors in more countries, whilst providing operators with much-needed simplification. Ultimately, we aim to be the digital self-service provider at the centre of the hospitality eco-system.” 

Nick Hucker, CEO, Preoday, commented: “Since 2012, we have been working with leading global venues, contract caterers, restaurants and industry partners. We now operate in 15 countries around the world, delivering millions in revenue across 600 locations. This is led by a strong and highly skilled leadership team to deliver on our mission to help hospitality operators drive revenue, transform the customer experience, improve efficiencies and save costs. The business has achieved this through a branded digital ordering platform, which empowers operators and partners to own the customer journey through their own valuable data and insights for greater personalisation. We are therefore delighted to enter this new chapter with QikServe, which will see our combined services continue to deliver on this promise, whilst offering customers the ultimate in speed and convenience in this experience driven age.”

MOD Pizza Makes Promotions

MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, LLC announced two executive-level promotions. Effective immediately, John Maguire has been named President and Chief Operating Officer and Steve O’Neill has been elevated to Vice President of Partnerships. MOD also announced a series of strategic leadership promotions to strengthen nationwide operations as the brand looks towards the opening of its 500th store later this year. 

Maguire joined MOD as COO in 2018 and adds the title of president after the recent retirement of Paul Twohig. Maguire will continue to oversee all aspects of company and franchise operations and will also lead  operations services & excellence, training, supply chain and franchising; he reports directly to Scott Svenson, MOD co-founder and CEO. Prior to MOD, Maguire was President and Chief Executive Officer of FIC Restaurants Inc. (Friendly’s restaurants), President and Chief Executive Officer of Johnny Rockets Group, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Panera Bread.

“John has made an incredible impact since joining MOD, helping to strengthen day-to-day operations across the system, as well as shape the path for our next phase of growth. One of John’s best qualities is that he is a people person first, and carries the MOD culture of servant leadership through everything he touches. We feel very lucky to have him as part of the team as we embark on an ambitious path for the future,” said Scott Svenson, co-founder and CEO of MOD. “We’d also like to give a huge, heartfelt thanks to Paul for the innumerable contributions he’s made to the business. Without a doubt, MOD is stronger because of the time Paul spent with us. Thankfully, he will remain on our advisory board – and active as a MOD franchisee – helping to guide us as we continue to write the story of MOD as the leader in fast casual pizza.”

O’Neill has been with MOD since 2013, building and leading the operations services & excellence teams. In his new role as VP of Partnerships, he will oversee the MOD franchise partnership group, which currently consists of 9 franchise partners and 92 locations in the US and Canada. O’Neill previously spent 10 years with Starbucks in various leadership positions, and 20 years in operations with The Walt Disney Company.                              

In addition, MOD announced a series of senior operations team promotions:

  • Kristen Driscoll, promoted to Senior Director of Operations Services & Excellence
  • Mo Chowdhury, promoted to Senior Regional Director of Operations (Mid-Atlantic and Florida)
  •  James Holguin, promoted to Senior Regional Director of Operations (California, Arizona and Utah)
  •  Aaron Johnson, promoted to Senior Regional Director of Operations (Texas and Missouri)
  • Additionally, Shanna Taylor was promoted to Senior Director of Talent Acquisition and People Systems. 

Red Lobster on ezCater

Red Lobster® has joined the ezCater catering marketplace to serve up signature items like Wood-Grilled Chicken Taco Bars, Maine Lobster Tails, and Cheddar Bay Biscuits® to businesses for the first time in its 52-year history. This marks Red Lobster's entry into the $62 billion catering market. 

ezCater and Red Lobster launch first-ever business catering offering, now available in more than 600 cities throughout the U.S. exclusively through ezcater.com. (Photo courtesy of Red Lobster)

Red Lobster is the latest national restaurant chain to join the ezCater platform, which helps restaurants of all sizes reach high-value business customers and grow their catering business. By bringing catering online, ezCater gives businesspeople a simple, reliable way to order food from over 70,000 restaurants nationwide.

"We are thrilled to offer the world's largest seafood restaurant chain, Red Lobster, to all of our customers," said Mike O'Hanlon, Head of Catering Partner Business at ezCater. "People can now enjoy their favorites from Red Lobster at work, and it gives Red Lobster a great opportunity to grow their off-premises business."

"Nothing makes a meeting more enjoyable than food, especially freshly prepared seafood and our iconic Cheddar Bay Biscuits! That's why we're excited to make it easy to order Red Lobster for all your catering needs through ezCater," said Salli Setta, President and Chief Concept Officer, Red Lobster.

Omnivore Names COO and Moves HQ

Omnivore  added Dan Singer as Chief Operating Officer. In addition to Singer’s appointment, Omnivore announced it was moving its corporate headquarters to the Tampa – Clearwater, FL.  The move is a result of the company tripling its share of restaurant locations to over 19,000, and will serve as the baseline for ensuring strong customer support, efficiencies and similar growth in 2020.  

Singer served for nearly eight years as Vice President of Finance for FairWarning, a global privacy company. While at FairWarning, Singer led the Finance, Legal, IT, and Sales Operations teams and was part of the $60 million growth equity investment from Mainsail Partners in June of 2018.  His strategic approach and operational leadership in growing companies will be his focus as Omnivore continues to scale.

"I have been impressed with Omnivore's solid strategic growth and progressive performance as they help restaurants break-through technology barriers," said Singer. "I am excited to be working with Mike Wior and the team as we take the company into its next phase of growth with operational excellence."

"The Omnivore Board of Directors have had the opportunity to get to know Dan, and there is tremendous value in his expertise and insight," said Chris Sullivan, Chairman of the Board for Omnivore. "Omnivore is in a strong position as the team executes the 2020 plan, and now having the headquarters in the Tampa Bay Area will create even better efficiencies with resources and talent." 

"Restaurant technology is going through a stage of rapid evolution and deployment in the industry, new tools to manage this change is becoming a key element to building a sustainable and flexible technology strategy. Omnivore is extremely proud to be first to market with an integration platform that directly addresses these new challenges," said Mike Wior, CEO of Omnivore. "We're pleased to have Dan's trusted leadership to help grow the company and deliver consistent results as Omnivore continues to bring added value to our restaurant clients and their guests."

Coolgreens Promotes Madlener 

Coolgreens promoted Todd Madlener from vice president of operations to president and chief operating officer, reporting to CEO Robert Lee.

Todd Madlener

“On behalf of Coolgreens and its franchisees, I am very proud of Todd for earning this promotion,” Lee said. “He has made such a huge impact with our team since joining us. He has brought a wealth of industry experience to our brand and taught us what it is like to have a truly positive and supportive culture. His commitment to our employees and guests is an example for all of us.”

Madlener joined Coolgreens in October of 2018 after working with MAD Greens and PB&J restaurants, where he opened more than 15 new locations in four states in less than 24 months. Before this, Madlener gained extensive operations and franchise experience at Red Robin, where he spent more than 20 years. While at Red Robin, Madlener saw first-hand the dramatic difference that a motivated and positive work experience can have on a growing brand. Over the past two years, the Coolgreens restaurant teams have embraced the idea of people coming first and actions speaking louder than words.

“I am honored to take on this new role at Coolgreens,” Madlener said. “We have implemented positive behaviors into our work environment through our Coolstory program and many other new training and development practices. As a leader, you have to be able to identify when and how to address situations. By interacting and connecting with your team consistently, you can show people that they come first and that they matter above all else. Using this approach, we have been able to achieve positive year-over-year sales the past eight quarters and reduced our turnover to under 60%. Further, we have implemented cost saving initiatives to support our bottom line. Our future is bright as the entire Coolgreens team continues working together to realize our full potential.” 

Tanner to Head Winston

Winston Industries’ Board of Directors selected Shaun Tanner as the President and Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1, 2020. An 18-year veteran of the company, Tanner currently serves as the Chief Sales Officer, overseeing two of Winston’s three divisions; Winston Foodservice and Winston Manufacturing. He succeeds Valerie Shelton, who has announced her intention to retire in December 2020. Shelton will move to an advisory role in July and will maintain a position on the Board in retirement. She has served 11 years as Winston’s President and CEO, and 38 total years with the company. Valerie Shelton diversified the company beyond foodservice equipment. She spearheaded the creation of the Win2uit Electronics Division and the Winston Contract Manufacturing Division. While her efforts increased profitability, her motivation behind the expansion was to create vertical opportunities for Winston’s team members. Committed to thinking beyond the company, Valerie also led aggressive corporate initiatives to give back to the community.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the legacy we are leaving behind, and the leaders that will move this company to the next level. We have enjoyed so many challenging, yet fruitful years, and are delighted to leave the company in such capable hands," said Shelton.

Tanner has performed a myriad of roles at Winston. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University and chef by trade, he held sales positions within domestic and international teams, while overseeing support of one of their largest customers, YUM! Brands. Tanner was elected to Winston’s Board of Directors in 2015, and soon after was promoted to General Manager of the Foodservice division.