Upserve Serves Up Online Ordering and OpenTable Expands Guest Share Feature

MRM’s Daily Bite features the fast-growing impact of online ordering and personalizing guest experiences through technology as well as how The French Pastry School in Chicago baked day and night making 60,000 cookies that traveled 2,400 miles to provide some sweet relief. Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at

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Upserve Streamlines Online Ordering

In a recent survey of respondents from around the US, Upserve asked 520 consumers what considerations are most important to them when deciding whether or not to return to a restaurant. While, the quality of service was the number one reason, online ordering also came out as a critical factor:

  • More than half of the respondents (51 percent) said that offering takeout or delivery was important or very important in their consideration
  • 71 percent it was a factor in their decision making process
  • 22 percent of respondents said it was one of the top three things they considered

This bears out against industry trends, too: Data shows significant growth in online ordering, citing 82 percent of meals are consumed at home and nearly 60 percent of consumers have ordered food to-go from a restaurant within the last six months. Additionally, restaurants that have started using online ordering have seen a 30 percent increase in revenue. However, many restaurants have avoided adopting online ordering because the technology is complicated and the process is expensive: it requires separate ordering systems, separate menus and additional devices.

Restaurants that have started using online ordering have seen a 30 percent increase in revenue.

Designed to help restaurants better respond to this growing guest demand, Upserve unveiled Upserve Online Ordering. It is optimized to grow loyalty and integrated with Breadcrumb POS by Upserve, to give restaurateurs a streamlined, user-friendly process to fulfill online orders without the headache of managing multiple menus, transcribing orders or ballooning commissions. The company also announced the growth of its third-party online ordering network, optimized for new customer acquisition.

“Can you imagine if every time Norm Peterson walked back into Cheers, Sam Malone had to pay some guy 30 percent?” asked Angus Davis, founder and CEO of Upserve. “Upserve Online Ordering is built for both the diner and the restaurant, and is optimized to encourage ‘regulars’ with integrated loyalty programs and repeat ordering features. Gone are the extra steps of manually transcribing orders into the point of sale, updating multiple menus across online platforms, or paying hefty commissions for the privilege of welcoming back a loyal customer like Norm.”

Despite rapid adoption by diners, many restaurants struggle to offer online ordering because of the expensive, time-consuming and disorganized process it creates. Restaurants who work with many online ordering services quickly find each requires its own complex setup, equipment, and processes. And once an order is received (by fax, email or to one of a half-dozen tablets littering a crowded bar), it must be transcribed manually by busy staff members into legacy point of sale systems, because modern online ordering systems can’t talk to antiquated, 1990s-era point of sale relics.

In contrast, when a restaurant using Breadcrumb POS 86’s a popular item that has run out or changes an item’s price, the Upserve Online Ordering menu quickly updates to reflect the change, eliminating the need to call into third party services or wait hours to see changes. Upserve also syncs these changes automatically to all third-party ordering networks integrated with Upserve.Upserve Online Ordering is completely integrated with the full Upserve platform, and is included at no additional charge with a subscription to Upserve Pro. There are no per-order fees or commissions, and all payments are settled next-day via Upserve Payments, in the same consolidated batch as other restaurant sales.

Upserve also announced continued growth of its integrated online ordering network in the Upserve Marketplace, adding Menufy, Chowly and Open Dining to a list that already includes Grubhub and Seamless. Distribution via third-party online ordering networks can help restaurants acquire new customers. Restaurants using these systems can manage all of their orders, both in-house and takeout, from Upserve HQ. 

OpenTable Rolls Out Guest Share Feature

OpenTable launched the national rollout of its “Guest Share” feature, which is designed to elevate hospitality by enabling restaurant groups to seamlessly share guest preferences and notes across their portfolio of locations. Restaurant groups with two or more related locations using GuestCenter can now utilize Guest Share nationwide. 

“We celebrate the many restaurant groups striving to deliver on a culture of exceptional relationship-driven hospitality,” says Prasad Gune, OpenTable SVP of Restaurant Product. “With Guest Share, our goal is to support restaurateurs in delivering thoughtful, above-and-beyond service to their guests across their group in a way that is natural and nearly effortless for the staff.”

The Guest Share feature was designed to:

  • Enhanced hospitality for group VIPs or regulars when they visit a new group location– making them feel appreciated and recognized.
  • New locations can open their doors on day-one with a robust guestbook, inclusive of notes, dietary preferences and other key guest information from other restaurants in their group.

Restaurant groups can find out more about GuestCenter, the Guest Share feature and program requirements by visiting the OpenTable Open for Business blog here.

Chef Blais Joins Tasty Made

Chipotle Mexican Grill  entered into a partnership with chef, restaurateur and James Beard-nominated cookbook author Richard Blais, for its Tasty Made burger restaurant. Blais, whose other ventures include Juniper & Ivy and Crack Shack, will bring his fine dining knowledge and  experience in the fast-casual space to the upstart Tasty Made concept, which opened its first location in October 2016.

Tasty Made

“Richard is an extraordinary chef and an exceptionally capable restaurateur,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and CEO of Chipotle. “While talking about the possibility of joining forces to do something that would have a positive, meaningful impact on food culture in America, we quickly landed on the notion of his joining Tasty Made. I have long believed that there was an opportunity to make the fast food burger a great burger using better quality ingredients. Richard’s expertise is perfect to help us do that. He can apply his compelling vision and entrepreneurial spirit to our work in progress and oversee operations, allowing me to remain focused on continuing to grow and strengthen the Chipotle brand.”

Blais plans to revisit the restaurant with a fresh eye, working to perfect the existing menu and expanding options. Currently, Tasty Made features four items: burgers, fries, shakes and sodas. Grilled-to-order burgers are made from fresh, not frozen, beef, and fries are hand cut in the restaurant and twice fried to a perfect, golden crispiness. Tasty Made’s basic vanilla shake includes only five ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Other hand-mixed flavors include chocolate, strawberry and buckeye, an Ohio favorite created for Tasty Made’s first location.

“Steve and Chipotle have had such a significant impact on reinventing fast food,” said Blais. “There is no more iconic fast food than burgers, and I have always thought that there is a way to do them on a really big scale without compromising the quality of the food or the overall restaurant experience. Joining forces with Chipotle and Tasty Made is a truly unique opportunity to do that.”

Tasty Made will unveil changes or enhancements to the concept stemming from the relationship with Blais as they are made.

Texas de Brazil Plans Tasty Fundraisers

Texas de Brazil is partnering with The Fladgate Partnership and local chocolatiers in 22 cities to offer Port & Chocolate Tasting events that help raise additional funds for the American Red Cross. 

Texas de Brazil is partnering with The Fladgate Partnership and local chocolatiers in 22 cities to offer Port & Chocolate Tasting events that help raise additional funds for the American Red Cross.

“Port is a versatile, fortified wine that offers a variety of styles fitting nicely into the sweet-wine selection trends we’re experiencing in our restaurants nationwide,” said Rodrigo Davila, Texas de Brazil’s wine and spirits director. “Guests at these events will learn why ports can be the perfect appertif, after-dinner drink, or refined accompaniment to a decadent dessert.”

Guests are greeted with a Croft Port of Manhattan before joining the seated class led by port ambassadors who guide participants through tasting and pairing notes on several port categories and share a brief history of port wine. Local chocolatiers will also share their tasting notes providing guests with a wealth of information and new experience. Guests will enjoy passed appetizers including garlic picanha, Brazilian sausage, and chicken wrapped in bacon from the Texas de Brazil grills which complement other bites offered during the pairing session.

Featured ports and pairings will include: Fonseca BIN 27 Reserve Ruby Port with cheese; Taylor Fladgate Late Bottle Vintage Ruby Port with dark chocolate; Croft Reserve Tawny Port with dried fruits and nuts; and the Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny Port with milk chocolate.

Tuesday, Oct. 17: Orlando, FL
Wednesday, Oct. 18: Addison, TX and San Antonio, TX: Detroit, MI;Huntsville, AL; Memphis, TN; Richmond, VA; Tampa, FL; Yonkers, NY
Thursday, Oct. 19: Chicago and Schaumburg, IL; Columbus, OH; Fairfax, VA; Fort Worth, TX; Miami, FL; Rochester, NY
Wednesday, Oct. 25: Syracuse, NY
Thursday, Oct. 26: Albany, NY; Baton Rouge, LA; Denver, CO; Washington, D.C.; Westlake, OH

The exclusive 90-minute tasting classes offered between October 17 – 26 begin at 6:30 p.m. in each location. Class size is limited to 25 participants and $40 of the $45 ticket price will be donated to the nonprofit.Locations and reservations are found on Eventbrite:

French Pastry School’s Sweet Relief

The French Pastry School rallied local businesses to come together to help make and personally deliver more than 60,000 vanilla butter cookies, top photo, to people left homeless and stranded at shelters across Houston and South Florida.

“We watched the coverage of the destruction of both hurricanes and knew we had to come together to try and make a difference in the lives of people affected by them.  Our staff, students, alumni and corporate partners were amazing, each one responded ‘what can we do?'” said Chef Sébastien Canonne, M.O.F., President of The French Pastry School.

Plugra Butter donated 1,600 pounds of butter, King Arthur Flour donated 1,500 pounds of flour, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas donated vanilla bean paste, Hilton Hotels provided luxurious accommodations, Uline donated the packaging and a dozen additional Chicago businesses united to donate items and services.  The French Pastry School set up a link on their college website for people to donate directly to Mercy Chefs, an organization that provides chef-made, restaurant-quality meals to those affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters, including Puerto Rico. 

A small act can still make a big difference.

“Our team worked day and night to make, bake and bag over 60,000 cookies.  We decided to go to both states right away, Irma had not touched land yet and we were already acquiring more goods to bake cookies for Florida survivors.  Next we will raise funds for the people of Puerto Rico through Mercy Chefs,” added Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, President of The French Pastry School. 

The Hurricane Relief Team started in Houston, where they volunteered at NRG Park, feeding thousands through Baker-Ripley and the Red Cross.  They immediately went on to South Florida, having volunteered at FEMA events through last week via Community Cooperative; handing out their signature butter cookies, fresh fruit and bottled water to thousands of survivors in those shelters.  This week, The French Pastry School is also baking for Latino FashionWeek in support of Hurricane Relief for Puerto Rico.

“As a committed partner to The French Pastry School, Plugra Butter is proud to be a part of the relief efforts in support of the victims of the hurricanes,” said Sherrie Hay, Specialty Business Manager, Plugra Butter.

“The gratitude for our presence and our cookies was overwhelming, not only from the survivors, but from the volunteers.  Our team met volunteers from all over the US, they happily banded together as if they had known each other for years. It’s not about the storms anymore, it’s about helping people rebuild their lives and the compassion that still exists in our country, proving a small act can still make a big difference,” noted Cathi Volante, Director of Marketing for The French Pastry School.